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  Topics: Book Donations

Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics - Book Donation Programme
Based in Trieste, Italy. " early 1980's the Centre initiated a scheme called the Book Donation Programme with the aim of providing physics and mathematics libraries with books, journals and proceedings" to developing countries.
African Library Project
“The African Library project partners with volunteers in African communities to create small libraries for African schools and villages, while offering an opportunity to Americans to learn more about Africa.”  The...Project makes it easy for U.S. children to recycle their books in order to share the gift of reading with children in Africa.”  Has detailed Book Drive Guidelines (11 p. in pdf), works with U.S. schools, Girl Scouts, YMCAs, families and other organizations. Founded by Chris Bradshaw of Portola Valley, California.
African Studies Association (U.S.) - Book Donation Committee
Per a 2007 decision of the ASA Board, the Book Donation Awards are suspended for two years. "The ASA makes available up to $3000 annually to assist groups with shipping costs for book donations to African libraries and schools." Application procedures are on the African Librarians Council web site. Past awards are described. Links to an extensive directory of book donation programs.
Africana Librarians Council, Book Donation Committee. Directory of Book Donation Programs
"Compiled by Gretchen Walsh and the Book Famine Task Force of the African Studies Association (1992). Updated and revised by Deborah M. LaFond, Index by Marieta Harper, Africana Librarians Council, Book Donation Committee, November 2000." The most extensive and up to date book donations directory on the web. Has book donations tips by Gretchen Walsh.
American Council of Learned Societies (New York, NY)
Published a Manual for International Book and Journal Donations, by Janet Greenberg. The Manual was published in 1993 and has not been updated. A printed copy is $10.00 (prepaid).
Book Aid International (London)
" in partnership with organisations in developing countries to support their work in literacy, education, training and publishing by providing books and other reading materials." 80% of resources aid 13 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Books for Africa (Minnetonka, MN)
"Founded in 1988, Books For Africa (BFA) is a Minnesota based non-profit organization whose mission is to eliminate the book famine in Africa." "BFA does not send books to individual schools and/or libraries. Books, 25,000 per container, are sent to indigenous NGO organizations in Africa who distribute books to schools and libraries in their respective African countries. BFA serves South Africa through a partnership with the Sandy Springs Rotary Club in Atlanta, Georgia." Has copies of their Newsletters. Doners need to fill a minimum of a 20 ft. sea container of books. The port to port ocean freight costs about $1,500 and BFA only pays half. E-mail: or
CODE - Book Donations for Development
Mauro Rosi of UNESCO produced a handbook of information for donors and recipients of book donations projects. Pub. in 2004. 80 p. Full text of the book is in PDF. The handbook has a "Book Donation Charter." CODE is "a Canadian charitable organization that has been promoting education and literacy in the developing world for more than 40 years." Based in Ottawa, Canada.
Friends of Malawi - Book Project
"organized in 1999 under the auspices of Friends of Malawi. It was organized by two RPCVs [Returned Peace Corps Volunteers], who had been shipping books to Malawian schools since returning to the U.S. in 1994." Examples of libraries helped - 4 Community libraries and Health Center libraries, 6 Secondary School libraries, Remainder are Primary Schools."
Lubuto Library Project
Creates libraries to serve Africa's street kids and other vulnerable children. Gives "street children the opportunity for non-formal education, improving literacy, language skills, general knowledge and participation in society." Video (aimed at K-12 students) on street children and the impact of HIV/AIDS. Photographs. Based in Washington, D.C. Regional office in Lusaka, Zambia. [KF]
Mack, Arien - Journal Donation Project
New School Psychology Professor Arien Mack received a $500,000 MacArthur Foundation grant to expand her Journal Donation Project to Nigeria. Current subscriptions and back volume sets of scholarly journals will be provided to research and teaching libraries. "Assistance for libraries in Nigeria is set to begin in 2002."
Sabre Foundation
Has a book donation program. "In order to provide a centralized source of information on donation agencies active in all regions of the world, Sabre has created an interactive book donation database. Alphabetical listings of organizations are available for those based in North America or other countries of the world. Entries may also be searched by keyword." Based in New York state.
Sudan-American Foundation for Education
SAFE was established in 1985 as a non-profit by "concerned American and Sudanese business persons, academics, and government officials." Collects and delivers donated books to university, college, and public libraries throughout the Sudan. Based in Arlington, Virginia.
University of Buffalo. Health Sciences Library
Has a good list including some groups which work with African countries, not necessarily limited to health science material. "Only active programs were included in this list, which is reviewed every 6 months to insure currency."


Before donating books consider the experience of one person

"While a 19 ton book bonanza sounds great, from long experience in Faculty of Agriculure Libraries in the region, I have learned that if the titles to be donated are not selected by the end user, then it is vital to ask the donor for a list to choose from - my agricultural library has at times received hundreds of copies of the biography of a president's wife, .....of the Sociology of Aging, ......of the geography of a specific region of the donor country... the list could go on. A book may appear to be free - but if the information in it is not relevant or appropriate to our clients, there is a negative cost especially in precious staff time in merely hauling it from the airport, stamping it with the donor's logo and so on. May your bonanza be better!

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