Our vision is to see village libraries run by Tongans, operating throughout Tonga to enhance the reading, writing, and speaking of English.
We do this by partnering with local villages and working in collaborative partnerships with businesses, other organisations and individuals from anywhere, who want to support the project.
Books4Tonga encourages all Tongans to enjoy reading and make it a natural part of their lives and recreation time, not just something to do at school.
We purchase new books, receive financial donations, and we receive donations of books. We welcome donations from anyone, anywhere.
Contact us about donating:
How we do it
We find villages that want to host a village library. When we are all ready, we supply them with at least 300 books. We seek out donations of new and used books in good condition, as well as in-kind support such as free freight; and we purchase books with the financial assistance of our donors.
B4T has purchased many books, and this helps us to target specific books that Tongans request. During the first book donation drive in 2017 we gathered books in Melbourne and New Zealand, then sorted and packed them for 19 libraries. They were shipped from Auckland by the Matson Foundation, which donated almost a year of free shipping to the end of June 2018.
Each village creates its own library, based in a home or a community space, and run by locals who become the B4T librarians. Opening hours are scheduled to suit the community.
The books are aimed at pre-school through to adult readers, so they are not only for children. Our 6 categories are: pre-school, picture/early reader, early chapter, teen, adult, and non-fiction books.
To ensure a variety of books for each place, at certain times books are exchanged, moving from village to village.
Business and individual partners collaborate with B4T on English writing and speech competitions, offering prizes as incentives to library users to take part.
Why we do it
Some years ago the Founder of B4T, Cynthia Wallis Barnicoat, realised there were almost no libraries for community use in Tonga, actually, maybe only one.
The people of Tonga greatly respect education, and there are libraries in schools. However, those books tend to be fairly old; and there is a craving for easily accessible and more up-to-date reading material, and the knowledge and delight it brings. Tongans know that enhancing their English skills can bring better futures, but for many, books are unaffordable.
Gradually Wallis came up with the idea to create small village libraries run by locals. The concept was first scoped and then tested with the support of the people of Hofoa village, where a pilot library was launched in 2016. Soon after, Books4Tonga was born, and it became a registered charity in early 2017.
Would you like to donate to Books4Tonga?
Please contact us!
Support our 2023 book drive is on 14, 15 & 16 September in Auckland. We're seeking fiction and non-fiction for all ages AND helpers too!
More information available HERE.
OR Sponsor a library! - it costs approximately $NZ2,500 to establish one village library by purchasing brand new books, and there are some shipping and duties costs too.
OR talk with us about donating fiction and non-fiction books
OR ask about making a small donation towards the purchase and shipping of books
OR perhaps there is another way you would like to help? We always need volunteers in Auckland and in Tonga!
Drop us a line and we will get back to you. Malo!