The Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) was formally established in 1950 and forms a critical part of Ghana’s historical artefacts. It was setup to improve literacy outcomes as a critical component of the country’s development agenda. This is done through the provision of information services which seek to improve reading outcomes, leading to increased public awareness as critical component of the overall strategy towards tackling illiteracy, poverty, disease, unemployment related problems.
Over the years however, the GhLA has experienced monumental challenges in maintaining operations with a view to enabling literacy driven efficacy. These challenges are varied and multifaceted in nature and range from financial, operational, service delivery and program efficacy barriers faced by the organization. These internal and external drivers have exerted negative push and pull forces on the organisation driving it into a de-prioritised organisation within the universe of public services.
The GhLA is entering a new phase of rebirth after years of stagnation with a view to achieving growth, diversifying delivery channels; radical redesign of library services, business model & service delivery optimisation, organisational restructure and leadership transformation.
According to the Ghana Statistical Service (2010 Census), the national average for literacy in Ghana is 74.1% with some regions in the lower quartile recording as low as 37.2%. Such statistics galvanise well meaning global citizens to act with a view to changing the status quo.
Internal insights suggest strong patronage across our network by Ghanaians of all age groups as they seek to utilize our core services or facilities for self-study. This inherently is a demonstration of the uniquely untapped potential available to grow library services and its associated efficacy related impact.
Inherent in this universe of problems is an unprecedented opportunity for your organisation to actively contribute towards improving the efficacy of library services in direct support of this country’s development growth agenda. Three innovative product models have been designed to allow for easy integration with our core program delivery model. This is expected to enable a strong value proposition for your business inclusive of the following – (1) potential tax reliefs, (2) the ability to articulate a dual purpose narrative which revolves around business growth specifically profitability while driving social impact; (3) increase government and community relations through engagement with this innovative initiative while (4) increasing volunteerism within your organisation.
This working relationship will be enabled through the execution of an MOU to formalise working relationships and provides the framework for world class performance measurement and reporting on your social impact investment portfolio. It is envisaged such reporting will cover social impact, operational, customer experience and program efficacy related metrics which will be shared with your organisation on a quarterly basis. Such reporting will be used to drive partner engagement discussions as we seek to collectively improve reading habits in Ghana.
Origin and Growth
The Ghana Library Authority (formerly Ghana Library Board) was established out of a generous contribution of £1,000 donated by the late RT. Rev. John Orfeur Anglionby, the then Anglican Bishop of Accra. In 1946, the Aglionby Library Management Committee worked with the British Council Advisory Committee towards library development in the then Gold Coast. The work of the Committee resulted in the passing of the Gold Coast Library Board Ordinance, Cap 118, in December, 1949, which became operational on January 1, 1950.
The Library Service run by the Ghana Library Authority (GhLA) then became the defacto public library service in Ghana. It is one of the pre-independence heritages birthed in a single room in 1950 at the King George Memorial Hall with an initial collection of 27,000 books and total member of 3,000. Today the GhLA which epitomizes one of the rich heritages of this country has grown to possess a total of almost 2 Million books underpinned by a membership supported by a footprint of 60 branches (10 Regional Libraries and 50 Branches) across the country. Over the years the Ghana Library Authority’s service has experienced monumental challenges in maintaining operations with a view to enabling literacy driven efficacy. The noble objective of positioning the GhLA as a best in class institution which seeks to reinforce good reading habits can be seen to be at risk given the monumental financial, operational and program efficacy challenges faced by the organization. According to the UNESCO Institute for Statistics, global literacy rate for all people aged 15 and above (15+ polled together as adult growth rates) is positioned at 86.3% with Ghana currently positioned at 76.6% in 2015 from 57.9% at an average annual growth rate of 15.30%. This however discounts literacy rates of non-adults (those below 15+) where there is a dire need to improve literacy if improvements in adult literacy rates are to be sustained.
There is therefore an urgent need and a necessarily requisite call to action, with the need for an associate positive response driven by champions of good such as your organisation in partnership with the GhLA to collectively influence literacy rates in Ghana through the power of the collective in influencing reading habits.
Public Library system – an enabler of development
The work that the GhLA does goes a long way to determine the extent to which information can first be stored, accessed and managed in a way that enhances the ability of the public to acquire knowledge in satisfaction of their general information and specific educational needs. Such combined repository of knowledge and its associated usage is consequentially critical to our ability to tackle illiteracy, poverty, disease, unemployment related problems.
As part of carrying out its mandate, the GhLA engages in activities like preparing and disseminating guidelines for the establishment of public, community and school libraries to improve the capacity of the population in reading and information seeking and retrieval towards life-long learning.
The GhLA through its regional and branch libraries is focused on encouraging the public to enjoy and excel in reading, writing, general literacy and general information share across all age groups.
Such shared learning when adequately scaled leads to the evolution of skilled, well rounded human resources critical to the development of the country.