Nonprofit supplier Books For Africa celebrates the milestone and seeks help at its St. Paul warehouse

In 1988, Tom Warth set out to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but stumbled upon a much loftier goal -- ending what he calls Africa's "book famine."

Warth, of Marine on St. Croix, had just sold his book business and was traveling the world. He ended up at a public library in Uganda, where he saw a librarian, children and virtually no books.

Back in Minnesota, he collected surplus textbooks and sent them to that library in Uganda.

It was the start of Books For Africa, a nonprofit organization based in St. Paul that has shipped millions of books to 46 African countries.

The official number of donated books topped 25 million recently. So on Thursday, Books For Africa celebrated that milestone and International Literacy Day by calling for volunteers to sort and pack books at its St. Paul warehouse. The festivities continue next weekend with a South African-style barbecue at the warehouse, open to the public.