Tag Archives: Ghana Library Authority

Solomon reading

An update from Ghana

As lockdown restrictions in the UK begin to ease, in line with new government guidelines our South London warehouse has reopened.

We are now working to resume operations as fully as social distancing and health and safety measures allow and we are thrilled that our first shipment has just left, carrying 52,683 brand new books bound for Ghana.

In about four weeks’ time, these books will reach our partner Ghana Library Authority (GhLA).

We caught up with Hayford Siaw, GhLA’s Executive Director to find out how Covid-19 has impacted Ghana and how these books will be used in their work to support their country’s post-Covid recovery.

 

Books arriving in Ghana
A shipment is now on its way to Ghana! (This photo is of books arriving in 2019)

The books are on their way! How will GhLA make use of them?

We are excited to receive the books. They’ll be safely distributed to our libraries across the country to enable our patrons everywhere to benefit from the wider range of books to choose from when libraries reopen.

Kids reading
The books on their way will give readers a wider range of new books to choose from when libraries reopen

How have the restrictions affected the work of GhLA?

Due to the ban on all public gatherings we have had to shut down all our public libraries. Our Mobile Library Van which also provides mobile ICT services has also paused. Sadly, our 70th Anniversary activities which would have included public gatherings have had to be rescheduled.

Education will be negatively affected.

What plans do you have for when libraries reopen?

Before we reopen our libraries, we will disinfect them all to create a safer environment for patrons and staff. Once they are open, we will work to improve and maintain good water, sanitation and hygiene in our libraries.

We will also launch a My Library Campaign to encourage people back into the libraries and we also hope to support digital community learning by providing Wi-Fi into communities using libraries as central Wi-Fi hubs.

Reading and learning from the books will provide a positive distraction to the harm Covid-19 has caused to communities.

Shop in Jamestown
All non-essential shops and businesses were temporarily shut down but are beginning to reopen now

What restrictions on normal life are currently being imposed because of COVID-19?

Ghana’s borders have been closed and there has been an indefinite closure of all educational institutions and public libraries. Public gatherings have also been banned including sporting events, conferences and workshops. All businesses except essential service providers were temporarily shut down however they have now reopened but must observe the prescribed social distancing and hygiene measures.

Reading and learning from the books will provide a positive distraction to the harm Covid-19 has caused to communities.

What challenges do people in Ghana face because of these restrictions?

There has been a hike in the price of basic food supplies as a result of panic buying when the partial lockdown was imposed. In addition, the temporary closure of businesses has resulted in the loss of many jobs and a decline in income. For example, private school owners cannot pay staff since schools are not in session. The hospitality industry is also being adversely impacted due to the border closure and slowdown in demand for international travel.

The partial lockdown in Greater Accra and Kumasi increased hardships for the city’s urban poor who were confronted with hunger since they were restricted from going about their work to earn daily wages which could barely afford them three square meals daily. The government has provided two free meals for 400,000 vulnerable people daily.

How has education been affected?

Schools were shut down on 16th March 2020 and education will be negatively affected even though the Ministry of Education is trying to bridge the gap through online and TV learning.

Most students are unable to study effectively from the house due to several factors including the inability of parents to assist their children on how to access online learning platforms, limited access to the internet and a lack of the technical know-how needed by students to effectively utilise e-learning platforms.

We’re also running a radio storytelling hour. The rationale behind this is to educate Ghanaians at home and encourage reading and learning.

Do people often have books at home in Ghana?

Not all do but some Ghanaian parents keep books such as textbooks at home to aid with children’s homework. However, many Ghanaian homes have access to smart phones, therefore we have provided the Ghana Library App to ensure that every Ghanaian home can access reading materials in the form of eBooks.

What work are you doing to keep people reading while libraries closed?

We have enhanced our Ghana Library Mobile App so that our readers will have many options to choose from and have also developed a new system give patrons access to school-related and other educative content such as e-books, video and audio files through our mobile apps.

In addition, we have launched a National Short Story Writing Challenge. The Challenge is an open-subject story-writing contest for children aged nine to 18 and is aimed to help children at home make good use of their time during Covid-19.

We’re also running a radio storytelling hour. The rationale behind this is to educate Ghanaians at home and encourage reading and learning.

 

We are proud to be working with the GhLA to ensure that when schools and libraries reopen in Ghana, people have access to inspiring books to get back to learning and rebuild their communities.

Reading activity in Uganda

Enjoying stories across the world

The books that supporters like you help to send are loved by children across the world!

Here, we’ve gathered together some of their favourite reads which they shared with us to mark World Book Day on the 5th March:

 

Reading can open up a whole new world to the reader, you can become whoever you want to be – a pirate, a spy, a princess, or an animal. By reading you can travel, explore new worlds, and go on adventures. All that is possible just by opening up a book.

– Clarissa, Street Children Empowerment Foundation, Ghana.

 

Thimpu, Bhutan

Bhutan book club

 

Keen young readers in Thimpu, Bhutan, love visiting their local READ Model Centre after school where Ms. Yangcen leads read aloud sessions. Recently, she read I Love Mum with the Very Hungry Caterpillar.

 

Dandora, Nairobi, Kenya

Enjoying books at DADREG's library in Nairobi

 

In Nairobi’s Dandora slum in Kenya, the community library run by our partner DADREG is a place that children love to visit to share stories. It’s a place that keeps them busy away from the local landfill site where many of them often join their families to sift for items to sell to make ends meet:

Reading storybooks puts smiles on our faces and books make learning exciting!

Ghana

Enjoying books in Ghana

 

In Ghana, the kids at the schools and libraries supported by our partner Rainbow Trust love to read all sorts of books; here they show off just a few of them!

We love reading these books because they are colourful and packed full of fun! Some of the books, like Samson: The Mighty Flee and The Wildest Cowboy encourage the children that with perseverance, they can succeed.

Mathare, Nairobi, Kenya

The kids who read at Mathare Youth Sport Association’s (MYSA) libraries in the Mathare slum in Nairobi, Kenya, are lucky enough to have lots of staff and volunteers who read all sorts of stories with them.

Sharing stories at MYSA in Kenya

 

At MYSA’s Mathare North Library the kids recently listened to Librarian Stephen reading We Could Help:

Here in the Mathare slums, people litter everywhere so I chose ‘We Could Help’ so the children realise that they can join hands to clean their communities for a better tomorrow.

– Stephen

And Library Attendant Charles, read them The Little Dancer and Other Stories – because they love to dance!

Sharing stories at MYSA in Kenya

Most of the children I was reading the story to are in the library dancing club. So I thought the story might encourage them to continue dancing and maybe think of starting a ballet dancing club in the library.

– Charles

 

Banjul, The Gambia

Reading at Gambia National Library Service Authority

 

All sorts of children’s fiction and non-fiction books are loved by the kids who read at the Gambia National Library Service Authority’s library! They especially love story books.

 

Kpando, Ghana

Sharing stories in class in Ghana

 

The kids at Delta Preparatory School’s Library Club (which gets books from its local Ghana Library Authority branch) love sharing the The Stone Age to the Iron Age book and learning how tools and farming techniques have changed.

 

Gaza Strip and the West Bank

In the West Bank and Gaza Strip, our partner Tamer Instuitue for Community Education organises all sorts of reading workshops and activities, book launches, discussions and good old read alouds!

 

Musanze, Rwanda

Reading at Agati Library in Rwanda

 

In Rwanda, the kids at Agati Library in Musanze particularly love to be read Momo and Snap, a picture book about the ups and downs of the friendship between a young monkey and a young crocodile.

Reading Momo and Snap creates a feeling of excitement, thrill and even friendship.

Gwanda, Zimbabwe

Young readers at the Edward Ndlovu Memorial Library in Zimbabwe love Funnybones so much that they request it again and again!

 

Tonkolili, Sierra Leone

Reading at Tonkolili District Library

 

In Sierra Leone, children enjoy reading all sorts of books and stories but at Tonkolili District Children’s Library, The Dinosaur Who Pooped A Lot! is a particular favourite!

 

Jamestown, Accra, Ghana

Sharing stories at Street Children Empowerment Foundation in Ghana

 

The children at Street Children Empowerment Foundation’s library in Accra, Ghana are currently reading a book called Mine:

The children love the illustrations and we chose this book because it teaches the children how important sharing is. Sharing spreads happiness – and so do books!

 

We are continuing to work with our partners as much as possible and support them wherever we can as they respond to COVID-19 and find new ways to give as many people as possible access to brand new books.

 

Ghana child reading

“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.

 

Lydia
The pupils at Lydia’s school love reading

 

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.

Kids waiting to choose books
Excited pupils queue for their turn to choose some new reading books

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.

Kids showing the books they have chosen
Pupils show off the books they have chosen

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!

Study Hub opening

Our first STEM Study Hub opens in Ghana!

We’re delighted to announce that in partnership with the Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) we’ve opened our first STEM Study Hub in Ghana at the Accra Central Library, generously funded by Aggreko.

New Study Hub in Accra
The new STEM Study Hub at Accra Central Library about to be opened

The aim of the new STEM Study Hub is to enhance the Accra Central Library’s ability to support the city’s secondary school students in their study of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths) and help them prepare for exams. There’s a particular focus on encouraging more girls to pursue further study and careers in STEM.

This new section of the library is filled with 1,800 brand new UK publisher-donated revision guides and STEM subject materials plus local curriculum text books and resources to assist secondary school students’ studies and exam preparation.

Opening the STEM Study Hub in Accra
Mr Hayford Siaw, Executive Director of Ghana Library Authority opens the new STEM Study Hub

Librarians overseeing the new Study Hub at the Accra Central Library have also taken part in training to strengthen their skills in supporting students in studying STEM subjects, undertaking research in the library, revising and how to tackle tricky exam questions.

Librarians also have also been equipped with copies of a special ‘Pass It!’ guide to use with students. The guide is filled with revision tips and real life case studies of women working in STEM careers.

Students at work using STEM books in Malawi
Secondary school students use books at a STEM Study Hub in Malawi

In addition, three local secondary schools in Accra (including one girls’ school) have each received a donation of 400 STEM books to further bolster students’ STEM studies. The donation also included some youth fiction and leisure reading to help students relax at what can be a particularly stressful time of their educational career.

A second Aggreko-funded STEM Study Hub is also opening at GhLA’s library in Koforidua in Ghana’s Eastern Region to support local students. This includes a donation of books to three secondary schools in the area.

We would like to thank Aggreko for their generous support of our STEM Study Hubs project in Ghana.