African Library Project

Matthew and Miranda's Library for Botswana

08/10/2015 to 12/10/2015
Huntsville AL

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 ...

Matthew is a junior chemistry (pre-med) major at Berry College in Mount Berry, Georgia, and Miranda is a senior in high school from Huntsville, Alabama who has plans to be a music major in college. This is a picture of Matthew and Miranda with some of their favorite children's books. Below that is a picture of one of our Elementary School friends who purchased some books for our book drive leaving them in a collection bin.

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

We appreciate that we have had the opportunity to readily have access to books throughout our lives, and these books have sparked our imaginations and helped us to have great futures ahead of us, but not everyone in the world has had this opportunity. Without access to books many children and adults live lives that are limited in many ways. We are excited about the opportunity to be able to provide a library for primary school students in Botswana. We are hoping that others will want to join us in helping to collect the books and funds needed for this library.

About our African Partners...

We will be providing a primary school library in Botswana, Matengwe primary school. This school is located in the Central North district and currently has 605 students and 22 teachers. Botswana is a small country in southern Africa that is about the size of France, but is sparsely populated since a great deal of the country is desert. The national language of Botswana is English, and children are taught English in school so our books are perfect for their children. Education is very important in Botswana, and it has a high literacy rate for a country in Africa, but there is little access to books so our library will play a great role in the community that it is placed in.

Please contribute these kinds of books...

We are providing a primary school library. The types of books that we need are U.S. Pre-School to 4th Grade reading level. Gently used or new books are both appropriate. If you are purchasing books, it is less expensive for us to ship paperbacks.

The types of books we need for a PRIMARY SCHOOL library are:
Baby board books
Children’s picture books
Children’s fiction and non-fiction
Early readers
BIG books
Teacher's resource books for school libraries
Children’s dictionaries/picture dictionaries
Encyclopedias less than 15 years old
Children’s encyclopedias/picture encyclopedias
Children’s thesauruses
Paperback textbooks in math, English, geography, health, and science at appropriate level (kindergarten to 6th grade). Send no more than two copies of any textbook; these will be used for teacher resources.
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

The types of books we cannot accept are:
Books that are filled with small, dense print that might be too intimidating or boring for the age level
Books with lots of slang, which may be difficult for English learners to follow
Books for very young children that have many references to appliances and electronic gadgets.
Adult paperback romance novels
Books about United States or Canadian history or government (but DO SEND books about African-Americans)
Books about North American or religious holidays (Easter, Halloween, Christmas, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, April Fools Day, Valentine’s Day, Chanukah, etc.)
Books that evangelize or promote a particular religion (This means that we cannot accept any books that are Bible stories or about stories or people from any religion.)
Magazines except for children's educational magazines and National Geographics less than 5 years old

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

We will be setting up collection boxes for books at Berry College in Mount Berry soon. We already have a box at the Asbury School, the United Church, St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, and Lakeside United Methodist Church in Huntsville. We are also looking for more locations to place collection boxes. If you are willing to host a box for us at your business or school, please let us know. You can also contact us to pick up books from you.

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

Along with accepting book donations, we also need to raise $500 for shipping the books. They will be sent in a container to Botswana along with books for several other libraries in Africa. We have set up a Go Fund Me page to make it easy to donate: or you can contact us for more information on monetary donations.

Here are some ways that you can help...

Donate books! Help us raise money for shipping. Ask your friends and relatives to go through their books for gently used children's books. Put a collection box for our book drive at your school or business. Help us raise awareness about our library by mentioning us on social media.

Contact us to find out more

Name: Matthew Shapiro

Name: Miranda Shapiro

Name: Doris Shapiro

Progress Report

Our Goal 1000 books $500 fundraising
Results so far
(updated: 11/18/2015)
1651 books $335 fundraising

Share this Book Drive Page

About the African Library Project

Learn more about the African Library Project at
You can 'like' us at - get updates, inspiration and more!