Donated ELI Used Books Are Given New Life

Posted: January 21, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Michelle Nery

Like many divisions within the university, the English Language Institute (ELI) had hundreds of books collecting dust on their bookshelves, but not any more. Those already-studied and gently worn books are now being shipped off to places like Kabul University in Afghanistan, whose library has been devastated over the years of strife in the region.

“Many people don’t understand the wealth of this country,” says Kathy Trump, ELI director. “We are sending books in good condition that we don’t even use. An old book in Afghanistan is better than no book.”

Photo of ELI books

ELI staff members collect books to send to Afghanistan

ELI is sending the books to Afghanistan through a program administered by the United States and The Asia Foundation called Books for Asia. “I read an article in the paper about a university in California that had done it, and I thought, what a great idea,” says Trump. “I got on the Internet and looked up The Asia Foundation and Books for Asia program.”

Last week, ELI faculty and staff members sorted through their bookshelves filled with English grammar books and other books for teaching English to pack up to send to the program’s warehouse in San Francisco. “We are going to reach out to the world to help others learn English by sending these books,” says Trump.

Since 1954, The Asia Foundation’s Books for Asia program has distributed more than 36 million books, software, and other educational materials to 50,000 institutions in more than 40 countries throughout Asia. All donated books must be in the English language and in good condition.

The subject areas of books countries need vary from country to country and year to year. The fields of Asia studies, journalism, business, law, economics, management, English/ESL, political science, environmental studies, women’s studies, and international relations represent those that are most needed at this time. If your department is interested in donating books, contact Gavin Tritt, director of Books for Asia, at (415) 982-4640.

“If several departments worked together, we could ship the books with no cost to us,” says Trump. Because ELI is a small and self-supported division, Trump plans to pass around a hat at the next faculty meeting to collect the funds needed to ship the books.

“It’s as simple as calling that number. It doesn’t take more than a few hours to collect the books. We know that everyone has books to send,” says Trump.

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