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

Receiving recognition

SONY DSCNovember 2013: YMCA Peace Medallion,Winnipeg
“The responsibility for peace begins with each person, in relationships with family and friends, and extends to community life and national activities”

The late Sally Irwin, a former OCLF volunteer, and Akosua Knowles accepted the  honour on Kathy Knowles’ behalf. Kent Patterson (l), YMCA’s CEO, and the Honourable Philip S. Lee (r), former Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba presented the award.


July 2013: Presidential Citation for Innovative International Library Projects
Presented by the American Library Association 


May 2013: Governor General’s Medallion Award presented by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada

Your efforts to give Ghanaian children the opportunity to immerse themselves in the wonderful world of literature have brought our two countries closer together.”


December 2010: One of  Canada’s 25 Transformational Canadians

This honour recognizes individuals, “who through their vision, leadership and action, are catalysts for transformational change.”


September 2010: IBBY*-Asahi Reading Promotion Award

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKathy Knowles and Joanna Felih received the award on behalf of OCLF in Santiago de Compostela, Spain.

* International Board on Books for Young People


July 2010: Order of Manitoba

The Honourable Philip S. Lee, the former Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba, presented the award.

The citation read, “Kathryn Knowles is the founder and volunteer director of the Osu Children’s Library Fund, a not-for-profit charity established in 1991 to bring books and literacy into the lives of thousands of children and adults in Ghana, West Africa.”


May 2009: Soroptimist Making a Difference for Women Award, Winnipeg 


June 2009: Honorary Doctorate of Laws in the Field of Education, Queen’s University, Kingston, ON
The citation read, “A meticulous self-taught lay librarian who is often called upon for her wisdom as a speaker and an adviser on literacy training and library programs for children.”


As Canadians, it is so important for us to realize the constructive influence we can have on the world. You are proof that the vision and actions of just one person can make a tremendous difference in so many lives!”

Former Governor General Michaëlle Jean, November 2006


2005: Flare Volunteer Award, Toronto, ON
Kathy has single-handedly enriched the lives of thousands of children in Ghana, West Africa. Motivating a vast contingent of volunteers, both in Canada and Ghana, she has given the lifelong tools of reading and writing to thousands of children while volunteering from the attic of her Winnipeg home.”


August 2004: Ghanaian/Canadian Special Achievement Award
Presented by the Ghanaian community in Toronto.


2002: Lewis Perinbam Award for International Development, Ottawa, ON


It was wonderfully inspiring to see your project replace hopelessness with pride and hopefulness on the faces of so many young Ghanaians. What you have achieved through your perseverance, your inspiration and determination in promoting both education and literacy is a model for all of us and, for that, I wish to express my deepest gratitude.”
Robert R. Fowler, former Personal Representative of the Canadian Prime Minister for Africa, December 2002


June 2001: Meritorious Service Award, Ottawa, ON
Through her labour of love promoting literacy, Kathryn Knowles has enriched the lives of many children half a world away and brought great honour to Canada.”

Former Governor General Adrienne Clarkson


2000: YWCA Woman of Distinction Award, Winnipeg, MB


This library project has had a tremendous effect on thousands of children all over Ghana. They now have access to a library, to books and most important of all, to the joy of reading. For the first time, they feel they can take charge of their lives. They now have dreams they didn’t have before. It is truly a miracle what happens in those libraries.” Florence Adjepong, Director and Treasurer of Osu Library Fund, Ghana.


What happens in the Nima library is nothing short of phenomenal. Everyone had given up on most of those kids, but Kathy has taken them off the streets and showed them something more. Indeed, the minute those kids entered that library, a whole new world opened up for them.” Emma Amoo-Gottfried, Director of Osu Library Fund, Ghana.