The world applauded Ghana, courtesy of the Ghana Library Authority (GhLA), for emerging the Library of the Year at the London Book Fair (LBF) International Excellence Award.
The GhLA was able to reach this far because it succinctly told its transformational story of how library services could tackle some of the most pressing social issues confronting their users.
The judges of the keenly contested competition saw the story of the GhLA as “amazing” to which the Daily Graphic cannot but agree with them, looking at the effort the authority put in, particularly during the heat of the COVID-19, when all schoolchildren were sent home and the library buildings were shut.
The authority, using technology, managed to support remote learning to promote information skills, literacy and reading.
The LBF judges were excited that this is a great example of the difference a quality library can make.
The Daily Graphic commends the GhLA for lifting the flag of Ghana high on such a huge international platform.
Over the last few years, the GhLA had made a significant impact in transforming public library service from virtually non-performing to a very active one, deserving to receive such a global recognition and winning such an award.
From working with the Commonwealth of Learning to support over 30,000 Ghanaians enrol on its Redistill programme, supporting the Ministry of Education and the Ghana Education Service with a learning management system for basic education and enhancing the digital library with video tutorials in the era of the COVID-19, made the Ghana Library Authority stand out as a unique institution deserving an award such as that.
We see such incredible performance as a mark of innovation and relentless effort to support the Ghanaian life-long learner.
It is a fact that the fortunes of the public library service, over the past few years, have been turned around to make it viable, attractive and a learning-friendly environment.
For instance, from 394,491 books in public libraries in 2016, the figure shot up to 1,121,876 by the close of 2020 and this figure is expected to increase further by 60,000 this year when the authority is expecting to receive two separate consignments.
Within the same period, the GhLA has been able to bring public library service to the doorsteps of the Ghanaian by increasing its footprints throughout the country from 61 public libraries in 2016, to the current 96 and hoping to hit 100 by the close of this year.
This, surely is a success story worth celebrating and we are proud to be part of this celebration.
Indeed, the current management of the GhLA, led by its Executive Director, Mr Hayford Siaw, deserves a pad on the back for reviving the interest in public libraries, in particular, and literacy, in general, at a time when COVID-19 threatened to bring learning to a halt.
For instance, in 2019, the GhLA launched the Year of Reading, while in 2020, it was Read2skill and in 2021, Year of Literacy, all aimed at getting Ghanaians to develop the interest in books to remain in a learning mode to help encourage the life-long learning that the education sector has been trumpeting.
The GhLA, surely, is a shining example of how a public institution can turn things around to make itself viable.
We see this feat by the authority as truly deserving and we join them and the whole of Ghana as well as the rest of the world to congratulate all the staff of the authority.
We urge GhLA not to rest on its laurels, but keep working hard and introducing more innovative ways to encourage reading and life-long learning among Ghanaians.