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

Hearing from staff

AbigailI was a neighbour with Kathy Knowles at Osu. Her first library* opened in 1992 and I joined the library in 1995. At first it wasn’t easy for me to cope with a lot of children who patronized the library but because I am a mother I was able to handle them. When Kathy built the Nungua Community Library I took charge. Working with Kathy has been excellent. I did not dream of becoming a head of a library but because of the confidence she had in me, she gave me the opportunity to run the library. I have been working with her twenty years now and some of the benefits I derived was that I had the experience of how to handle both children and adults in the library; how to welcome them, how to talk and give them good respect.

Working has also improved my knowledge in running of a library. Our hard work helps encourage Kathy to establish more libraries. The joy of reading has benefitted many Ghanaian children, adults, and adults in literacy class including my children, Philip and Becky. I really love the work with all my heart. I want to congratulate Kathy for her hard work and the love that she has for the staff and Ghanaian children. I say Ayekoo. Thank you. God bless you.

* The Osu Community Library (since renamed the Kathy Knowles Community Library) was opened on October 31, 1992. It is built from an adapted 40-foot shipping container.

Abigail Elisha, head librarian, Nungua Community Library


Jeremiah (left) with Sarah Marquis, a Canadian volunteer, and Jonathan

Jeremiah (left) with Sarah Marquis, a Canadian volunteer, and Jonathan

Until the library came, schools in Goi were performing poorly. We now have all the learning materials including story books, text books and games. The librarian, Aunty Vivian, who is my mother, sits us down and tells us stories and also makes us read a lot of storybooks. I will like to thank the board for sending us good and caring volunteers and book writers. They taught us paper cutting, origami and crocheting and how to play new games.

We are very grateful for the football club [Galaxy FC] and we say thank you for the jerseys and footballs. The team gets the chance to play matches with big teams in the district. This makes them happy.

I hope and pray that the library spreads all over Africa to help the African child. God richly bless you all for your love and care for African children, and may he replace all that you have lost in Jesus name … AMEN. We love you all.

Jeremiah Okutu, assistant librarian, Kathy Knowles Community Library, Goi


Jonathan holding his art piece following the librarians' workshop

Jonathan holds his art piece following the annual librarians’ workshop where new ideas are shared.

I would like to thank the Osu Children’s Library Fund for introducing my community to the word ‘library’. May the good Lord bless you because many can read and write in my community due to the introduction of your library.

You have provided towels and soaps, repaired the faulty fans and bulbs, and walled the library compound as we had many problems when our library was fenced with wire.*

May God bless Osu Children’s library Fund.

Jonathan Alimo, library assistant, Kathy Knowles Community Library, Goi

* Goi is near the sea and the moist salty air damaged the initial fence that was erected leaving big gaps where animals (mostly goats) were getting inside. 


Fisherman pulling in their canoe.

Fisherman pulling in their canoe.

Goi is a small fishing community near the coast. For generations Goi had no library but now we can now boast of a beautiful library.

The library started in March, 2001 with only 25 books. They were taken to a classroom and arranged in an empty soap box. A bowl with water, a bar of soap,  and a towel for drying hands before reading was highly monitored. The library opened from 3 pm to 5 pm.

This continued for one year before Aunty Kathy came with boxes of books, games and puzzles. We celebrated with drama, choreography, singing and dancing. Everyone was overjoyed but still there was no building. A hired truck (wagon) was used to convey everything to the school.

We were lucky enough to receive two volunteers from Canada (Anu and Ryan). The headmaster gave a vacant classroom to be used because we realized the library was needed during school hours. Anu and Ryan wanted the library to be open throughout the day because of the eagerness of the children to read. The books were displayed in empty soap boxes and children sat on mats to read, draw and do their homework.

Each morning the books were brought from my home to the school and at the end of the day they went back on the truck. Anu and Ryan were not happy about how the children always pushed the books so they helped to find a new place. A building was given to us by our late king. It was at the far end of the community near the sea. The students used a week to clean and arrange the place. Aunty Kathy helped with two big tables and fourteen chairs.

Anu and Ryan stayed for four weeks and did so many activities with the children especially tapestries and creating art on fabrics. They later sent them to Canada for a display and were sold to raise money for our library.

But still there was something missing. Each class had only 45 minutes to spend in the library but it always took them 15 minutes to walk there. This prevented them from coming during their school hours. However, those in that area always came.

Aunty Linda Hyde, a volunteer who came in 2004 from Canada, asked the headmaster for a room to be used as the library. The school’s storeroom which was in very bad condition was released. She got some carpenters and a painter to do the renovations. Even though the room was small it was good the library was moved to the school. Aunty Linda taught crocheting. They did their own skirts, bags, purses, and caps. They sold them to people in the community and they got money to support themselves in school.

Auntie Noreen also came as a volunteer from Canada to teach embroidery. Everybody enjoyed it and till now they still do it. She spent six months with us in Goi.

Two tables and fourteen chairs occupied the library and the floor was covered with mats so that students who had no access to the chairs could sit on them for reading. As the attendance increased, the room became very small which called for the need of a bigger space.

In 2008, we finally had a library built by Aunty Kathy and we named it the Kathy Knowles Community Library, Goi. The commissioning saw great performances from the Marvelous Theatre group, a choir from the basic school, and poem recitals from different schools. Personalities from nearby communities and the capital city of Accra were all present.

Some students call the library their second home and some too call it their magic place whiles others call it their dream house. It is indeed a second home, a magic place and a dream house.

Children who feel defeated gain their strength through reading. Those who do not know peace find them in the books they read. Those who have been forsaken find friendship with their books. Those who are passing through difficulties have smiling faces through reading. Children who feel lonely and abandoned or rejected get love from the books they read. Reading can change lives. It has the power to move one from poverty to richness and also has the power to bring peace to the whole world.

Last scene of the production Abena and the Corn Seed

Final scene of Abena and the Corn Seed

Give a kid a doll to play with and you will see that dull eyes brighten followed by a big smile.

This library has received so many volunteers from most parts of the world especially Canada.

The library has a drama club, three soccer teams, reading clubs, and Boggle and Scrabble clubs. All these clubs have won various awards in their fields. There are also indoor and outdoor games for fun. The library organizes competitions for children in other communities that have no access to a library.

Vivian (right) with Deborah Ahenkorah

Vivian (right) with Deborah Ahenkorah

I had the chance to write a book entitled ‘Abena and the Corn Seed’ with the help of Aunty Kathy. I also had the chance to visit Tanzania to train and help the librarians over there. Aunty Kathy also had the chance to go to sea with the fishermen in Goi in order to complete Aunty Noreen’s book ‘Otu Goes to Sea.’

There is always a sports festival in November and a drama festival in every August. Aunty Kathy supplies food and transportation. Each November, there is workshop for every librarian.

Aunty Kathy gives money for the maintenance of the library each time she comes. She also bought a laptop and a printer. This also helps in printing some documents and also helps teach the children how to type. She also supplies books and buys them during each book fair in Ghana. The library has a lot of books from Canada.

Auntie Kathy has really risked her life to make this library a beautiful one. Your support has brought a very big change to the children here and they shall forever be grateful. May god richly bless you and the whole board of the Osu Children Library Fund. Anytime you hear the sounds of birds they are sending you a thank you message from Goi.

Vivian Amanor, head librarian, Kathy Knowles Community Library, Goi-Ada


Richard with library members

Richard with library members.

Hurray! Hurray!! Hurray !!! You have done a tremendous work and have given significant support to we Ghanaians, both children and adults.

First of all, the library started from your house inside the garden, and gradually, gradually you bought a container which cost you a lot of dollars; from Osu then Nima, then Mamprobi, then the Nima Centre, then Nungua, then Goi, then Attraco and finally Korle Gonno. Thank you for all your good job.

May God richly bless you abundantly.

Richard Tefe, librarian, Kathy Knowles Community Library, Osu


Justine preparing sugarcane for the children at an annual Reading Clinic

Justine preparing sugarcane for the Reading Clinic.

Hurray!!! The Osu Library Fund is twenty-five years old. I thank the Almighty God for what He has done through Madam Kathy. If not her, a lot of children will mess up their lives, but because the Lord touched her heart, she was able to do this great work. Madam Kathy, I say Ayeeko for your good work. Because of you, some of the children now working at big places like banks, hospitals, the airport, etc. Some are also doing their national service, some are in the university, and some in senior and junior high schools.

One thing I like about Kathy is that, she like advising people especially if you are a student, or a librarian. She knows that reading will help us one day. Thank you Kathy! For volunteers, I thank you for making input in our lives with your support. God bless you and continue to strengthen you. Once again I say Congratulations.

Justine Ativor, librarian, Kathy Knowles Community Library, Osu


Jonathan 2I love cleaning the metallic rails of the library and I always work on time.
Jonathan Nii Mensah Otoo, cleaner, Korle Gonno Community Library


Rita can often be found reading to her daughter, Maud, who loves to read.

Rita can often be found reading to her daughter, Maud, who loves to read.

Working in the library as a cleaner has benefitted me so much. The children who patronize the library inspire me and so I bring my child to join them and read.

Rita Adjetey, cleaner, Korle Gonno Community Library


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Osu Children Library Fund is 25 years old.

Thanks to all staff and members who made this success possible. Congratulations to the vision bearer of Osu Library Fund who has taught Ghanaian children the joy in reading.

Osu Library Fund, the big breast which all children come to feed.

Ayekoo!! Ayekoo!!

Kate Akwa, head librarian, Nima Maamobi Gale Community Library


I love my cleaning job to the extent that I often bring my wife to help me. Also, when I see the pictures hanging on the library walls, I’m inspired to pick a paper and draw.

Joseph Tagoe, cleaner, Korle Gonno Community Library


Reading to children in the library often takes boredom away from me and I seem to learn a great deal from the children.

Cynthia Tetteh, librarian, Korle Gonno Community Library


I’m thrilled that as a librarian, the children inspire me to read to them anytime they visit the library.

Amidu Sekinatu, librarian, Korle Gonno Community Library


I’m happy about teaching the kids the proper way of opening books.

Abubakar Wahab Bagohara, librarian, Korle Gonno Community Library


I’m happy to work in the library that is so neat and serves the whole community of Korle Gonno. The discipline of the children is most important to me.

Felicia Odamea, librarian, Korle Gonno Community Library


Working at the Korle Gonno Community Library has brought a great impact to my life, most especially, socializing with the people who come to the library to read.

Paula Asagbo, librarian, Korle Gonno Community Library


irene

Irene reads My Red Book, an OCLF publication

Irene reads My Red Book, an OCLF publication

I love it when the very young ones from the ages of two to four pick up books to read. I also love how the children are keen to listen to the stories during storytime.

Irene Togobo, librarian, Korle Gonno Community Library


Joana reading My Happy Book, an OCLF publication

Joana reading My Happy Book, an OCLF publication

I’ve learned so much ever since I took up the position as a head librarian. I’ve seen children who would never have been able to read or listen to stories but for the establishment of this library. I hope to see these children taking up vital positions in the near future.

Joana Anane-Nsiah, head librarian, Korle Gonno Community Library


Martin thumbWhen I got to the library’s fence and pushed the gate opened, my eyes rolled in shock. Behold, a hundred children with beautiful and friendly faces sat in line waiting for their turn to enter. I was hopeful that I would find what I sought for and joined the line. My eyes spot the nicely written inscription – WELCOME TO NIMA MAAMOBI GALE COMMUNITY LIBRARY.

Finally, the chance arrived. I was happy to realize I didn’t have to wait longer again. One by one, we registered our name and a number was given. It was then my turn to write my name. That was in December 1998.

I grew in excitement for the many books I enjoyed for free with the unending expectation that life was going to be well under the library building. I found out information and I made wonderful friends who motivated me to learn and to share stories we had read.

Then I joined the choir and acting group and everything changed positively. I became aware of my real talent and I moved to develop it. But what made it more interesting was the fact that there was food for the poor and hungry children. I became a proud and committed member.

On September 16th, 2001, I became a staff member. While a worker, I remained a committed reader. I read most of the books on the shelves. My favourite book was the GOLDEN OWARE COUNTERS and I still remember its beautiful sequence of events.

After two years of working, I returned to school in September 2003 to continue my senior high school education with the help of an Osu Library Fund scholarship. I continued to patronize the library every day and took part in the library activities.

I am very proud of how we created acting pieces from the story books we read. The fun and excitement we shared with the choir group as well as the soccer team which I was a captain of. I was re-employed on June 1st 2006 at the Nima library.

God has really found the right direction for my life’s journey. Almost fifteen years down the line, I feel part and parcel of Kathy Knowles’ dream. The dream that has given birth to a wonderful organization of the OSU LIBRARY FUND. I am the most fortunate guy to have benefitted from the significant service and contribution of the organization. September 16 will be my eleventh year anniversary as a staff member, and I feel hungrier to help preserve and to improve the structure and responsibility of the institution. I seemingly endeavour to work towards the continuity, improvement and success of the OLF. Just like others who have worked so hard that I enjoyed the fruits of their labours, it is my duty to contribute my quota towards the attainment of the higher status and the achievement of Kathy Knowles and the OLF goal.

Martin Adjei Legend, theatre director, Nima Maamobi Community Learning Centre, and Osu Library Fund Board member


Naomi is making a purse, an activity learned at 2014's annual workshop. This activity was subsequently taught to library members.

Naomi makes a purse from fabric and recycled materials, an activity at 2014’s annual librarians’ workshop. This idea was subsequently shared with children at our libraries. A big hit!

The Nima Community Library wishes to congratulate you for such a gallant step and your success. Do you know the remarkable impact your libraries have made in the lives of children? It is beyond description. Uncountable numbers of students have benefited through the establishment of the Osu Library Fund, and everyone can only guess the end results in Ghana for some years to come.

When I cast my memory back, where you started by turning your garage into a place for children, I believe this compelled you to have enough space. Should I say you were this vision. If yes, then your vision has been achieved. My utmost thanks to your family for supporting you in times of difficulties or challenges. How can I forget the donors who also understood your vision by donating to cushion you to make your vision a reality.

The type of vision which broadens one mind and increases ones wisdom, no one will reject. Words alone cannot qualify this vision of yours.

Director, do you know your vision has created employment avenues for many Ghanaians?  Even to the extent of providing three square meals for workers.

I say thank you for this vision and I wish you long life and long live all the library centres.

Happy Silver Jubilee

Naomi Awusi Laughsmalle, head librarian, Nima Centre


YvonneIt is with much excitement and happiness to be part of the Osu Library Fund organisation which is making a tremendous impact all over the world through reading by making the world know, experience, acknowledge and appreciate the spirit of reading which in truth is the “JOY OF READING.”

On this occasion of your 25th anniversary I say a very big ”Ayeeko” to you.

LONG LIVE TO MANY LIFE TRANSFORMING PROJECTS AND PROGRAMS

Yvonne Mercy Okine, librarian, Nima Maamobi Community Learning Centre


On this special day of the 25th anniversary of the Osu Library I, Bioh Prince of the Nima Mamobi Library will like to wish the workers and the staff of the Osu Library a happy anniversary.

Prince Bioh, National Service Personnel, Nima Maamobi Community Learning Centre

Note: The Government of Ghana requires all graduates from tertiary institutions to spend 10 months doing Service after graduation. Over the years, many NSP have been posted to our libraries.


I wish to congratulate you on the occasion of your silver jubilee celebration. Long live Osu Children’s Library.

Joseph Kingsley Oteng, librarian, Nima Maamobi Community Learning Centre


EstherCongratulations! It’s great to know that Osu library Fund is 25 years. Thanks to Almighty God who gives strength to the founder Dr. Kathy Knowles, a woman who works like the sun never sets, to help an African child develop his or her reading skills. Her love and support  for her staff is paramount.

Great mother of all Africans to live to be 100 years to continue your works for Mother Africa for your staff to emulate to make Ghana and Africa a better place.

Osu Library Fund live forever. We salute your great efforts to children. Happy anniversary.

Esther Akyeapong-Simpson, librarian, Accra College of Education Community Library


I wish to congratulate all stakeholders, partners and donors of the Osu Library Fund on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. God richly bless you for your unflinching support towards sharing the joy of reading to everyone especially children here in Ghana and other parts of the world.

Happy 25th anniversary

Dorinda Kpogo, National Service Personnel, Accra College of Education Community Library


Indeed it is very encouraging to know that the library has offered a lot of benefit for the elderly and the youth at large. To all I say thank you very much.

Vinolia Asante, cleaner, Accra College of Education Community Library


I am fortunate to share in the joy with the Osu Library Fund on its 25th anniversary. The management and every individual who contributed a quota to the successful running of the library deserves an immeasurable  applause. Happy 25th anniversary.

Faustina Yiri, cleaner, Accra College of Education Community Library


It is a great achievement to have imparted young lives for 25 years. Children are the seed of the nation and hence building them up means building a whole nation.

It takes great determination, dedication and sacrifice to vitalize the reading ability of young ones across nations. To this I say congratulations for never giving up, for giving up your comfort just to see one more child read better, for 25 solid years.

I say Ayekoo, well done. Nyame Nhyira mo, God bless you.

Sharifa, National Service Personnel, Accra College of Education Community Library


DorisHere is my heartfelt congratulations on your success as you celebrate your 25th anniversary. Success is yours right from day one when you started achieving and it required effort and dedication.

The future is a rainbow of beautiful tomorrows for children and adults you have helped. Bravo.

Doris Danso, librarian, Accra College of Education Community Library


It is my greatest joy to be part of this organization and to share in the joy of its 25th anniversary.

May God richly bless  you all. Thank you.

Matthew Ahahanyo, volunteer, Accra College of Education Community Library


KK and MatildaOn this beautiful occasion of your 25th anniversary, I wish to congratulate your establishment for the love, time, energy, money and kindness with which you share the joy of reading with all children in Africa, especially children of Ghana. Your existence in Ghana has made many idle hands active. The jobless women and men in communities where your libraries are situated are having jobs and it’s a feather in your cap.

Training and equipping your staff is what I admire about the libraries in Ghana. Supporting the needy in schools and helping your staff to improve their reading skills make your step-up so unique. Your high standard of supervision and maintenance is indeed your hallmark.

To all Canadian donors, we celebrate your benevolence. Without you, Dr. Kathy Knowles could not have reached this far with Osu Library Fund. Peace be with you and your families.

LONG LIVE OSU LIBRARY FUND!

LONG LIVE DR. KATHY KNOWLES, founder with complex origin. A Canadian of Africa descent.

CONGRATULATIONS OSU LIBRARY FUND

Matilda Mercer-Yeboah, head librarian, Accra College of Education Community Library


The library is 25 years. Hurray. I look at the wonderful things our library has done – reading competitions, cultural dances, activities, and spelling bees, etc. The aim of instilling the joy of reading in Ghanaian children has been achieved because some children who visit the library who couldn’t read or write before can now read and write well. Children sometimes rush to the library for the activities and the computers are really helping them to know more about technology. We appreciate what the Osu Library Fund is doing for our community through the library.

We say a big thanks to all the donors for the good works they are doing for our nation Ghana. God richly bless you. Madam Kathy Knowles I say a big thanks to you your family. God richly bless you. AYEKOO!

Susanna Williams, librarian, Mamprobi Gale Community Library


Emma playing 'I Know,' a favourite game.

Emma playing ‘I Know,’ a favourite game.

Thanks to God the library is 25 years old. You have come a long way putting things together for it never to be forgotten. Best wishes, Happy Anniversary.

Emma Mortey, librarian, Mamprobi Gale Community Library

 

 

 


Baba with Winnie-the-Pooh, in the Mamprobi library garden

Baba with Winnie-the-Pooh, in the Mamprobi library garden

Baba soloThe Osu Library Fund has achieved great success. I have been a gardener with the Mamprobi Community Library since it was built in 2001. I can say the library has been of a great help to me. I attended a literacy class because I couldn’t read or write and by the help of the library staff I can now read and write my own name. I have seen people come in and go out of the library and can proudly say it has been successful and helpful to a lot of people in the community. I say well done. AYEKOO.

Baba Bukari, gardener, Mamprobi Gale Community Library


ElizabethI have seen lots of achievements in this library and I doubt how this was done. I see how the library has impacted knowledge and instilled in the children the joy of reading and a can-do spirit. This is no doubt a great achievement indeed and the library has been of great help to the community.

The room for senior readers has been of great help to people in the junior and senior high schools and tertiary schools. These people find the library a very conducive environment for learning and for faster absorption of whatever they want to learn. Some also come to borrow textbooks they cannot afford to buy to learn or to do assignments given to them. They also think the library is the right place to learn because when they get exhausted or tired of learning, they can read some story books to refresh their minds.

Not leaving the kids in kindergarten and nursery schools, learning kits like the ABC blocks and puzzles provided makes learning easier for them.

OSU LIBRARY FUND, HURRAY. AYEKOO.

Elizabeth Acheampong, National Service Personnel, Mamprobi Gale Community Library


Joyce with artToday’s media is full of stories about the plight of nations. I am one of those people who see these stories and feel very bad and pity for them but they do nothing to help alleviate this desperate situation.

However, the donors have optimism for something worthy of emulation. They have shown themselves to be caring and committed people. The donations we receive have helped me achieve my dreams. I find practical suggestions for teaching successful art lessons such as making paper jewelry, drums, concertina books, greeting cards, paper collage, applique, frottage, mobile phones, imaginative drawings, paper mache animals (alligator and a dog), trays, ceramics mold works, masks, calabash designs, woven hearts, paper tortoises, gift bags, paper sandals, beaded slippers, cloth beads, cloth sandals and bags, designed tissues, table mats, special fabric, etc.

You people have proved to me that something positive can be done to help the needy. I congratulate and encourage you to keep this good work up.

You have also given me the inputs I needed to help the nation. May God bless you.  Thank you.

Joyce Yeboah, librarian (and art teacher), Mamprobi Gale Community Library


Sharon

Happy Anniversary. I am excited to be part of this great achievement. With this 25 years, the library has been able to give out educational support to children in need. The library has also built up children and young adults and that will help them to establish themselves. I say Ayekoo, well done.

Sharon Opoku-Gyan, head librarian, Mamprobi Gale Community Library