Books Abroad

Wed 29th January 2020 at 12.50 - 14.00

Raymond Edwards explained the work of this charity which St Andrews Rotary Club has supported over many years.

Every year more than 125,000 books leave the village of Rhynie in Aberdeenshire for worldwide destinations. Why? – because nearly 40 years ago a teacher and pupils at Banff Academy started collecting books to send to Nigeria after a visiting missionary told them about the great shortage of books at his school. The charity Books Abroad developed from that modest beginning and aims to alleviate poverty through education. Raymond Edwards, one of the trustees, began his talk to St Andrews Rotary Club by thanking members for the several hundred books they had donated in 2019. From its base in Rhynie, Books Abroad collects good quality second-hand books donated by schools, colleges, universities and private individuals from across Scotland and redistributes them to educational establishments around the world in response to specific requests for support. Raymond described the process by which the books are sorted by subject and then parcelled together to meet the particular needs of the school or college to which they are being sent. Any that are unsuitable for redistribution are sold locally to raise funds or shredded for animal bedding or composting, so none are wasted.  Books Abroad aims to help anyone who asks, regardless of country, race or religion. Its team of volunteers at Rhynie, who sort and pack the books, and partners, including Rotary Clubs, who help to ensure reliable delivery, keep costs to a minimum but the charity receives many more requests for books than it is able to meet. Most go to countries where fluency in English enhances students’ employment prospects. Even in the age of the internet, books still play a vital role in education. Raymond was thanked for being as busy as he is in retirement serving such a good cause.

Visiting librarians from Namibia visited the Books Abroad ware house in Rhynie with St Andrews Rotarian Colin Mitchell and selected 4 tons of books to be sent to their one woman libraries.

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