Frustrated students who can’t get worthy returns on their used textbooks can put them to better use, donating them to schools in Africa.
BYU student and World Literacy Club founder David Jeffs has collaborated with two nonprofit organizations, Book Drivers and Books for Africa, with hope of integrating book collection into university-wide practices.
“I saw a book drive at another university, and I wondered why we didn’t have that here. I’m just a people person. I really love to learn, and as soon as I saw this resource was around and being wasted I thought it would be a great cause,” Jeffs said.
Jeffs discovered the J. Reuben Clark Law School had been amounting a stagnate collection of used textbooks for more than three years. He received permission from the school to use the books and carried away 30 medium-size boxes filled to the top.
“There are resources here on campus already that just need to be used,” Jeffs said.
Jon Kau, assistant dean of students, supported Jeffs’ idea and helped him brainstorm ideas and find contacts to continue his effort.
“I was a resource and a sounding board for him to develop all of his ideas; David did all the work,” Kau said.
Jeffs and other club members collect books and send them to Book Drivers. The Book Drivers organization then sends them to Books for Africa, where the books are distributed throughout various countries in Africa.
Patrick Plonski, executive director of Books for Africa, said the organization is the world’s largest shipper of books to Africa and has served in 49 countries since 1988. They have gathered resources from organizations like BYU’s World Literacy Club and have shipped more than 2.6 million books in the past year.
Book Drivers already worked regularly with the BYU Bookstore, so Jeffs contacted bookstore manager, Tom Hirtzel, to coordinate his effort. Hirtzel, who is also club adviser for World Literacy Club, has helped by providing space for the donations. BYU has donated 41,830 pounds of books to Books for Africa since March.
“I wanted book donation and the sharing of knowledge to become part of the BYU experience,” Jeffs said.
Jeffs hopes to expand efforts beyond the club to involve the entire university. He also hopes to introduce the organization to other church-sponsored universities like BYU—Idaho and LDS Business College.
The club holds book drives at the end of every semester, but students can also drop off their books anytime at the permanent collection bin in the Wilkinson Student Center across from Sugar and Spice. Anyone interested in joining the World Literacy Club can contact Jeffs by email at .