African Library Project

The Stories We Tell: Our Blog

Welcome to the African Library blog. Subscribe to receive notifications of new posts in your email (you can unsubscribe at any time.) Send us your comments and share our blog posts with your friends, colleagues and family!

Recent blog posts

Boy with book1

Changing lives book by book is the African Library Project’s tagline.  But do you ever wonder exactly how ALP libraries change lives? 

What follows is a thank you letter from the teacher-librarian at Middlepits Primary School in Middlepits, Botswana in which she explains the impact of the ALP library at her school. 

We still need Book Drive Organizers to help create libraries in Botswana. You can help change lives there by signing up today for a book drive.

 The thank you letter tells the story.

 

Dear ALP,

Our school has been struggling in the past years and producing extremely below average grades. Shortage of learning resources, such as books, was then identified as one of the major causes of such a painful experience.  Since the birth of our school in 1987, achieving quality performance has been an uphill challenge, which is clearly indicated by the school performance in the Primary School Leaving Examination results.

First time attendeedAt the recent Summit in Botswana, Board Members and volunteers from the US saw firsthand that our libraries are thriving, and the teacher librarians have a great deal to teach each other and us.

Pictured here ae first time Summit delegates Joel Wakesa from Rongo University and Abbas Swaleh from Project Humanity, who soaked up our best practices and contributed new ideas about how to create great rural libraries in Western Kenya.
 

the booksMike Gottfried led his first book drive in 2009 as a freshman at Penn State.  When his professor learned from a former student in the Peace Corps that children in Africa have few books, his professor put together a team to organize that first book drive, and Mike joined the team.

“As I reached out to my hometown and books came in," Mike said, “I realized I had too many books and needed to organize my own drive out of my home town in Roxbury, New Jersey as well.”  He led book drives three of the four years he was at Penn State, collecting books there and in his home town.

After college he returned to Roxbury where he teaches high school Earth Science and Physics.  As advisor to the Key Club, he works with club members to conduct book drives.

In his years as a book drive organizer, Mike has collected 90,000 books and created 68.5 libraries.  “It’s lot easier than it seems.  People are eager to help.”

IMG 06231 resizeWhile many book drive organizers know that rural schools in Africa are starved for books, Amie Breed has had firsthand experiences that led her to become a book drive organizer. 

She is married to a South African, and her son, now in middle school, studied in South Africa for six months.  He saw the difficulty students had in accessing books.  Her sister is married to a man from Uganda, where it is also hard for students to get books.

The family has helped her son’s South African school in a number of ways.  When the director of the school could not get books through Amazon, the family ordered some from the U.S. to send to the school.  And when Amie asked her son, “What do you want for Christmas,” his response was that he wanted to give presents to the other children in his school—chicken feed, money or books.

Once Amie learned about ALP’s work, she decided to do even more-- a book drive for a library in Malawi with her two sons, one in middle school and Morgan, her first grader.