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Lynette's experience in South Africa is exactly why so many do not want
to send books overseas. Of course, Africa is three times the size of the
U.S. and due to historical colonialism, the problems are increased
because of language differences and the unique political and economic
situation in each country. When people in Zimbabwe don't even know where
the next meal is coming from, it really gives a reality check (Books?
What I really need is a scrape of bread).

I have kept in contact with the main librarian at the college library in
Ghana I described below. They are trying to develop a nursing program
and I have been able to contact a friend who is director of a medical
library in a hospital. The medical library collection-removals, with
copyright dates from 1998 through 2005, are perfect for the specific
needs in this Ghana college. Especially when you know that these books
will most likely go to the dumpster (Americans are notorious for needing
the latest edition and are willing to pay for it). Several of these
books are beautiful, practically new reference materials with full color
photos of surgical procedures on the hand, wrist, ankle, foot. Several
books are on pre- and post-natal care, child delivery, and post
maternity care. One reference donation is considered the "Bible" of
hematology (6th ed.); and another book is titled "Emergency Field
Procedures", which shows how to 'make-do' with what is at hand, under
crisis situations.

I truly believe that the needs are great, but indiscriminate shipping of
books is a great waste of time and money (I did not take or send any
books describing the latest technological monitoring equipment of which
they have none). Matching needs with relevant books is what is needed. I
should have clarified my statement that "just about anything would be
better than nothing"; should have been "just about any donation, when
you know the needs, would be better than nothing".

Dennis Hollingsead
Executive Assistant
Office of the Provost
Andrews University
Berrien Springs, MI  49104

My reply to Elizabeth's original question below:

This is an issue that is very divisive. Some see the giving of used
books to developing countries as obscene and demeaning. Another problem
is that we are assuming that they need what is donated. The cost of
getting the books there is another concern. I went to Ghana two years
ago for a conference. While there, I visited a college library. It was
not much better than a small mediocre high school library of 20 years
ago. As a result I am much more pragmatic about the issue than before
this trip. Just about anything would be better than nothing.

I suggest you look at the article Library Aid to Developing Countries in
Times of Globalization: A Literature Review by Dr. Ann Curry, Tanya
Thiessen, & Lorraine Kelley at the following URL.

Also check out the following three sites:

Book Aid International at:

An international project for children's books in developing countries


-----Original Message-----
From: School Library Media & Network Communications
[mailto:LM_NET@LISTSERV.SYR.EDU] On Behalf Of Elizabeth P. Dumas
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 11:29 AM
Subject: ALL: Donating discarded books

Does anyone know of a legitimate organization that will accept discarded
school library books as a donation to be used in libraries in other
countries or even here in our country?  I have never done this and have
been told that some of these companies are scamming people for discarded
books and then just selling them.  Anyone have a good experience with a
company that does this? I would appreciate names of companies and web
addresses if available.


Elizabeth P. Dumas
Library Media Specialist
Good Hope Middle School
400 Good Hope Road
West Monroe, LA 71291
Phone: 318 396-9693
FAX: 318 397-5110
WiKi for the Louisiana Association of School Librarians Get Johnny Reading Blog

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