The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has called for a renewed commitment to library development and has applauded the recent initiatives of the Ghana Library Authority.
NUGS is urging government to do more in expanding access to public libraries in Ghanaian communities and prioritize its development to all districts in the country.
NUGS made this known during a working visit to the Acting Executive Director of the Ghana Library Authority, Mr Hayford Siaw at the Authority’s Headoffice in Accra.
NUGS bemoaned that the 61 public libraries in the country is inadequate to meet the needs of Ghanaian students and trusts that the government will invest more resources towards the development of more libraries in communities across the country, to encourage an attitude of life long learning and improved literacy. We have many double track students who could have greatly benefited from libraries if they existed throughout the country.
The President of NUGS, Tinkaro Asare Osei applauded Mr. Hayford Siaw for the good works being spearheaded at the Authority and stated that students of Ghana are impressed with his work.
“We recognize the impressive turnaround of the fortunes of the authority in such a short period of time. We have read about the 64% increase in visits to Ghanaian libraries and we find it encouraging and commend you for making more people aware about the existence of libraries in the country’’, he added.
Mr. Tinkaro further expressed worry about the low investment in libraries over many years and called on government to do more in library development since past governments have over the years done great disservice to the development of library services.
He continued, ‘’We are aware of the low book stock and believes that a country which had 1,006,720 books on its shelves in the 1980s should not have a much reduced figure of 531,865.”
Mr. Hayford Siaw welcomed the leadership of NUGS for their concern on library affairs and encouraged NUGS to continue to show concern on library related issues since major beneficiaries of the library system are students.
Mr. Siaw stated “Government of Ghana through the Ghana Library Authority has shown commitment to address some of the systematic issues confronting the public library system. In the past year, we have established the largest Book Processing unit for any public library in West Africa, a new Acquisition and Distribution unit has been established, Mobile Library re-launch is underway, Renovation of some libraries to make them attractive, Ongoing automation of our operations, recent deal with Book Aid International to supply books of commercial value of over 500,000 British Pounds annually, as well the declaration of 2019 as a year of reading.’’
The Acting Executive Director in addressing the concern on low number of libraries in the country, assured the NUGS delegation that the Authority will in 2019, add 15 new libraries to its network and progressively work with all stakeholders to achieve coverage in all districts over the coming years. Among the new libraries coming up in 2019 includes the Takoradi new Library complex, National Children’s Library at Airport, and others in Ashanti, Eastern and Central Region.
NUGS pledged its commitment in helping to uplift the image of reading and the library system in the country since the greatest beneficiaries of the library systems are students and the youth.