Michael Gottfried, a senior at Penn State, has made extraordinary contributions to the African Library Project. Inspired by his hard work, we created a new award to honor his service: the African Literacy Warrior award. Since his freshman year at Penn, Michael has organized book drives to help collect over 40,000 books and create 33 libraries in rural Ghana, Swaziland, and Malawi. Michael says, “This is such an extraordinary cause, and it’s a relatively easy way to make life-changing impacts on tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people.”
Now Michael is focusing on building an organization that will carry on his legacy. Fifteen students have joined him in the quest to exceed last year’s total (12,500 books) to collect a record 15,000 books. To raise the nearly $6,000 in shipping expenses, the students will hold an ice cream event at Coldstone Creamery, staff a table at the Student Union, and hope to run a book drive at a PSU basketball game. We salute this true African Literacy Warrior and the remarkable Penn State students and community. Their gifts of books have sparked new ideas in the minds of nearly 30,000 African students.