Lack of reading material, especially for children, is a serious problem in most developing countries. A great project for Peace Corps Volunteers is starting libraries in their sites. How does one go about finding resources for such a project?

  • The first place to look may be the Information section (used to be call USIS) of the local US Embassy. In the Dominican Republic, The Franklin Center, a division of the US Embassy, provides several boxes of children’s books in Spanish to the Peace Corps Volunteers who are starting libraries in their sites. Check to see if the US Embassy in your country has something comparable.
  • Darien Book Aid Plan Inc. is an organization in Darien, Connecticut which ships books around the world. Log on to their website and you will see they have a special category for how Peace Corps volunteers can request books. Most of their book are in English but they do have some in Spanish and French.
  • Another source of books, in English and in Spanish, is WilBooks. Unfortunately, this company does not ship overseas. What some Volunteers have done in the past is have the books shipped to a US address (parents, friends etc.) and then have a friend ship the books from the US to the Volunteer. Shipping overseas can be tricky in some countries, but this is an option especially if you have someone from the states who plans to visit you; he/she can bring the books along with his/her luggage.
  • Another source that has recently come to my attention is the African Library Project whose mission is to create small libraries in African schools and villages.

Hopefully this information will help start libraries. If you have any comments, questions or information about additional resources, please let me know.

“A library is the hospital of the mind.” (Anonymous)