Guest blogger, Don Casperson of Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos, NM shares his experience as a book drive organizer, creating libraries for Kenya with the help of his community’s youth:

It is with great joy that I undertook to help with the African Library Project under the enthusiastic direction of Sharon Allen. As a Kiwanis advisor to two of the three Los Alamos elementary school K-Kids clubs, our middle school Builders Club, and our high school Key Club, I am proud of the effort they demonstrated last year as we collected books, boxed them up, and carried out fundraisers to pay for shipping to Africa. All seven of our public schools (five elementary, one middle school, and one high school) participated in the town-wide effort that resulted in libraries for many Kenyan schools.

We will continue with the second round of this project over the next few months and will be gladdened to create even more libraries for African schools and to enjoy the many heartfelt photos of children who are excited to receive them.

As a testament to the impact this project made on students across our community, I would like to share comments, in their own words, from students of all ages. (K-Kids are 1st through 6th graders, Builders Club is for 7th and 8th graders, and Key Clubbers are high school students in grades 9 through 12.)  

“In the African Library Project, there’s a lot of steps. We collect books at school by putting them in a big box. We also make posters so they can have something to put in a new library. Sometimes we [create] bookmarks too. Then after the books are donated, we have to pack them into boxes and ship them to Africa. Doing all this work is definitely worth it! We help many kids learn to read and get more knowledge. Doing this makes us feel happy.” – Anabel (Aspen K-Kid)  

“The African Library Project is a very good project. It helps kids in Africa read and learn. Reading is a very important thing in life. In my experience, it takes a long time to finish a [book] drive. Kids from K-Kids remind other people to help out. In the years I have been in K-Kids, the bin overflows which is good because the more books we have the more libraries we make.” – Haylie (Aspen K-Kid)

“I have had a bunch of fun packing books for people that don’t have books. It always makes me smile when I see pictures of kids in Africa smiling, holding books. It is so fun helping kids learn from sending books to them. It is very awesome doing this fundraiser because you help people in need.” – River (Aspen K-Kid)

“When I did the African Library Project I remember watching a slideshow of all the schools we sent books to and the students enjoy them. I also remember gathering books each week and packing them. This made me happy knowing we could help some people in need.” – Takeshi (Aspen K-Kid)

“The African Library Project is a great thing. It helps people who do not have libraries get them. Kids also have fun getting books and fundraising.”  – Harry (Barranca K-Kid)

“I like helping the African Library Project. I think every kid should have a chance to read. I like seeing the pictures that were brought in from Africa by Ms. Allen.” – Damian (Barranca K-Kid)

“It is fun and it lets me know how happy those kids are about the books. It makes me feel really good inside. I think if other kids would do it they would be feeling happy inside. It helps me feel happy knowing all those kids are happy and it makes me want to do a whole lot of good. I also enjoyed packing books. I met up with old friends and saw that they were K-Kids which made me happy. But loading them in was heavy. But it was still fun.” – Destiny (Barranca K-Kid)

“That kids with a surplus of something will give time or effort to children thousands of miles away is a beautiful thing – after all, the world could always do with more kindness. Over the last few years, we’ve seen this beauty in our community through book drives and fundraisers for the African Library Project. Thousands of books have been delivered to children in need. We look forward to spreading more kindness in the future.” – Hailey (Builders Club)

“By working on service projects, such as the African Library Project, I learn how to be selfless, help others, and create positive environments.” – Ravijit (Builders Club)  

“The African Library Project has helped me and my peers become closer together as we help collect books and fundraise to ship books to Africa. There are no words that can describe the feelings that come from creating happiness within other countries in need of some hope.” – Dominic (Builders Club)

“The African Library Project was special to me because of the impact it made on the children. Receiving the letters from the kids and seeing all the pictures made me incredibly happy knowing I could contribute to that joy. It was a wonderful project. I would love to see Key Club continue working on it after I’m gone.” – Mackenzie Rogers (Key Club)

“The African Library Project was a great experience for all Kiwanis and Key Club members to come together and support a community and other kids like us. Supporting others through this project was a great way to bring people together!” – Morgan (Key Club)

Don Casperson

Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos, NM

Start Your Own Book Drive

Read our Book Drive Guidelines to learn all you need to know to collect, sort, pack and then mail your books to our warehouse, where they will be containerized for shipment to Africa. Your goal is to collect 1,000 appropriate books and approximately $500 for shipping and related costs. Double this and you can start two! Triple it and… you get the idea. To get ideas from other book drives — how they’ve collected their books and raised their funds.

We ship books all year round.  Our typical calendar is:

  • Ghana in February
  • Botswana in March
  • Malawi in June
  • Kenya in July
  • Uganda in August
  • Lesotho in September
  • Sierra Leone in October
  • eSwatini (Swaziland) in November