THE government has since 2017, constructed 54 public libraries to shore up the number from 61 to 115 as of the end of last year.
In addition, 29 public libraries have been provided with internet connectivity, with 67 of the libraries being equipped with 688 computers to support literacy information and communication technology studies.
The Vice-President, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, who said this, added that the government had also invested in the development and roll-out of a digital library application system being managed by the Ghana Library Authority (GLA).
He was speaking at the inauguration of a newly constructed Children and Mobile Library at the Airport Residential area in Accra yesterday.
Dr Bawumia also said that the government had increased the number of books on shelves of public libraries from 393,430 as at the end of 2016, to 1,281,839 at the end of 2022, representing a 325 per cent increase within six years.
He added that 48 out of the 61 libraries inherited in 2017, had received a facelift, saying the investment demonstrates the commitment of the government to improve literacy levels in the country.
The Vice-President commended the GLA for their “relentless effort which had led to the global recognition of your work”.
The two-storey library was constructed by the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), in collaboration with the GLA.
It consists of an early childhood section for two to five years, a children’s section for 6 to 12-year-olds, and a teens section for those between 13 and 19 years.
It also has a book processing section, an indoor playing ground, an Information and Technology (IT) section and two conference and training rooms, among other facilities.
The library contains 22,000 books written by both Ghanaian and international writers, and 50 computers, including 24 tablets at the children’s section and assistive devices for people with visual and hearing impairments.
Dr Bawumia said building a culture of reading among citizens, especially children, required deliberate efforts of both parents and the state.
He emphasised that the ability of children to read and write by age 10 was the surest way of closing the nation’s current learning poverty gap, adding “we face a learning and human capital catastrophe without urgent action to reduce learning poverty”.
The Vice-President further said that the government through the GETFund had also provided 20 new Pick-up vehicles for the GLA, including revamping of its mobile library services.
“I urge other corporate institutions to emulate the example of SSNIT and do more for the Ghanaian child,” he said.
The Executive Director of GLA, Hayford Siaw, said the building was completed and officially handed over to the GLA in October 2022.
He said in 2016, the governing board and management of the GLA reached out to SSNIT for support to extend library services to children in the Greater Accra Region.
Mr Siaw said SSNIT agreed to construct the library and also provide a mobile library van for young library patrons who were unable to commute to the facility.
He described the facility as the most technologically advanced and inclusive children’s library in West Africa with 1,500 books and 20 laptops for mobile library services to communities and schools.
To access the library, Mr Siaw said: “You have to visit www.library.gov.gh or download the Ghana library app on google playstore or appstore for iOS users, register and use your library number to access”.
He said libraries were not only helping to build a culture of reading, but also provide space for lifelong learning and acquisition of skills.
Four students who participated in the Ghana Library Smartlife Scholastic Vacation Reading Challenge received awards.
The programme was organised by the GLA and Smartline Publishers Limited last year.
Source: Graphic Online