The first day back was used for major cleanup exercise of the libraries and the surroundings. Patronages to the three community libraries were quite low due to the Christmas and New Year celebrations and severe harmattan weather conditions. Also basic pupils who are always the most frequent users of the respective community libraries were yet to resumed school. Patronages started picking up in the middle of the week. Basic pupils resumed school on Wednesday 8th January, pupils started visiting the libraries right from Wednesday the very day they resumed school. They read story books of different kinds.
Patronage to the three community libraries for the two weeks continued on a very good note. Basic pupils and students from second cycle schools and the tertiary institution visited the the respective library’s daily and during the night to read and learn in preparation for their respective exams before breaking for Christmas Celebration and perhaps the New Year. At the Sumbrungu Community Library, patrons were mostly pupils and students from the surrounding schools such as St. Charles Lwanga Primary and JHS, Kulbia Primary School, Kolgo Junior High School, Bolgatanga Polytechnic. They patronized the library well for both day time and that of the night time. They studied notes and handouts from their respective schools, some read different kinds of story books also from the library. At the Sherigu Community Library, patrons who were mostly students from St. Peter and Paul Academy, Dorongo Primary and JHS used the library as a convenient place to learn in preparation also towards their exams. Some patrons read story books from the library. At the Gowrie-Kunkua Community Library, the story is almost the same, save to say their patronage was not that great as compared to the other two community libraries. Nonetheless, attendance was quite encouraging as Pupils from the Kunkua Primary and JHS were always seen in the library making good use of the books.
It sad to note however that as the basic students and students exams which should have been ongoing now have been put on hold due to a strike action by teachers in demand for their arrears that government owed them. The situation is very sad and worrying as students are left to their fate. Wandering from one place to another without any idea on when teachers will return to class rooms. I understand they have a genuine case as some the teachers have their arrears owed as far back as 2012. It is our hope that the government will listen to their concerns and address it as quickly as possible to enable the teachers return to class for academy work to continue.
Prior to the reading competition, letters were sent to the participating schools inviting them for the competition. All invited schools expressed their readiness to participate in the competition on the scheduled date after receipts of the letters. On Friday the 22nd of November, the date scheduled for the competition, the participating schools which included; St. Charles Lwanga Junior High School, Sumbrungu-Kolgo Junior High School, Ata’ampuurum A’ Junior High School, Sumbrungu Junior High School and Bolga Nyariga M/A Junior High School were all present before the time stated for the competition. The competition were scheduled to kick start at exactly 10:00am, latest by 9:30am all schools were already seated in the women meeting hall where the competition took place. Three staff from the Upper East Regional library including the Regional Librarian Mr. Leslie Kasanga was in attendance. Two of these staff in addition to a teacher from Kulbia Primary constituted the panel of judges for the competition. All librarians were also in attendance except the Gowrie-Kunkua Librarian.
In welcoming all to the reading competition, I touched briefly on the importance of reading and the significant efforts by CESRUD/FAVL Ghana over the years to promote and cultivate the reading habit in everyone by establishing and supporting three village community libraries in Sumbrungu, Sherigu and Gowrie-Kunkua. In collaboration with Biblionef Ghana, CESRUD/FAVL Ghana have also extended the libraries to 20 basic schools in Bolga West B’ and North circuits so that those from faraway schools can also have the joy of reading. I touched briefly also on CESRUD/FAVL Ghana yearly reading programs organized in the three community libraries and encouraged all to participate in the programs as and when they are organize. I concluded my welcome address by calling on all gathered that day to continue to read at all times as books have the power to transform lives.
The Upper East Regional Librarian addressing the gathering thanked all the schools for honouring the invitation and lauded the organizers of the competition for such a great initiative, he was particularly happy about the efforts being carried out to get students/pupils to read at all time. He stated that a ‘Reading Nation is a Winning Nation’, ‘Reading Makes a Man’ among others. He mentioned that the Ghana Library Authority have declared this year as a year of reading, and that the GhLA is doing all it can to support all branch and community libraries across the country with the needed support.
To the reading competition, each school presented three contestants for the contest. Below is a breakdown of the names of the contestants per each school, M in bracket stands for Male and F for Female.
From Sumbrungu-Kolgo Junior High School;
1. Adaleme Joseph (M)
2. Atubuliko Selina (F)
3. Akanvalka Maxwell (M)
From Ata’ampuurum A’ Junior High School;
1. Ayine Sunday (M)
2. Apampika Portia (F)
3. Asore Evert (F)
From Sumbrun Junior High School;
1. Abila Martha Ayembuno (F)
2. Azuure Hannah Nmabila (F)
3. Akolgo Joyce Nmabila (F)
St. Charles Lwanga Junior High School;
1. Yibozie Nancy (F)
2. Atia Rachel (F)
3. Amoah Vincent (M)
Nyariga M/A Junior High School;
1. Akaba Ismael (M)
2. Abane Claudia (F)
3. Agana Godwin (M)
The competition were in three parts or rounds, round one was for reading and round two was almost the same but more detailed reading than the first round and round three was for dictations.For round one, they had first readers from each school, second readers and third readers climaxing that round, round two was almost the same but more detailed than the first round as mentioned. The first readers were asked by the judges normally to read any page or part of a chapter of the book that was selected for the reading that day. As the contestants read, the judges were looked at the grammar, respect for punctuation marks, and confidence level of the readers, fluency, omissions and time taken to read. These were the criteria the judges used in awarding the marks. All readers were given same time of three minutes to read, some readers finished reading their given page or chapter before the time given. Each of the three contestants per school was given two copies of the book to follow as their contesting mates and co-contestant as they read. The Panel of Judges of the competition had a copy of the book each, teachers of each participating schools were given a copy of the book to also follow as the contestants reads. This was done to ensure that no one complain of bias judgement or awards of marks to some contestants. At the close of the competition everyone was satisfy with the judges verdicts. The selected book was titled “Awkward Annie” by Julia Williams and Tim Archbold. On the third and last round of the competition, ten words were selected from the book used for the competition, these words were used for the dictation and I am sure the judges wanted to find out whether contestants took note of certain words and how they are spell as they read or not. At the end of this round, the sheets given contestants for the dictation were taken from them and mark. Some per the score got 6 out of 10, others 8 out of 10, some 7 out of 10, 9 out of 10 and some score all 10. These marks were added to the first two round score in arriving at the overall score per school.
Attendance to the Sumbrungu Community Library for the two weeks was super great especially the night sessions. I have been very regular of late in the Sumbrungu Library to help the night librarian due to the increase number of patrons we receives. The numbers are always great to the point that those who come late hardly find space to sit; others could be seen lying on their stomachs on the bare floor in front of the women meeting hall reading. The great numbers are putting pressure on our chairs, many of the chairs needs to be maintain. Activities for the two weeks include; individual reading, group reading of story books, games, and assignments works among others. I embarked on few visits to some surrounding schools and engaged pupils on library related issues, is one of the contributing factor to the increased numbers we receives every day and night at the library. The Sherigu Community Library also recorded good patronage during the two weeks; pupils of St. Peter and Paul Academy were and are always the regular patrons during the daily sessions. Students from the Sherigu Senior high school, young adults from the surrounding communities were and are the frequent visitors during the night sessions. Individual reading, group reading, cleanup exercise and games were some of the activities of the weeks. The librarian is always at her post ensuring that everything goes well for reading and learning. The Gowrie-Kunkua Community Library performances for the two weeks were also encouraging. Pupils of the Kunkua primary and junior high schools are always the regular patrons in the library. Reading activities for the two weeks were also good.
A reading competition for selected basic schools in the Bolgatanga Municipality has been organized, by the Centre for Sustainable Rural Development (CESRUD), a humanitarian community based organization, in a bid to promote reading habit among children. It was sponsored by Friends of African Village Libraries (FAVL), an American based charity organization and five selected Junior High Schools from the Bolgatanga North and West ‘B’ Circuits took part in the competition. CESRUD in collaboration with FAVL have over years worked to improve quality of education in the Upper East Region and this has led to the establishment of three community libraries stocked with current and relevant books at Sumbrungu and Sherigu in the Bolgatanga Municipality and Gowrie-Kunkua in the Bongo District.
And from the Ghana News Agency:
He [Paul Ayutoliya] said, “CESRUD and FAVL over the years organised numerous reading programmes in all the three community libraries with a view to promoting a culture of reading among children especially students and pupils and I can say these respective community libraries since their establishment have improved the quality of education and literacy in the lives of many.” Mr Ayutoliya disclosed that through further collaboration with Biblionef Ghana, CESRUD was able to create mini libraries stocked with reading materials in 20 basic schools in the two circuits. “These schools now have mini school libraries with books of over 400 each, available to pupils and students who are far from the community”. Mr Leslie Kasanga, the Upper East Regional Librarian encouraged the children to consider reading as a hobby and read always in order to broaden their knowledge and scope of learning. The Regional Librarian said 2019 was declared the ‘Year of Reading’ by the Ghana Library Authority and asked parents to invest in the future of their children by buying books for them and encouraging them to read.
At the end of the contest, St Charles Luwanga JHS emerged winner with 570 points, while Sumbrungu-Kolgo JHS and Bolgatanga Nyariga JHS, placed second and third with 507 and 501 points respectively.
The participating schools were given exercise books, pencils and pens.
From Paul Ayutoliya:
I met with the librarians on Wednesday and distributed some of the books (the textbooks for schools) to them for their respective libraries. The books distributed were; Mathematics for primary schools, Basic Design and Technology for junior high, Biology for senior high, Integrated Science for senior high school and some dictionaries, very good books I would say. The librarians were full of joy especially Sherigu librarian who have been asking for a dictionary for some time now to replaced the damage dictionary in her library. We also sorted the books from the Ghana Book Trust (GBT); almost all the books were very good for children, young adult and adult. There were few books that we sorted out due to their unfamiliar nature to our environment.
CESRUD/FAVL Ghana community libraries is organizing a reading competition between five (5) Junior High Schools which will take place at the Sumbrungu Community Library premise in the Women Meeting Hall, Friday 22nd of November 2019. The participating schools includes Sumbrungu Kolgo Junior High School, St. Charles Lwanga Junior High School, Bolga Nyariga M/A Junior High School, Ata’ampuurum A’ Junior High School and Sumbrungu Junior High School. Each school is coming along with 20 students each including three contestants which will represent the respective schools in the contest. Two teachers will accompany their students from each school. So in all 100 students and 10 teachers will be coming for the competition. We are expecting some representative from the Upper East Regional Library to be in attendance. All librarians will also be in attendance to support the students. The contest is expected to be an interesting one. There will be awards and prizes for contestants and participating schools. We are doing this with the view of stimulating more students to cultivate the reading habit at all time and to also mark this year been declared as a year of reading.
Activities that characterized the month as usual were individual reading, group reading of different story books, indoor games, storytelling, quiz competitions. From the Sumbrungu Community Library, the librarian reports that attendance for both day and night sessions were good. Some the activities that contributed to the good patronage includes; reading competitions in the library, group readings, riddles, games, videos shows among others. He was particularly happy about the increase number of patrons visiting the library during the night. From the Sherigu Community library, the librarian reports that patronage were good for the month, the attendance though very low due to the Catholic Month of devotions, the few that came made good use of use of the library. From Gowrie-Kunkua Community Library, the librarian reports of good patronage during the month. There were a number of reading activities, games among others.
Paul Ayutoliya, FAVL-CESRUD library coordinator, writes:
A patron by name Rebecca shared with me one of the story books titled ‘It’s Not Fair’ by Emerald Kportufe and Mercy Kwafoa that she read.
Barikisu Banda was an intelligent girl in her class, but was not performing as she should because she was the only girl doing all the chores in the family. She has two other brothers (Isa and Tajudeen) who would not help do any house chores. Barikisu asked the parents to let her other two brother’s help in the house chores but the parents will not granted her this request saying that one day she will be a home keeper. The little girl after some time one day asked the parents ‘It’s is Fair’ that I have two brothers yet I am the only one doing all the house chores? One day her teacher Mr. Menka asked the class to write an essay on what they do at home. Barikisu writing the essay took her time and wrote the whole story of what she does at home. She wrote about the sweeping, the grinding, the pounding, the washing, the cooking, and the fetching of water all alone. The teacher called and asked her if all what she wrote was true and she answered yes. Mr. Menka after further inquiries met with Barikisu parents and explained to them that their daughter is a clever girl in school and she could perform better if she was allowed some more time to learn. The parents after listening to the teacher thanked him for his visit and all that he has told them. Mr. and Mrs. Bansah then decided their two sons should share the house chores with Barikisu, they were not happy and try to complain but their father order that they should share in the house chores. Barikisu was beaming with smiles because she could now have more time to learn. They was an essay competitions in their school, Barikisu was part of the contestant and won that competition to the joy of the parents, brothers and everyone.
Rebecca said house chores should not be only for girls but boys should also get involved.
The Ghana Library Authority declared this year as “A year of reading”. As part of the activities to mark the year of reading, the Ghana Library Authority is organising nationwide reading competitions through the Regional and branch libraries across the nations. The Upper East Regional Library has held some reading competitions in some of its branch libraries and climaxing it at the regional library. I accompanied the Regional Librarian last two weeks on the 14th of October, to the Navrongo Library for him to monitor and coordinate the reading competition there between three Junior High Schools (St. John Bosco JHS, Adebayeri and Abaache JHS) with the Navrongo Library Librarian. On the 16th of October, we were at the Bongo Library in the Bongo District for the reading competitions between three Junior High Schools there; St. Anne’s JHS, St. Joachim and Salibga JHS. The climax was on 21st October, at the Upper East Regional Library, Bolgatanga. Four Junior High Schools took part in this reading competition. The schools were Yorogo JHS, St. Anthony’s JHS, Methodist and St. John JHS.
Now this is how the competitions were usually done; all contestants were given same books, each school do present three contestants, so they normally have first readers, second readers and third readers in every round. The first readers were either given a page, a chapter or some paragraphs in a chapter to read. Now those who were the judges (normally three people) were given certain criteria in awarding the marks. The judges were asked to take note of the reader’s pronunciations, Fluency, speed, omission and respect for the punctuations. These and others were the criteria used in awarding the marks. At the close of each competition, prizes were usually awarded to all contestants starting from the winners. Refreshment was provided for supporters (the students) and contestants, the judges and teachers who came with their students.