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Updated on August 1, 2011

What is a REVERSE Book Club?

With a normal book club, you send them money, and they send you books. With the Book Aid International reverse book club, you send them money, and they send books to people in the Third World who really need books.

Printing books in quantity, they are averaging a price of £2 per book. The books are sent to libraries and school libraries in a dozen third world countries including the Palestinian Occupied Territories. The money is also used to train librarians in these countries and to pay for donkeys and other transport.

500,000+ books!

In 2010 the Reverse Book Club sent over half a million books to libraries in schools, universities, refugee camps, prisons, hospitals and orphanages. They supported over 2,000 libraries in 12 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.

They provided grants which enabled local partners to purchase 10,000 books, including 6,000 in local languages.

And they supported the training of 145 teachers and librarians.

New Developments

Working with local librarians in Kenya and Tanzania, there are now six Childrens Corners with scaled down furniture and rugs, bright and interesting children's books, and training for librarians. The project is so successful that more Childrens Corners are being rolled out as you read this.

In Zanzibar the "Library in a Box" scheme was launched. Each set of boxes contains 550 brand new books, and the boxes are carried into classrooms for use. At the end of the day the boxes are locked up until tomorrow. This was trialled in ten schools, and will be extended during the current year to 23 schools in Tanzania and Zanzibar.

In the Book Aid International newsletter, one of the librarian trainers commented that he never expected to go teaching librarianship accompanied by armed body guards with submachine guns - but then he never expected to be training librarians in Somalia.

In Zambia, their local partner FAWEZA started with one truck which carried 2,000 books as a mobile library for 12 schools. They now have three trucks with almost 10,000 books that now reach 42 schools.

In Uganda, where commonly there are 10 children to each book, Book Aid International have purchased a truck, and put nearly 10,000 books in it. It will service eight proimary schools, 100 teachers, and 8,000 students.. In Kenya they are going into Nairobi's slums and setting up two tents in which the children can sit to read books. There are 500,000 children in Nairobi's slums, so there is great need.

Get Involved!

The website is, and they are also on Facebook. I pay a modest sum each month, which pays for 5 books a month, or 60 books a year. They need regular donation income to help them plan ahead, so even if you have never joined a book club before, join this one!


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    • sen.sush23 profile image


      6 years ago from Kolkata, India

      Very good Hub. Very responsible of you to talk of this in a HubPage. I will definitely try to circulate this link among my friends. It felt good to know that there are people concerned and acting on this. Incidentally, as I come from a really book-crazy city, we have a few publishing houses and organisations that do similar activities. Still a lot remains to be done. Voted up and very useful.

    • Charles James profile imageAUTHOR

      Charles James 

      7 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

      I really respect this organisation. They write to me about 3 or 4 times a year - enough to keep me informed but not intrusive. They are more interested in regular income than special one off donations, so they keep it low key.

    • James A Watkins profile image

      James A Watkins 

      7 years ago from Chicago

      Wow! This is a great idea! I love the concept and I will note the website. Thank you for shedding light on this wonderful cause.

    • Charles James profile imageAUTHOR

      Charles James 

      7 years ago from Yorkshire, UK

      Thank you. I am humbled by the desperate need for books, and the way that a small monthly payment can have such a huge impact.

    • Mimi721wis profile image


      7 years ago

      Great hub for a wonderful cause. Wrote down the link and will share.


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