Leeds University Centre for African Studies with the generous sponsorship of the Morel Trust has for the past decade or so run a book distribution scheme in conjunction with a number of universities and organisations in Africa. The Morel Trust enables LUCAS to purchase and distribute books on African theatre and literature, and this is also enabled in cooperation with participating publishers, particularly James Currey (Boydell and Brewer), but also Bayreuth African Studies publications, Hans Zell,and the journal Moving Worlds, who supply the titles at an affordable price. The main titles involved are the two series African Theatre and African Literature Today, published by James Currey.
The scheme is open to all African universities and institutions and sends free theatre and literature books out to participating universities. In terms of coverage, so far we have sent books to colleges and universities in Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Where possible we seek to supply universities with a run of recent titles in the African Theatre series, and recent titles of African Literature Today, as well as other books we think might be appropriate where possible. In practice we are also limited by distribution constraints because of cost and reliability of mailing systems, and we gratefully acknowledge the help of friends and colleagues of LUCAS as well as visitors from recipient organisations who help us by hand carrying donation packages. We prioritise supplying universities in need who have never received a donation, and then try to provide updated packages to institutions who have not received recent packages.
The books are sent on the condition that they are made available for use of both staff and students and that these can be safely loaned and returned to maximise usage between those needing access, and we require official acknowledgement of receipt of any books and their being made available as requested.
For more information about the scheme, of if you can help us develop it or would like to join it, please either write a letter to us at LUCAS or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org – thanks.
For a great example of how the scheme works in practice, see Books for UNZA by Ranka Primorac, Leeds African Studies Bulletin #71 (2009), 16-18. Ranka returned to the University of Zambia in 2016, where she kindly delivered another parcel of books as part of the scheme, and took this picture of the University of Zambia’s Deputy Librarian Francina Makondo examining them: