Do the people you provide books to speak and read English?
Yes, English is widely, but not exclusively, spoken in the countries we work in. For example, in Uganda, while English is the official language, the constitution recognizes 56 tribes and nine indigenous communities. We are always interested, when possible, in securing books in local languages, to supplement the books we send.
Do you physically build the library buildings?
No, we work with local communities and schools to source buildings capable of housing libraries. Often, these are buildings originally built for a different purpose that are capable of being repurposed.
How and where do you get your books?
We are always interested in donations and receive a number of books from libraries, churches, individuals, schools and book businesses. We also try to participate in book sales that offer very steep discounts, so as to acquire good volumes of gently used books.
Do you need more books? How can I provide them?
YES! The need we are trying to meet—helping millions of people access books--is extraordinary and so we can always use more good books. Please see WHAT YOU CAN DO for guidelines for donations.
Please call or email if you have books. In the vast majority of cases, we ask that you deliver them to us at 3709 Polk St. Houston, Texas, but for large donations, we can sometimes arrange a pick up.
Can you work with a group to build libraries somewhere else?
Yes, we are actively looking for developing countries other than those we are working in now to build additional libraries. Importantly, we look to guide and help groups in this work, as opposed to build those libraries ourselves.
What are your greatest needs today?
By far the biggest limitation on what we are able to do is the cost of shipping our books. An average 40 foot container sent to the West Nile region in Uganda costs around $12,000; a similar container to Kenya about two-thirds as much. Help with these shipping costs would make a big positive difference in what more we could do.
What kind of local groups can you work with?
We can, and have, worked with individuals, schools, businesses, churches and faith-based organizations, within those-Sunday Schools, Women’s organizations, youth organizations like Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, organizations helping Orphans and Vulnerable Children, Honor Societies, expat groups from developing countries and many others.
What happens to books that you cannot send?
When we cannot send books, we nonetheless make a real effort to find a “good home” for any wholesome books. To that end, we work with other local literacy groups, charter schools, jails and groups working with local Spanish speaking people for our Spanish books, to avoid ever throwing away books that we think can help to improve anyone’s life.