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College of Education > News and Publications > News: Jan. - March 2012 > Penn State’s African Library Project Begins New Book Drive

Penn State’s African Library Project Begins New Book Drive

The newly established student organization, Penn State's African Library Project, headed by student Micheal Gottfried, tackles their first official book drive.

Michael Gottfried sorting booksby Wildamie Ceus (January 2012)

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- This spring semester, Penn State junior Michael Gottfried is taking on his fourth African book drive. Joining him this time is Penn State’s African Library Project, the newly founded organization dedicated to “making a difference in the world,” as Gottfried puts it.

Penn State’s African Library Project was formed and officially recognized as a group last fall semester. Since then, the students have collected over 4,000 books to be donated to several countries in Africa.

After working with the internationally recognized African Library Project the past few years, Gottfried, president of the Penn State organization, said he got the idea to start his own branch from a friend.

The group currently has about 15 active members, most of whom were recruited from the Student Pennsylvania State Education Association, where Gottfried serves as vice president.

With this organization, Gottfried hopes that he can help students understand that “it’s really easy to make a difference in the world.”

He has learned that “just going home and pulling a book off of a self can impact generations to come.”

According to the African Library Project, it takes 1,000 books to start a library and $500 to pay the cost of shipping the books.

In the past three years, Gottfried has collected enough books to benefit 24 African libraries and hopes that the new organization can help five more libraries this year. The group expects to collect 6,000 books by the end of April.

Gottfried believes it is important students understand why donating books is so important. He noted, “These children’s books not only provide a source for education and literacy, but they also present the students with opportunities and a greater chance at success in life.”

So far, the organization has sent letters to several businesses, a congressman, and even the President of the United States for donations. However, most of the donations come from schools that donate a variety of items from picture books and novels to dictionaries.

The group is currently accepting donations of children’s books, reading levels K-8.

Anyone interested in joining Penn State’s African Library Project or making a donation can contact Michael Gottfried at