African Library Project


08/25/2019 to 03/01/2020
Bainbridge Island WA

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 Karla Mather and earlier this year I traveled to Uganda to volunteer teaching nursing in health clinics serving the large refugee population there. While there, I noticed that I never saw a child or an adult with a book. My daughter Emily, a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania, teaches math and physics in a middle-high school with about 300 students. They have some text books, but no library or books to read for pleasure. I came home determined to find a way to provide some books for people there.
Try to imagine your life without books! I am working with schools, family, and friends to gather as many books as possible to send to create libraries in Uganda. Please help me by donating gently used or new books or contacting me if you have any ideas where I might obtain books for this project. Thank you.

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

Knowledge is power and freedom. I remember spending many happy hours in my small community library in Colwich, Kansas as a child. I still remember pulling the books off of the shelves and the excitement of finding one that interested me. When my children were young we spent hours at the Bainbridge Island library and every bedtime was story time. My children had books in their hands from the time they were able to grasp them. I want to share that opportunity and pleasure with as many other children as possible to brighten their futures.
Books are a huge part of my life. Whenever I have a question I can quickly turn to the internet or a book. I spend hours engrossed in both fiction and non-fiction books. Americans, for the most part, take for granted that any information we need will be free to us. That is not the case in Africa. Books cost nearly the same there as they do here and there are very few libraries. With many people living on less than $2.00 per day there is no option for buying a book to read for pleasure. I believe that increased literacy in Africa will help them address many of their economic and social problems. When I had my daughters I knew that they would have an education available to them that would allow them to achieve their dreams. Help me create opportunities for Ugandan children to achieve their dreams through increased access to information and literature.

About our African Partners...

Uganda is a small, landlocked country located on the equator in East Africa known as the “pearl of Africa” for its remarkable beauty. It also has a high rate of poverty and one of the youngest and fastest-growing populations in the world. An interesting fact about Uganda is that it is home to 60% of the total mountain gorillas left in the world with about 400 of them residing in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.
According to UNESCO Uganda has an adult literacy rate of 70.2%. While the male literacy rate is 79.12%, for females is 61.97%, showing a big gap between the sexes. More than half of the population of Uganda is under the age of 15. More than 15% of school-aged children are unable to gain access to an education.
The population of Uganda is around 40 million. Uganda hosts the largest refugee population in Africa. Currently more than 1 million refugees, the majority of them from South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, reside there. The life expectancy is 59 years and the mortality rate of children under age five is 69/1000. The average annual income (GNI) per capita is $584.20 USD.
Uganda faces many economic challenges. Instability in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo has led to a sharp increase in refugees and is disrupting Uganda's main export market. Additional economic risks include: poor economic management, endemic corruption, and the government’s failure to invest adequately in the health, education, and economic opportunities for a burgeoning young population. Uganda has one of the lowest electrification rates in Africa - only 22% of Ugandans have access to electricity, dropping to 10% in rural areas.

Please contribute these kinds of books...

Please Contribute These Kinds Of Books...
We are making a community library, so we are collecting books from pre-school to 8th grade reading level. Here are some examples of books you can donate.

-Baby board books
-Children’s picture books
-Children’s fiction and non-fiction
-Early readers
-Teacher's resource books for school libraries
-Dictionaries and thesauruses published after 2004
-Paperback textbooks for kindergartners to 8th graders.
-Books with universal themes (friendships, animals, love)
-Children's books teaching life skills about health, hygiene, adolescence and careers
-Accurate up-to-date atlases
-Books about Africa or African-Americans
-Educational children's science and literary magazines in good condition
-Brain teasers, flash cards, educational games and puzzles
-Teacher Resource Material
-Juvenile literature
-Life skills books about health, hygiene, adolescence, careers, etc.
-Books like Chicken Soup for the Soul (inspiring stories with life skills lessons)
-Animal care
-Current events
-National Geographic, less than 5 years old, especially with articles featuring Africa

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

Please contact me at or text me at 206-359-2039 to arrange donation of your books and together we will arrange a way for me to get the books from you.

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

In addition to gathering the books it will cost $500 to have the books shipped and transported to New Orleans and from there to Africa. Any contribution you are willing to provide will be greatly appreciated. Please contact me at if you would like to contribute.

Here are some ways that you can help...

Keep your eyes open for good books to share! If you are interested in heading up your own library project talk to me-I would love to support you.

Contact us to find out more

Name: Karla M Mather
Phone: 2063592039

Progress Report

Our Goal 1000 books $500 fundraising
Results so far
(updated: 9/7/19)
150 books $200 fundraising


Thank you Mudrock family for your donation of books. Thank you Cathy Boehlke for your $ donation to help with shipping.

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About the African Library Project

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