The Ghana Library Authority (GLA) has declared 2019 as “Year of Reading” to encourage the youth and students to develop the habit of reading.
Under the circumstances, therefore, the authority, with support from the government and in collaboration with some corporate institutions and communities, is revamping all of its libraries throughout the country.
The GLA currently has 61 libraries throughout the country and is adding 15 more libraries previously managed by private individuals and institutions.
The Ag Chief Executive Officer of the GLA, Mr Hayford Siaw, who announced this in Accra yesterday said February 19, 2019 had been fixed as the date for the launch of the programme and it would be on the theme: “Reading for progress.”
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He said the authority had embarked on an aggressive renovation of its structures and also on creating awareness of the programme as its contribution towards ensuring quality education in the country.
Mr Siaw said this yesterday when the Deputy Minister in Charge of General Education, Dr Yaw Osei Adutwum, paid a working visit to the Ghana Central Library situated in Accra Central.
He has appealed to corporate institutions in the country to invest more in libraries as their contribution towards the kind of education “we all want to see in the country.”
Mr Siaw said the GLA was also restocking all its libraries with books and was reintroducing the mobile library service and also digitising its activities in order to bring books to the doorsteps of readers.
He said the decision to declare 2019 as a year of reading was a strategic objective in support of education.
“We are receiving about 100,000 books from Book Aid International and this means that our libraries will have fresh content from across the world. The truth is that the more books a library has, the more people visit the library,” he added.
“As prelude to our 70th anniversary, we are declaring 2019 as a year of reading to let people know of the transformation of the library and new materials that we have on our shelves,” he explained.
He said there was a 64 per cent jump in patronage of libraries in the country and explained that “in 2017, we had 428,000 people visiting our libraries throughout the country while in 2018, there were over 700,000 people who used our facilities.”
He attributed the growth to various facelifts the authority had undertaken and renewed interested in reading encouraged by the current administration.
Dr Adutwum commended the CEO for his foresight and determination to change the face of libraries in the country and for encouraging reading among the youth and students in particular.
He said he was excited and impressed with renovation works going on at the Central Library.
Dr Adutwum called on schools to partner with the GLA to encourage the habit of reading among students, adding that “without the authority, we will not be able to improve reading culture as a country.”
The Deputy Minister of Education commended the management of the GLA for deploying its staff to assess the capacities of libraries in senior high schools throughout the country and to ascertain how best it could revamp them.
“The move will help improve the culture of reading among students,” he said.
He, however, expressed his concern over the low levels of reading in the country and said he hoped that with the steps being taken by the GLA the situation could be turned around.