Book Drive for the Maldives Science Society
SAPF teamed up with Astro Book Drive, a small organization based in Sri Lanka, to collect books and other materials on astronomy and related fields for the Maldives Science Society, now called the Maldivian Association for the Advancement of Science. From September through December 2010 we collected over 500 books, magazines, DVDs, posters and other educational science materials for both children and adults.
The majority of these materials are books on astronomy, space and
related fields, and the rest cover a wide variety of other natural science
topics. Highlights of the collection include:
Popular science bestsellers by notable authors such as Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan, Simon Singh and others
Textbooks, both university-level and for children
Science picture books for children
Scientific reference books
Star-gazing night sky guides
How-to books featuring simple science experiments with easily obtainable materials
Biographies of famous scientists
Wacky science activity books by John Cassidy of San Francisco's renowned science museum The Exploratorium
Large-format "coffee table" books with gorgeous photographs from space
This book drive was the first effort of it's kind in the Maldives and it is estimated that thousands of people will benefit from gaining access to these books about science, which can stir readers towards a better understanding of nature as well as foster improved critical thinking skills.
SAPF shipped the books to the Maldives in the spring of 2011. Customs processing of the shipment took a long time -- MAAS is the first independent science organization in the Maldives, and to all of our knowledge, this was the first time that the Maldives Customs Service had to process a large donation to a local nonprofit. In addition, the Maldives experienced major political upheaval in 2011 and 2012, which put the processing of the books on hold for quite a while.
We've recently heard from Astro Book Drive that the books finally cleared customs and were distributed to schools. We'll post more details as soon as we can.
Many thanks to everyone who donated books, boxes and packing materials. Thanks also to the Friends of the Palo Alto Library, who for many years have provided free used books to non-profit organizations.
Astro Book Drive works to improve astronomy education in developing countries by sharing resources. Developing nations have numerous astronomy clubs and science associations aiming to popularize astronomy among students and the public. The enthusiasm of these groups is great but they are hindered by a lack of resources to conduct programs. Astro Book Drive coordinates efforts to get unneeded and unused materials in developed countries to people for whom they will make a big difference.
The Maldivian Association for the Advancement of Science (formerly the Maldives Science Society) is the first and only independent organization promoting science in the Maldives. The goals of MAAS are to foster enthusiasm for science and technology, disseminate scientific ideas to citizens of the Maldives, increase scientific awareness and critical thinking skills, and create an environment for scientific creativity, research and discovery in the Maldives. MAAS arranges talks and films on scientific topics, hosts public astronomy events such as stargazing and eclipse viewing, and reaches out to schools and youth groups.