In May 2022, volunteers and staff at the Wilmot Public Library gathered over 1,400 gently-used children’s books to send to schools in Malawi.
The African Library Project is a non-profit that gathers books to send to countries where books are needed. Once we gathered our books, we mailed them to the ALP’s holding center in New Orleans, where they joined other book drive collections and were placed in a shipping container. The shipping container arrived in Africa in November.
Below, in reverse order, are pictures of the project:
In January 2023 the first of the books arrived at the partner schools. Above, students and teachers at Likhubula School display some of their new books.
Unpacking the books after their long journey!
Library director Glynis Hart, volunteers Nola Aldrich and Deb Ransom packed the last box in Wilmot in April 2022!
New Hampshire Library Trustees Association featured our book drive on the cover of the newsletter.
Packing and shipping the books was the end of a long process! We began asking for book donations in March 2022. ALP provided us with criteria for suitable books for primary-school age children in Malawi.
Many New Hampshire libraries had not been able to hold book sales during the pandemic and were eager to share their extra books with us. Volunteers from Wilmot drove all over the state collecting books!
After we collected the books, we weeded them for redundancy, relevance, and appropriateness for the children. For instance, ALP asked us not to send books featuring appliances (washing machines, etc.), books with religious themes, or books about North American politics.
When all the books were collected, we had 400 more than our target goal of 1,000 books! We sent 200 books on behalf of a book drive in California that was having difficulty meeting their goal. Then we added 200 books to our original drive, making a total of 1,200 books for Beni F.P. School in Lilongwe.
Malawi Institute of Education Dept. Director, Mr. Peter Ngunga, right, presents one book representing the donation to teachers and their class.
December, 2022: Volunteers moved the book boxes onto trucks for the final leg to their destinations.