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Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan

Resources on Librarianship in Afghanistan

One of CW4WAfghan’s program areas is supporting community libraries in Afghanistan (see our Program Afghanistan Reads! for further information). This section of the website is to share good practices, lessons learned, networks and resources from our involvement in the libraries and reading sector in Afghanistan.


As per the request of participants in this libraries workshop, a listserv was established for people to continue to stay in touch and coordinate, plan and have general discussions on libraries and books initiatives in Afghanistan. Members manage their own subscriptions via a Google Groups LISTSERV

This group is for coordination, information-sharing, planning and discussion on initiatives related to libraries of all kinds and sizes, and books in Afghanistan. Subscribers are asked to keep all posts relevant to this topic, to be succinct, and respectful in all communication. CW4WAfghan moderates the list and potential subscribers may request an invitation to join by emailing Please include your organization's full contact information and a short description of your interest in joining this listserve.


For those who may inquire about sending books to Afghanistan from Canada, please be advised that CW4WAfghan does not have a books donation program. While there are some programs that provide this opportunity, overall it is prohibitively expensive to ship books (or any items) from abroad to Afghanistan. We prefer to purchase local books to equip our libraries with these much needed resources. This in turn helps to build the local book resources, stimulate the Afghan economy and support local publishing.


In March 2012, CW4WAfghan hosted a workshop on Library Programming and Outreach Activities. The purpose of the workshop was to brainstorm ideas for activities that could be hosted in Afghan libraries. These ideas included how to promote reading and literacy, such as reading hours, book clubs, family literacy and other programming. We invited our partner organizations and a range of other organizations with experience to share on this topic. CW4WAfghan and participants benefitted from the many lessons learned in this field so far in Afghanistan. Since then, we have developed tools for Afghan literacy teachers to plan library activities, notably the Library Activities Menu, Work Plan, and Process, as part of Afghanistan Reads!

Materials presented at the workshop are provided as a resource by the presenters. Other resources will be made available at this page whenever possible.

  1. The Story of a Successful Library Project for Women. This four-page story has been prepared by Jamila Afghani, NECDO that highlights: How We Established the Nazo Ana Library for Women; Methods of Spreading the Culture of Reading; How Two Shelves of Books Grows to 7000; Deciding Which Books to Purchase; Attracting More Members; Library Management Training; Creating The Librarian Association.
  2. Presentation by the Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU), Dupree Foundation at CW4WAfghan's Library Programming Workshop, Kabul, March 14, 2012.
  3. Reading Promotion Strategies, Presentation by the Afghanistan Book House at CW4WAfghan's Library Programming Workshop, Kabul, March 14, 2012.
  4. Ideas for Library Programming, Presentation by CW4WAfghan at CW4WAfghan's Library Programming Workshop, Kabul, March 14, 2012. (PowerPoint Presentations available here: Section A ENGLISH; Section B ENGLISH; Section A DARI; Section B DARI).
  5. An excellent overview of libraries in Afghanistan is provided in this section of the Afghanistan Cultural Profile:
  6. How Books Are Brewing a Cultural Renaissance in Afghanistan is an excellent article by columnist Atifa Safi discussing the "rebirth of a love of reading in Afghanistan."


  • The Afghanistan Centre at Kabul University (ACKU): this initiative of the Dupree Foundation produces the Able Box Libraries, small collections of high quality local language books produced for Afghan readers. Below is a link to a CW4WAfghan hand-out on the Able Box Libraries. CW4WAfghan orders these libraries to equip our own schools and village libraries with books.

  • Afghan Libraries and Archives Working Group: The mission of the Afghan Libraries and Archives Working Group is to enable the long-term development of libraries and archives in Afghanistan to reach modern, standardized and professional levels of access to information, services, and quality of staff by being a channel to mobilize community and government support; by promoting and enabling professional training for staff; and by encouraging the development of a reading and research culture in Afghanistan. For further info, contact  Vision statement: The Afghan Libraries and Archives Working Group envisions the library profession in Afghanistan with a vibrant reading and research culture where libraries and archives are recognized, supported, valued and respected by communities and government as safe and open spaces supporting a vibrant reading and research culture; staffed by professionally educated personnel using standardized and modern industry tools; and with access to local and global information resources in both print and electronic formats.  Click here for the Dari version of this information.

  • Afghanistan Book House: this Afghan NGO is set up to supply training and resources for libraries in Afghanistan. Materials for libraries are sourced locally and internationally, and they can also offer training in technical and specialized aspects of library set-up and running. ABH provides professional training in librarianship for Afghans. They successfully trained our own librarians and literacy instructors in 2011 in managing libraries (ABH Brochure may be downloaded below in English).

  • Book Club Afghanistan: Book Club Afghanistan is the biggest organized community of readers in Afghanistan, and its aim is to promote book reading in Afghanistan, especially among youth and students. Two Afghan youth, Jamshid and Atifa, came up with the idea, drawing from the huge influence books had had on their own lives, and were soon joined by an enthusiastic team of dedicated and passionate Afghan readers. They wanted others to discover a love of reading as they had, and use books to help people find their true potential. The Club sees "book reading as a tool of self-help through which people can make their own and other people’s lives better and change the society’s view towards things for better”. The club meets every two weeks and undertakes the following activities: 

- Book-Talks: Members who have read books are invited to do a presentation on their book.
- Book Summary: Each individual who has read books during the previous two weeks can summarize the book for others. 
- Writers: Published writers are invited to speak as special guests about their work. 

​For more information, visit the Club’s Facebook page, or contact Jamshid at: hashimi@outlook.com9to10bookclub2.jpg

  • CAMPAIGN: The #9to10 Reading CampaignThe Book Club of Afghanistan has launched a campaign called #9to10 to promote a culture of reading in Afghan homes:  "The #9to10 hashtag is launched to encourage Afghan families to start reading books every night from 9:00 pm to 10:00 pm. It's a time to turn off the TVs, put our mobile phones in silent mode, gather family members and start reading books. To promote it, you can use the #9to10 hashtag by posting the name of the books you are reading, a picture of the passage you are reading or the encouraging posts you publish in your Facebook timeline or Twitter feed to support this initiative. Let's spread the culture of reading books, let's read books from #9to10!” CW4WAfghan is thrilled to endorse this campaign which supports the objectives of our Afghanistan Lowalee! / Afghanistan Reads! Program.
  • Books With Wings:  Books With Wings is a collaborative project between Canadian and American university students and their counterparts in Afghanistan, sending tons of donated books to the universities of Afghanistan. They need student leaders to form many more chapters to meet the requests for books.

  • ALCTS: The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS), a division of the American Library Association, accepts grant applications for the ALCTS online Fundamentals courses. One free seat per section is available to librarians and information professionals from developing countries. For full information about the grant, including criteria and a link to the application form, please see:

  • Afghan Research and Evaluation Unit: The AREU is an independent research organization in Kabul with a library of Afghanistan-specific materials, a collection of over 16,000 titles that is fully searchable online. The library is located in the AREU office (Hs. 144, first gate on the right, 3rd street on the left from Charahi Haji Yacoub toward Charahi Shaheed, Shahr-i-Naw, Kabul). It is open for researchers from 9am-12.30pm and 1-4pm, Sunday to Thursday (during Ramadan 8am-2pm). Closed on public holidays. All materials are available for use within the library, and photocopying is available. No materials can be borrowed. To contact the library staff, email

  • American University of Afghanistan Library: The AUA has their library catalog online, as well as links to open access books and journals, though most resources are for AUA students.

Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan
PO Box 86016, Marda Loop, Calgary, Alberta
Canada T2T 6B7

t: 1 (403) 244-5625

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