Recycling books and educational materials from the US to Kenya

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the people in Kenya read books in English?

What kind of books do you want?

What kind of magazines do you want?

What kind of educational materials do you want?

Do the books you ship get to the people who need them?

Do you hear from the libraries you send books to?

How do the books get to Kenya?

 

1. Can the people in Kenya read books in English?

Yes. In Nairobi and other larger cities, English is the language of instruction (for all subjects) from Kindergarten on. In rural areas English is the language of instruction after 3rd grade.

2. What kind of books do you want?

We only seek books in good condition. We accept children's and adult books in fiction and nonfiction. Books appropriate for 8th grade and below are in particular demand, including books for beginning readers. In the adult nonfiction areas we prefer to avoid American History and Government, cooking, and books that are too specific to America such as why Cleveland Ohio is such a great city.  Any travel or photo books are great. Reference materials such as dictionaries and encyclopedias are welcome; especially desirable are World Book and Encyclopedia Britannica from 1993 on.

3.  What kind of magazines do you want?

Any National Geographic in good condition is needed.  Magazines that have a very specific audience such as I Love My Labrador, or Quilting Nirvana should be avoided.  Other magazines are less than 2 years are welcome.

4.  What kind of educational materials do you want?

Anything that might be used in a classroom or at home to help children to learn is needed (in good condition).  Anything that uses power needs to be 240 volt 50 hz compatible.  Please see our Needed Materials listing for other items we need.

5. Do the books you ship get to the people who need them?

Yes. Tusome works with partner organizations in Kenya to have the books shipped from the Kenyan port of Mombasa to the libraries.

6. Do you hear from the libraries you send books to?

Yes. Liz and Brian Heaven visit the libraries in Kenya every year or two.

7. How do the books get to Kenya?

We collect and sort the books in Wendi Fein’s basement in Tacoma, WA, and then pack the books in boxes and store them in her basement. As the shipping date approaches we load the 35,000 books into a forty foot shipping container. This container is then taken by truck to an American port and put on a vessel to Mombasa, Kenya. From Mombasa the container is trucked inland to the desired library.