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African Library Project

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Education, International, International Development, Libraries, Literacy, Promotion of International Understanding, Remedial Reading & Encouragement

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 2,541 small libraries in Botswana, Cameroon, Lesotho, Malawi, Nigeria, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Kenya and Ghana. We currently work with our African partners in Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Ghana and Swaziland. We have made over 1700 partnerships in the U.S. with schools, companies, individuals, youth groups, Scouts, and families. We have shipped over 2,578,672 books to Africa serving over 2 million readers.

Target demographics: Students and communities in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Kenya, Malawi, Botswana, Lesotho, and Swaziland who have limited access to books

Direct beneficiaries per year: 250,000 readers in new/improved libraries.

Geographic areas served: The United States and southern Canada

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

Community Stories

79 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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...

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

The African Library Project has been the most meaningful non-profit I have had the pleasure to be involved with. The organzation truly makes a difference in the countries it serves. Delivery books to young people in places where there books are not easily available. I have seen, first hand, these libraries and they are being used by so many that have not had the priviledge to have books before. A life changing experience for so many.

1 Cindy196

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I found out about the ALP through a friend of mine and decided to start my own drive. It was very easy and everyone was helpful. People are eager to help and volunteer in many ways. I wish more people found the time to donate books, time, services and money to such a worthy cause.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I became aware of the African Library Project about a year ago. As I have learned more about the organization and have gotten to know the founder Chris Bradshaw, ALP volunteers and board members, my respect and admiration have grown immensely for the important work this non-profit is accomplishing. I recently donated an item for their biennial fundraiser, Harambee, which I attended with a small group of friends. It was a party not to be forgotten with African food, dance and music, pulled together by an enormous team of volunteers! I can hardly wait for the next, however, that is not the most important part. What struck me most was how Chris and ALP are able to mobilize forces to accomplish their goals. They are a passionate group and have started over 1,411 libraries with over 1.5 million books. Wow! The collaborative efforts and sheer determination of this grass roots effort is moving and they are truly making a difference, one library at a time. I look forward to seeing their continued success.
- Barbara Hugli-Jones

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

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!

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Our middle school has been involved with the African Library Project for eight years, and we have started thirteen libraries. What's great about ALP is that the model is really easy to implement. Not only is it a truly rewarding cause, but all participants benefit greatly from the experience. It's been a great way to develop a community of service-learners at our school site. Many teachers, students and parents get involved in the collection of books, and historically we have covered the shipping costs by holding a student-run garage sale. We love this organization and will vigorously continue our support!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a book drive organizer for the African Library Project. ALP partners me with communities or schools that really wants the books we are collecting. This is a win-win volunteer project. You can save books from going into landfills here at home (yes our culture throws away good stuff) and give those books a new life where they will really be valued.

Previous Stories
1

Donor

Rating: 5

I love being able to declutter my book shelves and know that my donations will be valued and appreciated. Does it get any better that creating libraries for people that don't have them and really want them? I am so impressed with this all volunteer group. This is a real win-win all the way around.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Our middle school has been associated with the ALP for a few years now. Last year was the 5th school that we helped get their own library. Our students see this as an opportunity to serve others. They willingly donate books that they have outgrown, count them, sort them and package them. They also raise the funds needed for shipping.
The African Library Project has a great organization, with helpful staff. Everything is completely explained up-front AND they also provide the opportunity to personalize their website so that we can advertise our book drive and show our progress. Our students also like knowing where the books are going and what school and grade levels they serve.
This is a great way to connect students to the world and to serve others. It also helps them to feel a part of something bigger than themselves. We are happy to be a part of such a wonderful organization

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For several years my family has been collecting gently used children's books to support the African Library Project (ALP). I love how easy it is to connect with local groups doing book drives and how accessible the ALP staff are. This model of giving is so simple and the impact is so powerful! It's a great way for young children in America to learn about the power and importance of giving and helping others less fortunate.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the African Library Project after a bicycle trip in South Africa, which made very visible the need for books and educational materials, particularly in rural areas. This nonprofit is a win-win for everyone -- African schools get books and training for librarians to sustain the libraries, U.S. volunteers get to learn about African countries, while they are recycling used children's books that otherwise would likely end up in a landfill. It's one of the few organizations which has a role for young people in the philanthropic efforts. It's a simple idea that works and changes lives one book at a time.

Comments ( 1 )

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ALPer 05/17/2014

Thanks, Christine!!!

Donor

Rating: 5

We were so successful in our fund-raising efforts for the library books we shipped to Ghana this year that we have excess funds we would like to donate to your organization. It has been such a pleasure to work with the African Library Project, the whole process is so organized and the results gratifying. Keep up the good work!

Kathleen65

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I've done six book drives now, with my most recent soon to be on its way to Ghana. This is a project that connects children, communities, and people in the US and in Africa with one another. I typically solicit donations from people at work, from schools, and from my community. I always meet new people and am able to spread the joy that comes from making a real difference in the world with this project. Being a hardcore bookworm, it is by far my favorite, and the most impactful work I do. The best part is the light on people's faces when they bring me their book selections; those who love to read love to share that with others, and knowing these may well be the first books children receive is all the more precious.

Laura151

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Running a book drive for African Library Project was one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had as a volunteer. I received letters from teachers, librarians, and the school principal about how excited they were to receive the books I would be sending. African Library Project does a fantastic job at finding people and schools who will really appreciate the effort of volunteers and will put the books to good use. The fact that African Library Project is completely volunteer-run never ceases to amaze me. Anyone who has the time and the resources should hold a book drive!

Comments ( 1 )

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ALPer 09/06/2013

Thank you, Laura. Reviews like this warm our hearts:)

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The African Library Project is an amazing group of volunteers working tireleslly to promote education and literacy in some of the most remote regions in Africa. They are professional courteous and we are thrilled to have discovered them and be able to work with them. Without their hard work we would not have been able to make as much as an impact. There knowledge and experience is a beacon of light and it is an honor to work with them.

Comments ( 1 )

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ALPer 09/04/2013

Thanks, Yosef! We love Books4Cause, too! You do such a phenomenal job in the Chicago area. I'm so glad you are headed to Botswana in November:)

1

Advisor

Rating: 5

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.