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APBF Furthers Poetry Library Initiative with Second Book Shipment

African Poetry Library Uganda

The African Poetry Book Fund, in partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries and Prairie Schooner, has sent its second shipment of nearly 1750 books and journals to its five partner poetry libraries in Africa. Each of the five reading libraries, located within existing community and arts centers in the Gambia, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda, will receive around 350 books each in this donation. As the collaboration enters its second year, this latest shipment shows the continued strength of the initiative.    

The libraries, launched in 2014 in partnership with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, are staffed mostly by volunteers and provide spaces for reading poetry and cultivating venues for African poets and readers within larger communities.

The African Poetry library in Uganda is housed in the 32° East Ugandan Arts Trust resource center in Kampala, which has hosted a number of recent local events. “This year, we have engaged the library in a few events,” said library volunteer Beverley Nambozo, a poet, literary activist, and founder of the Babishai Niwe (BN) Poetry Foundation and prize. “One of them was a reading held in February, organized by the BN Poetry Foundation. The other was a schools’ outreach program held in October and organized by the Kampala-based Tontoma Poetry Session. The students from neighboring schools were able to tour and skim the library, picking interests for after-school hours.”

Kadija George, a literary activist, writer, and editor of Sable LitMag, is a volunteer coordinator at the Poetry Library in the Gambia, which is housed in the National Centre for Arts and Culture’s office in Fajara. George spoke for the enthusiasm of the library’s patrons, saying, "The users of the library are simply overwhelmed at the generosity of the African Poetry Book Fund in providing such a gift to the people of The Gambia."

The APBF is grateful to the many sponsors, including over thirty literary presses, organizations, and individuals, that donated poetry books and journals to the libraries.
The APBF will begin receiving and cataloging donations for its third shipment in Spring 2016, for a Fall 2016 shipment. Interested presses, publishers, and arts organizations may contact Managing Editor Ashley Strosnider at africanpoetrybf@unl.edu for more information.

More information about the African Poetry Library Initiative, as well as a complete list of participating organizations and individuals and the APBF’s other projects, can be found on the APBF website.