President of the Central University College, Professor Kwesi Yankah, has called on government to institute a long term plan that will ensure the availability and accessibility of library facilities in schools and communities across the country.
He said the unavailability of library facilities in schools and communities was a major contributing factor to poor reading culture among pupils and students.
Professor Yankah made the call at the opening of this year’s Ghana Association of Writers Book and Festival in Accra. It had the theme, “Empowering Ghana through reading.”
He stressed the importance of libraries in modern education, adding that the country’s education system could not yield positive results without libraries to aid the learning by pupils and students.
He also urged the district assemblies to make provision for libraries to support education at the local level.
“Concerns over poor reading habits have been sufficiently expressed, but beyond this, I am yet to come across a district or municipal assembly whose infrastructure plan for the year includes the building of a library for respective towns or communities,” he said.
He noted that while school enrolment has improved over the years, the practice of reading had declined significantly, adding that “reading appears to be losing its place as a leisure activity”.
To compound the problem, Professor Yankah said some schools do not even have reading period or library time, as was the case in the past, as a result of which most school libraries remain empty.
A former President of the Ghana Association of Writers (GAW), Professor Atukwei Okai noted that library was an essential part of the process of imparting knowledge into children, and therefore urged stakeholders to support the government on the provision of library facilities as well as the promotion of reading among Ghanaians.
By Bernard Benghan