African Library Project

Book Hugs for Sierra Leone!

04/13/2017 to 08/13/2017
California PA

We are working with the African Library Project to provide books to eager readers in Africa who have very few books. Please help us by collecting and delivering gently used books or by raising money to help pay for shipping to Africa. It takes only 1000 books and $500 (plus a little elbow grease!) to start a single library and make a huge difference in children’s lives.

This book drive is organized by ...

My name is Lily and I am homeschooled in the seventh grade. I love the outdoors, history, science and reading..... If anyone wants to talk about books, email me! My all time favorites are: Harry Potter, Magyk (Angie Sage), The Mysterious Benedict Society, Lord of the Rings, Tuesdays at the Castle, and many, many others.

Our website link:

We want to start a library in Africa because...

Since I love reading, when I heard that schools in Africa don't have books, I immediately wanted to help. Speaking as a person who checks out about 20 books each library visit, I can't imagine life without books. Reading takes you other places, to some beyond imagination. I want to share that joy with the children in Sierra Leone.

About our African Partners...

My books will be going to Sierra Leone, to a Primary Library open to the community. My African Partner School is God's Will Nursery and Preparatory School, which is located in Freetown.


The republic of Sierra Leone is located in West Africa. It borders Guinea, Liberia and the Atlantic Ocean. It is known for its gorgeous tropical climate. According to archeological findings, people have been residing in the country for at least 2,500 years. In 1492 Sierra Leone was named Serra Leoa, meaning "Lioness Mountains", by the Portuguese explorer Pedro de Sintra. In the sixteenth century Sierra Leone was a very important center for the transatlantic slave trade. However the country’s involvement with the slave trade ended in 1787 after Freetown was established by repatriated former slaves.

In the twentieth century, Sierra Leone became a British colony and later gained its independence in 1961. From 1991- 2002 Sierra Leone experienced a bloody civil war that killed over 50 thousand people and displaced over 2 million people. As a result of this civil war, today the country faces high poverty and unemployment rates. Over 70% of the population in Sierra Leone lives under the poverty line. However, through the leadership of the current president Ernest Bai Koroma, the country has increased agricultural production and productivity which means rural incomes have also increased. Also, over the years, Sierra Leone’s government has worked extremely hard to ensure the freedom of religion. Sierra Leone is one of the most religiously tolerant nations in the world. In 2014, Sierra Leone was hard hit with an epidemic of Ebola. Schools were closed for seven months to minimize transmission of the disease, and 3,300 people died (as of Feb. 2015)


English is the language of instruction. The law mandates that students receive free primary education, and it requires them to attend six years of primary school and three years of junior secondary school. However, this has not been happening and as a result Sierra Leone has a low school enrollment rate. The civil war destroyed over a thousand primary schools and pushed a lot of families into poverty. Many students have been forced to drop out so that they can work to support their families. Also there is a shortage of key resources such as text books and teachers.


There are over 20 higher education institutions in the country. Fourah Bay College, now part of the University of Sierra Leone, was established in 1827 and is the oldest university in West Africa.


Sierra Leone has a population of about 6 million people.
• The overall adult literacy rate is 35%. The rate for women is
lower than that of men: 24% vs 47%.
• The HIV/AIDS prevalence in Sierra Leone is quite low: 1.5%
among adults aged 15-49.
• Sierra Leone is home to 16 ethnic groups. Each group has
their own language and traditional attire. English is the official
language; however Krio is the language that is understood by
most of the population. Krio is a Creole language, first spoken
by descendants of freed Jamaican slaves who settled in the
Freetown area.
• Sierra Leone’s economy is heavily dependent on mining
diamonds. Sierra Leone is also rich in other natural resources,
including gold, titanium, and bauxite. Its main exports are the
mineral rutile, fish, coffee, cocoa, and iron ore.
• Sierra Leone has the third largest harbor in the world.

Please contribute these kinds of books...

• Paperback easy readers
• Paperback children’s picture books
• Paperback juvenile literature/Chapter books
• K-8 textbooks (English, math, geography & science)
• Encyclopedias & atlases (post 2000)
• Paperback dictionaries
• Baby board books
We cannot accept books about a specific religion or American holidays.

Here's how you can contribute your books...

There is a collection box set up at the California Public Library at 100 Wood Street in California, PA. The box is available during library hours. If this is not convenient for you, email me and we can arrange for a book pick-up.

If it is easier for you, you can ship the books to me. Be sure to use the "Media Mail" option at the Post Office to save on shipping costs. Send the books to Lily Hug, PO Box 120, Ohiopyle, PA 15470 and we will add them to the library collection!

We need to raise funds for shipping the books...

The books are sent to Sierra Leone in a shipping container that leaves from the port in New Orleans. We need help raising the $250 dollar shipping cost of the books from the port in New Orleans to Sierra Leone. Click DONATE at the top of this webpage and select "Book Drive Shipping Donation." When you enter the code SL5-08, your
Donations sent directly to the African Library Project will be used specifically for the shipment costs for this library.
The African Library Project is a registered 501(c)3 organization. The Federal Tax ID# is 65-1261685. Donations made directly to their website for my drive are tax-deductible.

If you need a receipt for your tax records, please let Lily know and one will be sent to you.

We also need help raising money to send the books from Pennsylvania to New Orleans, to buy packing tape, boxes, and to buy any needed specialty books no one happens to donate (animal husbandry, erosion control, reforestation, solar ovens, etc)

The $250 collected above is only used for the shipping of the books from New Orleans to Sierra Leone, so to help cover these other costs involved in shipping, we are hoping to raise an additional $350.

Thank you for your generosity.

Here are some ways that you can help...

Quick and Easy: Go to my Amazon Wish Page:
and purchase books that have been pre-selected as great choices for Primary Libraries in Africa. They can be new or used. Have them shipped to us at PO Box 120, Ohiopyle, PA 15470 and we will add them to the library collection!

Donate your gently used books to our book drive. You can mail them to us inexpensively using the "media mail" level of postage at the US post office, or you can drop them off at the collection box at The California Public Library.

Donate money to help pay for the cost of sending our library books to the port in New Orleans, as well as the shipping costs for the books to travel from New Orleans to Sierra Leone.

Spread the word about this book drive!!!

Contact us to find out more

Name: Lily Hug

Progress Report

Our Goal 1,000 books $600 fundraising
Results so far
(updated: July 25, 2017)
1,221 books $665.00 fundraising

I want to thank everyone who has generously donated money to the shipping expenses to send the books that I have collected over to Sierra Leone. Thank you to the United Christian Church of California, and multiple family and friends.

"Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world." -Malala Yousafzai


Thank you to all of the people who have donated books so far, and to the staff at The California Public Library for helping me with the collection site. I would also like to thank the Mrs. Clark and the California School District for helping me with the project at the school. Thank you to Dairy Queen, who provided the free ice cream coupons for the school students. A very big thank you to the united Christian Church in California, for helping to raise the shipping costs of the books.

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