The collection of 100,000 unwanted children’s books is the target for an overseas library project by Darlington Rotary.
The group is working with the national charity Just Be a Child to collect children’s books to fill a ‘container library’ and learning centre in Kenya.
Rotarian Peter Phillips, who is spearheading the ‘Donate a Book’ campaign in Darlington, said: “We need to reach everyone who might have children’s books they can donate – schools, bookshops, libraries, families.
“Everyone has a book they no longer need so that’s 100,000 in Darlington to start with.”
Peter added that it doesn’t matter how simple the books are. Although English is the national language of Kenya, a child first learns its tribal language, Swahili, then English in school.
The Just Be a Child charity is based in Stevenage and they work by selecting a community in Kenya which fulfils their criteria, then establishing an area in which learning activities and sports days can be held.
This is followed up by a library, which comes in a container and is converted on the spot. It contains books, learning and arts and crafts materials.
Training is given so that the community can take responsibility for the library and learning centre and regular visits are made by the charity to ensure it continues to operate smoothly
Peter added: “The charity raises funds and finds sponsorship for school supplies and learning material.
Everyone has a book they no longer need so that’s 100,000 in Darlington to start with.”
“The second hand books are packed in boxes in a 40-foot shipping container. This container is shipped to Kenya, cleared and transported to the village.
“There it is unloaded, windows are cut out of the sides of the container, a door put in at the end and shelves fitted inside. I’ve seen such an operation in a village – it soon becomes a fantastic central meeting point.”
Darlington Rotary is receiving help from the S G Petch car dealership in Darlington who have donated space at their premises at McMullen Road to house the books. Peter will then arrange transportation of the books to Stevenage where they are sorted and classified.
We need to reach everyone who might have children’s books they can donate.”
Craig Saunders, General Manager at S G Petch said they were very happy to support the project.
He said: “The ‘Donate a Book’ campaign is an excellent idea and we are pleased to be part of it by giving storage space. People can drop books off at any time during business hours by going to the Hyundai main reception.”
Darlington Rotary’s Peter Phillips responded: “We’re very grateful to S G Petch. People can drop books in there or contact us through Twitter @DarlRotary or the Darlington Rotary Facebook page and we can arrange collection.”
Peter can also be contacted at email@example.com for further information or to arrange a collection.