The Library Tree: How a Canadian woman brought the joy of reading to a generation of African children by Deborah Cowley traces the story of OCLF from its beginning with six children under a tree to today with eight community libraries in Ghana’s capital, Accra, and outreach to more than 200 smaller initiatives including those outside Ghana’s borders. It is available through book stores and amazon.ca
It is important to have meaningful and easy-to-read books for African children. When OCLF started in 1990, there were very few locally-published children’s books. Fortunately, that is now improving. OCLF does its best to purchase books in Africa, thereby endorsing the local book industry; this includes books in local languages, when available.
OCLF has published books in Swahili, Jula and French. In September 2011, Chantal Compaoré, the First Lady of Burkina Faso, was presented with four OCLF books in Jula on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Peace Corps volunteers in Burkina Faso.
In 2011, with support from an International Development Grant from the Government of Alberta, OCLF produced two photo-illustrated books in Creole for the children of Haiti. This request for assistance came from Haitian teachers, who also raised funds to make this project possible.
In 2007, with support from the Manitoba Council of International Cooperation, OCLF produced a three-part series highlighting Ghana’s natural resources (fishing, mining and forestry).
In 2006, with support from the Wild Rose Foundation (since renamed the International Development Grant from the Government of Alberta), the OCLF embarked on an initiative to publish several photo-illustrated books for early readers. According to Joseph Abongo from northern Ghana, “…they are excellent locally produced materials and very ordinary for the rural child to comprehend.”
In 2006, with support from the Chen Yet-Sen Foundation of Hong Kong, OCLF published a four-part series called Literacy Changed My Life based on real life stories drawn from our literacy classes.
In 2002, with support from Manitoba Council of International Cooperation, OCLF partnered with Sub-Saharan Publishers of Accra to publish a series of adventure stories about Fati, a little girl from Northern Ghana.
In 2010, Dustin Ciufo, a volunteer who worked at an orphanage in Ghana, purchased OCLF books before his placement. “I don’t know how I can adequately express how much the children LOVED the books. It was so remarkable to see the children continually reading them over and over, day after day, wanting the books read time and again!”