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African Library Project

Rating: 4.98 stars   46 reviews 2,832

Nonprofit Issues:

International

Address:

5 Thistle Street Portola Valley CA 94028 USA

Mission:

The African Library Project starts and improves small libraries in sub-Saharan Africa to promote literacy and education.

Results:

Since 2005, we have started or improved 1,481 small libraries in Botswana, Cameroon, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Ghana. We have made over 1100 partnerships in the U.S. with schools, companies, individuals, youth groups, Scouts, and families. We have shipped over 1,500,000 books to Africa serving over 1.5 million readers.

Target demographics:

Africans, especially students, who have no access to books and information

Direct beneficiaries per year:

250,000 readers in new/improved libraries.

Geographic areas served:

Botswana, Ghana, Lesotho, Malawi, Swaziland, Sierra Leone and South Africa

Programs:

small libraries in rural areas, librarian training and best practice Summits for our partners in Africa.

2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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More Info

650-851-3640
www.africanlibraryproject.org

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Reviews for African Library Project

Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

I have had a wonderful and exceptional experience working with ALP. They have a unique, streamlined process that is distinct and powerful in the aid world. With ALP, you are put in touch with the needs of a unique school, rather than a Westerner's idea about what a rural school in far away 'Africa' might need. In my case, a couple of friends and I collected books tailored to the needs of Good Shepherd High School in Siteki, Swaziland. The school had asked specifically for books that would cater to its community library, which had mostly young readers. They also asked for schools that would open up the minds of young Swazis to technology. That is exactly what we tried to fulfill.

On the tail end of the process, it is the receiver that has to pay for bringing the books from the port to the schools. This idea is embedded in the philosophy that the receivers have to take ownership of the books. Furthermore, the ALP board makes an effort to use their own personal funds to go to different countries on the African continent and see if the books are taken care of. All this is pretty much unheard in the development industry, where expensive 'experts' fly first class on aid money and live lavishly in the developing world (see William Easterly's White Man's Burder and Deborah Brautigam's The Dragon's Gift).

So to ALP, here is a well-deserved and overdue 5-star ranking from a kid who grew up reading your books back in Swaziland.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

We are happy to be donors for this nonprofit organization, and have watched it grow since the idea was conceived. I get goose bumps to picture all the books being shipped to Africa, and the hope and learning they bring to these communities. It is truly a simple concept to share the joy of reading, and yet takes much work to deliver. Another great bonus is that a small group of people; families, schools, etc., can collect 1,000 used paperbacks, and start a library so very far away. It's magical!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

African Library Project is a great organisation that provides some amazing resources to communities which normally will not have the opportunity to receive them. I was involved with helping a school in Sierra Leone set up a library using books from ALP. The students, teachers, and families were thrilled to see so many books! As a teacher at the school and librarian, I saw the library and books be used daily by students and teachers alike. ALP provides wonderful training for new librarians and a how to guide on setting up a library. Again, great organisation with everlasting benefits to the communities they help!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I participated as a book packer when ALP was in its infancy and have been thrilled to see the organization start over 1600 libraries in the 10 years of its existence. I am now proud to be a donor and contribute to the growing literacy in Africa, which will result in people achieving better lives for their future and the future of their families.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Mountain View High School has been involved with the African Library Project soon after its inception. For the past 8 years, the Leo Club, which is a student led service club supported by the Sunnyvale Host Lions Club has donated a library to a school in Africa. Each year students are motivated to raise all $600 of the funds for shipping the 1,000 books they annually collect to be sent to a school in Africa so the children there have the gift to read. The students altruistically jump at the opportunity to participate in this worth while project and seek out opportunities to work together in the local community to earn the funds and collect gently used children's books. It's a project which takes months of work to help materialize, but the joy in watching students bond as they serve in the local and international communities to make this happen is rewarding beyond words.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

Holding a book drive at the elementary school where I am a teacher was one of the most fulfilling experiences of my teaching career. I saw how the students grew excited to share resources with other students who live far away and, just like them, are eager to learn and grow. ALP gave me clear guidelines for book donations and how to package the boxes that would travel to our partner school. On the ALP website, there are several examples of ways to raise the money for the shipping costs. Thank you ALP for all your efforts to support and encourage literacy.

 
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Rating: 4 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I strongly recommend ALP. As an all-volunteer organization they provide individuals, groups and communities a meaningful way to promote literacy in Africa. Their well established formula (1000 books + $500 = 1 library ) made it easy to participate in a book drive and was a tangible project for our students to focus on. It's a win-win situation!!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

The African Library Project is the best kind of LITERACY charity because it brings people together! People in the US get to share the books they love with readers in countries that do not have Amazon Prime, Google Express or even a public library to use on a whim. In a context in which fast and free is replaced by slow connections and scarcity of resources, the bricks and mortar collections that volunteers from the US and in Sub-Saharan Africa make into libraries are the best kinds of learning resources to build together. ALP makes this happen a little bit at a time with connections from community-->community.

I've been a volunteer for ALP since 2005 (former board member), and as a librarian who has worked in Sub-Saharan Africa and the US, I am critical when it comes to doing book aid responsibly. ALP does book aid right by doing library aid! While responding to the real need for books, ALP also...
- Brings African professionals together in a Summit every two years
- Fosters community among the recipient communities in each large shipment of books
- Provides practical manuals to train rookie librarians in the field.

If LITERACY is your passion, African Library Project could be a great match for you. Try starting with some books, some cash and some elbow grease...

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I've done two book drives with African Library Project and and they make the process very easy and provided help whenever needed. It's an amazing feeling to know that I am now connected to two schools that needed books. This is the kind of project that people love to help with and it was surprisingly easy to make the targets. I plan to do more book drives in the future!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

2 people found this review helpful

We collected books for Engudumeni Primary School in South Africa, where our son is serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. The work was highly personal and very rewarding. The tools and support provided by ALP made what could have been an overwhelming experience, achievable. There is no way we could have figured out how to collect, sort and ship 1200 quality books without their guidance and partnership. Thank you!!! We are grateful to be able to provide books and materials that will enrich the students, teachers, and community, while our son is serving, and leave a lasting legacy for years.

 
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