If you are setting up a library in rural Africa, there are some things that I would say are indispensable. This list may change as we set up more, but it will only get better.

POWER already setup in the library (or your phone will run out and you will be working with flashlights because there is no way you’ll be leaving before the sun sets)

PRINTER (you will be reprinting labels, lists, instructions, and the dozens of other things you didn’t realize you’d need until the moment of)

PAPER (for brainstorming, temporary labels, last minute documents, wiping away sweat)

TAPE (A MUST. Bring 10 rolls. In fact double that and bring 20. Everyone will need them. They’ll go fast. You’ll wish you brought 40)

TACK (That blue sticky stuff. Temporary art hangings? No problem. Don’t let kids take it or they’ll spend all afternoon moulding toy soldiers.)

WATER (You will be moving around and getting hot. If you’re down to crunch mode, you can’t afford a headache. Stay hydrated.)


GARBAGE BAGS (With setup comes unwrapping, sorting, cleaning. The mess builds up fast)

I.T. SPECIALIST (Find the person responsible for setting up the computers and printer and don’t let them leave your sight. Give them meals, drinks, whatever it takes. I.T. problems will inevitably pop up, and you will be clueless)