African Library Project

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:

Malawi Partners

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!

Wilmot Partners

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.

Letter to the Editor, Intertown Record, May 2022

Wilmot Sends 1,000 books to Malawi

Thanks to everyone in the Wilmot community – and the state! – who helped with the African Library Project.

On Monday April 18, volunteers from the Wilmot Public Library mailed 1,000 children’s books to Beni FP School in Lilongwe, Malawi. In Malawi, children learn English as a second language in school. As they progress to higher grades, more of their curriculum is taught in English. The book drive collected gently used or new books up to fourth grade level, including fiction, ABCs, board books, science and health books, and many fun and useful titles.

The sponsoring organization, African Library Project, works with schools and libraries in English-speaking countries who apply to them for books. Wilmot Public Library is the only donor for Beni FP School.

We received so many donations we were able to surpass our 1,000-book goal and send extra boxes to the school!

We couldn’t have done it without the volunteers who packed and sorted boxes, made field trips to pick up books, screened donations and wrote letters to the Beni school students. We would also like to thank everyone who pitched in to cover the shipping costs.

Many, many thanks to:
Catharine Hyson and KRES-NL students
Borden and Mary Ayers, Nola and Ken Aldrich, Sally Asher, Susan Bruce, Peggy Blair, Bill Chaisson, Kendel Currier, Barbara Faughnan, Judy Hauck, Janet Howe, Chris Jenssen, Liz Kirby, Carol MacDonald, Debbie Ransom, Gail Matthews, Kristen and Brian McCarthy, Sandy Messer, Heidi Nelson, Leslie Tuttle;  
Andover Main Library and Bachelder, Bow, Boscawen, Brentwood, Lee, Marlborough, Milford, Nelson, Northfield, Swanzey, Sutton, North Hampton libraries.
Morgan Hill Bookstore
Jason at Wilmot Post Office

And all the anonymous donors who donated books!

Glynis Hart
Library Director,
Wilmot Public Library