Sharing the Joy of Reading with an African Child
for 25 years

Kathy Knowles, OCLF Director

Kathy Knowles was born in Toronto, Canada and received a Bachelor of Nursing Science degree from Queen’s University. She practiced nursing in various paediatric hospital settings including a year in Moose Factory, a Cree community in northern Ontario.

In 1989, Kathy and her husband, John, travelled to Accra, Ghana, West Africa with their four young children after John accepted a position with Sikaman, a Canadian gold mining company. Observing that Ghanaian children in their neighbourhood had no opportunities to read storybooks, Kathy started a weekly reading circle under a tree in their garden. This initiative led to the establishment of the Osu Children’s Library Fund, a non-profit Canadian organization, and the Osu Library Fund, a non-profit Ghanaian charity. Together, these organizations have built eight large community libraries in the Greater Accra region and have helped to create more than 200 libraries in Africa, mainly small-scale initiatives in schools and rural communities.

The family returned to Canada in 1993. Since then Kathy has volunteered on a full-time basis from her Winnipeg home with the support of dedicated volunteers. She also works in close partnership with Ghanaian library staff, local government officials and board members.

See recognition link for honours