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African Library Project Ships One Million Books to Africa, Supporting Literacy in Nine African Countries

The All-Volunteer, Non-Profit Organization Reaches a Major Milestone as It Coordinates Book Drives in North America to Create Libraries in Africa

PALO ALTO, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 01/24/13 -- African Library Project (ALP) announced today that it has shipped 1,000,000 books to Africa to start small libraries. ALP is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization that coordinates book drives in North America, then partners with African communities to turn these donated books into small libraries. The one million gently-used books have come from hundreds of book drives coordinated by schools, clubs, corporations, families, individuals and other groups. The donations have provided books for 900 libraries in nine African countries and have positively affected the lives of nearly 700,000 people in both Africa and North America. To learn about ALP's millionth book milestone, see videos, and learn how the organization works, visit "One Million Books."

The shipment of ALP's millionth book to Africa is a tremendous milestone. The organization's grassroots approach mobilizes North American volunteers, young and old, to organize book drives and ship books to a partner library in Africa. ALP's method makes a concrete and personal difference for children on both continents through literacy, education, and self-empowerment. The million books have come from over 45,000 donors located in 46 U.S. states and Canada to create libraries.

Completing an African Library Project book drive is simple and rewarding. All that is needed is to collect 1,000 gently used children's books and $500 to support the opening of a library in a school or village in Africa. To learn the details on how to start a library in Africa with ALP, visit "Start a Book Drive."

African Library Project started in 2005, when founder Chris Bradshaw went pony trekking with her family in the mountain kingdom of Lesotho in southern Africa. She learned that there was just one library in the entire country of Lesotho and very few books for anyone to read. Bradshaw made an offer to the village leaders: If they provided an adequate place and staff for a community library, she would send books gathered from friends and family. It worked, and ALP expanded rapidly as more volunteers offered to run book drives. Now, seven years and 1,000,000 books later, ALP continues its mission to positively affect the lives of children, one book at a time.

"I am so proud of everyone's hard work in North America and Africa that has helped us get to the milestone of sending our millionth book," says Chris Bradshaw, founder of African Library Project. "When I first started this project, it was clear how absolutely life-changing it would be for African children. I have since come to realize that the benefit is just as dramatic for children who participate here by running book drives and donating their books. "

How It Works: Become a Book Drive Organizer and Sponsor A Library
The African Library Project coordinates book drives throughout North America by schools, youth groups such as Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts, corporations, churches, college groups, families and individuals. Each book drive is matched with a specific African library site. The book drive organizer collects 1,000 gently used, appropriate books and raises $500 to help pay for shipping. The book drive volunteers sort and pack the books, then send them to a warehouse in New Orleans. The warehouse ships the books via container to ALP's partner organizations in Africa. Since each book drive is paired with an African community, book donors can take special pride in making a difference to the people in that specific village.

African Library Project works together with partner organizations in Africa that focus on education or library development. ALP's partners in Africa include U.S. Peace Corps volunteers, National Library Service staff, education districts and African Non-Governmental Organizations. The Partners recruit and screen the local library projects and distribute the books to their destinations. They also train teacher-librarians, measure progress, and support each library to thrive over time.

To be selected as an African partner, the organization must be able to support the development of 30-60 libraries a year, year after year, to develop a strong network of small libraries throughout their respective country. ALP's African partners work tirelessly to turn donated books into working libraries that welcome all readers.

To learn more about African Library Project, its "One Million Books" campaign, or to become an ALP book drive organizer, visit www.africanlibraryproject.org.

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