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

Head Librarians

Joana Felih, Kathy Knowles Community Library, Accra (since 1991) 

Joana has been with OCLF since the first small library opened on Osu Avenue. She not only runs her busy library but manages training for lay librarians, teaches literacy classes and helps to oversee OCLF facilities. Joana visited Canada in 2005 to volunteer with schools and literacy groups. She then travelled to Tanzania in 2007 to help set up seven libraries in rural schools. In 2010 she accepted, with Kathy Knowles, the IBBY-Asahi Reading Promotion Award in Spain.

Joana: “I am very excited to work in this library. Every day I watch children reading and see adults learning in our literacy classes. This puts a smile on my face.”

Kate 150 x 150Kate Akwa, Nima Maamobi Community Library, Accra (since 2005)

Kate recently took over as the charge librarian. She oversees a number of activities including literacy classes, a food program and a young cultural troupe.

Kate: quote is to come…

Sharon Opoku-Gyan, Mamprobi Gale Community Library, Accra (since 2009)

Sharon accepted her leadership role with enthusiasm. Her library is located among a cluster of schools and is always a busy place. The library recently added special art programming along with cultural dancing. The gardens around the library are lush with flowers and trees, a contrast to the barren land from its opening days.

Sharon: “I really like having children around me. I love watching them play and enjoy the books. This is the right place for me!”

Vivian Amanor, Kathy Knowles Community Library, Goi (since 2001)

Vivian’s first library was on the beach where she read to children from a basket of books. In June 2008, OCLF opened a free-standing library with strong local support. At the community’s request, it was named the Kathy Knowles Community Library. Vivian has illustrated her own book, Abena and the Corn Seed, with fabric and local materials.  She also completed the illustrations for My Animal Book. In 2013 Vivian travelled to Tanzania to help a new library project in the Maasai village of Arkatan.

Vivian: “I enjoy my job because I love children and I like reading too. Anytime I am with children I feel very great because I learn from them and they learn from me.”

Abigail Elisha, Nungua Community Library, Nungua (since 1995)

Abigail has been part of our OCLF community since 1995 and was appointed head librarian when the Nungua library opened in 2003. This is one of OCLF’s largest libraries and on many days more than 300 children pass through its doors. Abigail travelled to Canada in April 2009 to share her experience with Winnipeg school children and to participate in literacy programs with Emilie Wall, a former OCLF volunteer from Manitoba.

Abigail: “I love working with children so the library provides a perfect opportunity. The children enjoy coming to read books or do puzzles. When the building is packed we are very busy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANaomi Awusi, Nima Maamobi Learning Centre, Accra (since 2006)

Naomi was among the first staff members when the Centre opened in 2006 and is now the manager. She is attentive to details and handles matters concerning various layers of government with diplomacy. Naomi is acutely aware of the needs of her people and she strives to make the place a hub for her community.

“I never believed in libraries until I found myself there. Not only is it a quiet place to acquire knowledge, it is a place where you can improve your critical thinking.  I love my job at the library.”

Matilda Mercer Yeboah, Accra College of Education Community Library, Accra (since 2011)

Matilda assumed the responsibility of OCLF’s largest library with grace and determination. The library has a study hall for senior students and a children’s section. It takes a great deal of coordination and skill to make sure that the library is always kept clean, well organized and with stimulating programs that will appeal to all age groups. In 2012, she took the initiative to introduce adult literacy classes.

Matilda: I believe I have the responsibility of making the library the citadel of academic excellence to both the young and old within the community.”

Joana_thumbJoana Anane-Nsiah, Korle Gonno Community Library, Accra (since 2014)

Joana accepted the position with enthusiasm while knowing it would not be easy. This library is very close to the sea. She will oversee that measures are put into place to ensure that the building, furniture and books will be maintained — daily cleaning of the railings to keep salt from eating into the metal, regular cleaning of the mosquito nets as moisture accumulates daily, frequent lubrication of all the hinges and doors to prevent rusting and close monitoring of the books — and a staff of 19.

Joana: “It’s always a joy to see the children coming in their numbers to the library to read, listen to stories and do puzzles. I love children and am so proud to be part of this vision.”