It’s #GivingTuesday!

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Happy #GivingTuesday!

Today marks a global day dedicated to giving back. As the festive season gets underway, it’s a day when people throughout the world come together to celebrate generosity and to give, whether it’s making a donation, volunteering time or simply spreading the word.

Here are five ways you can support our work in sub-Saharan Africa this #GivingTuesday. Alternatively, hop onto twitter or Facebook and help share news of our work by retweeting our #GivingTuesday tweets.

Thank you for your continued support!

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November Book of the Month

Our November Book of the Month is Waiting for the Biblioburro, written by Monica Brown, illustrated by John Parra and published by Tricycle Press.

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What a delightful surprise to find this in a recent donation from our friends at the Letterbox Library – a book to warm any librarian’s heart!

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Little Ana dreams up stories as she works on her parents’ farm in Colombia. Ana has only one book that she has read many times, and the village has no school, so when the bibliotecario (librarian) arrives in the village with his 2 donkeys, Alfa and Beto, carrying a cargo of books, she is thrilled.

“But, senor,” Ana says, “I thought libraries were only in big cities and buildings.”
“Not this one,” says the librarian. “This is a moving library!”

As she waits impatiently for him to return, Ana, encouraged by the librarian, writes down her own stories into a book that then joins the other books in the Biblioburro.

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As well as beautiful illustrations, the book carries an author’s note about unusual mobile libraries around the world, those that go the extra mile to bring books to remote communities. We are delighted to see a special mention of the camel libraries run by one of our partners Kenya National Library Service, and the donkey-drawn libraries in Zimbabwe, run by another of our partners, the Rural Libraries Resource and Development Programme. This copy is now on its way to them, on our latest Zimbabwe shipment.

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Five ways to support Book Aid International this Christmas

We are just starting to feel festive in the Book Aid International office as 2015 starts to draw to a close. 2015 has been a good year for us so far and we are very excited to be making a final push to get to One Million Books by the end of the year. As the Christmas spirit is in the air, here are a few ways you can support our work this Christmas.

Support our Christmas appeal

Very few schools in Africa have a library of their own or budget to buy books. Book Aid International has been sending books for school libraries in Africa for many years to help provide reading opportunities and support education. We are proud to support Zambia Open Community Schools (ZOCS) which provides vital education for thousands of children who cannot attend government schools. In 2015 we sent over 9,000 brand new books to ZOCS, where they provide opportunities for learning and reading for pleasure. By supporting our Christmas appeal this year, you will help us to send more books to libraries like the ones in these schools. Find out more.

Buy our Christmas cards


Our range of Christmas cards

Book Aid International has a great range of Christmas cards this year which help to support our work to send more books to African libraries. Click here to see the full range.

The perfect gift for book lovers

Reverse Book Token

Reverse Book Tokens make the perfect gift.

Our Reverse Book Token is the perfect gift for book lovers. Make a donation on behalf of someone you love, choose the value and we’ll send a token that you can personalise with your own message. It costs us £2 to send a book to Africa and your token will include details of how many books have been sent.

Help us to send One Million Books to Africa

Boxes of Book Aid International books arrive in Zambia.

It’s been a busy old year in our warehouse and we have already managed to send over 890,000 books to our library partners in Africa. We’d love to make it to one million books as we believe that every books represents a chance to change a life for the better. Can you help us to reach this milestone?

Donate at

Give the gift of reading twice with National Book Tokens

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The beautifully designed National Book Token card for Book Aid International.

Thanks to support from National Book Tokens you can now give the gift of reading twice over. Buy their specially designed Book Aid International card and 1% of the value you add to the card will be donated to us to support our work to send books where they are most needed. Find out more.

Thank you for all your support!

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One million books, one million chances

Here at Book Aid International, we believe that books and reading can change lives. When we hear from our partners about the books we send and the impact they have, and when we visit the libraries we help to support in Africa, we see this reality first-hand.

Education, knowledge and information can open the door to people’s futures and all of these things can be found within the pages of a book. Books can help children and young people to progress in their studies and they can provide practical information which people can apply within their own lives.

It is this belief in the power of the book that has always driven us to send books to libraries in Africa. And as the end of 2015 draws to a close, we’re very excited to let you know that we have already sent over 900,000 books to our partners this year. Each one of these books, donated by publishers and the book trade industry, has been carefully selected by our team of librarians and is now on its way to a library or already in pride of place on a library shelf…but we want to do more!

Shipment packing

Just a few of the 900,000 books we have sent so far this year.

Last year we were delighted to send one million books to our partners in Africa for the very first time. Now that we’re so close, we are determined to hit that target once again.

Each book that we send represents a chance. A chance to inspire a reader, to pass on knowledge, to improve a life. That’s why we’re so keen to send a million books this year.

Here are a few examples of some of the books we have sent in 2015 and their potential to help people improve their own lives.


We send the Rastamouse series to our Children’s Corners.

The Rastamouse series, by Michael De Souza and Genevieve Webster and published and donated by Macmillan Children’s Books, is loved the world over by young readers for its vibrant colours and fun characters. The stories all carry a moral lesson and can help children explore complex ideas whilst enjoying the wonders of Mouseland.

First Q&A

First Q&A series is popular with primary school aged children.

First Q & A series, published and donated by Miles Kelly, is a series of non-fiction books for young readers to help them understand the world around them. Aimed at young children, these little books present information in the simple, fun format of question-and-answer. Eye-catching illustrations and cartoon characters bring the facts to life, and each Q & A carries an accompanying activity for readers to practice what they have learned. Subjects range from the human body to animals, space and prehistoric life. They are the perfect introduction to science for inquisitive minds.

Maternal Healthcare cover

This book is useful for healthcare professionals in Africa.

International Maternal and Child Healthcare, published and donated by Maternal & Child Health Advocacy International, is a highly-prized book for many libraries in Africa. Written and peer-reviewed by over 100 experts in the field, this book provides vital healthcare information for the care of pregnant women and girls and their children in environments where resources are scarce. We sent this to libraries in hospitals, universities and nursing colleges.

CTA leaflets

These books can help farmers improve their skills.

CTA (the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Co-operation) publishes pamphlets on agricultural best practice. The CTA’s Practical Guides series, containing simple text and illustrations, helps people to develop small agricultural enterprises, from keeping bees and chickens to producing compost and harvesting rainwater. They are always popular with our partners who distribute them to community libraries as well as agricultural colleges.

Children caring book cover

This book has practical application in many of the countries where we work.

Children caring for parents with HIV and AIDS: global issues and policy responses, by Ruth Evans and Saul Becker, published by Policy Press, is an example of how practical knowledge can be passed on through book provision. Our programme of medical book provision aims to reach all areas of healthcare education, taking in social care and research as well as practical medical textbooks. Not only does this book address a situation that is all too common in the countries in which we work, but it is based on in-depth research carried out in Tanzania as well as the UK. These books are now valuable additions to libraries in universities, hospitals and medical schools.

We can’t do the work we do without your support. Can you support us today and help us to reach our target of sending one million books to libraries in Africa in 2015?

Thank you.

Posted in Africa, Blog, Children's Corners, Community libraries, Countries, Donations, Education, Fundraising, Libraries, Literacy, one million books, Schools | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Supporting children’s libraries in Zimbabwe

Earlier this year, our Director Alison Hubert travelled to Zimbabwe to visit some of the libraries we support there. Alison visited some children’s libraries to establish how best we can support these spaces.

Book Aid International has supported libraries in Zimbabwe since 1959 and we have developed strong partnerships with a wide range of library services. In 2015 we will supply around 100,000 books to university and medical libraries, public and municipal libraries and libraries in schools both in towns and in rural communities.

In September 2015 I travelled to Zimbabwe to visit some of the libraries we supply with books and to discuss with our library partners how we can support the further development of library spaces for children as part of our Open Doors programme.

Nkulumane Library, Zimbabwe

Children reading in Nkulumane Library, Zimbabwe

Although there are strong library networks in Zimbabwe, libraries typically have limited budgets to buy new books. Despite a strong literary tradition and continued high levels of literacy, books are scarce and often beyond the budget of individuals, which makes the library service all the more important.

I was impressed by the commitment and creativity of many of the librarians I met. A particular highlight for me was meeting Patricia, the children’s librarian at Marondera Library. I visited the library on a Saturday morning when reading activities for the children were in full swing. Patricia was running story telling activities and helping children discover a whole world through the books in their library. It was inspiring to see the difference that such a passionate and dynamic librarian can make. Book Aid International has been supporting Marondera Library with book donations since 2002 and we are looking for more ways we can assist with growing their book collection and helping children to discover more ways to enjoy books and reading.

Marondera Library

Patricia runs reading activities in Marondera Library

While I was in Zimbabwe our Chair, Lord Paul Boateng, also visited and we met our library partners in Bulawayo and Harare together. This was a great opportunity for the Chair to see some of our work in action. Paul enjoyed meeting children during a library hour at Harare City Library. He also visited Mzilikazi Municipal Library in Bulawayo and spoke to the students, encouraging them in their studies and even joining in a game of Monopoly with some of the younger library users!

Harare City Library

Our Chair, Lord Paul Boateng in Harare City Library

We also held a reception for our Bulawayo-based library partners at the Bulawayo Natural History Museum, which was well attended both by local dignitaries and by representatives of the library services we support. The museum itself is the largest of its kind in Southern Africa and houses impressive displays on the history and cultural heritage of Zimbabwe as well as the natural history exhibits, including the second largest elephant ever stuffed- standing 11’ 7’’ at the shoulder!

Paul, who was visiting with his wife Lady Janet, gave an excellent speech, in which he encouraged the librarians in their mission and urged all librarians to be ‘activists for the book’. He spoke of the work of Book Aid International in Zimbabwe and also remarked how impressed he had been by the partners he had met and the ingenuity of committed librarians to bring the joy of reading to as many people as possible. Paul and Lady Janet also donated some of the recently-arrived medical titles from Book Aid International to the hospital librarians present, who were clearly delighted to receive such valuable books for their collection. It was a very special evening.

Having met some of the inspirational and committed librarians in Zimbabwe we are now looking forward to supporting the establishment of Open Doors children’s corners in the near future.

You can find out more about our Open Doors Children’s Corners programme here.

Posted in Africa, Blog, Children's Corners, Community libraries, Countries, Education, Libraries, Literacy, Zimbabwe | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Supporting children’s libraries in Zimbabwe