Metu Community Library Book Project

Shenandoah Presbytery’s ongoing project with Books for Africa to collect good quality children’s books is almost a reality. Thanks to so many folks from across Shenandoah Presbytery, books for the Youth Library in Mettu, Ethiopia, and those books destined for the Gore Hostel and the girls elementary library in Addis are one big step closer to their homes in Ethiopia.

The Gilchrests drove a rental trucks containing more than 4,000 donated books to the books for Africa’s 50,000 square foot warehouse in Atlanta. There the books were added to the leisure reading and academic texts provided by BFA, placed on pallets, stretch-wrapped and readied for the container that will carry them to Ethiopia. The books will arrive later this summer at the port in Djibouti, Africa, and then be shipped by truck to Addis Ababa. From Addis these books are designated for distribution to our three partner libraries, including the Metu Youth Library in Metu, the elementary library at the Bethel Mekane Yesus School for Girls in Addis, and the youth library at the Gore Home for Children in Gore.

Renee McCulloch and Cliff Gilchrest take a break after loading Boxes of books for trip to Atlanta.

Betty Gilchrest stands among boxes of books headed for Nedjo, Ethiopia.

The Ethiopia Partnership Committee is truly grateful for the support this project received from throughout our Presbytery, not only for the wonderful books donated, but also for the generous financial and moral support.  A special thank you goes to Massanetta Springs and to Fred Holbrook, and to Charlsie and Jerry Miller.  Their kindness and generosity enabled us to store and sort the donated books in convenient and accessible locations in the Harrisonburg area.

We also need to recognize the early, indispensable efforts of Telile Dange Bayissa.  Her fund raising efforts with Ethiopian teens in the Washington, DC area raised several thousand dollars which jumpstarted this project by providing the seed money that has now borne the fruit of more than 20,000 books.

Thanks to the support of the Opequon Presbyterian Church congregation, the library building was completed and made ready for these books.

A library with books is an opportunity to help with the education of young people. And it is an opportunity for congregations of Shenandoah Presbytery to connect with the people of Metu, and especially with the children and youth. This library is now open to the whole community, and will be the only “public” library in Metu.

The Ethiopian Partnership Committee worked with Books for Africa to help nurture a reading culture in Ethiopia.  Learn more about the Books for Africa program at

If you have questions about the project, contact the coordinator, Cliff Gilchrest, at