In June, Pamela Shelton, citizen of USA and retired librarian,
traveled throughout Botswana. After discussions with Mrs.
Olga Boitshepo Seretse, Director of Maun Education Centre, about the
immediate need for libraries in schools in Maun and the book famine in
the country, Pam applied for Botswana residency and work permits.
In April, Pam registered Golden Sun Services Pty Ltd. which was
to be dedicated to the development of literacy and the distribution of
books. The resulting operation was named “The Botswana Book Project”.
In June, Books For
Africa, a non-profit NGO located in Minnesota, USA, was contacted by
Pam and a request was sent for one container of new or nearly new
school and library books. The shipping costs were shared by Golden Sun
Services and Books For Africa.
In October, the first container (approx. 25,000 books) was unloaded in
a room at Maun Senior Secondary School. The Headmaster, Mr. David
Tregilges, offered the project this space rent-free. The donated
books covered a wide range of topics such as English literature and
grammar, novels, storybooks, social studies, math, sciences, music as
well as commercial and technical subjects.
Over the next few
months, books were advertised to schools and community organizations in
Ngamiland (northern Botswana). The distribution was organized by
Golden Sun Services with assistance from Maun Education Centre.
The Maun primary schools created space for the new libraries by using
their teacher meeting rooms and class schedules were developed whereby
all students were able to spend 30 minutes a week in the library.
CJS schools restocked their libraries, which were depleted due to lack
of security in the room. Maun Senior Secondary School, assisted
by Golden Sun Services, created a new plan for their library of 1,200
books involving a user- friendly library database, a better security
system, and training for the staff and students.
In June, Golden Sun Services requested a second container of
books from Books For Africa. The shipping costs were shared by
Golden Sun Services and Books For Africa.
In September, the
second container (approx. 25,000 books) was delivered to the classroom
at Maun Senior Secondary School, now the home of the Botswana Book
Over the next 12 months, books
continued to be selected by schools and community groups in Ngamiland,
as well as Kasane and Ghanzi. When possible, the schools were
asked to contribute 1 or 2 pula (about 15 cents) per book to assist
with the shipping and administrative costs. The RAD schools,
including !Xai !Xai, Gudigwa, Beetsha, Kareng, Qangwa, were given
boxes of books to create libraries. During this time, Mrs. O.B.
Seretse, Director of Maun Education Centre, accelerated her program of
school library training and the development of active PTA’s for all 60
Primary Schools in Ngamiland. A Regional Library Committee was
formed to assist in “Creating a Culture of Reading” in Ngamiland
A total of approx. 20,000 children’s picture books and novels arrived
every month or so in USA postal M Bags sent by Allen Shelton, Pam’s
father in California. These books were donated to the Book
Project by members of his church and area schools. Mr. Shelton
boxed and shipped the books himself to show his continued support of
In June, Golden Sun Services applied for a grant from Books For
Africa/USA Department of Defense to assist with shipping costs.
The grant involved shipping 4 containers of books in one
shipment. The request was held on file due to the 9/11
2002- In December, the 4 containers were finally shipped!
In March, the 4 containers (approx.100,000) books arrived in Maun
after considerable difficulty with the customs/VAT clearance at the
Botswana border post. Because this was the first book shipment
after VAT was introduced in Botswana, no one was sure as to how to
waive the VAT. The trucks were delayed for 3 days at the border
and 2 days in Maun. Eventually, with the assistance of the
Director of Primary Education, the books were off-loaded at Maun Senior
Secondary School (MSSS) and Customs in Maun was able to obtain
clearance and a waiver for the VAT.
For a week, the books were
displayed in Motsamai Mpho Hall while school and community members from
all over northern Botswana made their selections. Schools arrived from
the south, including 21 schools in Kanye, Lobatse,and Mosupa and 2 in
Mochudi. After the week, the remaining books were moved to a
smaller space at MSSS. Free book assortments were boxed (100
books per school) and delivered to every school in Kang District and to
the Education Centres in Selibwe Phikwe, Kasane and Ghanzi.
In July - The South
African shipping company requested Books For Africa to pay $3,700.00 to
compensate them for the delays in deliveries of the books to
Maun. This cost was paid by Golden Sun Services.
Golden Sun Services requested Books For Africa to ship a 7th container
of novels and picture books to be delivered to Maun in June, 2004.
Shipping costs were shared by Golden Sun Services and Books For
In November, the seventh container is delivered to Maun Senior
Secondary School and put into storage until schools resumed session in
In January, the approx 30,000 books were displayed and schools from all
over Botswana arrived on prearranged days to select books for their
schools. In 5 days, over 28,000 books were selected. The
remaining books, all adult level reading, were put in storage until
another selection opportunity. An application to the
Registar of Societies was filed by Pam on behalf of Botswana Book
Project. The proposed 12 member Board of Directors includes 9
citizens, all of whom have been involved with supporting the Book
Pam requested another container, paid for by Golden Sun Services, from
Books For Africa to be delivered at their earliest opportunity.
The approx. 25,000 books were expected to be delivered in August but,
due to shipping problems, and the cost of shipping doubling, the
container was finally organized to arrive in Maun in October, 2005.
In November, the eighth container actually arrived and was distributed
to schools, beginning in January, 2006 (due to the school holiday
2006- In March, the ninth container of approx. 25,000 books arrived in Maun and distribution began immediately.
On March 2nd, the tenth container arrived in Maun! On this day, it was
also announced that Pam had won the James Patterson PageTurner Par
Excellence Award. In November, the 11th container arrived. The books
were distributed before the start of the school holidays.
In October, the twelth container, full of 35,000 best seller novels,
dictionaries and 6 computers arrived in Maun. The computers were given
to schools and the book distribution began immediately.
2009- see update page
Check the update page for the latest events....