Ithaca Rotarians are sending 1500 children’s books, medical textbooks, dictionaries and other literacy materials to fellow Rotary clubs in Southern Africa. As part of the Books for the World project, the Ithaca Rotary club joined Rotarians around the world who are collecting, shipping and distributing books to impoverished schools and libraries.

The Ithaca Rotary Club is the first club in District 7170 to participate in the project. Club members were joined by members of the Ithaca College Rotaract Club, and members of the Alpha Sigma Phi fraternity at Cornell University.

The books were purchased at the Friends of the Library booksale with funds raised by weekly raffles at the Rotary club meeting. Rotarians Janet Steiner and her husband, Rotarian Edward Kokkelenberg organized the project, which took place on Sunday, October 24, 2010, when all children’s materials were priced at ten cents.

A big thanks to the following people who helped.


  • ·       The Friends of the Library, who were accommodating and helpful during the time that we were at the booksale site.
  • ·       Doug Jones, Alpha Sigma Phi Iota Chapter President, along with Daniel, Derek, Andrew, Phil, Karl and Jordan, assembled and taped the boxes and did the heavy lifting of 24 cartons of books.
  • ·       Ashley, Melanie and Allie,  Ithaca Collerge Rotaractors, who assisted the selectors by packing the cartons and counting the books.
  • ·       Rotarian Jim Fogel who filled two cartons with medical textbooks.
  • ·       Rotarian Edward Kokkelenberg who filled two cartons with dictionaries and thesauri.
  • ·       Rotarian Millie Clarke-Maynard, Perri LoPinto, and Barry Stein who selected the children’s books, filling 20 cartons.
  • ·       Rotarian Patrick McKee who drove the truck packed with the cartons of books, palletized the cartons and stored them at Challenge Industries where they will be picked up by a trucker heading for Houston.
  • ·       Rotarian Ward Vuillemot, District 7150, Coordinator of the Central New York Books for the World Project, who guided the club and provided clear directions and advice.

Once the books arrive in Houston, they are packed into an ocean container, along with pallets from other Rotary Clubs in the United States and shipped to a warehouse in Johannesburg. South African Rotarians organize the books by subject at the Distribution Center, where qualified schools, libraries and educational institutions are invited to come and take as many books as they can carry.

The Books for the World Project is only one of many international service projects undertaken by the Ithaca Rotary Club.