Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The African Library Project - Tried It Tuesday

I'm linking up again with my BBB Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper for her Tried It Tuesday linky. This time I'm going to talk about something my intern Chelsea, and the intern next door named Steph, have been trying! She's been leading my school's efforts towards helping The African Library Project this year! 

If you've never heard about it, The African Library Project is a non-profit organization that coordinates book drives in the US with schools in Africa to help set up libraries in those schools. As their website states, "1,000 books, $500, and a little elbow grease is all it takes to create a library in Africa!" The project is a great supplement to our study of Africa this year.

Chelsea and another intern at our school set up this basket and sign in our school's lobby. They've made the school aware of the book drive by speaking on the morning announcements and sending home some info about the project. My school has had similar book drives in the past, so luckily it didn't take a lot to get people started on brining in books.

Once the basket is full the books are
temporarily stored til sorting.
My community is always eager to donate to something like this. We're lucky enough to have a community member who covers the shipping cost of the books. And with teachers thinning their classroom libraries, and kids constantly "growing out" of books...before you know it the basket fills up! In fact, it fills up over and over again!

That's when the elbow grease has to kick in! Here you can see my kiddos putting in some work. We had the kids start by sorting out any books that aren't really appropriate to send. With this many donations it's inevitable that a few slip in that aren't kids' books. Then the kids sorted the books by size to make packing them easier. That's when Chelsea and I would count the books as we packed them into boxes (which need to be plastic lined)! Chelsea and the other intern ended up packing up a ton more boxes after school too.

To keep track of the school's progress, Chelsea and Steph made a classic goal thermometer. As you can see, we are well on our way to the 1,750 book goal! Our school has a day at the end of the year when we have a giant book giveaway for students. Any books that can't be sent to Africa due to quality, excess, size, etc are contributed to that project, so they still get into the hands of a child in the end!

If you're looking for a good Service Learning or Community Service project for your class, consider The African Library Project!


  1. Love how you laid out how you do the book drive complete with images! Also love how you plan in collecting extra books to serve your local community with a year end book giveaway, just in time for summer reading. What a beautiful way to learn about Africa, promote literacy and turn your students into global activists.

  2. This is awesome that interns have stepped up to do something like this with your school. This makes my heart smile! My principal and her husband have an early-childhood school in Tanzania so we are always doing stuff to help the school. My dad actually even had six wells drilled for their community. I love seeing when kids step in to help others. Amazing!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  3. I've never heard of the African Library Project but this is amazing! It is wonderful to have your interns coordinate this effort and have this experience that they will always remember. What a valuable lesson for everyone involved! Thank you so much for sharing, BBB. :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper


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