“Reading is the best thing that can happen”
As part of the Ghana Library Authority’s drive to improve access to books across the country, in February 2019 it launched a new mobile library service. Now, vans filled with up to 5,000 books – including books supporters like you have helped to send – are touring schools and poor communities across ten regions.
The McCarthy Hill School in Accra is one of the lucky places visited each month by one of the mobile library vans. Here, the school’s Director, Lydia, tells us more.
How did you get involved with the mobile library?
The kids here love reading. Although we have a school library, it’s small and we realised that the books in the library were not enough.
Every term we’d devote a portion of our budget to buying new books and within a week or two the kids have read all of them. So that was becoming a challenge.
I went to an event at the Ghana Library Authority and we were introduced to the idea of the mobile library. We thought it was a wonderful opportunity because it meant the kids could have many other titles to read.
How does it work?
The van comes once a month. When the kids know the van is visiting, they all come to school excited and carrying their book boxes [to put the books they borrow in].
The fact they can climb in the van and pick their own books adds to the excitement. It’s very interactive and the staff are very helpful.
How has the mobile library changed things for your pupils?
It’s been amazing for our kids.
I’ve had two parents actually say that since their kids got their book boxes they haven’t turned on the television at home and siblings are competing to see who finishes their books first!
But I also get complaints from parents that their children are reading too much! They are reading instead of hurrying up to come to school; in the evening when they have to go to bed, they are reading.
Why is it important for children to read?
Books opens their eyes to the world. Once they read, they ask questions, they want to find out more.
Reading also makes them confident. Everywhere we take our kids, people are impressed. They are very expressive, they have good vocabulary and it’s because they read.
I think reading is the best thing that can happen to a child.
The mobile library is a wonderful opportunity. I have already begun spreading the good news to other schools!