School Library in a Box

Our School Library in a Box project supports schools in poor and remote areas in the Kagera Region of mainland Tanzania and the Zanzibar archipelago.

Schools in both of these areas are located in communities of people earning less than $1 a day, with 90% of the population living as subsistence farmers, with no formal income. These schools have with little or no government funding and they do not have libraries of their own. Most people have no books at home and due to the remote setting of the project schools, many children have never visited a library.

How does the project work?

The School Library in a Box project aims to take libraries to children who cannot reach one. Working with Zanzibar Library Service (in Zanzibar) and Voluntary Service Overseas (in Kagera Region) we supply book boxes to schools so that children can develop their reading skills and a love of reading. As well as supplying the books and book boxes, we also provide training for teachers in the schools so they can use the books to support their teaching and help children make the most of their collections.

700 books in English and Kiswahili are packed into boxes which are then transported to the schools. Student librarians carry the book boxes from classroom to classroom before lessons start so that children can enjoy reading independently. In lessons, learning resource teachers use the School Library in a Box to support lessons and help children to develop their reading skills in both English and Kiswahili.

The library in a box project has been a saviour as the school did not have books before. Children are starting to build a reading culture through borrowing books.” – Teacher, Pemba Island, Zanzibar.


An evaluation of this project, sampling eight schools in detail, showed that schools that have received a school library in a box have benefited in multiple ways. Reading levels have improved, as well as the quality of lessons which are now more creative, engaging, and interactive, making use of the library books to teach various concepts. Several schools reported high numbers of books being borrowed, as well as regular reading periods being established and run by the students themselves.

2016 School Library in a Box in numbers


You may also like

Read about our work with mobile libraries.
Read more >
Find out more about our work in Tanzania.
Read more >
Learn about our flagship programme for schools.
Read more >