High school donates more than 1k books to Kenyan library


Petal High School surpassed their goal and delivered 1,144 books to benefit a high school library in Kenya as part of the African Library Project. The books were sent to New Orleans on Monday to be sent to the Isibania Secondary school in Kenya. 

PHS also had 255 extra books that are being sent to supplement another project out of Tennessee.

“We had an excellent response to our book drive and to the fundraiser where we collected $250 for the cost of shipping to Kenya plus enough extra to purchase some extra books and the supplies for packing the boxes,” said high school principal Rob Knight. “We should hear in late January or early February when our boxes are delivered to the school.”

Students and staff worked hard over the last couple of months to share the gift of books with teens, like them, who do not have enough books.

The African Library Project has mobilized volunteers from across the United States to start 1,825 libraries in 11 countries over the past 10 years.

A volunteer-based organization headquartered in Berkeley, California, the African Library Project helps Americans work with African partners to create libraries in communities with little or no access to books.

“We couldn’t do it without the dedication and creativity of book drive organizers,” says Chris Bradshaw, founder of the African Library Project.

At Petal High School, their motto is “pay it forward.”

When a tornado destroyed much of the city and Petal Upper Elementary School last year, the district was aided by individuals across the nation who reached out to help them get back on their feet.

Now they are working to help others, in the United States and around the world.

“We can't wait to share our love of learning and of reading with students in Kenya,” said PHS librarian Sue Sorensen.

PHS received donations of books in English on a fourth to eighth-grade reading level. They also collected monetary donations to defray the shipping cost and to allow the purchase of new books.

The African Library Project matches schools and organizations in the United States with African communities to create libraries. U.S. children and families donate their books and share the gift of reading with children in Africa. 

Books are collected in the U.S. through book drives and shipped by volunteers directly to the communities requesting them.

For more information about the project visit www.africanlibraryproject.org or contact Chris Bradshaw at 650-851-3640 or chris@africanlibraryproject.org.

For more information about the Petal High School Book Drive for the African Library Project contact Sorensen, PHS Librarian at Petal High School, 601-545-1901 or sue.sorensen@petalschools.com.