By Morkporkpor Anku, GNA
Accra, Sept. 12, GNA - Management of the Ghana Library Authority (GLA) has evicted traders occupying its premises to create a serene and safe environment for library users.
The Accra Central Library, once described as the most beautiful edifice in Gold Coast, was opened in 1956 by the Governor, Sir Charles Arden Clarke and this was the formative years of public library system.
The headquarters library as it is often referred, for the past 30 years, has been turned into a market arena with various trading activities on its premises, creating a noisy environment for users of the Lending and Reference Libraries.
Mr Hayford Siaw, the Acting Executive Director, GLA told the GNA after the eviction exercise that many parents initially did not feel safe with the easy pass of pedestrians and hence uncomfortable to leave their children in the library.
He said on assumption of office in January, the new Management issued a directive to all traders on the premises to relocate their businesses.
He said a three-month notice was given and the tenants requested for an additional three months which was agreed.
Mr Siaw said "in spite of the resistance by traders to relocate after the expiry of the six months, Management remained resolute and today, the once market arena is quite and serene."
He said over the years, various governments have neglected the Authority, which led to it being a de-prioritised institution.
The Acting Executive Director said in many countries, public and school libraries play critical roles in improving learning outcomes.
This was, however, not the case as various educational strategic plans ignored the pivotal role of the library institution.
He said this has led to the collapse of school and under resourced public libraries, resulting in a low reading culture of students.
He said it was for this reason that Government was putting in place measures to improve the existing library facilities around the country including stocking it with new books, computers and internet access.
He said a digital library would soon be launched that affords all students access to an online library portal.
He said ‘’to achieve this noble goals, we need to make sure that our facilities are safe and all efforts will be put in place to sanitise these spaces and create the enabling environment for learning."
On patronage of library services across the country, the Acting Executive Director said ‘’over 333,509 people visited the 60 libraries across its network in the first half of 2018, a more than 37 per cent increase in visits over the same period in 2017.
He said the New Library membership for the first half of the year also stood at 5075, a 13 per cent increase over the same period in 2017.
He attributed the growth to increased patronage to the outreach programmes and visibility being created by the new management about the authority.