Supporting mobile libraries

Many of the communities we support lack the funds or the space to build a permanent library, but we believe this should not be a barrier to readers accessing and enjoying books.

Mobile libraries are a great way to get books to people who cannot reach a permanent library. We have supported a range of mobile library services in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond for many years.

Some of our partners support nomadic communities who generally do not build permanent structures but still need the benefits of a library service. We also provide books for mobile library services that reach schools in remote regions which have no school or community libraries.

In the remotest communities which lack paved roads, even a motor vehicle may struggle to get through. Our partners don’t let this stop them and have come up with innovative ways of getting books to even the hardest-to-reach places.

Mobile library services in action


We provide books to Ethiopia Reads, an NGO that works to increase literacy in Ethiopia by building schools, training educators, and “planting” libraries. In their Horse-Powered Library project, a teacher rides on horseback to rural communities, carrying books and stories to read to village children and teach them basic literacy and numeracy.


The Rural Libraries Resource and Development Programme (RLRDP) operates a variety of innovative mobile library services in areas inaccessible to motor vehicles. In Matebeleland North, donkey power enables fifteen special cart libraries, stocked with books from Book Aid International, to reach remote areas where people would otherwise have to travel many miles to find a library. In addition, in the Eastern Highlands, RLRDP runs a bicycle book box service delivering fresh collections of books to rural libraries each month.

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