The Camel Library
To continue its work, the camel library needs more books. The bush is hard on paper, and sometimes in these seminomadic communities, readers—moving on before the library can return—take their books with them. So with the help of two author friends, I began to ask for donations. We started by asking fellow writers whose works we love to donate to the library five of their favorite books. The response was immediate, and soon the drive expanded to include not only award-winning writers but librarians, publishers, agents, readers, and bloggers in several languages—an outpouring from those who value literature. We set up a Web site to highlight donors. Contributions have ranged from Margaret Wise Brown's The Runaway Bunny to Ernest Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea to Dave Eggers's What Is the What, as well as books on astronomy and geography, and books in Swahili and Somali. Librarian Rashid Farah responded with thanks and his own e-mail address, and although he checks e-mail infrequently, a link was born, with books serving as the bridge. The camel library continues to awe and inspire by its demonstration of the lengths people will go to share a love of reading.