Sharing the Joy of Reading with an African Child

Libraries built within the Greater Accra Region, Ghana

Kathy Knowles Community Library, Accra (1992)
On Second Avenue in Ridge, 50 metres from the Kofi Annan ICT Centre of Excellence.
Hours: Monday to Friday from 9:00 – 5:00 and Saturday until noon.
Contact: Joana Felih at 027 745 2380 or felihj@yahoo.com

OCLF’s first permanent library is a converted shipping container. Programs include storytimes, literacy classes, computer instruction, arts and crafts, cultural dancing and lay librarian training.  OCLF books are available for sale.

My First Day at the Library  by Foster Dankwa


Nima Maamobi Gale Community Library, Accra (1998)
On Kanda Highway in front of the new National Mosque of Ghana. There is a parking lot immediately before the library (beep your horn and the gate will be opened).
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9:00 – 5:00
Contact: Hannah Opoku-Agyeman 028 799 9537

The library offers literacy classes and numerous outreach activities, including regular storytimes and a daily food program.


Mamprobi Gale Community Library, Accra (2001)
Next to Mamprobi Girls’ School and close to the Abodwe Medical Clinic.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 9:00 – 5:00
Contact: Sharon Opoku-Gyan 024 398 0974

The library, adjacent to a large school compound, is one of OCLF’s busiest. It is known for its beautiful garden which features a Ghanaian-carved statue of Winnie-the-Pooh!


Nungua Community Library, Accra (2003)
In Nungua, a community 5 km east of Accra, and next to the Nungua Town Park.
Hours
: Monday to Saturday 9:00 – 5:00
Contact: Abigail Elisha 054 241 7557

The library overlooks the ocean and can accommodate 300 members at any one time. Dancing and drama are popular and a daily food program meets individual needs. The library is open Monday to Saturday from 9:00 – 5:00.


Nima Maamobi Community Learning Centre, Accra (2006)
On Kanda Highway in front of the new National Mosque of Ghana. There is a parking lot immediately before the library (beep your horn and the gate will be opened).
Hours
:Monday to Friday 9:00 – 9:00 and Saturdays until 5:00 
Contacts
: Naomi Awusi 027 501 0021 or Martin Adjei Legend 020 363 6154

The Centre accommodates 150 in the upstairs reading hall and 250 in the lower multipurpose room/theatre. Evening literacy classes and a full scale theatrical and dancing troupe make this an exciting community hub. Workshops addressing community needs are also arranged.


Kathy Knowles Community Library, Goi (2008)
From Accra travel east on the Aflao Road. About 30 minutes after the Tema Roundabout, you reach the Sege intersection with a green signboard indicating Goi. Turn right until you reach the sea. The road then curves left. Continue until you reach the village of Goi. The library is on the left.
Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 – 5:00 and Saturdays 10:00 until noon 
Contact
: Vivian Amanor 054 149 9528
The library started in 2001 with a cart, a box of books and Vivian Amanor, an exceptional librarian, in the fishing village of Goi. This is a lively place with a dynamic drama troupe and a football team. An adjoining guest suite accommodates volunteers.

Accra College of Education Community Library, Accra (2011)
On the compound of the Accra College of Education and .5 km from the IPS [Institute of Professional Studies]. Its compound was formerly known as ATRACO.
Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 – 9:00 and Saturdays until 5:00
Contact: Matilda Mercer-Yeboah 020 860 8632

This library lies within the compound of the Accra College of Education on the outskirts of Accra near Madina. The upstairs reading and reference hall accommodates 150 and the lower level 100 children.


Support for libraries outside the Greater Accra Region of Ghana

Library at the School for the Blind, Akropong (2000)

The library room attracts many of the school’s 280 students with its excellent supply of Braille books and tactile educational toys. The library opens according to the school year’s timetable.

 

St. Cecilia School Library, Ho (2004)

The library started in an unused classroom under the leadership of Mawunyo Klu, their hardworking librarian.  A new freestanding library is almost complete. The school matched OCLF monies to fund construction costs, with support from Manitoba Council of International Cooperation.


Support for libraries outside Ghana

Marondera Children’s Library, Zimbabwe

Kathy Knowles met head librarian Patricia Matira at the Zimbabwean International Book Fair in 2002. Patricia invited Kathy to visit her library, and this began a long-standing friendship and partnership. Patricia visited Ghana in 2012 to see OCLF libraries and to share ideas from her many years of experience.


 Burkina Faso

OCLF has worked in partnership with Friends of African Village Libraries [FAVL] for many years. This has included visits in 2006 and 2010 to share ideas and to create joint publications in local languages.


Tanzania

OCLF, in partnership with the Robin Hurt Wildlife Foundation, ran library workshops for 14 schools in 2007 and 2010. OCLF is now funding the construction of the Arkatan library, a pilot project in a Maasai community near Arusha, with local citizens contributing 20% of the cost.

April 2013
Arkatan community members remove building materials from the truck.

 

 

August 2013
The trusses are in place and the library will be roofed soon.

 


September 2013
The library is nearing completion! Kathy and Vivian Amanor, a librarian from Ghana, travelled to Tanzania to help the new librarian.

Vivian stands with students from Arkatan School and Wesley Kaleshu, an officer for the Robin Hurt Wildlife Foundation, OCLF’s project partner.


Philippines

Following the 2001 Reader’s Digest story about OCLF, Sr. Natividad Parin, a  nun from the Philippines, wrote, “I’m sure your labour of love, the Gift of Literacy, can cross the deep ocean to reach our shore… the article has kindled hope to start a reading centre.” Soon after, this dream was realized.  OCLF has provided book donations and ongoing encouragement.