AFRICAN LIBRARY PROJECT
Rating: 5 stars 33 reviews
Location: 5 Thistle Street Portola Valley CA 94028 USA
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.
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The African Library Project stands out in a crowded field of non-profits:
- It provides real, working libraries where they are needed most. ALP never sends money, just books and a bit of technical assistance to turn gently used books into working libraries that are available to communities where books are truly scarce.
- It puts quality ahead of quantity. ALP has clear criteria to send books that are most wanted and needed to improve literacy and develop a reading culture in traditional African settings. They place a huge emphasis on working with local partner organizations that will follow-up to make sure libraries are well used.
- It attracts enthusiastic volunteers to run book drives from all over the USA, and most want to do it again! Children and adults love to give their beloved books to those who need them most.
- It is all volunteer (no paid staff.) The founder/director works full time for no pay, and she sets the tone for the volunteer Board of Directors to roll up its sleeves to get all the work done with an open heart and a warm smile.
- It is well-run. Its inspiring track record (over 1,000,000 books shipped) has attracted talented Board members who understand the problems and opportunities of providing development assistance to Africa.
If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...
Let more people know about ALP and its book drives. It is so easy and so powerful to start a library in Africa! ALP has grown from 0 to over 1,000 libraries through (mostly) word of mouth. ALP is positioned to scale rapidly to increase its impact in Africa.
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