Books for Africa

About Books for Africa

Books for Africa is a Minnesota-based program that sends books to schools and libraries in 20 African countries.


Carleton Campus & St. Paul, MN
Periodic Commitment

Books for Africa is a Minnesota-based program that has sent more than 34 million books to 49 different countries in Africa since 1988. Volunteers are needed to collect and pack books from campus and help transport them to the St. Paul warehouse.

Visit the Books for Africa website at:


(From the Books For Africa website)

Books For Africa. A simple name for a simple organization with a simple mission. We collect, sort, ship and distribute books to children in Africa. That's all we do. Our goal: to end the book famine in Africa.

Books donated by publishers, schools, libraries, individuals and organizations are sorted and packed by volunteers who carefully choose books that are age and subject appropriate. We send good books, enough books for a whole class to use.

They are shipped in containers paid for by contributions from people like you. It costs about 38 U.S. cents to send a book from the United States to Africa. Since 1988, Books For Africa has shipped more than 34 million books. They are on once-empty library shelves, in classrooms in rural schools, and in the hands of children who have never held a book before. Each book will be read over and over and over again. When the books arrive, they go to those who need them most: children who are hungry to read, hungry to learn, hungry to explore the world in ways that only books make possible.

Caught in the ACT, The Carletonian, Winter ‘06

Saturday afternoon, Books for Africa, an ACT Global and Cross-Cultural program, made a trip to the central BFA warehouse in Saint Paul for the first time in several years. After loading a van full of books coming from Carleton dorms, the Libe, academic departments, and Sibley Elementary School, the group delivered these books and stayed around to help out. Students sorted books into grade levels and subject areas and packed them into boxes, to be shipped across the Atlantic as soon as orders are received from an English-speaking country in Africa.

One volunteer, Senegal native Bassirou Sarr ’09, commented that this is “a way to contribute to education in Africa … a more meaningful way to help people at home. Education is what people in Africa really need right now.” Junior Salem Arafe expressed her excitement about “the fact that that we are giving [books] to people for whom it’s kind of like a different world … that we can do that for somebody.”

Carleton students have long been involved with book collection, and are now assuming a more active role, working together and finding out how BFA really works. The organization was founded in Saint Paul in 1988. In seventeen years, it has shipped over 10 million books to schools and universities of 25 different countries in Africa.

Projecting these new connections into the future, ACT continues to expand its interest in forming team bonds with other people and groups committed to community service.