The Ashanti Regional Director of the Ghana Library Authority, Ms Elizabeth Arthur, has called for immediate support for the rehabilitation of libraries in the country.
She, particularly, appealed to the government, non-governmental organisations, philanthropists and other faith-based organisations, who had interest in the development of education, to support in the restocking of libraries with new books, periodicals, as well as the payment of utility bills to keep the libraries running all the time.
She lamented the neglect of library facilities in the country, saying : “Look at the double tracking system of education, for instance, the libraries stand the chance of engaging the waiting students meaningfully, if they are properly stocked, well-resourced and assisted to operate effectively in the country”.
Ms Arthur made the statement at the maiden ‘reading festival’ organised by the Ghana Library Board for children in schools in the Kumasi metropolis.
The event brought together various stakeholders in the nation’s education development, as well as parents/guardians of the children, some of whom were presented with awards for their roles during the reading festival.
A total of 35 pupils were presented with various awards in areas of spelling word formation, and project work.
The reading festival, which had the theme: “Let the children read for pleasure”, was aimed at engaging the children in reading during their long vacation.
During the reading festival, the children, who were from the various primary and junior high schools in the Kumasi metropolis, had the opportunity to undertake individual reading, word formation, story hour and reading with friends, aimed at enhancing their reading and learning skills.
Ms Arthur cautioned that until library facilities in the country were given the needed attention, no education policy in the country would make its desired impact since every policy introduced would need the targeted students to read more.
According to Ms Arthur, out of the 30 computers in the Ashanti Regional Library in Kumasi, only one was functioning, attributing this to lack of funds to repair the broken down computers.
This, according to her, had compelled the library to stop the provision of Internet services to the public who used the facility to conduct research for their studies, as well as enhance their acquisition of knowledge.
A Private Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant, Mr Kwabena Agyei Boakye, who was the Guest Speaker for the function, added his voice to the call for children to be introduced to reading at the early stages of their lives, since it played very crucial role in their education.
He was not happy that the governments, over the years, had neglected libraries in the country although it stood the chance of enhancing the proper education of people in the country, and urged parents to develop interest in the education of their children.
He said it was not enough for parents to just provide their children with shelter, clothing and food since, according to him, that alone could not prepare them for their future development.