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Biblionef International
A blue book in a blue-and-white circle, with the caption "Biblionef: give every child the joy of reading".
Motto Give Them Books Open Up Their World
Formation 1989
Type Book Donation Organisation
Purpose To make books available to children and adolescents in their own official language, for reading, pleasure and education.[1]
  • Pinelands, Cape Town
Coordinates 33°33′44″S 18°17′43″E / 33.56222°S 18.29539°E / -33.56222; 18.29539Coordinates: 33°33′44″S 18°17′43″E / 33.56222°S 18.29539°E / -33.56222; 18.29539
Region served
South Africa, Belgium, Surinam, Netherlands, France, Flanders, Ghana, Dutch Caribbean
Official language
English and French

Biblionef is a book donation non-profit organisation based in several countries Netherlands, South Africa, France, Dutch Caribbean, Flanders, Surinam and Ghana. Biblionef donates new storybooks to under-privileged children and adolescents. The organisation donates books to institutions like schools, day care centres, crèches and other organisations with an educational focus in informal settlements and rural areas.[2]


Jonkheer Mr.Maximilien Vegelin van Claerbergen, a former Dutch ambassador, initiated Biblionef in 1989 in France. The name Biblionef derives from "biblio" referring to books and "nef" referring to a ship. The organisation's stated objective is to provide children in disadvantaged areas of the world with new storybooks.[2]

Biblionef SA[edit]

Biblionef's offices — SASNEV Building

Biblionef SA is part of an international network of 6 independent non-profit organisations. Due to South Africa's education and literacy problems, a Biblionef depot was opened in the SASNEV Building (4 Central Square, Pinelands, Cape Town) in August 1998. Executive Director, Jean Williams, established Biblionef SA under the auspices of Biblionef's founder, Vegelin van Claerbergen.

The office houses a book stock covering stories in all eleven official languages of South Africa. Biblionef SA operates as an independent, non-profit organization. It is responsible for obtaining and distributing the new storybooks to under privileged children in South Africa. The cost of the books, shipping, warehousing, and administration is covered by funds from foundations, corporations and individuals.[2]

Biblionef Netherlands[edit]

The Dutch Biblionef coordinates also Biblionef Ghana, Biblionef Dutch Caribbean and is supportive to Biblionef Surinam and Biblionef South Africa which it also founded. It operates from The Hague. Among the board members are Rein van Charldorp (Chair and Managing Director of OCLC) and Bjorn Stenvers.

Biblionef France[edit]

Is the first Biblionef and was founded in 1989. It operates from Paris and supports all French speaking countries.

Biblionef Belgium[edit]

The have an office in Flanders

Biblionef differs from many other book donation organisations in 2 key areas:

  • Biblionef donates new children storybooks in all the official languages (e.g. the 7 of South Africa).
  • Due to the shortage of mother-tongue publications, the organisation works with local publishers and writers to commission the printing of children's books in the African languages.[3]


  • Donated 1,241,059 new story books
  • Benefited 7,252 children's organizations
  • Reached 3,477,000 children
  • Donated an average of 12,000 books per month
  • Assisted 51 schools and communities with informal libraries
  • Commissioned the translations and publication or reprints of 83 titles in one or more of South Africa's official languages
  • Supported 21 schools for the visually impaired with braille and large print books[citation needed]

Awards and recognition[edit]

  • Western Cape Government's Promotion of Marginalised Indigenous Languages Awards – February 2014[4]


  1. ^ "Home Biblionef South Africa". Retrieved 26 July 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Williams, Jean (May–June 2004). "Biblionef SA ...bring books to the bookless" (PDF). Cape Librarian 2004. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  3. ^ "Biblionef South Africa". Reading Worldwide. 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "Cultural Affairs Awards 2013 / 2014 Winners" (PDF). Western Cape Government Culture Affairs and Sport. Retrieved 19 July 2014. 

External links[edit]