President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday commissioned a 250-seater public library with a 100-seater capacity conference room built at Frafaha in the Adentan Municipality in Accra.
The facility known as Edward Akufo-Addo Public Library is the 49th to be built in the last five years and the 110th in the country after 71 years since the establishment of the Ghana Library Authority (GLA).
Named after Edward Akufo-Addo, President of the Second Republic, the third Ghanaian Chief Justice, and the first Ghanaian Board Chair of the Ghana Library Authority, the gesture, according to GLA is in recognition of Edward Akufo-Addo’s contributions to the development of public library services in Ghana.
Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, President Akufo-Addo said it took him by surprise when he was informed of this decision in the first week of November 2021. “I kept asking who the brain behind the project was as I have no knowledge of the construction of such a facility.”
“Before I am, predictably, accused by my political opponents of seeking the unwarranted glorification of my father, it must be put on record that this decision was taken solely by the governing board of GLA without any input or knowledge by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.”
The President thanked the Chairperson, and members of the governing board of the Ghana Library Authority for recognising the contributions of his late father, to the development of public library services in Ghana, and for naming this library after him.
He said the decision by GLA to name the library after his father according to his understanding and information was because “my father was the first Ghanaian to chair the board of GLA, an institution that had been in existed in the colonial time since 1950.”
President Akufo-Addo said growing up in his father’s home, one of the values he had to imbibe if he was not to incur his father’s fierce displeasure was the love of reading.
“Edward Akufo-Addo was a staunched supporter and promoter of education who believed the benefits a nation could have from having an educated workforce were immense.”
The President said not only was his father in the fight to free “our nation from colonial dominance but was also on the forefront of the fight for education.”
President Akufo-Addo said it was unfortunate that after 71 years of the existence of public library service in Ghana, most Ghanaians still did not have access to public libraries.
Libraries, he indicated, had been described as the people’s university because of the ability to provide opportunities for lifelong learning for all.
He said over the last five years, the government had redefined the mandate of the Ghana Library Authority, charged to be responsive to the growing needs of the population.
“I am impressed as we should all be, with the expansion of the library network through various strategic partnerships, the introduction of the digital library, the provision of access to content through mobile films, the increase in books on the shelves in libraries across the country.
President Akufo-Addo said the renovations carried out on dilapidated libraries, availability of internet and computers, re-introduction of mobile libraries services as well as the design of many innovative solutions and programmes were all geared toward making Ghana a truly reading and learning nation.
He said he could not talk about the progress in Ghana Library space, without recognising the significant contributions f the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo who through the Rebecca Foundation has built and handed over 10 Library facilities to the GLA with six more to be completed.
He also commended the Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Member of Parliament for Afutu Constituency, Alexander Afenyo Markin who has constructed, furnished and handed over 13 library facilities to the Ghana Library Authority.
The President also applauded the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, who also recently handed over a fully furnished Library at Awutu Breku, in the Central Region to the GLA.
These valuable gestures from these persons, and other friends of the country, according to President Akufo-Addo, have complemented investments of the government in the development of libraries across the country.
He encouraged all Ghanaians to support the expansion of library services for the benefit of all.
“We cannot achieve the sustainable development goal number 4 which demands an improvement in quality education for all by relegating the development libraries to the background.
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD