Category Archives: Uncategorized

This blog has now moved…

We mentioned a couple of weeks ago that this blog would be moving to its new and permanent home over on our website and so this is officially the last post here.

We shall keep this blog up for a little while longer so you can get your bookmarks organised, but we’d love to see you over in our new little space on the Book Aid International website.

Thanks for reading!


It’s National Reading Group Day!

Around the UK today, reading groups of all shapes and sizes are taking part in activities for National Reading Group Day.

åMany of them will be meeting up at their local library, bookshop or other agreed meeting place to have some fun and discuss a book. Some will be raising money for Book Aid International with Meet Talk Give.

And you could even win a visit from Dawn French to your reading group before the end of the year. So if you’ve ever felt like joining a reading group, today’s a good day to dip your toe in the water and find out more!

If you find out more about your local reading group, or your group is planning on fundraising, tell us about it – we would love to hear from you!

A new site, and a new home for the Book Aid International blog

Over the past few months, the good people of Book Aid International have been busy at work behind the scenes of our home on the internet. So much has changed over the last few years, with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and the rest of the social web. We have a brand new refreshed website!

At Book Aid International we’ve done our best to grow with the world of social networks, and we’ve been talking to you, our friends and supporters, through Facebook and Twitter, and this blog, to explain more about our work and the difference that you can help to make. As time has gone on, we’ve grown ever more aware that our website couldn’t keep up.

So a change was definitely needed.

Book Aid International’s new site better reflects our approach to the web, including our little outposts on different social networks. Hopefully, you should find it easier to stay up to date with our work, the latest events and opportunities to support us, and stories about where and how you help us to make a difference. As part of that, the Book Aid International blog is on the move again. From today you’ll be able to find it on the main site, meaning you don’t need to click back and forth any more.

For a limited time we will post here as well, but in a couple of weeks or so, we’ll close down So please check out the new Book Aid International site, and if you’ve been kind enough to bookmark this blog, please update the details to reflect the new address. We’d love to know what you think!

Could you join our team?

507,000 books sent in 2010.
2,000 libraries annually.
Reaching 2.5 million people every single year.

Two fundraising vacancies available. Challenging, incredibly rewarding roles where you will make a measurable difference every single day.

Could they be for you?

We love this!

Of course, if you’re inclined to support us as part of World Book Day, you don’t have to do so in a bookish way.

You can do anything that takes your fancy. Take Kate Webb, for example.

After discovering the ‘delights’ of cold water swimming, Kate decided that she would take part in the UK Cold Water Swimming Championships in January. Being a teacher and valuing books very highly, Kate chose to raise sponsorship for Book Aid International too.

Kate took part in two races, including one with this fancy dress hat, at Tooting Bec Lido where the water was a f-f-freezing 3.5C. Despite this, Kate managed a personal best in her race, and, we’re sure you agree, fully deserved the commendation she received for her hat!

Along the way Kate raised around £300 too – effectively sending another 150 books to a community that will really appreciate her efforts. Thanks, Kate! We love the lengths (sorry, bad pun) you went to for us!

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

World Book Day has something for everyone

Whether you’re all grown up, at school or even still a toddler, there’s a way for everyone to show their support for World Book Day and Book Aid International.

For adults

If you have a book group, or just enjoy discussing books with friends, Meet Talk Give is for you. It’s as simple as getting everyone together to talk about your chosen book, and taking a small donation to recognise World Book Day. Just £2 is enough to pay for a book to get to Africa, and it makes a huge difference. Libraries can also take part in Meet Talk Give. Just follow our easy advice and instructions.

Alternatively you could just pick up one of the 10 new books published in the Quick Reads series. A donation goes from the sale of each one to World Book Day.

For schools

You could win a complete DK library when your school takes part in the National Sponsored ABC Fact Find!

Using the World Book Day poster, your pupils build themselves a mini-encyclopedia of the countries which stand to benefit from Book Aid International’s support. They decorate it, add facts and more, and receive sponsorship for their efforts. You’ll find the poster and sponsorship forms on the Book Aid International site. Enter your best encyclopedia into our prize draw, and you could win that DK library worth £200 for your school!

For little ones

If your nursery or toddler fancies in on the World Book Day action, why not get them to take part in our Miffy colouring competition? With every amount you raise over £20, you’ll receive some free Miffy books!

So there truly is something for everyone to take part in for World Book Day. Every book we ship really does make a difference, so thank you for your support!

>Breakfast at dawn

>I begin the day telling the Africa Dawn Rotary Club (it does indeed meet at dawn or rather just after at 7am!) about Book Aid International over a breakfast meeting and thank Rotary for their assistance which as well as distributing books includes organising activities during national literacy month and providing essential training for teacher-librarians. I visit ZACRO next, an impressive prison welfare organisation, supporting the rehabilitation of prisoners, which has set up 3 prison libraries utilising BAI books but wants to set up 65 more!

The Harare hospital is the next destination, where BAI books are much appreciated in the school of nursing, which now sees virtually all students pass thanks they say to BAI books – only 3 students failed in the last exams compared to 20 before and the books are the only real difference. The principal tutor tells me with a suitable medical analogy that ‘what we teach them in class is only a skeleton, now students can research on their own’.

Next is City of Harare Libraries. The HQ library, Highfield, has deteriorated much since I visited it in 2002, with a leaky roof and stalactites forming! The other two I visit are not too bad, but the city library service, which has also introduced charges recently, is very under-resourced,and a far cry from what it used to be, despite the best intentions of its librarians. Library users tell me that they need more books on commerce but several were using BAI books on motor vehicle mechanics and accountancy. One named beautifully in the African way as Honest, was using a geography book but told me (appropriately to her name) that she would prefer a different one, Geography- An Integrated Approach, which is also one of BAI’s most requested books!

Young Rotarians known as Rotaractors have been helping to set up a school mobile library scheme based on two clusters of schools. I visit the two schools that hold the main stock and whilst it is clear the scheme has some way to go, both schools are using the books and keen to encourage reading. The schools and the city library service discuss ways for pupils to also use the public library as the books available in the schools (which have 1800 pupils each) are too limited.

The last visit of a busy day takes me to the Women’s University in Africa, a university we have been supporting since it started 8 years or so ago. Like many younger universities, it has an enthusiastic staff and is very appreciative of BAI support. The library only has 4000 books, about half of which are from BAI, and many BAI books were in use in the library.

Harare seems little changed at a glance, but economically the country has been hit hard. Everything is now paid for in $US and although the local Spar is once again full with as wide a range of food as anywhere else in the world (the shelves were empty not so long ago), and there is fuel for transport (which was not the case in 2002), it is clear that the $US is only providing a sticky plaster to bigger problems that have yet to be overcome. Libraries of all sorts have seen their budgets collapse and most cannot afford books any more.

I finish a busy day with a drink in the beautiful Bronte Hotel gardens before heading over the road to my cheaper hotel for a good night’s rest!