African Library Project

Changing Lives, Book by Book

aka African Library Project   |   Mount Royal, NJ   |


African Library Project changes lives book by book, together with partners in Africa and North American volunteers, to create, improve and sustain libraries in African communities.

Ruling year info


Interim Executive Director

Lauren Small

Main address

19 Mantua Road

Mount Royal, NJ 08061 USA

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NTEE code info

Libraries, Library Science (B70)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Many African children grow up in an educational system with limited resources, where it is not unusual to grow up without (access to) books. Many of the teachers teach reading, writing, math and English without even a single book to use as a resource. Most the children in the Anglophone countries, where ALP partners, must take school exams in English in order to qualify to complete secondary school (high school) and be eligible for college. With this limited access to books, its little surprise that many countries in Africa rank among the highest illiteracy rates in the world. Books are the key to increasing literacy, literacy is key to knowledge, and knowledge is the #1 tool out of poverty. This is all while books are plentiful and more widely available to youth in North America.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Library Program

Our core program is starting and improving small libraries in sub-Saharan Africa.  Our volunteer driven, grassroots organization coordinates book drives in the USA.  Each book drive collects 1,000 gently used children's books and raises an average of $500 to ship them, using our inexpensive container system.  We work in partnership with non-governmental organizations and governmental institutions (e.g., Ministry of Education) who can support the development of 30-60 libraries year after year. We are currently active in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa, and Uganda.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People of African descent
Multiracial people

African Library Project and our in-country Partners support professional development, capacity and community building for teacher-librarians on effective library management practices and help create a support network for continued learning. We partner with a diverse array of governmental and non-governmental organizations, and education professionals in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa and Uganda. The African Library Project’s library manual "How to Set Up and Run a Small Library in Africa" forms the basis of this training, and each new teacher-librarian is provided with their own copy before receiving their library. The manual contains complete guidelines on library set-up and organization, borrowing systems, how to encourage library use, reading games for children, and more. Professional development opportunities are offered through local trainings and workshops, as well as through a regional summit to foster exchange and develop best practices.

Population(s) Served
People of African descent
Multiracial people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of libraries started

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Economically disadvantaged people, Students

Related Program

Library Program

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

The African Library Project changes lives book by book by starting libraries in rural Africa. Our grassroots approach mobilizes North American volunteers, young and old, to organize book drives and ship books to a partner library in Africa. Our method makes a concrete and personal difference for children on both continents

1) The African schools and communities apply through a local partner organization to request a library. Each school or community is required to provide the space, bookshelves and staffing for the library, which encourages sustainability. They also specify the kinds of books needed for greatest impact.

2) We match each approved African Library Project with a North American school, organization, group, household or individual that agrees to collect gently-used children's books and to raise the money to ship the books.

3) We support both parties to create a fabulous library! On the North American side, we support book drive organizers with specific tools and methods to collect 1000 books and raise $500 per library project. On the Africa side, we provide a manual on how to set up and run a library in a developing country. Our partners provide training and follow up to evaluate each project and encourage good library practices, so that donated books reach those who need them most.

Our partners in Africa work with us to develop 30-60 new libraries every year in their region. They screen and select local library projects, clear the books through customs, and warehouse and distribute the books to their destination. They also train teacher-librarians, measure progress and ensure each library thrives over time. Our partners include non-profits and governmental organizations.

Our volunteer book drive organizers collect 1000 books and raise about $500 in shipping funds for each library.
They rally their local communities to donate books; sort the books to ensure appropriate fit; hold a book packing party to get the books ready for shipment; and mail the books to our U.S. warehouse.

Our Board of Directors are hands-on volunteers who are deeply involved in planning, organizing and implementing our core activities.

As of December 2022, African Library Project has:

- Created 3,635 libraries in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Cameroon, Lesotho, Nigeria, Botswana, Swaziland, Malawi, Ghana, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Uganda. We currently work in 7 countries: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa and Uganda.

- Created 1,500+ partnerships with U.S. schools and other organizations.

- Donated over 3,782,900 books.

- Organized international conferences to share best practices among our African Partners in 2008 (Botswana), 2009 (Lesotho), 2011 (Swaziland), 2013 (Malawi), 2015 (Ghana) and 2017 (Botswana), 2020 (Lesotho), 2022 (Malawi-Virtual), 2022 (Kenya-Virtual).

- Conducted Measurement and Evaluation exercises in three countries (Malawi, Lesotho and Botswana)

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve youth through the small libraries that we establish. In 202, we've begun the collection of data from our libraries' contacts to approximate the impact of the library via a survey and case studies (visits).

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Recent survey and visits have identified a need to provide more opportunities for teacher-librarian training due to turnover in schools.

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We share the feedback we received with the people we serve

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection


African Library Project

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The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.


Connect with nonprofit leaders


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Connect with nonprofit leaders


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  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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African Library Project

Board of directors
as of 04/06/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Anupma Kulkarni

Board co-chair

Christina De Simone

Marla Williams

Karen Levesque

Harry Nachnani

Kamala Madavarapu

Nontuthuzelo Nikiwe

Louis Lallia

Sindy Braun

Craig Anderson

Joash Aminga

Doug Verbosky

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 3/30/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


No data

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data


No data

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 03/30/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
Policies and processes
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.