In Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Japan and most of Eastern Europe the principle works of J R R Tolkien are widely available. The books are stocked (or if not stocked readily available through) most major bookshops either in English and/or translated into the local language. In most of these countries the prices are with in reach of a large proportion of the population. In addition most major public libraries will have copies of at least The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings available for loan, and those that don't will be able to find copies through local inter-library loan systems on request. Especially in the English language areas many school libraries will also hold copies of the books.
However in much of Africa, Asia, South America and the Pacific books for retail sale are very expensive for ordinary people. In addition funds for public libraries are limited and will often be focused on "useful" books or books by local authors. Where libraries have been stocked during colonial times the literature may be concentrated on traditionally classic authors.
The Committee has agreed to set up a programme to provide the principle works of J R R Tolkien to public and school libraries in the less developed world. The aim of the Scheme is "To work towards a situation where everyone in the world has access to Tolkien's principle works of fiction".
There is still some work to be done on the detail of how the scheme will be run, and we are seeking a VOLUNTEER to help with this and to administer the programme. If you are interested in this position please contact us.
Some money will be provided for the scheme from the current funds of the Society, but we will also be seeking donations specifically for this project. More information will be given when we have worked up more of the detail of the programme. In the meantime if you would like to make a donation follow this link.