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

Reaching out

We give support and encouragement to libraries beyond Ghana’s borders.

Our publication: How to Set Up Community Libraries for Children has helped many communities.

Allada, Bénin

Eliane (right) at the KKCL with her translator,

Eliane (right) at the KKCL with Kaba Diene, her translator. Kaba, originally from Guinea, attends English literacy classes with us at the library.

Eliane Agondja, a woman from la Casa Grande, came for lay librarian training at the Kathy Knowles Community Library. We hired a translator to help facilitate the training as Eliane’s first language is French.

Eliane wrote to tell us she learned the following tools which increased her knowledge in the area of library management:

  • Reading stories to children
  • Knowing how to build a schedule for programming
  • Understanding the importance of cleanliness in the library.

Eliane also had the opportunity to visit other OCLF-sponsored libraries. After the training, we donated 59 books in English and 71 books in French.

Abuja, Nigeria

Oluchukwu Anunobi started a small library for children and found our guidelines helpful. She wrote to say that she had picked up many ideas and they reassured her that a lot can go on in a library!


Arkatan Community Library, Tanzania 

The exterior of the Arkatan Community Library (built in 2013)

Arkatan Community Library (built in 2013)

The library has been a huge help in reading to the Masai village community. Having a librarian trained by Miss Vivian Amanor from Ghana has made it a place of fun and learning for the children. The Monduli District Leadership has visited the library and will be holding an opening ceremony on the 12th of September 2015. They have promised to add books from the education department

It is our belief that through this library the fight against illiteracy in the Masai community will be more successful.

Joash Vomo and Wesley Kaleshu, Robin Hurt Wildlife Foundation, Arusha

We are thankful for the partnership that the Arkatan library has with the Longido District Learning Centre. Kathy Knowles

Children wash their hands before entering.

Children wash their hands before entering.




Leah, the librarian at the Longido Centre, engages young readers

Leah reads to young children at their library.

Longido District Learning Centre, Tanzania

TEMBO is delighted to have an opportunity to congratulate OCLF on its 25th anniversary and to express our thanks for their help to us. TEMBO is a small Canadian NGO, based in Ottawa, which has been supporting education for girls and microbusiness support for women in the Longido District in northern Tanzania for more than 10 years. Early in their educational support efforts, it became clear to Canadian supporters and local Tanzanian staff that access to books, especially curriculum books, was needed if the girls they were supporting were to succeed. They also recognised that access to books at an early age would give all the children of Longido a greater chance of success in school.

TEMBO decided to establish a small library and OCLF libraries were great role models. and they provided good advice and moral support for that project.

In time it became clear that a larger library was needed and as plans were developed with the community for the Longido District Learning Centre, OCLF was again an excellent source of advice. Moreover, Leah Kisambu, the Tanzanian in charge of the library, spent time in Accra to gain experience. She returned to Longido feeling inspired and with many ideas for the development of the Centre.

The Centre has opened and its many resources and programs have been influenced by this partnership with OCLF. Of course OCLF books are very popular in the Centre! We are grateful for this partnership and we look forward to continuing to work together.

Maureen Law, TEMBO Secretary and Board member

Mpika, Zambia

ZambiaKatebe Lukwasa has an after school reading program. She wrote, “I read your guidelines and they have really given me a great idea on how to start a community library. Thanks for the helpful guidelines! I agree with you starting small is always the best.”

She explained that in Zambia the culture of reading is beginning to take root. The majority of library users are below 24 years of age, mostly students or adults struggling on their own to get some qualification. Educated adults usually prefer books which relate to their occupation and may lead to promotion. For the majority, serious reading ends with passing their examinations.

Illiteracy and a poor reading culture is a big issue. This is due to the lack of libraries in most rural areas and there are very few books in rural schools. Most families are very poor and so they cannot afford to buy books for their children.

Marondera, Zimbabwe

Patricia (lt) with Vivian Amanor in front of Goi's poem tree.

Patricia (lt) stands in front of a poem tree with Vivian Amanor, her host librarian in Ghana.

Patricia Matira is the head librarian of the Marondera Children’s Library, which is located 75 km from Harare. She wrote, “It was in 2002 when I met Kathy Knowles at the Zimbabwe International Book Fair (ZIBF). She benevolently donated money for me to purchase books at the ZIBF and then she visited our library.

During her visit she partook in various activities with the children. Some of the reckoning moments were the story time with the children and the nursery rhyme [Row, row your boat, Gently down the stream … ]. It was a memorable day.

It was a dream for us to find someone who would assist us with ideas, financial assistance and even with books. Kathy sent us a box of library books from Canada, but unfortunately we did not receive the parcel. She further organised – with help of a friend in Zimbabwe – to fix our ceiling which was in a dilapidated state. It is now twelve years later and still the ceiling is in good condition.

OCLF sponsored Patricia so that she could attend the 2013 IBBY Africa Conference in Pretoria.

OCLF sponsored Patricia so that she could attend the 2013 IBBY Africa Conference in Pretoria.

In 2012 Kathy paid for my travel expenses from Zimbabwe to Accra. My visit there was an eye opener, a transforming experience. The welcome was great. I learnt a lot from the time the children entered the library until they left.

Kathy Knowles also initiated my travel to South Africa to attend the IBBY round table conference. I presented a paper on reading promotion at our children’s library. It was a great experience to attend the symposium. It was really a joy of reading from Canada to Africa, Zimbabwe and Marondera in particular.

We appreciate all the benevolent work done by Kathy Knowles. I further extend my gratitude to all the volunteers of OSU Children’s Library Fund for their support to me and to our library. Thank you.”