The Ghana Library Authority has declared 2020 as the 'Year of Learning,' under the theme “70 years of Transforming Minds through Libraries,” in commemoration of its 70 years of existence.
Ghana Library Authority is the second oldest incorporated institution by an act of Parliament of Ghana and has the mandate to establish, equip, maintain and manage public libraries in Ghana.
In an end of year press briefing, the Executive Director, Mr. Hayford Siaw, elaborated on government's investment to support its vision of connecting Ghanaians to knowledge resources through innovation.
He also said several measures have been put in place to ensure that public libraries are accessible and conducive for learning.
“In 2019, our Year of Reading, we renovated 25 public libraries that were in deplorable state and increased our footprint from 61 to 70 libraries to enable the public to engage with our libraries. Our focus was to promote patronage of our libraries while encouraging reading across the country.”
He added that “in our Platinum year, we want to be deliberate about knowledge and skills acquisition because we believe that the ultimate result of reading should be to acquire new or expand knowledge while enhancing skills.”
At the briefing, Mr. Siaw announced five main objectives set for GhLA's Year of Learning in the area of; technology, book stock, reading promotion, renovation and increase in public libraries.
In the area of technology, Mr. Siaw mentioned innovative ideas that would improve reading and learning in the country.
“GhLA, would be giving full scholarship to 1,000 Ghanaians to enroll on Udemy online learning platform, with support from Commonwealth of Learning. We also plan to set up Public and Senior High School libraries on our Integrated Library Management System (ILMS).”
On promoting reading, he stated that, “It will work with the media to disseminate information on reading and learning to create awareness about the existence of libraries. GhLA would be embarking on a nationwide ‘Read Walk’ in January 2020 to create awareness on reading. We will also organize literacy related programmes such as Personality Reads, Reading Festivals, establishing more reading clubs, to mention just a few.”
Mr. Siaw also noted that the Authority would expand the network of public libraries, and renovate more libraries, as well as, increase book stock in 2020.
Progress made in 2019 Year of Reading
Beyond renovating 25 of its public libraries and increasing footprint from 61 to 70 areas, Mr. Siaw stated that there was an upsurge in library patronage and membership.
“Whereas, library membership increased from 12,665 in 2018 to 26,334 in 2019, representing 107.90% increment, we recorded a 48.10% increment in Library patronage, from 725,751 in 2018 to 1,074,275 in 2019,” he said.
The Authority also added 255,887 new books to its stock, representing 40.50% increment.
In the area of technology, the authority developed a Digital Library – Ghana Library App, automated its Book processing operations, established a technology and innovation hub in Ashanti, Cape Coast and Eastern regions and connected all regional libraries to the internet.