Our Blog

BDO Spotlight: Laurie Holding

BDO Spotlight: Laurie Holding

Laurie Holding is an internationally awarded poet, children’s book author, and mother of five, whose love of literature served as the foundation for her work as a book drive organizer. At 61 years old, Laurie lives in the Village of Sewickley, PA. After a career in...

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Ask an Expert: Jennifer Swanson

Ask an Expert: Jennifer Swanson

Jennifer Swanson Q&A Q: Tell us about yourself.  A: I am the award-winning author of over 40 books for children, mostly about STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). My love of STEM/science comes from a very young age. When I was 7 years old, I...

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Looking back at our African Partners Summit

Looking back at our African Partners Summit

Every other year, African Library Project chooses one of the seven countries in which we create libraries to host an African Partners Summit, where partners from across the globe come together to share best practices, train teacher-librarians, and exchange ideas to...

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Ask An Expert: Esther Cajahuaringa

Ask An Expert: Esther Cajahuaringa

Esther Cajahuaringa is an assistant editor at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. She’s worked with authors such as Joe Cepeda, Rhode Montijo, and Mo Willems to name a few. As a former educator and non-profit organizer, Esther draws upon her...

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BDO Spotlight: Kathryn Sonnie

BDO Spotlight: Kathryn Sonnie

Kathryn Sonnie is a living example of manifesting success. She was a teacher working with Global Hope Alliance, an organization that builds schools and libraries in Africa. When others found out what she was doing, the amazing people in her networks wanted to fill the...

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Ways to collect books during COVID-19

Ways to collect books during COVID-19

Despite the disruptions COVID-19 has brought about, African Library Project is continuing to help change lives book by book. While our volunteers and partners in Africa work hard to make sure they're staying safe on the job, our book drive organizer's safety is of the...

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Appreciating our Supporters on the Ground

Appreciating our Supporters on the Ground

In case you missed it, we’ve highlighted some of our wonderful African teacher-librarians and partners to celebrate National Library Week. Here are some who you may not have heard about yet. Gift Phimba Gift is a librarian in the Dedza district of Malawi at Magaleta...

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Covid-19 Update: Doing Good at Home

Covid-19 Update: Doing Good at Home

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to challenge and disrupt communities around the globe, the African Library Project is working to continue to get books into the hands of eager readers.   We’re committed to doing good at home by ensuring our book drive...

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ALP’s Impact: Mchedwa Primary School

ALP’s Impact: Mchedwa Primary School

Malawi Needs Libraries Did you know the literacy rate there is 62 percent? Students in Malawi can go for years without having the opportunity to read a book. For comparison, the United States has a 99 percent literacy rate. This disparity often comes down to the...

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BDO Spotlight: Erika Henningsen

BDO Spotlight: Erika Henningsen

Erika Henningsen is a professional Broadway actress living in New York City. Her roles in various productions such as Mean Girls Broadway led her to seek ways to be of service. https://www.instagram.com/p/BzytIFZjSTt/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link “I’ve always felt that...

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Reading for Everyone, Everywhere

Reading for Everyone, Everywhere

These inspirational books teach us about diversity, togetherness, and what it means to be compassionate. Blended by Sharon M. Draper This is an eye-opening narrative that expresses what it is like to be part of a blended family. Isabella is a bi-racial eleven-year-old...

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Celebrating 2019 Volunteers

Celebrating 2019 Volunteers

African Library Project is thankful to each and every one of our volunteers who made 2019 one of our most successful years of starting libraries ever. Without our book drive organizers, we wouldn't be where we are today. Thanks to the following... 9 H.U.G.S....

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We pulled together – Harambee!

We pulled together – Harambee!

Thanks to the amazing support of our literacy heroes, volunteers, board of directors and staff, our annual fundraiser Harambee! was a smashing success. Together we raised $109,000 in net profit to help increase literacy in our African partner countries by...

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Uganda Libraries Serve Refugees from Sudan and DRC

Uganda Libraries Serve Refugees from Sudan and DRC

African Library Project recently partnered with Firm Foundation Education Trust (FFET). Through them, we are providing libraries to two early childhood centers that serve refugees from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. FFET is a grassroots...

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Honoring family and friendship through books

Honoring family and friendship through books

Book drive organizer, Christina Herrick writes about how she honored her son’s memory by hosting a book drive with African Library Project. We're honored to share her story. I imagine my initial reason for wanting to do a book drive for African Library Project was...

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The Power of Reading by Sankalpa Bhuma

The Power of Reading by Sankalpa Bhuma

Guest blogger and book drive organizer, Sankalpa Bhuma from San Ramon, CA shares her experience as a reader and how it spurred her to volunteer for a larger cause. Towards the end of my sixth birthday, I received what I could only perceive as the ultimate symbol of...

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A Look at Ghana’s Art Scene

A Look at Ghana’s Art Scene

Ghana and the whole of Africa, in general, is known to have a rich history of making art. From its traditional garments and dances to urban murals, art comes in many different forms for African countries. You don't have to travel far to see graffiti in North America....

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Whitman Middle School Rocking their Book Drive

Whitman Middle School Rocking their Book Drive

A huge congratulations to Whitman Middle School located in Fairfax County, California that gathered students from the National Junior Honor Society this year and successfully created a library in Botswana with African Library Project. We're always impressed when...

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A BOLD Venture to Help Others

A BOLD Venture to Help Others

Guest blogger and book drive organizer, Lynita Mitchell-Blackwell shares a powerful story of how her community came together to start multiple libraries for students in Kenya. We exist to honor our connection to others. Leading Through Living Community does...

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Giving Thanks – A Tribute to BDO Eldon D. Snyder

Giving Thanks – A Tribute to BDO Eldon D. Snyder

This is a story about books, Africa, libraries, and my dad. Just a few weeks ago my dad turned 94 years old. While his health has recently started to fail, he continues to find ways of supporting the African Library Project. As a retired educator, I seem to have...

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Here are ways some African countries celebrate books

Here are ways some African countries celebrate books

Across the world, books have made a resounding impact. Whether it be contemporary stories depicting heart-wrenching accounts of what it means to be human or stories that transport readers to fantastical realms, books are a celebrated artform with deep-rooted cultural...

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Kids Helping Kids – Creating Libraries in Kenya

Kids Helping Kids – Creating Libraries in Kenya

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...

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BDO Spotlight: 10 Years and 30,000 Books Later…

BDO Spotlight: 10 Years and 30,000 Books Later…

Guest blogger, Coy Cross shares his introduction to the African Library Project and how he went for a one-time book drive organizer to send over 30,000 books to African youth. In March 2009, our friend Kay left to serve in the PeaceCorps in Lesotho, a small African...

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African Women Who’ve Made History

African Women Who’ve Made History

Did you know March is Women’s History Month? Though technically celebrated only in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, we believe it's important to raise awareness of how women in other countries have contributed to society in ways that can - and...

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Five Diverse Books to Celebrate Valentine’s Day With

Five Diverse Books to Celebrate Valentine’s Day With

With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, many folks are rushing to their local supermarket to stock up on candied hearts, flowers, and decorative cards. No matter what flavor of love you want to share or how your Valentine’s Day celebrations may vary, we are all unified...

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My 93,000 book journey

My 93,000 book journey

Guest blogger, Michael Gottfried details his journey with African Library Project and sending libraries to African youth. It was a crisp fall afternoon in October 2009, when my professor, Dr. Jim Nolan, asked our Education Freshman Seminar a question that would not...

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Why I Became a Librarian

Why I Became a Librarian

One of the secrets to ALP’s success in creating libraries is the work and commitment of its librarians. The following guest blog tells the story of what motivates one librarian in a village in Malawi and why he wants to do more. By organizing a book drive, you...

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Touching the future – Girl Scouts Book Drive Experience

Touching the future – Girl Scouts Book Drive Experience

When Sheila Lenius, Madison, WI. Girl Scout leader, learned about how volunteers working with the African Library Project can create libraries, she could see that a book drive would be a perfect project for her daughters’ first and fourth-grade troops. “I feel bad...

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“Our Library Has Brought Good Results”

“Our Library Has Brought Good Results”

Changing lives book by book is the African Library Project’s tagline.  But do you ever wonder exactly how ALP libraries change lives?  What follows is a thank you letter from the teacher-librarian at Middlepits Primary School in Middlepits, Botswana in which...

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African Accomplishments, African Potential

African Accomplishments, African Potential

At the recent Summit in Botswana, Board Members and volunteers from the US saw firsthand that our libraries are thriving, and the teacher librarians have a great deal to teach each other and us. Pictured here are the first-time Summit delegates Joel Wakesa from...

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From Penn State Freshman to High School Teacher

From Penn State Freshman to High School Teacher

Mike Gottfried led his first book drive in 2009 as a freshman at Penn State.  When his professor learned from a former student in the Peace Corps that children in Africa have few books, his professor put together a team to organize that first book drive, and Mike...

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This is what we want to do for Christmas

This is what we want to do for Christmas

While many book drive organizers know that rural schools in Africa are starved for books, Amie Breed has had first-hand experiences that led her to become a book drive organizer.  She is married to a South African, and her son, now in middle school, studied in...

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Ugly sweaters lead to beautiful results

Ugly sweaters lead to beautiful results

Book drive organizers looking for creative strategies to raise funds for shipping and mailing may not think that ugly sweaters could be much help, but Tanvi Hathiramani found that Ugly Holiday Sweater Day was a successful way to raise money for a 2016 book drive at...

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Feeling a part of something bigger

Feeling a part of something bigger

Vikram Ruppa-Kasani says that he has always liked books. As he got older and he learned about people in the rest of the world, he wanted to give kids the same experience that he had had.  So, at age 16, he led his Eagle Scout troop in Alpharetta, GA to do a book...

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Off to a good start, but there’s more to do

Off to a good start, but there’s more to do

In May, a team from the US and Kenya celebrated a landmark event in ALP history—the distribution of  ALP's first container of books for 32 libraries. It was an important milestone for ALP, but our work in Kenya is not done.  We are planning to send a second...

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Honoring Caleb with a Library

Honoring Caleb with a Library

In 2009 my husband and I created Caleb’s Project to honor the short, but precious life of our son, Caleb Paul Zellner, who died before birth.  His due date was December 26.  Because I wanted to have a happy Christmas for my other children, I decided I should...

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So, What Does Golf Have to Do With It?

So, What Does Golf Have to Do With It?

When the African Library Project Board voted earlier this year to hold a golf tournament, Sharna Fey, a Board member since 2011, enthusiastically agreed to become the Project Manager for Links for Literacy.  Originally scheduled for late September, the...

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Five years of reading can make a difference

Five years of reading can make a difference

This is the third blog from Ashley Kahn about her recent trip to Lesotho with Amy Jo Carson, ALP’s Lesotho Country Liaison.  The village of Bokone is special to Amy Jo Carson. A part of Amy’s heart belongs to the Majara family, their house and village, as that’s...

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Kicking it up a notch

Kicking it up a notch

ALP not only creates libraries; it also stays in touch with our African partners to be sure the libraries are working effectively. And when possible, helps make them even better. On a recent trip to Lesotho, Amy Jo Carson and Ashley Kahn found a fun way to reorganize...

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Lesotho libraries: a place to gather and read

Lesotho libraries: a place to gather and read

ALP is working to send a container of books to Lesotho this fall to create 35 new libraries.  We still need Book Drive Organizers, who can complete a book drive by September 1. Click here to find out what’s involved and how to sign up. As you will read...

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The Best Year of My Life

The Best Year of My Life

Guest blogger and long-time book drive organizer, Sharon Allen discusses her experience visiting Kenya. In May of 2016, I retired after 30 years of teaching mostly kindergarten and first grade. Primary teachers tend to be book lovers and I am no exception! Over the...

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Books Have Changed Our Lives

Books Have Changed Our Lives

Guest blogger, Bright Edem Kofi Adeti shares his experience with African Library Project and creating libraries for kids in Ghana. My name is Bright Edem Kofi Adeti. I teach French and Information and Communication Technology in a deprived junior high school in the...

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A Reading List for All Seasons

A Reading List for All Seasons

Summer is looming in the Northern Hemisphere, and those who love to read are happily planning which books to take to the beach or wherever they will vacation.  But no matter what hemisphere you live in, you may want a pile of good books nearby, ready for when you...

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Book Drives Raise More Than Just Books

Book Drives Raise More Than Just Books

Guest blogger, Amy Vijayanagar of Midland Elementary School's book drive organizing experience with African Library Project. Conducting a book drive for the African Library Project was a perfect fit for Midland Elementary School for many reasons. We were...

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A thank you from Swaziland

A thank you from Swaziland

We're proud to receive the following thank you note written from Mrs. Lungile C. Msibi of Swaziland. It is our great privilege to write this letter to you, thanking you for receiving such wonderful and interesting novels you donated to us as Ebenezer High School....

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ALP Libraries Have Lasting Value

ALP Libraries Have Lasting Value

Guest blogger and assistant librarian for the University of Malawi-Chancellor College, Jessy Mphunda shares her story with African Library Project. I am Jessy Mphunda, Assistant Librarian for the University of Malawi-Chancellor College.  I have worked with the...

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What I Have Learned from Book Drives

What I Have Learned from Book Drives

African Library Project book drive organizer and youth ambassador, Divya Prakash from California details her involvement with African Library Project and how she's helped change lives, book by book. My name is Divya Prakash, and I am a 15-year-old high school...

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Making the World Literate, One Librarian at a Time

Making the World Literate, One Librarian at a Time

James Reindl is a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer serving with his wife, Graca, in the Volta Region of Ghana. A journalist by trade, he and his wife are agriculture volunteers in Wusuta-Anyafo, specializing in raising animals, including, chickens, ducks, Guinea fowl,...

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President’s Volunteer Service Awards

President’s Volunteer Service Awards

ALP congratulates our first recipients of the President’s Volunteer Service Award. These young people completed at least 50 volunteer hours in the last year. Each one received a medal, a certificate, and a letter from President Obama.  Megan Ha, age 12, of...

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Tales from HillBrook… a Book Drive Story!

Tales from HillBrook… a Book Drive Story!

In April 2015, the 6th grade class at Hillbrook school held a book drive to help create two libraries in Malawi. Along with collecting the books, the 6th graders needed to raise enough money to ship the books to New Orleans where they would be put on a container ship...

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Book Drives: A Librarian’s Point of View

Book Drives: A Librarian’s Point of View

My name is Amy Hanson.  I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which has a nationally recognized library system. Every week I bring my son to story time at our local branch library to read stories, sing songs, and play with friends. We can check books out to read at...

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Behind the Warehouse Door by Chris Bradshaw, ALP Founder

Behind the Warehouse Door by Chris Bradshaw, ALP Founder

Missionary Expediters (MX) is a vital link in our supply chain. MX specializes in helping humanitarian aid organizations and missionaries get their shipments to difficult to reach areas of the world. Read a behind-the scenes account of what happens to the ALP...

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The Gift You Get By Giving Books: More Joy!

The Gift You Get By Giving Books: More Joy!

Knowing that sometimes, the books I send will be the first a child will ever hold, or will ever experience, creates a bond between me and them across an ocean and from a distance of thousands of miles.  It makes me feel rich, and sets context for all that I’ve...

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A Brighter Future For Sierra Leone

A Brighter Future For Sierra Leone

I just returned from Sierra Leone, my first time back in 40 years since I was a student at Fourah Bay College in Freetown during my Junior Year Abroad.  While some aspects of life in Sierra Leone have improved, I was shocked to see how much of it seems worse....

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Nourishing the Dreams of Botswana’s Children

Nourishing the Dreams of Botswana’s Children

Books4cause is an online bookstore with a social mission to provide economic opportunities through education.   Of paramount importance for myself as the President of Books4Cause is not only to know that we are doing good in the world but to see it first...

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African Library Project Mobilizes Kids to…

African Library Project Mobilizes Kids to…

We were posted on #GivingTuesday with success!#literacy #communityservice Across the US, people who love books and believe in literacy are gathering books, 1,000 at a time, to ship to Africa to build libraries where there are none - in rural Africa. The African...

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African Library Project Changes Lives: Ketelelo’s Story

African Library Project Changes Lives: Ketelelo’s Story

Remember the movie “The Gods Must Be Crazy", a story set in Botswana about a man from the San (Bushman) tribe who spoke a click language and found a Coke bottle in his native land? Now, fast forward to today – and a boy from this semi-nomadic hunter-gatherer tribe...

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