Kalamazoo Library Helps Kids in Africa

Jun 22, 2018

The African Library Project donation bin at the Oshtemo branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library
Credit Amanda Lentz / Kalamazoo Public Library

The Kalamazoo Public Library doesn't have a branch in southern Africa. But it's helping get books into the hands of kids there. The library has partnered with the nonprofit African Library Project to collect books for a school in Swaziland. Kalamazoo branch librarian Amanda Lentz says they need new or "gently used" books.

"Once you hit a thousand books - that's essentially the goal that they would like you to meet - you ship your books to their warehouse in New Orleans, and from there they are able to get them out to the communities in Africa."

Lentz says books in good condition are welcome as long as they're suitable for younger kids.

"We are looking for preschool through fourth grade reading level books, because ours going to a primary school in Swaziland, Africa, which recently changed its name to eSwatini, Africa."

Lentz says the project fits well with the theme of this year's Summer Reading Challenge.

"I thought this would be a really great way to highlight these communities in Africa that could use our help, tied in with 'Around the World in 90 Days,' where we're essentially we're traveling around the world with these books, to reach out these children over in Swaziland."

The book drive runs through September 1, 2018. Donations will be acceped at any KPL branch or at two local independent bookstores: Kazoo Books and Bookbug.

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