African Library Project

Library of Hope

02/07/18 to 04/30/18
Scandia MN

We are working with the African Library Project to provide books to eager readers in Africa who have very few books. Please help us by collecting and delivering gently used books or by raising money to help pay for shipping to Africa. It takes only 1000 books and $500 (plus a little elbow grease!) to start a single library and make a huge difference in children’s lives.

This book drive is organized by ...

The book drive is being organized by Sophia and Olivia Nienaber who are members of the Forest Lake-Scandia Leo Club. The Leo Club is a group of 7th-12th grade students who are passionate about community service, giving to others, and trying to make a positive impact in the world.

"Spotlight on Children" is the international service project of Leo Clubs. Every day, millions of children miss out on the joys of childhood. Instead of playing with toys and reading books; and developing to their full potential, they face daunting challenges such as poverty, malnutrition, illness, conflict, illiteracy, and abandonment.

Through Spotlight on Children projects - such as collecting children's books to establish a library in Malawi - Leo Clubs can bring hope and laughter to vulnerable children throughout the world.

Education and literacy is an important value to our club members. As we were looking for ways to volunteer our time, Sophia and Olivia shared with the Leo Club about how they created a library in Lesotho in 2012 through the African Library Project. We immediately knew that this is a project that we wanted to do in 2018.

The thought of being able to collect and donate books to create a library in Africa is exciting! We are so happy to be able to make this happen!

Our webpage:

Our website link:

We want to start a library in Africa because...

Reading is such a critical part of learning, and one of the highlights of our daily lives. We are very fortunate to have an excellent library system in Minnesota – not only in nearby towns, but a system in which we can order books – at no charge – from any library in Minnesota.

Going to the library, finding books that we have not read, and bringing them home to read is something that each of our club members have looked forward to through their childhoods and teen years.

When we read, we learn, we grow, and we discover. Our minds can dream and be opened to worlds beyond our own. Because we have enjoyed books so much, we want to give this same excitement about books, reading, and learning to children in Africa.

Also, when we think that over 50% of the people in Malawi live on less than $1 per day, that isn’t much money purchase anything beyond the very basics. We read that some children have to share textbooks at school. So, clearly books are a luxury – both at home and at school.

We believe every child has a right to read as reading will lead the students in Malawi to have bright futures. We would like to see every child in Malawi to be able to enjoy a library just as we do in the United States.

About our African Partners...

About 84% of the population in Malawi lives in rural areas. Malawi has a substantial youth population – almost 53%.

More information about the school and community in which the library will be established will be forthcoming.

Please contribute these kinds of books...

We need to collect 1,000 books for a community library in Malawi. The items should be in good condition (they can be gently used or new).

The most appropriate and needed items are books that can be read by preschoolers to adults:

Baby Board Books
BIG books
Children’s picture books
Children’s fiction and non-fiction
Early readers
Teacher's resource books for school libraries
Children’s dictionaries/picture dictionaries
Encyclopedias less than 15 years old
Children’s encyclopedias/picture encyclopedias
Children’s thesauruses
Paperback textbooks in math, English, geography, health, and science at appropriate level (kindergarten to 6th grade). Send no more than two copies of any texbook; these will be used for teacher resources.
Books with universal themes (friendships, animals, love)
Children's books teaching life skills about health, hygiene, adolescence and careers
Accurate up-to-date atlases
Books about Africa or African-Americans
Educational children's science and literary magazines in good condition
Brain teasers, flash cards, educational games and puzzles
Juvenile literature
Children’s fiction and non-fiction
Teacher's resource books for school libraries
Accurate up-to-date atlases
Math books from 6th grade up, including algebra, geometry, and pre-calculus, English books (focusing on grammar or comprehension), geography books, health books, science books including general science, biology, chemistry, and physics at appropriate level. Send no more than two copies of any textbook, these will be used as a teacher resource.
Life skills books about health, hygiene, adolescence, careers, etc.
Books with universal themes (friendships, animals, love)
Books like Chicken Soup for the Soul (inspiring stories with life skills lessons)
Books about Africa or African-Americans
Educational kids science and literary magazines in good condition
Brain teasers, flash cards, educational games and puzzles
Animal husbandry
Current events
National Geographic, less than 5 years old, especially with articles featuring Africa.
Books about Africa or African-Americans

Please note: paperback books are much cheaper to ship than hardcover books.

Books that cannot be used:
• Books that are filled with small print, no pictures, etc. (too intimidating or boring)
• Books with lots of slang, which may be difficult for English learners to follow
• Books for very young children that have many references to appliances and electronic gadgets.
• Adult paperback romance novels
• Books about United States history or government (but DO SEND books about African-Americans)
• Books about American or religious holidays (Easter, Halloween, Christmas, 4th of July, Thanksgiving, April Fools’ Day, Valentine’s Day, Chanukah, etc.)
• Books that evangelize or promote a particular religion
• Magazines except for children's educational magazines and National Geographic issues that less than 5 years old
• Books that are stained, damaged, or smell of mildew.

Here's how you can contribute your books...

Between February 7, 2018-April 30, 2018, you may mail your books to:

Sophia and Olivia Nienaber
Library of Hope Book Drive
14363 Oren Road North
Scandia, MN 55073

Books can be shipped via media mail which is less expensive than first-class mail.

You may also contact Sophia Nienaber at to drop books off at the address above in Scandia, Minnesota.

We also will be at the Festival of Cultures at the Forest Lake High School on Friday, April 13, 2018 from 5:30-8:00 p.m.

If you live far away, perhaps you’d like to purchase a book online and have it delivered to the address above.

There is a collection location at Osceola Medical Center in the surgery center from March 15th-April 30th.

We need to raise funds for shipping the books...

In addition to collecting books, we also need to raise $500 for storage, packing, and shipping costs. If you don't have books to donate, consider making a donation. Even if have books to donate, consider making a small donation. Every bit helps…even a $1 donation will help get some books to Africa!

If you want to donate money, we can accept checks, money orders, or cash. This can be sent to:

Sophia and Olivia Nienaber
Library of Hope Book Drive
14363 Oren Road North
Scandia, MN 55073

If you prefer, donations also can be made via Paypal. Please use the email account when Paypal asks to whom you want to send money.

Please specify how you would like your donation acknowledged (e.g., the name of the person making the donation or if the donation is made in honor/memory of someone) or if you prefer your donation to be anonymous.

Here are some ways that you can help...

• If you have children, look through their bookshelves and see what they no longer read.
• Go to your public library, thrift store, and/or garage sales. They often have books and/or games for sale for as little as $0.50.
• Purchase new books at a local bookstore or online.
• Donate money to help with shipping the books to Africa.
• Ask others to donate books or money to help create a library in Malawi. Spread the word! The more people that hear about the project, the more people in Malawi we can help. Ask your friends at school for books, ask your co-workers for their no-longer-needed children’s books, ask your neighbor, ask your extended family…ask anyone who will listen!
• Host a fundraising and book collection event with all the books and money collected being donated to our Library of Hope project.
• Create and post flyers letting others know about this project.
• If you have a business or know someone who has one, place a collection box in the lobby to collect books and/or a jar on the counter to collect monetary donations.
• Help sort books at the book-sorting party that will be held in early-May.
• Help pack books at the book-packing party that will be held in early-May.
• Donate food or beverages (or gift cards so we can get these items) for the book-sorting and book-packing parties.
• Donate large plastic bins with covers to keep books in until they are packed and shipped.
• Donate packing supplies (e.g., boxes, packing tape).

Contact us to find out more

Name: Sophia Nienaber

Name: Olivia Nienaber

Name: Ann Rinkenberger
Phone: 651-724-7872

Progress Report

Our Goal 1,000 books $500 fundraising
Results so far
(updated: 03/04/18)
902 books $2 fundraising

The first book collection drive that was held during the One Stop Donation Drop on Saturday, March 3rd went exceptionally well. 902 books were collected and $2 was donated toward shipping the books to Africa.


Osceola Medical Center's surgery center is collecting books from those in the surgical area as well as other OMC staff who want to help create a library for the 465 orphans and vulnerable children. This book drive will be happening from March 16-April 30.


Many thanks to the teachers at Scandia Elementary School who donated a car load of books and learning materials for the book drive! This helped move us significantly closer to our goal!

Thank you to all those from the community who brought books to the One Stop Donation Drop. There is such a wide variety of books at all different reading levels. What a treat it will be for the children who will have the opportunity to hold a book for the first time!

(As a side note, we know that the word "acknowledgements" is spelled incorrectly above. It is part of the ALP web design that can't be modified.)

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About the African Library Project

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