ProofreadA former Member of Parliament for Hohoe South, Kosi Kedem, has launched a book in which he makes a case for the passage of the nine-year-old Public Libraries Bill into law , to trigger the set up of a national library.
The 152-page book, titled, “The National Library Concept and Library Development in Ghana” delves into the national library concept, its essence, case studies from other countries and the form Ghana’s own should take.
A national library is ‘mother’ of all libraries which serves as a database or one-stop-shop for accessing information of all forms, held by libraries across a country as well as links local and international libraries.
The bill, which amongst other things incorporates the national library, was drafted in 2010 and has since travelled in and out of Attorney General’s Office, Ministry of Education, cabinet and parliament where it is, currently.
At the launch in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Kedem, a former Board chairman of the Ghana Library Authority, said the absence of a national library in Ghana had created a huge gap in the library and information services since information in the country was scattered and clumsy.
Such a library, he said, would coordinate information for easy access for research and national development and harmonise activists of libraries and set a standard for them to follow.
He pointed out that Information Communication Technology (ICT) had advanced the national library concept for which reason there was no need for the government to spend a fortune to build a massive edifice for the library.
Mr Kadem, a former Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Library and Research from 1995 to 2005, expressed worry that the quest for a national library, ignited by Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah in 1961 but disrupted by 1966 coup, still raged on after nearly 60 years.
Citing national libraries in Singapore, Malaysia and Kenya, he said it was possible to have one in Ghana and called on parliament to pass the law and called on librarians to close ranks and push the agenda.
Professor John Aheto, a renowned academic, who bought the first copy of the book at Gh₵5, 000, said there was the need to pay attention to books, libraries and reading, to create literate public as well as promote research and knowledge sharing.
Prof Michael Tagoe, Provost , College of Education , University of Ghana supported the call for the national library and recommended the upgrade of existing libraries to create the enable environment for reading.
Mr Kedem, who served as MP from 1993 to 2005, studied at University of Ghana, Legon and University of Cape Coast and holds a Bachelor’s degree in History; Postgraduate Certificate in Education; Postgraduate Diploma and Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Library Studies.
He also has certificates in Parliamentary Administration and has served in various national and international library and information system capacities across the world. This is his 13th book.