Youth Engagement Program
Made possible by the Enlight Foundation
The African Library Project changes lives book by book by starting libraries in rural Africa. Our grassroots approach mobilizes U.S. volunteers, young and old, to organize book drives and ship books to start or improve a library in Africa. Our method makes a concrete and personal difference for children and communities on both continents.
The African Library Project was founded in 2005 by Chris Bradshaw and her family from Portola Valley, California. Since our founding, we've shipped over 2.6 million books and helped create 2,620 libraries in our African Partner Countries.
Accomplishments to date:
Creating Libraries in Africa
Completed 3,035 libraries in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Cameroon, Lesotho, Nigeria, Botswana, Swaziland, Malawi, Ghana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, and Kenya.
Donated over 3,000,000 books!
Created over 1,500 partnerships with US schools and African organizations.
Established new partnership with Uganda in 2019.
Book drive organizers around the country, young and old, develop strong community engagement skills and broaden their understanding of our African Partner countries.
Empowerment and Sustainability
Organized major conferences to share best practices among our African Partners in 2008 (Botswana), 2009 (Lesotho), 2011 (Swaziland), 2013 (Malawi), 2015 (Ghana) and Botswana (2017).
Harnessing the Power of Volunteerism
In the United States, our volunteers collect, sort, and pack gently-used children's books to ship to specific African communities. They organize book drives in local schools and neighborhoods and raise modest funds to ship the books to our African partners.
In Africa, our partners range from Peace Corps volunteers to school administrators. They receive the books and organize them into libraries to serve local African communities. Along the way, the U.S. donors learn about Africa and develop closer connections to the people in the recipient communities.
Our Guiding Principles
We create vital partnerships between organizers of book drives and African communities.
We proudly foster local, grass-roots participation to collect, sort, pack and ship books from North America and to set up, promote and run libraries in Africa.
We rely on a network of talented volunteers who contribute energy, skill and passion and keep our operations affordable.
We make it easy for anyone to collect and ship books, so that people with limited resources can still have a huge impact.
We don’t just ship books. We provide systems, support and follow-up to make sure our libraries succeed.
We send books with universal appeal or with specific relevance to Africa. Our libraries go only where English is the primary language of school instruction.
LEARNING AND EMPOWERMENT FOR ALL
We educate our book drive volunteers, especially schoolchildren, about current conditions in Africa. We want every volunteer to know that s/he is personally making a real difference.
We recycle gently used English language books to help meet the urgent shortage of books in Africa. Many of these books would otherwise end up in landfills.