American Children Organizing Bookdrive

How we create Libraries in Africa

All it takes to create a single library for students in need is 1000 gently used children’s books and $500 toward shipping.

In the United States, our volunteers collect, sort, and pack gently used children’s books and raise modest funds to ship each library. Hosting a book drive is a fun and engaging way to make a positive impact with your friends, family, and co-workers!

We match each book drive with a specific African school or community in need. Each school or community is required to provide the space, bookshelves and staffing for the library, which encourages sustainability. They also specify the kinds of books needed for greatest impact.  Over the course of their project, U.S. book drive organizers learn more about the African country and communities they are impacting.

1,000 Books + 500 Dollars = One Library

Check out our calendar below to see our upcoming mailing deadlines!

 We are still accepting book drive registrations! However due to the COVID-19 epidemic, these dates are tentative, but we will give you plenty of notice if we change the deadline. We are currently seeking active book drive organizers to collect 500 to 1000 gently used children’s books to start libraries in various countries in Africa. Please see below for an updated schedule:

Winter/Spring Book Drives

Feb 1, 2022


March 1, 2022


April 1, 2022


May 1, 2022


Summer/Fall Book Drives

September 15, 2021 - complete


December 1, 2021


August 1, 2022


December 1, 2022


5-step overview of a successful book drive

American Man with Boxes after bookdrive

Step 1: Register and Plan the Perfect Book Drive

  • Register for a book drive by clicking Take Action
  • Identify places where you can find books
  • Spread the word about your book drive
  • Brainstorm how to fundraise about $500 for shipping
  • Learn about your school match and the African nation and community you’ll be contributing to
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 (about $250)* or use an alternative method
  • 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 cost around $250. 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

  • Share your book drive story and inspire others by emailing or filling out this form
  • Send our team photos or a written essay of your book drive experience to share with our community
  • Spread the word by telling others about African Library Project

Additional Resources

“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