The story of your World Book Day

We have fantastic news from our World Book Day team, all thanks to the many, many thousands of you who dressed up, baked, held book sales, had a non-uniform day or did other amazing fundraising for Book Aid International for World Book Day. In fact we already know that more of you than ever before joined in and supported our work, sharing your love of books with incredible generosity.

In just over a month since World Book Day, you have sent us a record-breaking, jaw-dropping £106,200.14! That’s more than any World Book Day EVER, and many of you have yet to send in your donations or you are still doing your fundraising!

West Croft Junior School winners

The donations we have received so far are enough for us to develop 10 Children’s Corners to inspire and empower children in under-resourced communities in Africa, or it’s enough to equip 50 schools in remote areas with their own School Library in a Box and training for their teachers in how to get the most out of their portable library. Who knows what we’ll be able to do together by the end of the year?!

School Library in a Box and librarian, Pemba, Tanzania

Did you have fun? It certainly seems so!

Many of you have already sent us your donations, but if you haven’t yet then do get in touch so that we can announce the grand total!

Windrush Valley School Oxfordshire

As lovers of and believers in books, we’re going to share as many stories as we possibly can about what a difference your World Book Day fundraising is making here on our blog and on Facebook.

And, because we appreciate all your efforts so, so much we are also going to be sharing as many of your stories as we can feature on the blog too.

Christ the Sower Ecumenical Primary School Book Breakfast for World Book Day

Stay tuned for more great news from World Book Day!


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Kenyan perspectives

This February we welcomed Moses Mwandihi, Children’s Librarian at Kisumu Branch Library in Kenya, on a study visit to London.  As well as joining us for our 60th anniversary celebration event at St James’s Palace, Moses visited schools and libraries in London and Birmingham.  Having now returned to Kenya, Moses shares here his thoughts on his first trip to Europe.    

In recognition of a long-standing partnership between Kenya National Library Service (KNLS) and Book Aid International, I was invited to visit London during Book Aid International’s 60th anniversary to take part in celebration events and visit a range of libraries and other organisations.

Meeting HRH Duke of Edinburgh

The visit included a reception hosted by His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh at St. James Palace together with other VIP guests. I had an opportunity to meet and talk to Prince Philip about how we use Book Aid International books in Kenya.  I also talked to Trustees and some of those who have funded Book Aid International in recent years like Prof. Dr. Heini Murer. Dr Murer is a board member of Stavros Niarchos Foundation who are currently funding the Book Aid International pilot project testing the impact of hand-held computers on children’s library services in our libraries in Kenya.

The most amazing part of my trip was visits to various schools in the UK. Access to information material in libraries and classrooms is so easy and efficient, providing an environment where academic excellence can prosper and children can develop a love of reading. There is enough space in classes and colours are given prominence which creates child friendly reading and learning spaces.

Talking to children about what school is like in Kenya, Crawford Primary School, Camberwell

I think  libraries in the UK are so full with such a vast array of resources that they are able to satisfy the information needs of any scholar at one stop. I visited spectacular libraries including the Library of Birmingham, the British library and Canada Water Library. I did however realise that libraries in the UK face similar challenges as we do in Kenya in getting the children to the libraries in greater numbers.  In the UK you rely heavily on the goodwill of schools and parents to bring their children in and it was amazing to see parents coming in with their children and helping them to get material and reading for them. This is still a big challenge to libraries in Kenya due to differences in priorities of parents and circumstances of library clients.

Visiting Canada Water Library

As I walked around the city of London, I learned that many people use smartphones and the level of digital information is perhaps 60-70%. This is the situation cropping up in Kenya since so many people own 3G enabled phones and technophobia is dying off. This is a threat and a great opportunity for libraries to become creative and innovative with their holdings to attract people between their walls.

My visit to the Tower Hamlets Schools Library Service was a perfect example of how creative outreach and diverse services can attract more clients and sustain its operations and remain a float in the face of shrinking government support to libraries. I found their operations so outstanding and a perfect example that could be directly replicated in Kenya during this time when the government has decided that KNLS must find ways of funding own services.

Recieving a cheque on behalf of Book Aid International at Sudborne School, London on World Book Day

Finally, London is wonderful and very rich in cultural preservation which is blended perfectly with modernity i.e. Central Business District which hosts new modern infrastructures and historical buildings like St. Paul Cathedral and the Tower of London side by side.

My mission is now to share with authorities and colleagues these experiences and implement what is implementable in our circumstances.

Thanks to all the Book Aid International fraternity!

We were delighted to also welcome Lusekelo Mwalughelo, the City Librarian at Tanzania National Library Service,  and Grey Nyali, National Librarian at Malawi National Library Service who joined Moses in representing our partners at our 60th anniversary celebration with our patron, HRH Duke of Edinburgh, at St James’s Palace in February.


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Book Of The Month March: Things Fall Apart

Fiction by African writers is always popular with our partner libraries in Africa, but it’s often hard to fulfil the demand from them.

That’s why we were especially pleased to receive a recent donation from Everyman’s Library of 126 copies of Chinua Achebe’s classic novel Things Fall Apart.

For us this is actually the most requested of all African fiction, and is especially popular with schools and community libraries. It’s great to know that in 2014, a few copies of this excellent hardback edition will be going to each of our main African partners.

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Support us at London Book Fair 2014

Book Aid International is delighted to be the London Book Fair‘s Charity of the Year 2014. We’re looking forward to another busy few days on 8-10 April at Earl’s Court!

If you’re attending the fair, we’d love to see you there. Book Aid International has a stand at P425 in Earl’s Court 2. We’ll be bringing to life the real experience of being in a well-loved, but under-resourced African library. So come and see us there to see for yourself the real impact of your support!

If you’re there on Wednesday, you might also like to join us at 5pm for our drinks reception at the Publishers Association stand, i405. Everyone is welcome, and it will be a great opportunity to meet Book Aid International’s new chair, Lord Boateng!

When the fair closes, publishers can also take advantage of a great collection service by Better World Books. Rather than send them back to the office or to a distributor, Better World Books will take your books for free and sell them on marketplaces. Both the publisher and Book Aid International then get a proportion of the revenue.

We’ll also be tweeting across the three days of the event from our @book_aid account. You can stay in touch with us through all the action there, and on the hashtag #LBF14.

Feel free to join in!

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World Book Day 2014 is here!

It’s 6 March 2014…which means World Book Day is here!

All over the UK families, schools, libraries and companies are getting involved with raising funds and awareness for Book Aid International. From dressing up to book clubs to bake sales and sponsored runs, there’s an awful lot going on. And we’d love to hear from you about what you’re up to.

We’ll be sharing as much of it as we can, plus talking to our followers, bloggers and even some celebrities over on Twitter today.

Follow all the action by following the hashtag #worldbookday!

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