American Children Organizing Bookdrive

create Libraries in Africa

To create a library in Africa, collect 1,000 gently-used children’s books and fundraise approximately $650 for shipping.

Anyone in North America who is interested in creating a library in Africa can register to become a volunteer Book Drive Organizer with the African Library Project. These volunteers run a book drive to collect, sort, pack, and ship gently-used children’s books and raise modest funds to ship books to a school or community in need of books. Hosting a book drive is a fun and engaging way to make a positive global impact with your friends, family, classmates, fellow scouts or club members, and colleagues!

Know your impact

Each book drive is matched with a specific African school or community that has applied for a library. The application process enables us to ensure the recipient has the proper structure to create and sustain a library (space, bookshelves, and staffing for the library, etc.) and to also learn what kinds of books are needed for the greatest impact.  Over the course of a book drive, Book Drive Organizers learn about the country and communities the books they send will impact.

Paying for International Shipping

 Each book drive will have international shipping expenses to pay for. To pay for shipping, please only use the links that are for book drive shipping and be sure to enter your book drive code (ex. M10-98).

mailing deadlines

 We are matching book drives to schools and communities in need of books in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Lesotho, South Africa, and Uganda. Each country receives a sea container that is between 30 – 60 libraries. For these reasons, we only accept book drive registrations for a couple countries at a time and dates are spread throughout the year. 

Winter/Spring Book Drives

April 15, 2024

Malawi

May 1, 2024

Ghana

June 1, 2024

South Africa

Summer/Fall Book Drives

September 1, 2024

Botswana

October 1, 2024

Uganda

November 1, 2024

Kenya

what is a mailing deadline?

 Mailing deadlines are the dates when Book Drive Organizers need to ship the books by. Books are shipped via USPS media mail to a warehouse in New Orleans, LA, USA. And we will provide you with the mailing labels to print.

How Far in Advance Can I Register?

Countries are added to the registration form approximately four months from the mailing deadline. To receive notices of new book drive opportunities follow us on social media, subscribe to our newsletter, or visit this page often. Or select ‘A shipment at a later date’ at registration in the Book Drive Preference section to get on our radar. 

a successful book drive in 5-Steps

American Man with Boxes after bookdrive

Step 1: Register and Plan the Perfect Book Drive

American Student donating books

Step 2: Collect and Sort Your books

  • Figure out the types of books you’ll need to collect
  • Create collection opportunities in convenient locations
  • Strive to collect books that are culturally diverse and representative
  • Be creative and keep people updated on your progress
  • Sort your book donations (as you go) using our Book Drive Guidelines and Do and Don’t list
American Teachers packing books in boxes

Step 3: Pack Your Books Carefully

  • Gather the recommended packing materials
  • Keep count of the number of books packed in each box
  • Pack your boxes securely and to a weight of no more than 40 pounds each
  • Affix your African Library Project mailing labels
* The mailing label and packing slip will be provided by your container manager.  
Volunteer packing boxes

Step 4: Mail, Donate, and Leave the Rest to Us

  • Mail your boxes using US Postal Service Media Mail (this can cost up to $400 depending on postal rates)*
  • Send the remaining $250 as an international shipping donation to us
  • Email your book drive summary stats
  • Celebrate! You did it. Stay tuned for updates about your books and be sure to follow us on social media.
*Note: A typical library of 1000 mostly paperback books will weigh about 400-500 pounds and can cost up to $400.  A library of more than 1,000 books or comprised of a lot of heavy, hardcover books will increase mailing costs.  
African School cheering

Step 5: Multiply your impact

“Being part of the African Library Project for the past six years has taught me so much: about the African countries and communities it serves, about the various ways of being a leader, and about myself and my own capabilities. The book drive process increased my confidence and my ability to speak up for my own values; it gave me the satisfaction of knowing that my team’s hard work was having such a tangible impact and brightening so many students’ futures. Furthermore, as an incredibly transparent, communicative organization, ALP gave me all the support and resources I needed to plan and carry out this rewarding process. I could not have asked for a better organization to guide me through my first experience of leading a team.”
- Divya Prakash

“As a contributor of the African Library Project, I have learned so much from public speaking, to learning how to advertise a book drive. ALP’s network of staff and volunteers are incredibly supportive and continuously dedicated to providing us the resources needed to organize book drives. I am so lucky to be a part of this mission and I would encourage anyone to take part in the ALP.” 
- Anya Patel