African Library Project


Step 1 - Plan your book drive

First, read these guidelines completely. You may be surprised!


  • Please make sure you are registered to do a book drive before you start: 
    • We will match your group with an African community or school that will receive your book donations.
    • We will tell you which kinds of books to collect, so that you only send books that your African partner can use.
    • We will give you a target date for completion of the book drive, so that we can ship your books on the next available container that needs the types of books that you are able to collect.
  • Identify the types of donors you want to ask for books.
    • We receive fabulous books from a wide variety of groups. Consider asking: schools, local businesses, libraries, neighbors, sports programs, religious groups, YMCAs, youth groups, service organizations, friends and relatives, book clubs, Girl and Boy name it! Middle schools top the list of "best places to collect ALP books" :)
  • Talk to people to get the buzz going!
    • Login to this website and create a custom African Library Project web page for your book drive. We will let you know how to register as a user on the site and send you a username and password so you can log in, using the Login/Logout button at the bottom of the webpage. You will be able to create your own book drive page using an easy form, and you can update it with news and photos. When you are done, your page will be posted on “Book Drives in Action."
    • Send the link about your website to your book and money donors so they can learn more about your book drive Africa, the African Library project and how they can participate.
    • Become an African Library Facebook Fan. Follow ALP on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Encourage your supporters to do the same. We post all our latest news there.
    • Talk about why you want to collect books for an African library. Ask them to join you!
    • Show our documentary, House of Books (available on YouTube or by asking us for a DVD) at a school assembly, at a church service, Scout or club meeting or wherever you would like to collect books. Everyone will learn more about Africa, and they will be inspired to help.
    • Speak about conditions in Africa (use our fact sheet) and why they desperately need books.
  • Form a small team to run or support the book drive.
    • You may have a primary leader to get things organized, but a book drive is a team effort, and you will want to get others actively involved.
    • Make sure everyone understands which kinds of books to collect. The clearer you are about your criteria, the more "shippable" books you will receive.
    • Scout around the book drive webpages to glean the ideas that have worked for other book drives to collect books and raise money.    If those organizers have advice, it will be in a "Tips for Other Book Drives" section of their pages.
  • Develop a fundraising plan.
    • A library of 1,000 mostly paperback books with cost from $150-350 to mail to the shipper’s warehouse while 1,000 hardcover books can cost $400.
    • A library of more than 1,000 books will increase mailing costs.
    • You will also be asked to pay ALP $250 to cover the costs of shipping the books from the warehouse to your school in Africa.
  • Set a goal for the number of books you will send. This provides an inspiring target to achieve and helps you plan your fundraising goal.
    • A small library is about 1,000 books, which is a challenging but achievable goal. Because not all books are appropriate to send, you will need to collect more than 1,000 books to have 1,000 shippable books.
    • Decide a timetable for your book drive. Allow six weeks or more from the time you announce the book drive to the end.