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 can help him and librarians throughout Malawi realize their dreams for the children in their communities.

My name is Emmanuel Mchintha.  I am sixth born in a family of nine. I am a librarian by profession, holding a Bachelor of Library and Information Science at Mzuzu University in Malawi.

Currently am serving as children’s librarian in Nkhata-bay, a center that I have established. I am responsible for coordinating activities that promote reading interest among children. That leads to the enhancement of the reading culture in the school-learners surrounding the library. I have a passion for reading, and I believe reading can transform the lives of the children in the community.

The library is in a farming community. Cassava is the most common crop here as people entirely live on cassava flour for food.

The library is in a farming community. Cassava is the most common crop here as people entirely live on cassava flour for food.

Most families only speak the Tonga language, and very few children are exposed to English. There is little access to informational resources such as the Internet, historical documents or a library.  Lack of supplementary reading materials has so far posed a challenging task to little children’s minds as few resources are present to inspire them to broaden their knowledge.

What motivated me to become a librarian and to start a library?

Knowledge is power. A person can have gold or other precious stones, but without information and knowledge, he or she is nothing. I want to share information with children; I believe the information can transform the lives of children. In this community reading culture is a problem, mainly because of the lack of supplementary reading materials, I want to encourage the skills of reading among the learners. I want to make a difference in their lives by providing them with space where their concerns can be raised. I also want to help the struggling readers who find it difficult to read the text of their grade level.

I am excited when I see children improving in reading skills, which increases their performance at schools.  The students are excited, too. Every single day since the library was established, there hasn’t been an empty seat in the library room.

Students are motivated to take advantage of their new learning zone and have shown immense respect for space and our current small book collection.  

The passion I have enhancing reading skills among children is one that motivates me a lot. My wish is that the children’s library should be recognized at a national level and that we have sufficient resources that can help us to achieve our objectives.    

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