African Library Project

Rating: 4.98 stars   46 reviews

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

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  

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: 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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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I was a coordinator for an African Library Project early in 2015. I was a little intimidated and as I recruited organizations and people to help me I thought I would ask someone else to set up the website page for our project. But I went onto the African Library Project website, and I could not believe how well organized it was. There were lots of resources to use to help market the book drive. Setting up the website page for our project was very easy! The transportation coordinators who emailed me frequently were always ready to answer my many questions. With the ALP's help it was so easy to collect books, Our project collected over 4000 books. We ended up helping 3 different schools in South Africa and 1 in Malawi. This was one of the most gratifying projects that I have ever had the privilege to be a part of. African Library Project is a GREAT Nonprofit!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

3 people found this review helpful

Our middle school library has been involved with the African Library Project for 9 years. This is my third year helping with the annual book drive. The organization is great because it provides plenty of information on what kind of school you are helping and supports us throughout our book drive. The website provides flyers, photos, fact sheets on African countries, and examples of presentations to advertise your book drive. African Library Project works because it is focused on building libraries and training teacher librarians. They are well organized and make helping easy. Chris Bradshaw has always been available to talk to and is ALWAYS enthusiastic about what she is doing. She inspires me to want to do all that I can to get the kids in Africa to read, to learn, and to grow.

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

Our experience with ALP has been great on so many levels. First, the projects provide real, tangible results. We're paired with a specific school in a specific country, which really motivates donors to get involved.

Second, ALP provides so many resources and support mechanisms, it feels easy to get things up and running and to know what to do at each step. The organization is clearly well run, and the loyalty of their staff and volunteers really adds to the credibility of our project.

Finally, our ALP project has provided so many learning opportunities for my kids. We've done research on the country we're sending the books to, have planned logistics like storing and packing boxes of books, and did lots of creative work making flyers, videos, and our website to market the project.

All of these things combined have made this an experience we would highly recommend and do again in the future!

 
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Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

The African Library Project is an extremely well-run organization that provides an avenue for our secondary school students to engage in philanthropy on a global level. Participating in the ALP helps to create a culture of compassion and encourages students to think about how they can make a difference in the world.

I highly recommend this nonprofit!

 
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