Ghana- report on three community libraries supported by FAVL through CESRUD

Attendance to the three respective community libraries during the month begun well as reported earlier with an encouraging number of library’s users being recorded. Despite the torrential rains recorded in the month, a good number of people saw the libraries as the only serene places that is conducive for reading and learning.

At the Sumbrungu community library, patronage to the library for the month was very good both day and night times. Students from St. Charles Lwanga and Kolgo Junior High Schools, and a good number of the primary pupils who were on vacation were the frequent users of the library during the day. Students from the far away Junior High Schools such as Dazongo, Anateem and Yebongo schools always joined their colleagues in the night time at the library to learn. Some students of the Bolgatanga Technical University (BTU) also visited the library with their books (handouts) to learn and prepared for their exams.

Some of the activities that took place in library during the month were; individual learning or reading, group reading, summary reports of story books read, games among others. Some story books read were; Pot of Wisdom, Anansi Starts a library, Teen Princess, the Clique and the Notorious Three, Courtesy for Boys and Girls, Where is my Chicken among others. The night time were mostly used by the young adults and adults, the form three students in the Junior High Schools are serious preparing for their BECE exams and so in the night times, most of them visited the library to study their notes, worked mathematics on individual basis and also with colleagues sometimes.

A patron came to the library one evening with a very good art work and gave it to me that could paste it in the library. I was impressed about her drawing, a little girl with such skills in drawing should be encourage to go higher, I thanked her and encourage her keep the good job on.

At the Sherigu community library, attendances to the library were good. The librarian during the month was at post making sure that everything worked well for the library to function well. She held some group reading with patrons and also assisted patrons in identifying and pronouncing difficult words, also she sew some books that were wearing out. The leaking problem in the library was addressed. During one of my visits to the library, I read in group with students of St. Peter and Paul Academy the story of Amoako and the forest, we also learned some tricky riddles. Some of the riddles learnt were;

What belongs to you but people use it more that you? Ans. Your Name.

What invention have human beings put in place that allows people to able to walk through a wall? Ans. Door.

Your parents have six sons including you and each son has a sister, how many people are in the family? Ans. Nine (9)

A certain five letter word becomes shorter when you add two letters to the word, what is the word? Ans. Short.

These and many other riddles were learnt, it was very interesting and brain cracking for the students as they sometime tried without getting the riddles right. Honestly I also tried without getting the answers right at first, but as I keep learning some of the riddles, I get better in knowing the answers to some of them.

At the Gowrie-Kunkua Community Library, patronage to the library was also encouraging and quite good. I met with students of Kunkua Junior High School in the library during one of my visit and encouraged them to keep patronizing the library to read the books and also share with friends whatever they read or learn as these will encourage some of them to also come and read. As part of the government of Ghana policy to get the country green, some officials from the Bongo District forestry department came around the library and the clinic and on the streets and planted some acacia trees. We hope the trees will be well care for by citizens.

During the month, I visited some Junior High Schools in Sumbrungu and supervised the school libraries. Some of the schools I visited were making good use of their school libraries, there were few schools that I encourage the teachers to help the students to read the books, I also met with the students and spoke to them about the importance of reading and encourage them to read the books in their school libraries, I told them they can normally borrow some of the books to the house read and returned them the next day or after two days depending on the volumes or size of the books. The school libraries have indeed helped the students who are distance away from the community library, we are grateful to Biblionef for collaborating with CESRUD/FAVL in supporting the schools. We are hoping there will be further collaboration in the future.

We are planning to organize a reading competition for some selected Junior High Schools in September, so as and when we would be organizing it, I will convey the information to you for your say. The purpose of the reading competition will be to encourage reading that sparks the imaginations of the students to do critical thinking.

In conclusion, CESRUD/FAVL Ghana libraries are running quite well.

FAVL/CESRUD August 2021 attendance #Ghana

Paul Ayuretoliya writes: This is a summary report by the three community libraries librarians for August 2021 supervised by me. The librarians all reported that patronage to the libraries has been better and very encouraging. The libraries were all well patronized by children young adults and adults alike, they all visited the libraries and read different kinds of story books, worked on their assignments, studied in groups and played games. At the Sumbrungu Community Library, the librarian reported that the library recorded an increased number of patrons who visited the library both day and night time. According to him, though the patronage recorded were good, it was not as that of the previous month because the primary pupils were on vacation in that month and also due to some torrential rains that started early in the month and has not stop yet. At the Sherigu Community Library, the librarian reported that patronage to the library was good. The night time of operations recorded more patrons than that of the day time, final year basic pupils/students who are currently preparing for the BECE exams in November made good use of the library in the night time resulting in the high numbers recorded during the night time among others. At the Gowrie-Kunkua Community library, patronage to the library was good. The librarians all concluded their reports by extending their sincere thanks to FAVL, CESRUD and all those who supports in promoting the joy of reading.

Below is the table of statistics for August 2021.

CESRUD/FAVL August update

Paul Ayuretoliya writes: This is an update report of happenings in the three community libraries up north for August. Attendance to all the community libraries has been good so far, despite the torrential rains in our part of the country this month, library usage was still encouraging. At the Sumbrungu community library, patronage thus far has been very good. Students of St. Charles Lwanga Junior High School and the Sumbrungu Kolgo Junior High School were frequent library users. Patrons who were students from various basic schools in Sumbrungu and Bolgatanga Technical University (BTU) visited the library well in the evening time. The community library was seen as the serene environment for concentrated and focus learning their notes and working on their assignments. With the completion and commissioning of the additional reading room, the library now receives more readers and learners than before. At the Sherigu community library, library patronage was also good. The librarian had been doing a great job by organizing group reading with patrons, guiding users in identifying unfamiliar words, sewing some weak and torn books among others.  At the Gowrie-Kunkua community library, library patronage was quite good also. The librarian held some group reading with patrons among individual base reading and learning. The night session has been quite encouraging but less than the day time due to the lighting works that is yet to worked on. In conclusion, the three community libraries up north, with great support from FAVL is running well. We extend our sincere greetings and appreciation to you all.

Inauguration extended reading room of the Sumbrungu community library #Ghana

From Paul:

On the 23rd of July, the extended reading room of the Sumbrungu community library was inaugurated. We initially planned to have a brief ceremony but we ended up spending more time than expected because the invited guests, head teachers and teachers, library users who were present, reps of the Sumbrungu Youth and Development Association (SUYDA) among others were all happy that an additional library room has been added to the existing one and all of them wanted to say a word. They were all thankful to Mr. Rex and the donors and all those who supported him in putting up the structure. Mr. Rex addressing the gathering, thanked them all for coming to grace the occasion. He said idea of an additional library room was to address the limited capacity of the current library hall to contain the increase number of library users, it was to also enable the library users to observe the COVID 19 social distancing protocol measures. He called on the government to support communities and schools with libraries in a bid to improve and promote the reading culture in children. This he believes will improve the performance of children education especially at the basic levels. The rep of the Upper East Municipal Education Director, Mr. Frederick Ayine who spoke on behalf of the director commended CESRUD for contributing a lot in improving reading abilities of children in the Sumbrungu, Sherigu and Gowrie-Kunkua areas and by extension Ghana as a whole. He called on everyone to support the education of children especially in the rural communities. He assured CESRUD that he was going to carry the good message back to the director and whatever support they can offer, they will do it.

The rep of SUYDA was thankful to CESRUD for a great work done and also assured that he will get the message back to the youth group and whatever the feedback is, they will let us hear it. Chairman of the Bolga West B and North Circuit association was very happy that their students and pupils has gotten an additional reading room. He said CESRUD over the years has contributed tremendously to the education of children through the community libraries and school libraries. He mentioned that teachers has benefit tremendously through some upgrading training programs on child development among others from CESRUD. He encouraged his colleague teachers to also play their part by supporting children to read. It was a beautiful ceremony we had on that day. On behalf of the librarians, our cherished library users, I want to extend our sincere appreciation to first the executive director of CESRUD, the Amsterdam-Bolgatanga Foundation and our main donor FAVL for the supporting CESRUD to finish this great project. God richly bless and replenished you with all the resources you supported us with. We also extend our appreciation to Biblionef Ghana for supporting our schools and Sumbrungu Community Library.

Anansi Starts a Library

Paul’s account of reading a book in the Sumbrungu library (apologies for typos):

I read a book with the patrons in group titled; Anansi Starts a Library by Eleanor C. Trimble. A very interesting story book, after I finished reading the story with patrons, some borrowed the books home to read on their own. A brief about this story; Anansi was a lazy man who did not like being reminded of his laziness, he was about to take a nap under a coconut tree by the sea after ignoring a thought he had earlier about going to dig some yams. Sister Turkey came around and woke Anansi up with some rumour-talks after which she left. Anansi was very angry about being woken up with the rumour talks from Sister Turkey with ‘I hear tell, or somebody told me or I read signs in the sky’. This rumour-talks was what upsets Anansi who intend sought answers from Mr. Owl who was considered as a wise person as to what to do to stop sister Turkey from spreading lies all the time. Anansi believes people should spread facts rather than rumours. And so wise Mr. Owl told Anansi that the only way to stop nonsense is to put sense in people’s heads. Anansi asked how that was going to be done. Mr. Owl told Anansi that there is a lot of sense in a good book, start spreading different kinds of books to the folks to read and soon they will know better than to let sister Turkey rumour scare them. Instead of sitting down and thinking up ways not to work, why don’t you gather books of all kinds of subjects and put them in a library and tell the folks they can borrowed them to read. Wise Mr. Owl assisted Anansi with all the assistance that he will need to convince the other forest animals to support him set up the library. After lots of hard work, the library was fully set up, sooner than later people have to queue in order to get a book and read at the Anansi library. As time went on all the initial system that were put in place for management of the library were properly improved upon. There were no time again to spare for rumour-talks that upsets people.

FAVL Ghana July statistics

Paul Ayuretoliya writes from Ghana: This is a brief summary of CESRUD/FAVL Ghana librarians’ report for July 2021. The respective three librarians report that attendance for July was very encouraging with a significant increase in the number of users recorded in this month. The Sumbrungu community library librarian reported that the library recorded a high number of patrons in both the day and evening. The librarian captured in his report the inauguration of the additional reading room at the Sumbrungu community library on the 23rd of July. Sherigu’s community librarian also reported that patronage was very good for the month of July. Some the library’s activities for the month according to her were group reading, the Yesse game, cleanup exercises and sewing of books. The Gowrie-Kunkua community library librarian reported of an impressive patronage to the library for July. The major problem the library now faces is the ceiling of the library and the electricity works yet to done. The librarians in conclusion expressed their appreciations on behalf of their community and library’s users to CESRUD, FAVL and all who supports reading in rural communities around the world.

July statistics of patronage to the respective libraries were as follows;

Update July 2021 community libraries supported by CESRUD in collaboration with FAVL

Attendance to the three community libraries for the month of July were good and encouraging. At the Sumbrungu Community Library, patronage to the library were very great. Frequent users to the library during the day time periods were pupils and students from the surroundings basic schools such as St. Charles Lwanga Primary and Junior High, Kulbia Primary school and Kolgo Junior High School among others. The night time periods were also well patronized but certainly not up to the day time. Some of the library’s activities during the month includes; read and share, individual reading, group reading, storytelling, spelling of words and playing of games. The library were well patronized as a result of some of these activities that were organized. There were other interesting story books we read as well. The night periods were also patronized mostly by the young adults and adult users. They visited the library and read their notes taken from schools, work on their assignments, and read story books among others. So in the Sumbrungu community library, library usage was great.

At the Sherigu community library, attendance to the library was very good. Frequent users were mostly pupils and students of St. Peter and Paul Academy and Dorongo Primary and Junior High School. They visited the library and read story books on individual basis and in groups with the librarian. The also played some exciting games. One of such games was the ‘Yesse’ game.

At the Gowrie-Kunkua community library, library patronage was very encouraging during the month. Since the inauguration of the renovated library, patrons from Kunkua Primary and JHS, Anafobiisi Primary and JHS and some Senior High School students from the Gowrie community who were on vacation were the most users of the library. Patrons read story books on their own and also in group with the librarian, their notes taken from school and played some interesting games.

In conclusion, all the three community libraries witnessed some interesting and encouraging activities in July, we are optimistic of a more interesting happenings in August.

Great story about new library reading room in Sumbrungu, Ghana, supported by CESRUD and FAVL

This, it said, could be achieved through the establishment of community and school libraries in various communities and schools to make the available conducive environment and relevant books for children to read.

According to the organization, this would help imbibe reading habits among children especially those at the basic level and contribute to improve performance in school.

Mr Rex Asanga, the Executive Director of CESRUD, made the call at the commissioning of an extended reading hall at the Sumbrungu Community Library in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region.

The expansion work was supported financially by the Amsterdam Bolgatanga Foundation, an NGO based in the Netherlands, and the Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL), an American charity organization.

The Sumbrungu Community Library, established in 2003, is part of three community libraries established by CESRUD in collaboration with FAVL.

Ghana June 2021 library visits

Paul Ayuretoliya writes: This is a summary of CESRUD/FAVL Ghana librarians report for June 2021. Patronage for the month of June has encouragingly increased as a result of the activities and outreach performed by the librarians. At the Sumbrungu community library, the librarians reported that the library recorded an increased number in patronage due to the interesting library activities that took place during the month.  At the Sherigu community library, the librarian also reported that patronage was very good especially during the daytime and that female patrons were leading in terms of patronage.  Various electrical repairs have greatly improved the library. The Gowrie-Kunkua librarian reported that patronage to the library for June was good, especially during the daytime. The librarians express their appreciation on behalf of their community and library’s users to CESRUD and FAVL and all who support reading around the world.

The statistics of patronage recorded in June is below;

Updates from Ghana libraries July 2021

Paul Ayuretoliya writes: This is an update of happenings from CESRUD/FAVL Ghana for the second week of July.Attendance to the three respective community libraries continuous to be very encouraging. More pupils and students are patronizing the respective libraries to also read for themselves. We encouraged patrons who visit the libraries to always share with their mates in school and friends whatever book they read and what they like about the book.
For instance, at Sumbrungu Community library, a patron by the name Ana’amyire Cletus read the story of the Baobab Tree of Salaga and was very touched by the story. He returned to school and shared the story of the Baobab Tree of Salaga to his class mates, they were are ears listening to him. The next day some of his mates were in the library asking for the book to also read. We called this exercise in our libraries ‘Read and Share’.
On 5th July to 9th July CESRUD received a three member team from Biblionef Ghana. They came ]to conduct evaluation exercises to ascertain the impact of the school libraries they supported CESRUD with. Biblionef Ghana intervention was to support CESRUD in addressing the problem of poor reading habits among less privileged children in Ghana. The support was to also offer an opportunity for pupils and students who were far away from the community libraries to also have books to read just as those of their friends who are close to the community libraries. It will be recalled that Biblionef Ghana and Rotary Club started this support with CESRUD in the year 2017. From the Team’s assessment, about 65% of all the pupils selected were able to read and comprehend whatever they read and were able to answer questions well. They congratulated all head teachers and library teachers for the good work done and encouraged them to do more in encouraging and supporting the weak readers in class to improve. The Executive Director of CESRUD on behalf of the teachers and CESRUD among other things thanked Biblionef Ghana and Rotary Club for their support and the visit for the evaluation exercise. He admonished all teachers to take good care of their school libraries and ensure that the children make maximum use of the libraries.
On the extension of the Sumbrungu Community Library, work is about 90% (don’t know if my percentage is accurate) complete, the tiling of the floor and interior painting works including the ceiling has been completed, the remaining work is the fixings of lights and fans, Louvre carriers and the blades and exterior painting. Inside the hall is looking very beautiful, the painting is very good. Mr. Rex hinted that when all works are done, we will officially inaugurate it. 

Library updates from Ghana in June

Paul Ayuretoliya writes from Ghana:

This is an update report of happenings from CESRUD/FAVL Ghana in June. Patronage to the respective three community libraries supported by FAVL through CESRUD for the past three weeks in June had been very good. At the Sumbrungu community library, pupils and students from the surrounding schools were the most frequent users of the library especially during the day time. I read with students from St. Charles Lwanga JHS during one of their visits and I encouraged those who were curious to know how the story will end to borrow the books home and finished the story and come and shared with me their findings. At the Sherigu community library, attendance to the library were good. St. Peter and Paul Academy pupils and students, pupils and students from the Dorongo basic school were the regular visitors. One of the books the librarian read with patrons was about the work of a midwife. After the reading, some of the patrons expressed optimism in becoming midwives in the future whiles others believed the work is complicated and hence will not want to become one in the future. At the Gowrie-Kunkua library, attendance to the library in June was significantly great after the inauguration, lots of pupils and students from far away basic schools visited the library regularly in their good numbers.

The extension works at the Sumbrungu Community library are currently continuing, ceiling joints have been fixed with electrical work partly done, plastering and fitting of windows frame have been done. So with the pace of work, everything should be nearing finishing by the close of this month if the available funds could cover the cost of the remaining work. We are thankful to CESRUD/FAVL for this great support for the Sumbrungu community library. We want to specially acknowledge the efforts of Mr. Rex Asanga, the executive director of CESRUD for conceiving the idea and seeking for funding for the work. Special thanks also goes to the Bolgatanga Amsteram Foundation and our main donor FAVL for their kind gestures.

Ghana Libraries May 2021 attendance and report

Paul Ayuretoliya writes: This is a summary of CESRUD/FAVL Ghana librarians for the month of May 2021. The three respective community libraries librarian’s reports that patronage for the Month of May was better than that of the previous month with many of Ghana’s schools reopening. At the Sumbrungu community library, the librarians reported that patronage to the library was good because of the resumption of the basics schools and the interesting library activities that took place during the month. At the Sherigu community library, the librarian also reports that there was an increment in the number of patrons recorded in May than the previous month. She captures group reading and individual reading as the interesting activities that took place in the month. The Gowrie-Kunkua librarian reported that attendance to the library for May was good especially during the day time. The library reopening has prompted a great many patrons to visit at all hours of operation. In conclusion the librarians expressed their appreciations on behalf of their community and library’s users to the director CESRUD and the board, director of FAVL the FAVL team and all who supports reading around the world.     

Report on the inauguration of the renovated Gowrie-Kunkua community library #Ghana

The renovated Gowrie-Kunkua community library was officially inaugurated on the 29th of May 2021 at the library premises by the executive director of CESRUD, Mr. Rex Asanga. It will be recalled that on the 10th of May 2020, the entire roofing of the Gowrie-Kunkua community library was blown off by a strong wind storm. The unfortunate incident was brought to FAVL attention and was swiftly responded to. FAVL made a donation for the renovation work to kick start and added more funds to get the work completed. We say a big thank you to FAVL.

The inauguration ceremony started in the earlier hours of the day inside the library hall, the chief and elders of the Kunkua community, together with other people of the community with children came out in their good numbers for the ceremony. The Upper East Regional Librarian, Mr. Leslie Kasanga, a representative from the Gowrie-Kunkua Junior High and Primary School, Madam Portia among other people were in attendance.

The ceremony started with an open prayer and a welcome address by the Chairman of the Gowrie-Kunkua library committee, Mr. Donatus Adua who on behalf of the chief and people of Gowrie-Kunkua welcomed everyone for coming to witness and grace the inauguration ceremony. He used the opportunity and thanked CESRUD and FAVL for supporting their community with one of the community libraries. He said since the establishment of the library in their community, a lot of people have passed through the library and today are responsible people in society today. He cited the first librarian of the library, Ayamdoo Jennifer who was present at the inauguration ceremony as an example, through the community library, she is now a nurse by profession, there was another young man there by name Mr. Simon who has also pass through the community library and is also now a professional teacher and many others. He was particularly grateful and thankful to FAVL for coming to the aid of the community when the library roofing was destroyed by the wind storm last year. He was so happy that children and young adults will have the opportunity again to sit at the library and read.

After the welcome address by the chairman, I took my turn and address the gathering about what CESRUD/FAVL was all about, I dealt a little bit on FAVL, touching on its mission and vision and how CESRUD and FAVL came into being. Touching on the unfortunate destruction of the library roofing last year, I told the chief and people of the community that when the news got to FAVL, they were shocked by the terrible news and in no time they mobilize some funds and sent to us to get the renovation work started as soon as possible. In a meeting with the library committee prior to the start of the work, they assured us that the community was going to contributed monies and mobilize labor to support the work. But along the line the contribution from the community was not as expected and the entire work largely was shouldered by FAVL our main donor. Efforts were made to get the two assemblies (Bolgatanga Municipal and Bongo district Assemblies) to support, letters were sent to these assemblies with updates of the happenings that befell the library at the time and the cost of the renovation work to be done, to our sad disappointment we did not get any response from them up to date.

I emphasized to the chief and people that in instances like what happened to the library last year our friend and partner FAVL expects dedicated commitment from the community towards the work to be done, in fact that is one of the ways FAVL operates, in other words they expect any community they are working with to be actively involved in the running and maintenance of the libraries and so anytime there are incidents of this nature among others, people should be ready and willingly to support. I use the opportunity to thank all the people especially the youth who supported in moving the library properties to the nearby house for temporal keeping, I also acknowledge the efforts of the youth and all the people who were always present to ensure that the work goes on till it’s completion.

The chief (Naba Adua) on his part was particularly happy and grateful to FAVL working through CESRUD for giving his community one of the community libraries and the support they have given to the library up to date. He said together with his people they are very happy that their children have a place to go and read whenever they want to read and learn and that he and his people will help their children to make good use of the library. He was elated that the renovation work was completed and that children can now sit in the library again and learn.

The queen mother (wife of the chief) on her part was happy and thankful to CESRUD/FAVL Ghana for the great work done. She admonished her colleague women to ensure that they support their children to visit the library and make good use of the place. They should channel all their energies and resources in supporting the education of their children.

The Upper East Regional Librarian on his part was very happy that the library was ‘back to its feet’ and looking more beautiful than the way it was first, he told the gathering how the Ghana Library Authority is working with the Assemblies to take over the management of the libraries after CESRUD/FAVL Ghana approached his outfit. He admitted things has been very slow on their part but assured that his outfit will be doing something about the management and maintenance of all community libraries in the Region. He tasked parents to support and encourage their children to always visit the library because reading makes a man as they say and that a reading nation is a winning nation.

The director of CESRUD/FAVL Ghana, Mr. Rex Asanga taken his turn to address the people thank the chief and his people for coming out in their good numbers for the inauguration ceremony. He touched on how CESRUD was started, it’s mission and vision, and how CESRUD and FAVL came together and established the three community libraries. He recounted how their time when he was a child, they use to walk several kilometers away to the Upper East Regional library which was the only library in the Region by then to read and walk back home, it was not easy, all his prayer and wish was that if God Almighty help him to progress in his education, he will do something about it. So he happy to have played a role in the establishment of the community libraries. He wish the libraries would have been more than the three libraries we have currently but governments of the day in Ghana have not been supportive to brilliant idea of community libraries, that is why the libraries are still three in Ghana. He cited in Burkina Faso, the community libraries there are many because their local governments or mayors bought into the idea of the libraries. He admonished the chief and his people that it is high time they change the narrative of always waiting and expecting assistance from elsewhere, it is time everyone rise up and always play his part to support every social intervention that is in the community like the community library and any other project that will be coming to their community. They should always be involved in supporting in the running and maintenance of the library. He thanked the community for their contribution towards the renovations work, however he told the gathering he was not happy with the contribution from the community towards the renovation of the library, he expected more from them than what they did, he told them parts of the works is yet to be done, they should be willing to still contribute to finished up the work when they are being called upon.

The director encourage the pupils and students to make good use of the library, they should spent much time in the library reading. Reading at all times will help them improve upon their reading ability, writing skills and they stand a better chance to excel in their education if they know how to read.

The Honorable Assembly Man of the community Mr. Donald Abongo who was very instrumental in the renovation work of the library expressed his heart felt gratitude to FAVL for the enormous support given to their community, he also thanked the director of CESRUD and the libraries Coordinator for their efforts and roles played in the renovation of the library. He told the gathering, as an Assemble Man it is not easy handling people in this part of the world but he is going to liaise with the library committee, the chief and his elders to get the people to contribute towards the rest of the remaining works.

The director of CESRUD/FAVL Ghana after all was said and done announced to all the gathering that the renovated Gowrie-Kunkua community library was officially duly inaugurated on the 29th day of May 2021, he then ceremoniously hands over to the Upper East Regional Librarian, who also in a ceremonious manner handed it to the chief of the community for proper care and maintenance. It was an awesome ceremony!

On behalf of the executive director of CESRUD/FAVL Ghana, the Chief and people of Gowrie-Kunkua community, I wish to extend our sincere appreciation to FAVL, SUN STONE MAMAS who shouldered almost all the renovation cost. We grateful to, the smiles you have putting in the faces of the children of the Gowrie-Kunkua community would shine to the higher height.