Donate unwanted statistics and methodology books to an international resource center

It is very cheap to donate books to a great project, especially if you live in the US or Canada, a bit more expense if you do not. Regardless, please read on.

This is a follow up to my recent blog post about an opportunity to donate statistics and methodology books to the Serageldin Library of Alexandria. It is a chance to participate in making the library an incredible resource, perhaps the first and largest research methodology library in the world.

The post:


An appeal: Please don’t send your old statistics books to the landfill

The post presented an opportunity to get rid of some unwanted books to an excellent cause, but it was confusing. For a start, my blog post did not state where to send the books (!). There was a reason for that, which I will explain here.

Why didn’t I say where to send the books?

The unusual answer is that a warehouse in New York will only be available for a short time. Shortly, the address will be announced. The boxed books will be placed in a cargo container and shipped to Serageldin Library of Alexandria in Egypt. Stay tuned…

Ron LaPorte explained:

 I may have caused a little confusion.

  1. The main drop spot is a NYC warehouse (we do not have its address as yet)

  2. Janet McDougal is setting up a place to send books in Canada. The cost to send a book from Canada to the US is high. Therefore the costs in Canada are a lot less.  Also, if you plan to take this off your taxes, it seems like this would be a lot less complicated. (Please, please, do not take tax advice from me)

  3. Bring a Book to JSM [Joint Statistical Meeting, Baltimore, July 29- August 3, 2017. , ]. I am liking this more and more.  On you way out the door to catch the plane to Baltimore, all 5000 people coming need grab a few books, and bring them with you.  We are discussing establishing a drop off table.  The cost to send  books to NYC is not much, $2.64/pound.  We can ask the donors like you to give us $5.12 for each book.  Or we can look for some generous donor. I kind of like us all contributing $2.64 each book to NYC, and then on its way to Egypt. Also, we can broaden this as to send a book from Tokyo to Egypt costs 450 yen, or about $4.00

Egypt?! Someone asked if the Library of Alexandria was a metaphor or may a digital metaphor for some sort of online site.

 That is actually a really cool idea. I’ll pass it on to Ron — That someone, maybe an army of volunteers scan in books and make them available open access, worldwide.

But for now, Serageldin Library of Alexandria is actually a physical place in Egypt you can visit.

Research Methods Library of Alexandria –

Bibliotheca Alexandrina (BA) African Networks –

Visit Egypt? Isn’t that dangerous right now, especially for an American?

You don’t have to go there. But if you want to go, Ron LaPorte is arranging a kickoff meeting. If you go, he will arrange a personalized tour of the Library of Alexandria, and develop trips to the Pyramids.

As for the danger, Ron says:

In the past 10 years 1 American was killed. The risk of being killed in Cairo is probably 1/200 that of being killed in Detroit, or where you are living now.  Coming to Egypt will therefore reduce your risk of being shot.

Who is this LaPorte guy?

Ron is Emeritus Director WHO Collaborating Center and Professor Emeritus Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh. Learn more about his fab Supercourse Project – and Science Supercourse – With those web links you can access all kinds of lectures and slide presentations and download them for your own use. Or you can donate your own lectures and slideshows.

Maybe you don’t know how cheap it is to send books and other media within the US, but if a box is clearly marked “media,” the cost through the US Postal Service is quite cheap [. I just sent 4 pounds of CDs to my mother-in-law in Arizona for about $6.

I was asked by a psychologist if psychometrics books were sought. I asked Ron and got an answer:

 We have received numbers books from Agriculture, economics, physics, etc.  I found it easier to say that we wanted research methods books rather than try to delineate research methods books by discipline.  I just do not know for example, the research methods that are used in Psychology.  I have been talking also for example with some leading historians as they have their own set of research methods, but still grounded in the traditional classical statistics.  I want to have as complete collection as possible at the Library of Alexandria, not only for helping those in developing countries, but also for their archival value so that we can examine the evolution of research methods.  I have been reading about this history of statistics, and was amazed as to how much our discipline of psychology was there in the beginning and help shape it.  It is most interesting.

And now for an update from Ron:

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Dear Global Friends,

We wanted to ask your help to build the first and largest research methods library.  We would appreciate support with your books, and a contribution.

If first wanted to thank you all, things are moving very well for the second set of donations this year. In addition to people directly shipping to the warehouse, we are arranging at the Society for the Epidemiologic Research, and the Statistical Society of Canada for a research methods book drop off. We also have also approached the American Statistical Society, the Joint Statistical Meeting, and the International Epidemiology Society.

We ask faculty going to a meeting  to bring several research methods books, and drop them into the box, then they will shipped to a warehouse in NYC prior to sailing to Alexandria.

I have talked with the head of the Library of Alexandria, and he has put together a major piece to allow this to happen. In addition to paying the large expense to ship the books from NYC to Alexandria, he has agreed to rent a warehouse for the summer so that people could send their books virtually at any time.  Last year we only had a week making things really complicated for Hend, Lamia and I.  Thus right after the SER, SSC, and hopefully JSM, and ACSM, and others we can ship the books.  This indeed makes it feasible.

We now have probably 70% of the fund raising done mainly from the library. Also, a former  student of mine contributed. If we can gather the last 30% with your help we will have a wonderfully complete library. You will be honored on out donor page, and you contributed noted in the permanent collection at the Library.

We are aiming for a donation of 10,000 books as this appears to be the maximum a container can hold.

Please contribute your books, and support.


I blog at a number of different sites including Quick Thoughts, PLOS blog Mind the Brain, and occasionally Science-Based Medicine. To keep up on my writing and speaking engagements and to get advance notice of e-books and web-based courses, please sign up at

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