Books for the World
Supporting Education-Reducing waste
Project days:
Once a month at warehouse in Pasadena
Books for the World 
is a project that involves collecting schoolbooks, educational materials, library books and school supplies, which would be discarded to landfills in the USA, and sending them distribution centers managed by Rotary clubs in the recipient regions in:
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Caribbean
  • Central America
  • South America. 
The US Rotary Clubs publicize the project locally, collect the books donated by schools and libraries, and pack them into standard-size cartons and store temporarily in project warehouses in each US state. In those warehouses books are weighed and shipped to the Rotary operated warehouse in Houston, Texas.
In Houston the books are sorted, palletized and packed into a shipping container and sent in a container ship to the destination countries distribution centers managed by Rotarians. Books are there unpacked and offered at no cost to schools, teachers and village libraries. Often the shipping container itself is converted into a school or classroom.
Many Rotary, Rotaract and Interact Clubs in the US and abroad are part of this project that is managed by the Rotary Club of Seabrook, the club of the founders. The funds are administered by the Second Wind Foundation.
The Rotary Club of West U is one of the main leaders of the project activities in Houston.

Books for the World in Numbers

More than 400 shipping containers of books and school furniture - each a 40 foot container - have been collected across the US by participating Rotary clubs.
The books collected are all shipped to the project warehouse in Pasadena (in greater Houston, Texas) where they are sorted and palletized by volunteers and sent to Rotary led literacy projects in 25 countries around the world.
The estimated total value of these donations since project start and up till the end of 2021: 175 million USD. Each container takes about 45,000 books.
Circa 70% of the books are donated by schools and the Pasadena school district in Texas is a large contributor.
The books are donated to schools, medical facilities, pre-schools, elder care facilities, libraries and various other organizations that have a need for educational materials. Many are used to set up village libraries where none exist.
Representatives of the recipient schools, hospitals, libraries, visit distribution centers established by the local Rotary clubs and there select the books needed for their school programs and libraries.
The Rotary clubs in the recipient countries are responsible for customs clearance, establishing and managing the distribution center, and verification that all the organizations that receive the donations are legitimate and have a genuine need for the donated materials. The partners keep records of distributions, noting the receiving organizations and the number of books received. The partners send periodic reports of their activities.
The last 3 containers shipped in 2021 were sent to Tanzania, the Philippines and India. Guatemala and Lebanon will receive the first 2 containers of 2022.

Books for the World Volunteers' Work

Would you like to help with the shipment of the next container? 
The Books for the World project could not provide the thousands of books it does without the unpaid volunteers that work tirelessly year around in the US and in the recipient countries.

Sorting and palletizing

Every month volunteers gather at the Books for the World warehouse sorting and palletizing books to prepare them for the next shipment.
Address: 298 Eagle Ave. Pasadena, TX 77506
The warehouse is not air-conditioned nor heated. Parking is available on Eagle Ave. or under Hwy 225. Be careful crossing the street and do not leave valuables in your car.

The entrance to the warehouse is on Eagle Ave. between Munger St & Main South of Hwy 225.

Collecting Books from Donors

Several times a year donors, mostly schools, will have boxes full of books, furniture and school materials ready for pick up at their locations in greater Houston.
Volunteers and their trucks/SUVs are needed to collect these donations and deliver to the Books for the World warehouse in Pasadena. At the warehouse all donations will be stored as received.
Details of the dates of collections and transport needs are shared on the facebook page of Rotary Club of West U (Houston).

Monetary Donations

The Second Wind Foundation is the financial arm of the Books for the World project. Trucking and shipping expenses and purchasing containers are all project costs (USD 2,500 buys a container; USD 4,000 pays for one container ocean freight).
All costs are funded through donations and private grants. You can help by sending donations to to: The Second Wind Foundation, 4601 Hamblen Ct., Seabrook, Texas 77586  
Please designate your check or money order to Rotary Books for the World.

Books and School Supplies Donations

Donations of all books and school materials in good condition are welcome. In particular:
  • Textbooks - kindergarten through college
  • School supplies - notebooks, pens, pencils
  • School furniture: desks, chairs, bookcases
  • Non-fiction books
  • Encyclopedias (complete and less than 10 years old)
  • Fiction books

Where Books for the World Go

Central and South America

Asia and Middle East


Rotary Books for the World ships from Houston 40-foot containers loaded with 40,000 pounds of palletized books and school supplies. The books and the containers are donated to the receiving Rotary Clubs in Africa, Asia, Middle East and Central and South America to use in their local communities. Neither the books nor the containers may be sold.
How Books for the World Started
The Books for the World project started in 2000 in Texas when the then Rotary District Governors Ted Pope (D9300) and Charlie Clemmons (D5890) launched the Bury Me in Books campaign after meeting at a district conference in South Africa. This was shortly after the end of Apartheid and the South Africa government had just mandated that every community had to have a school - however the requirement for a school being set up was no more than a blackboard and chalk, The Rotary clubs in South Africa reached out - the schools were desperate for books. 
Charles wife's parents donated money to start the project and schools in Houston donated the first books that were sent to two schools in South Africa.
The project grew over the years and by 2019 - before the start of the COVID restrictions - one 40' container full of books was being shipped every week and schools in 20 countries were receiving books.