History

Summary of the Project

Approx. 500,000 new or like new school and library books have been distributed throughout Botswana by The Botswana Book Project.

In addition, 60 primary school libraries have been created in Ngamiland.  Every student visits their library once or twice a week for 30 minutes with their class and in many schools the students are being encouraged to borrow books to share with their families.
The Maun Senior Secondary School (SSS) has tripled the size of their library space to accommodate the addition of approx. 12,000 volumes.  The library database is enabling students to be effective researchers and the expanded collection provides them with the sources of information they need.  Students are reading novels for pleasure, which has increased their literacy as proved by their test scores in English comprehension and vocabulary. The Ghanzi Senior Secondary School librarian has spent time visiting the Maun SSS library and is applying the same system to create a database in Ghanzi SSS library.

History

1997- 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.

 1998-  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.

1999- 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.

 2000- 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 Project.
       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 district.

2000-2002- 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 the project.

 2001- 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 event. 

2002- In December, the 4 containers were finally shipped!

2003- 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.
         In December,  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 Africa.

2004- In November, the seventh container is delivered to Maun Senior Secondary School and put into storage until schools resumed session in January, 2005.

2005-  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 Project.
        In March, 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 break).

2006-  In March, the ninth container of approx. 25,000 books arrived in Maun and distribution began immediately.

2007-  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.

2008- 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


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