African Library Project


Library Resources

library_guide_image_smHow to Set Up and Run a Small Library in Africa,” African Library Project. This manual contains detailed instructions on setting up a library, covering classification, borrowing, fundraising, computers, and more.

Click on the following "pdf" links to download the entire manual or a chapter or section.  Note that some browsers (notably Safari) may have problems displaying some of the images.

Complete manual (pdf 9 MB)
Foreword and Editor’s Note (pdf 75 KB)
Introduction (pdf 406 KB)
Chapter 1. What Is a Library? (pdf 303 KB)
Chapter 2. Preparing to Set Up Your Library (pdf 365 KB)
Chapter 3. Preparing the Library Room (pdf 1.1 MB)
Chapter 4. Getting to Know Your Library Stock (pdf 696 KB)
Chapter 5. Choosing Stock for the Library (pdf 578 KB)
Chapter 6. Making an Accession Register (pdf 438KB)
Chapter 7. Organising Information Books – Classification (pdf 315 KB)
Chapter 8. Making Library Catalogues (pdf 262 KB)
Chapter 9. Organising Fiction and Alphabetical Filing (pdf 774 KB)
Chapter 10. Putting Books on Shelves (pdf 410 KB)
Chapter 11. Lending Books (pdf 475 KB)
Chapter 12. Keeping Books in Good Condition (pdf 627 KB)
Chapter 13. Helping Readers to Use the Library (pdf 866 KB)
Chapter 14. Improving Readers’ Library Skills and Encouraging People to Use the Library (pdf 1.1 MB)
Chapter 15. Library Checklists and Routines (pdf 115 KB)
Chapter 16. Increasing Your Library Stock and Improving Your Library Skills (pdf 533 KB)
Chapter 17. Bookkeeping and Fundraising (pdf 121 KB)
Chapter 18. Keeping Track of Progress (pdf 98 KB)
Chapter 19. Using Computers in Your Library (pdf 674 KB)
Appendix A. Keywords (pdf 70 KB)
Appendix B. Dewey Decimal Classification and Junior Colour Code (pdf 94 KB)
Appendix C. A Literacy Lesson (pdf 123 KB)
Appendix D. African Library Project Contacts (pdf 59 KB)
Appendix E. Where Do Your Books Come From? (pdf 354 KB)
Appendix F. How to Write a Great Thank You Letter (pdf 226 KB)
Index (pdf 86 KB) 

You are free to share these resources— to copy, distribute and transmit the manual as long as you credit African Library Project (ALP). It is prohibited to sell or distribute these files in any format for profit without prior written consent from ALP.

Checking out books in Lesotho

“The Best Practices in the Library” by Jana Rohová and Václav Patek, DAPP-Malawi, 2012.  This manual contains detailed lessons to use with primary school children to teach literacy, library skills, art, music, counting, critical thinking, co-operation, teamwork, and more.
» Click here to download
(pdf 256 KB)

You are free to share these resources— to copy, distribute and transmit the manual as long as you credit DAPP-Malawi. It is prohibited to sell or distribute these files in any format for profit without prior written consent from DAPP-Malawi.

Peggy Kaye's "Games for Reading" is a book with many excellent games for promoting reading among primary students.

Some of the games are available on this website:

Book Aid International has three brief guides in the series “Bringing Books to Life”:

Starting and Managing a Book Collection presents library basics (pdf 1.5 MB)
Using Books in the Classroom has suggestions of activities that teachers and librarians can use with children and adults to improve their reading skills (pdf  800KB)
Running Child Friendly Libraries has suggestions for making libraries friendly places for children and teenagers in order to engage them in reading (pdf 3.2 MB)

Friends of African Village Libraries has created a guide of library activities for children, youth, and adults. There are reading, art, and theatre activities as well as educational workshops: 

Nal'ibali is a South African organization dedicated to sparking children's potential through storytelling and reading. On their website, they have free resources to download that will be useful in any country. Resources include tipsheets on reading to children, reading club guides, and bookmarks.

Resources in French/ressources en français

« Des bibliothèques pour tous! Comment créer et gérer une bibliothèque de base »

Ce manuel complet (12MB) donne des instructions détaillées pour collecter des fonds, tenir les comptes, établir des règles, mobiliser la communauté, organiser la bibliothèque, emprunter des livres, prendre soin des livres, et plus. Par Laura Wendell, UNESCO (1998)

« Comment établir une bibliothèque communautaire pour les enfants »

Ce manuel bref (48KB) donne des idées pour engager les enfants et adolescents, choisir et protéger les livres, et gérer et maintenir une bibliothèque. Préparé par Osu Children’s Library Fund, Ghana; traduit par CODE, Canada