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Ghana Library Association calls for creation of national library

BY: Daily Graphic
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Education
Dr Matthew Opoku Prempeh, the Minister of Education

President of the Ghana Library Association, Mr Samuel Bentil Aggrey, has called on the government to create a national library to help keep relevant national information.

He said a national library was important because it would help preserve all publications of the country and perform other critical roles.

Mr Aggrey made the call during the 8th Presidential Inaugural Lecture of the association in Accra on the theme: “National Development through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - The Role of Libraries.”

Quoting the Encyclopaedia of Library and Information Science 2010, he said: “National libraries are supposed to be the official repository of printed work, the general access library, information bibliographical centre and the centre of coordination, planning and simulation of the entire library system of the nation.”

Expected roles


“Many African countries such as Togo, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Somalia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, Cameroon, Mali, Chad, Southern Sudan, Kenya, and Nigeria have national libraries which are playing their expected roles,” Mr Aggrey said.

Mr Aggrey stated that in the absence of a national library, the public library assumed further responsibility of preserving the cultural heritage of Ghana, as well as providing resources and facilities for socio-economic development.

He said libraries had significant roles to play in national development and that it was heartwarming that the current UN Agenda 2030 on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) provided a clear pathway for the inclusion of libraries and access to information in the national development plan.

He noted that the 17 SDGs were hinged on “poverty, hunger, health, employment, education, gender, sanitation, infrastructure, consumption, ecosystem, climate, peace, and partnerships,” and each nation was to set up structures to achieve the goals, targets and indicators.

Mr Aggrey said establishing a national library would help Ghana achieve the SDGs by 2030 as agreed upon by all nations, pointing out that it was relevant for the libraries to play critical roles in the achievement of the SDGs through the repackaging of information for public consumption which could alter the behaviour of citizens to move in the direction of the goals.

Increased subvention

Mr Aggrey called on the government to increase the subvention to libraries to ensure the effective management of public libraries.

“Government must resource the public libraries with the much needed funds, materials and infrastructure and, if possible, place libraries as a special unit under the presidency,” he said.

Mr Aggrey called for the establishment of libraries in all districts to promote reading habits among Ghanaians to contribute to the development of the nation.

Libraries portray the entire history of a society and are, therefore, vital for the social and cultural development of the country.

Libraries play significant roles in national development by providing access to information in the national development plan but those libraries in the country have completely run down through years of neglect.