Village Book Builders

Village Book Builders


We bring HOPE THROUGH BOOKS by creating Village Libraries throughout the world where kids can dream, plan, and succeed. We are making a generational difference.

Christmas Break Expeditions Open

Belize is open for registration. Come spend your Christmas giving back through service travel in the Caribbean!


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Yes, I recommend this program

This was such a great experience! You get to see the people in the country you go to in a way that you never do through other travels. You can not only connect with locals but also see their appreciation for the help you are providing and the opportunities they are being given. The people love the chance they are given to empower themselves as a result of the service that you do and you get amazing travel experiences along the way. Everyone is kind and respectful and wants to help the volunteers and locals have the best experiences possible.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
If you are considering going on a trip, stop considering and just go.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The Village Book Builder Experience in Belize was amazing. It was a great feeling to serve the children in a school that had minimal library and computer resources and see the impact we can make for their future. The coordinators were great, the contacts in country were great, and accommodations were great outside of the normal tourist areas. We also got to go on a couple excursions to see Mayan ruins and go cave tubing. This helped us gain an appreciation of the country itself along with the great relationships we met through the school. My 13 year old daughter also came with me and had a great experience. I would recommend it to anyone.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
On our Cave Tubing excursion, our Tour Guide taught us that termites can be eaten as a good source of protein for survival. So, I bit into a termite and ate it.
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Yes, I recommend this program

Village Book Builders is an incredible organization that brings hope and excitement about learning to communities through books. The travel experience is enhanced with the sense of purpose that develops when the group works together. Opening a library and working with the children provides travelers with the opportunity to immerse themselves into the culture of those with whom one may never have interacted if traveling as a sightseer. I can’t day enough about the wonderful experience I had opening a library in Malawi this past summer. The most incredible pet of the journey for me was teaching the librarian and teachers how to access resources using the RACHEL server. I am forever changed. I look forward to learning even more on the Kenya trip in July 2020!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open to learning from and through others. Be flexible. Be yourself.
In Peru!
Yes, I recommend this program

Going to Nepal has always been one of my dreams, and I am so glad I had the chance to not only go but make a difference while I was there! I love books and it is so much fun to share my favorite books! This is my second expedition with Village Book and I will keep going on these trips as they are addicting!! Service is one of the things that brings me the greatest joy in life and learning about new cultures and people is a definite plus! This is a rural experience so not anything like a 5-star hotel but it is a 5-star connection with the people and doing something that really matters not just painting a wall but really making a life long difference in the lives of the people there! I would go again in a heartbeat and am so grateful for the experiences I have had!

a nice chat
Yes, I recommend this program

The opportunity to work so closely with a rural village was amazing! We really were able to become part of the village and they let us become part of their community! I learned so much about their cultures and traditions and am better because of it! I was able to play a crucial part in planning the expedition and working with the leaders of the community even before we arrived. The leaders there are so passionate about helping the next generation succeed especially the young girls who have been held back by generations of sexism, but they want to change all that. Many of them are now my closest friends and will wish me happy birthday and reach out to me on facebook to see how I am doing. This really has been a life-changing experience and I am excited to continue to work with them.

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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Elisabeth Baird

Why did you choose this program?

I was looking for a way to serve. A friend of mine was going, so I decided to join in. I have always loved books, so it was a natural fit. Also, when they found out I was an art student, they let me lead the mural designs in the library. It was so much fun as they connected me with local experts, so we could make each mural highlight their local culture. I learned so much in the process.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

As I mentioned they connected me with local experts as I planned the murals. Also, when we got there, I told them what colors and materials I would need and they made sure all the materials were there when we arrived. They planned the entire trip, taking care of everything, which was great, so I could just focus on service and enjoying the experience being a part of the village!

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Make sure you prepare before you go; you make such a huge impact, I wish I would have prepared more with my lessons and art projects. Also, bring tums; even though you will try amazing food, not everything is easy on the stomach.

Lastly, make sure to bring good walking shoes. We did a lot of walking as we went to every home.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

When we arrive, we take the day pretty easy, as it is a long trip. Then the first Sunday we do more service, then we head to the village.

On the first day of service, we go to school and have breakfast made by local cooks. Then the kids start to arrive at which point we separate them into groups and start a series of classes.

After lunch, we head out and do home visits until it is time to go back home. I spent most of the day painting but was able to go out and teach an art class to the kids and do some home visits.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I have traveled abroad before, so I didn't have a lot of fears. I guess you hear a lot about the crime that happens abroad, but you find that people abroad have the same fears when they travel to the US which honestly they are more justified in their fears with all the mass shootings we have.

I felt safe the entire time.

What impressed you the most in this trip?

So an important thing to me was that I would be able to use my skill. Now it was kind of obvious that they could use my art skills with the libraries, but I noticed that nursing students were able to share with kids about the medical field, and photographers taught the kids about photography. Village Book tries really hard to maximize the impact, but using all the skills present.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Josh Atkinson

Job Title
World Coordinator
Has been working for Village Book Builders for 2 years after being a volunteer on the Nepal program. He loves traveling and exploring new cultures.

What is your favorite travel memory?

This is a really hard question for me. I would have to say when we had finished the library in Nepal. Local leaders, municipal leaders, and national leaders came to celebrate. The village performed dances and showed great appreciation for the library. Then when we opened it the excitement of the kids was so great! I know they will cherish and take great care of the library.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

It has been an amazing experience. As a coordinator, I set up and organize all events and work done on the library for the trips that I lead. I have learned how to break cultural barriers. I have learned how to work with different people from different cultures and help them work together. It has been eye-opening to see new cultures and learn from them.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

One of the volunteers shared that she loved staying with a host family. She shared that as she spent time with them and ate with them, she was able to understand their culture better. She was so grateful for the opportunity to become a family with the Nepali people. To her, it was one of the most eye-opening experience.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would want to go on one of the literacy expeditions. These are some of the coolest immersion programs. You come to know the village and feel like family. There is a great sense of accomplishment as you work with the villages to build a library and teach the community how to be lifetime learners. You also get to see some of the local sites and come to love the place you serve in.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

One of the things that made our experience different is the cultural immersion experience. We don’t sugar coat experiences. Sometimes this can be hard, but you come out with a stronger love of the people and a feeling of accomplishment. We stay with host families and eat what they eat; we work alongside the village so that they feel like the village accomplishes something as well.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

Accomplishment. At the end of the trip, the volunteers should feel accomplished. The villages we work with should feel accomplished. If that comes to fruition, it has been a success.

Our goal is to create reading cultures. If the village feels accomplished, they take ownership and work to gain education through books.