The Chief Executive of the Ghana Library Authority, (GhLA) Hayford Siaw has asserted that the Ghana Library Authority has provided a mobile library van service to underserved schools and communities that have no access to a library.
He said that although the vans available are not enough, 11 vans are currently working to support the outreach in rural communities as well as schools that have no access to the static library. These vans have been operating since 2018, he stated.
“For a very long time, we didn’t have a mobile library van, when I took over Ghana Library, all the vans had broken down, they were not functioning, but through GETFund support, we managed to get the vans back on the road, refurbished them and now, they are functioning”, he further elaborated.
Mr. Siaw also commented that most of the public schools they visited had no access to technology and so as a result, through the support of the Ghana Investment Fund, the vans move into the schools with books and computers.
“The ICT teacher for the first time is able to have access to laptops and able to bring it to the classroom to do a demonstration to the kids”, he said.
In an interview on the News in Focus Segment on Joy Learning TV, Mr. Siaw outlined the efforts being made by the Ghana Library Authority to ensure that challenges faced by all age groups and demographics are addressed prior to having access to knowledge and commended their success over the years.
He stated that the number of people visiting public libraries increased from 370,000 in 2017 to 1.2 million in 2021.
“The increase has been because there has been strategic investment in increasing the footprint of public libraries and also making sure that there are books on the shelves, because of the increase in the number of books, people find it more comfortable to visit the library”, he explained.
He continued that the Ghana Library Authority had done a fantastic job by creating a conducive environment at the various library spaces across the country and also developing the library app for easy and flexible accessibility of books.
Mr. Siaw also revealed that due to the high rate of unemployment in the country, the GhLA has partnered with the Common Wealth of Learning in providing opportunities for Ghanaians to have access to various courses on the MOOCs online platform created to enable them to acquire entrepreneurial skills, earn a job and acquire money.
“Over 44,000 Ghanaians have benefited from taking courses in project management, data analytics, or some application development; these are 21st-century skills that every employer is looking forward to finding in an employee”, he further expanded.
The CEO also disclosed that the GhLA has teamed up with UNICEF to bring together important players from the public and private sectors, educational institutions, and youth organizations to collaborate on the development of an investment plan for Ghana’s youth.
“Knowledge does not reside only in books but they are also sometimes in people. We, therefore, brought legal practitioners to educate young people on the legal requirements of running a business and sustaining a business”, he added.
“We undertook that project because employment is key to the survival of every country, our young people need to become relevant for the job market and that is why we need to do this project to address the number one issue which is unemployment”, he explained.
He mentioned that the training took place in these 10 regions and communities; Winneba, Cape Coast, Sekondi, Kumasi, Tema, Accra, Koforidua, Tamale, WA, Bolgatanga, and hopefully next year, they will extend to the other regions.
Mr. Hayford Siaw assured the public that they will be working on expanding the resources on the digital platforms and also investing resources in the tertiary sector.
“We do hope that we can be able to do more”, he stated.
He finally advised all stakeholders to make optimum use of the public libraries because, without patronage, the Ghana Library Authority cannot do much.
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