Supporting public libraries
Many of the countries in which we work have a network of public libraries which are often the only place where people can access books to improve their knowledge, further their education and read for their own interest and enjoyment.
As well as providing books for library users to read in the library and to borrow, public libraries also run programmes within their communities to reach out to schools, local groups and other institutions.
Many public library systems are funded by national governments but budgets rarely include adequate new book acquisition. In countries where many people have no books at home, public libraries play a key role but they are often unable to keep up with the demand for new books in a broad range of categories.
Our book provision for public libraries
Every year we send up to one million brand new, carefully selected books to libraries in Africa and around one third of these books are sent to public libraries where they can be used by the whole community. These include national and city-level libraries as well as smaller, more rural libraries and those in informal settlements or slums.
We work through our partners to deliver books to public libraries. Our partners tell us what kind of books they need, and in what quantity and our team of librarians works to match these specifications as closely as possible, ensuring that the books we send are as useful and relevant as possible.
The books we send to public libraries range from children’s early readers and stories, fiction and non-fiction for young adults to leisure readers and adult non-fiction books on life skills such as health and agriculture.
As well as supporting public libraries with new books we also work with them on specific projects, such as our Open Doors Children’s Corners project which aims to create safe, vibrant spaces for children in African public libraries.