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Six book-donation organisations: How to apply

Nal’ibali aims to get multilingual stories to families and caregivers across the country through our digital platforms, and fortnightly newspaper supplements. These resources can be accessed from our website and mobisite. While our focus is not book donation, we do work with and recommend partner organisations and NGOs that provide book donation resources for those looking for some hardcover reading fun. So, if you’re looking for books for your school, library or reading club, check out our list of organisations to contact:

1. Biblionef SA

Biblionef provides a platform to apply for books. This organisation aims to get appropriate and culturally relevant books to those who need it most - particularly schools, pre-schools, children’s homes, street children’s organisations, refugee camps or any other organisation with a socio-educational focus. Biblionef gives priority to organisations in townships and informal settlements. Moreover, they have books available in all 11 South African languages!

All Biblionef requires is a letter of motivation with information about your organisation, the number of children who will use the books, and ways you or your children intend to use them. You can find easy steps to submit your application right here on their website. Make sure you read the requirements carefully before submitting!

2. Centre for the Book

This organisation, based in Cape Town, is an outreach unit of the National Library of South Africa and advocates for the importance of reading, writing and publishing for literacy development and community building. The centre has converted one of its studios into a Children’s Reading Centre in partnership with Ukuhamba Nabatwana Trust, to provide opportunities to very young children to read books for enjoyment.

In addition, the Centre for the Book donates books and posters to schools, libraries, art centres and organisations involved in reading promotion. If you’d like to receive donations from the centre, regardless of where you are in the country, email with your book request, your organisation and what you intend to use the books for.

3. Rotary

Rotary International has made it its mission to help their members focus their service efforts on promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies. The Rotary Clubs in South Africa have undertaken to take on several of these issues, particularly those focused on education and literacy.

Currently, Rotary has a stock of books stored in Tsiba Education in Pinelands, Cape Town. It is a free book facility that is open to the public. In order to receive these books, simply drop by at Tsiba and ask to look at Rotary’s book collection. It’s open every day and people can take as many books as they need.

For educational school books and novels from early education to high school, as well as books for old-age homes, hospitals, community libraries and reading clubs,  you can contact librarian Francoise Ndayizigiye on 0737317056, or Rotarian Thinus de Jongh at

4. The Bookery

The Bookery strives to bring functional and accessible libraries to schools across the nation. Each of these libraries will have a minimum of three books per learner per school, and “caters for the needs and interests of its readership through a comprehensive selection of fiction, non-fiction and reference works”. The Bookery provides these books, as well as ongoing support, to all the schools they’re involved with.

If you feel that your school could benefit, you will be required to write an email of motivation to Add the name of your school, the number of children, whether you have a library space and available staff. The Bookery receives many requests every month, so be as detailed as possible in your application!

We advise that you first give The Bookery a call on +27 (0) 21 461 4189 for more information.

5. READ Educational Trust

READ Educational Trust is an NGO that works primarily in the education sector. In focusing on educational training and provision of school resources, READ is a development agency for language, literacy and communication in South Africa.

READ prides itself on providing good quality secondhand book donations to schools and teachers, so if you feel that your class or reading club would be eligible, email with the details of your club and your book request.

6. FunDza

FunDza donates books from the popular Harmony High series to beneficiary organisations that work to improve literacy and grow a love of reading amongst teens and young adults. Since April 2011, FunDza has donated more than 1,700 books to beneficiary organisations! If you feel that your organisation reflects the age group and vision that FunDza focuses on, simply click here to access their beneficiary application form to see if you’d be a candidate for donations.

Digital options

Depending on scale and availability of books, these organisations may not be able to assist each individual but do review every application – so it’s important that you send an accurate and detailed motivation. In the meantime, Nal’ibali offers a range of stories that you can download or read online. We also feature back copies of our reading-for-enjoyment supplements that you can download (with up to 3 stories per edition, as well as reading and storytelling tips and activities for some added inspiration).

For even more ways to get reading material for your children, reading club or reading programme, click here.

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