International Publishing Consultant, Richard Crabbe, has lamented governments’ little to zero purchase of books and periodicals for libraries and the non-provision of facilities for research, reading and knowledge transfer.
Additionally, governments’ introduction and implementation of a policy to use only officially sanctioned textbooks per subject and grade, has further worsened the plight for educationists, editors, publishers and librarians.
He averred that most public libraries across the country have been reduced to depending on ad-hoc donor support of donated books from non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and development partners.
“As the bulk of library purchases tend to be supplementary readers, the combination of very low purchases of locally published materials and an influx of overseas book donations negatively impacts the local publishing and library industry,” he explained.
Mr. Crabbe made this known yesterday, August 30 at the 16th edition of the Ghana International Book Fair currently ongoing at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) in Accra.
He said government should include in its policies, plans to rehabilitate libraries across the country, build new ones and provide them with books written and produced by Ghanaians in the publishing industry.
“Libraries are expected to be the space for life-long learning and the right to knowledge must be made available and accessible to all, especially those in the rural and urban communities,” he added.
Education Minister, Dr Mathew Opoku Prempeh earlier in March inaugurated a board for the Ghana Library Authority (GLA) to support the needed transformation to provide world class library services in the country.
The board is expected to digitise and automate its processes, protect and upgrade its properties, diversify its revenue streams and build capacity of staff to meet international library standards.
Currently, the John Evans Atta Mills Presidential Library, a memorial and research facility in Cape Coast administered by University of Cape Coast (UCC) has closed down due to lack of funds to pay the facility’s utility bills.
The library has a 100-seater capacity auditorium, a 45-seater multi-media centre, a museum and seminar rooms.
The 16th edition of the Ghana International Book Fair will run from Thursday, August 30 to Sunday, September 2 at the AICC in Accra.
By Mawuli Ahorlumegah