End of vacation reading classes in Upper East, Ghana

From Paul Ayutoliya, CESRUD library coordinator:

The vacation reading classes begun well on the 6th of August 2018 in all the three libraries and lasted for four week. These weeks were characterized by reading of different kinds of story books in the respective libraries under the guidance of the coordinator, librarians and volunteer teachers who supported us in taking care of the participants, there were riddles, different kinds of games, story time, visits by parents and CESRUD directors among other interesting activities. This year’s reading classes was indeed an interesting one.

Early this week exams were conducted for participants in all the libraries on all the story books read during the classes, the riddles, general knowledge and some logical reasoning questions. Most of the participants and particularly the regular patrons to the libraries and the reading classes every year did exceptionally well in all the questions.

The closing ceremonies of the reading classes started at the Sherigu community library on the 29th of August, a Wednesday, some parents came around to witness the closing ceremony of the classes, parents present were grateful to the organizer of the classes after their wards took turns to read one after the other to their hearing. They wish the classes continuous every year. Prizes such as exercise books, pens and pencils were presented to all participants.

On the 30th of August, the Gowrie-Kunkua community library also had it climax of the reading classes. Parents were also present to witness the ceremony. The participants there also took turns one after the other to read some of the story books (Amoako and the Forest, David’s Day at the Mine, All about Ama, the Adventure of the Twins among others) to the hearing and applause from parents. Parents were very happy to see their children read with the confidence they were reading with. They express their appreciation to the donors and supporters of the library. Their wish was that we continue the good work. Prizes were also presented to participants.

The grand finale of the classes was held today at the Sumbrungu community library, parents came in their good numbers, and the participants were about 200 people excluding the parents. The director of CESRUD was with the education coordinator of CESRUD, the librarians were present with all the volunteer teachers. There were entertainment from the pupils/students, reading demonstration, participants of the classes share some benefits of the classes with parents and all present. There were a number of speeches from several people; the director of CESRUD, education coordinator, CESRUD/FAVL coordinator, parents and the participants of the classes among other events. Prizes were presented to participant with some refreshment to some of the dignitaries, volunteer teachers, the librarians and our participants.

Update from the reading classes in Upper East libraries, #Ghana

From Paul Ayutoliya:

Week two of the reading classes continued on a good note, with the number of participants increasing day in and out as a result of the exciting activities of reading and/ or learning in all the three libraries. Activities such as group reading, individual reading, riddles, spellings of words, storytelling among others motivated participants to the point that those who heard of the activities from their friends said they must also get to the libraries and see for themselves happening in the reading classes. There were a number of riddles learnt during the week, participants gave their riddles as well, and at the end of the day we all (volunteer teachers and participants) do learn something new. In fact, one patron gave the riddle “I am a beautiful girl that is been chased by 22 young men at a time” Who I am? Honestly I did not know the answer until one other patron gave the answer as a football. There were lesson share by other patrons on the ICT, Mathematics, English and Science classes as well during the week that they had learnt with their respective teachers.

Every Friday is for quiz competition, questions are always based on story books read, riddles, spelling and others. The first quiz was between the boys and girls, the second week Friday quiz was between the three different young adult classes. In each group of contestant were two boys and a girl presented by their colleagues from their respective class to represent them in the quiz at the Sumbrungu library. It is always an interesting moment as audience cheers their colleagues with applause in a bid of motivating them. As this is going on in the women meeting hall now the Roden conference hall, the children also have their quiz and other game activities with the assistant librarian and one volunteer teacher in the library room. The average of the children for the second week was 70 children whiles the young adult averaged 75 bringing the total average attendance in a day to 145 at the Sumbrungu library.

In the Sumbrungu library, we have four (4) volunteer assisting us in the classes, one young lady and three young men.

The story about the reading classes is almost the same at Sherigu and the Gowrie-Kunkua community Library save that their number of patrons is not as many as the Sumbrungu library, so the respective librarians are able to manage the classes, at times some senior high school students do come around to support the Sherigu librarian in handling the classes. They also have their quiz completion on the story books and other activities that do take place during the week.

 We have parents visiting the respective libraries once in a while during the week to monitor how their wards are performing in the classes. Cesrud members and the respective library committee (in Sherigu and Gowrie) do also visit the library to monitor the classes.

Summary of The Boy Called Wiser Than You by Michael Mensah

Paul Ayutoliya writes about the after school reading classes in Ghana… Here is his  summary of one of the story books read (The Boy Called Wiser Than You by Michael Mensah):

Once upon a time, there lived a very troublesome chief in a certain town whose name the narrator of the story shall not mention. This chief claims he is the wisest in the whole world, and therefore every newborn baby had to be brought before him to be given an ‘appropriate’ name, this comes with expenditure to the baby’s parents more than if they done the naming ceremony themselves. The troublesome chief gives insulting names to babies brought before him to the displeasure of all parents whose babies are given the names. Some such names includes Ugly Nose, Kinky Hair, Thin Legs and…. as said the people were not happy with the names given to their children but they did not dare complain or else… Now there lived in a town a man called Sena. His wife had a son but because he did not have the money to give to the chief for the naming ceremony, Sena hid the baby indoors and fed him until he grew up to be 12 years old. One day, the chief saw Sena with his grown up son, and realised that he did not remember given the boy a name. The chief asked Sena, “What is your son’s name?” “Your Majesty, he is called Wiser-Than-You” “What did you say?” The chief asked in disbelief. His name is Wiser-Than-You Sir, Sena insisted. The chief was the angrier, for it was unthinkable that anyone in this world will be wiser than he is. From that moment he sought ways of eliminating the boy and his parents. The chief called the boy’s mother one day and gave her guinea corn to prepared him pito that very same day, the woman got back home sobbing, when the Son saw the mother crying he asked what the problem was, the mother told him about the impossible task given to him by the chief, the boy consoled the mother and assured her that all will be fine, the boy took some gourd seed and proceeded to the chief palace and starting planting the seeds, information got to the chief that someone have come to plant his seeds in front of his palace, the chief was very angry because the person did not sought permission, the boy apologised and told the chief, chief I am sorry but I know you are a very wise chief and everything about you is extraordinary that is why I have come to plant my gourd seeds here so that they will grow fast, bear fruits for me to cut, prepare and dry, all by the end of today when they are required for use.  The supposedly wise chief asked the boy if he was crazy, how is that possible. A gourd plant needs at least one year to mature and then make into calabashes, don’t you know that? The boy said, that is most unfortunate chief but because I and my mother need the calabashes tonight for you to use in drinking the pito that my mother is brewing for you. As the chief still insisted that it was impossible, Wiser-Than-You then asked the chief Sir, why then did you asked my mother to brew pito in one day for you when you know that pito preparation needs at least three days, the chief was confounded and speechless when he heard this, he realised that the boy was smarter than he was. He later sent servants to go for the guinea corn from Wiser-Than-You mother. The chief did not give up on his evil plots to get rid of Sena’s family but all the wicked plots turns out against him. In order words he was always the loser in all his cunning ways to get rid of Sena’s family.

Moral lessons from the story;

  • No person is a custodian of all wisdom.
  • The chief realised the truth in the old saying that if you dig a hole for your enemy to fall in, you may fall in first.
  • When you are put in position of trust, you must acknowledge the existence of others in the community who are young and may even be wiser than you.
  • A wise leader must be ready to seek advice from others and make use of all minds.

Vacation classes started today in all the three CESRUD/FAVL community libraries in Ghana to promote reading

The free vacation classes started today in all the three CESRUD/FAVL community libraries in Ghana. Patrons in their good numbers were in attendance for the start of the classes, we are sure of more patrons joining in the coming days. Basically today was for registration, familiarization, orientation (rules and regulations of the libraries) and a general reading of different kinds of story books with patrons in order to identify the reading ability of each patron. This exercise usually helps us (the librarians and other volunteer assistants) in identifying those with good and weak reading skills. With this exercise, more detail attention is normally given to those with reading challenges, they are usually taken through the vowels and consonants pronunciation and other reading techniques in a more detailed manner in a bit to improving their reading abilities. As mentioned earlier, patrons read a lot of story books of their choices today individually and during the group readings sessions. Story books such as the Pot of Wisdom, Amoako and the Forest, David’s Day at the mine, the Fati Series, the Cat and Dog series and many other books were read. Patrons had fun at the libraries with books and meeting with other friends.

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Update from Sumbrungu Community Library in Ghana

Users of the Sumbrungu Community Library and CESRUD/FAVL staff remain grateful to Biblionef Ghana for the support given to the Library early this year. The materials provided are being put to good use during every operating period in the library, the attendance to the library has increased significantly after the rearrangements works in the library was completed. The patrons are getting use to the basics of computer skills and others as a result of the laptops and tablets. We have installed in all the laptops Mavis Beacon typing skills, typing master and other applications that will help improve patrons knowledge to the basics of a computer. Programs shown on the TV are the cartoon movies and others that benefits patrons academically.

The cats and dogs series are the most frequent used books in the library by mostly the lower primary and nursery pupils. The games provided are so fantastic to the users, every Friday which is our game day patrons are always busy with one game or the other to the extent that some do wish the day is extended for them.

Every long vacation CESRUD organizes vacations classes for pupils/patrons in all the three libraries. This year’s vacations classes are starting on the 6th of August 2018. Is usually a period that the patrons attend the libraries in their good numbers. These classes are basically geared towards helping pupils to improve upon their reading skills, English vocabulary, getting exposed to the basics of computer and having fun in the libraries. These classes organize yearly also play role in reducing the rate at which young pupils travel during this period to look for jobs and the associated problems in the big cities.


Update from Ghana libraries

From Paul Ayutoliya:

On Tuesday 24th July 2018, I paid a visit to the Upper East Regional Library. I was welcomed into the library by the Regional Librarian Mr. Leslie Kasanga. The purpose of my visit was to learn about recent developments and plans of the library have in place that might perhaps support Cesrud/Favl community libraries. The Regional Librarian told me the patronage of the library has been great for quite some time. The private school students who will be writing their exams come September are the most frequent users of the library. He said he has been able to get an NGO called Scholars in Our Society Africa (SOSA) to assist the Regional Library with some major renovation works like: repainting of the library, changing of the shelves and tables, and donations of books and computers. Due to this renovation works and others, there will not be any major reading activities during the vacation period in the library. He assured me he would pay a visit to our community libraries during the vacations classes period and also try to see if he can get some of the books and computers that they will be receiving for our libraries.

He (Mr. Leslie) said he just returned recently from his promotional interview in Accra at the Ghana Library Authority. The Ghana Library Authority has a new director Mr. Hayford Siaw . Mr. Leslie recounts how active and passionate this new director is towards libraries all over the country. The new director, a government appointee has since been able to get some links again with Book Aid International which cut ties with the Ghana Library Authority as a result of some misunderstandings or so in the previous years. The Book Aid International Chief Executive is currently in Ghana to tour some libraries and assess their needs.

And so Prof. it was a good visit and I hope that when they finally receive the donations of books and computers, they will not forget of us. I will be in touch with Mr. Leslie for updates.

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Report from Asoegoom Primary School recipient of Biblionef books

From Paul Ayutoliya:

Last Friday on the 18th of May 2018, I visited the Asoegoom Primary School to honor an invitation that was extended to me by the head teacher (Mr. Gbenga Solomon George) of the School to me to paid them a visit and have a look at the progress of work been done at their school library. Part of the visit was to interact with parents and teachers about library related issues.


Asoegoom Primary is one of the 20 schools that benefitted from the books and shelves that was given to the schools late last year by Biblionef Ghana.The school had a large room for library but was in a very deplorable state; no windows in fact almost all the windows frames were broken and hanging posing some kind of danger to the pupils, old zinc and all kinds of wood were packed in there, the ceiling, roofing and floor was not in a good state to serve the purpose of a library when I visited the school early this year. The head teacher assured me they will in their own way do something about it because reading is something very important in the lives of pupils and everyone, he said they have written several times to the Bolgatanga Municipal Education Office to support them to put the place in a conducive order but have yet to hear any response hence their resolve to do something on their own. Prof. when I visited the school library last Friday, I was very pleased to see the significant work been done so far, the library room was now looking somewhat new and conducive for learning; the windows and windows frames was worked on with some paintings given the library that new look. All this work was spearheaded by the head of the school with his good leadership and ability to woo his colleagues in supporting the refurbishment of the library from their own contributions, in other words it was the head teacher and his others colleague teachers personal contributions that was used for the refurbishing works, the parents of the children were not even involved at this state, most of the parents were surprised to see for themselves the beautiful work at the library that day when they entered the library to room to look at it. In fact Prof. Gbenga is working tirelessly day in and out to get more books and add to what they receive from Biblionef Ghana, his hope is that, when the library start full operations it will serve both the school (pupils) and community as a whole daily and night periods. Their appeal was for more support in any other way that will contribute to the effective running of the library. What they need urgently are; a table and chair for the library teacher in the library, the ceiling work is yet to be completed, the estimated cost of works left to be worked will cost 500 Ghana cedis, plus funds for more books.

At the meeting with the parents and teachers, I extended greetings from Cesrud/Favl Ghana to the gathering and particularly to the teachers for the support and cooperation with their head teacher in the refurbishment of their school library, and encourage them to continue so together we all contribute in bringing knowledge to the doorsteps of all. To the parents I appeal to them to support the teachers in educating their children, encourage and also support your children to like reading. The Parents Teachers Association (PTA)/ School Management Committee (SMC) were thankful to Cesrud/Favl for championing the course of reading for all in the African countries and beyond, they assured me of their readiness to support the teachers in the education of their children.

Mr. Gbenga Solomon George head teacher of the Asoegoom Primary school is doing his best to advance the course of reading in that school and community as a whole, he needs our encouragement and support.  Of all the schools that received the books from Biblionef Ghana which I have toured around, Mr. Gbenga seems to be putting more efforts in making reading effective, he is the only one who have taken another step ahead in making the place where the pupils will sit and learn to look good for learning from their own pockets contributions, he has written to places for more support and have gotten some more boxes of books to add to what they have, he is again working to have the library function just as a community library serving all the people of Asoegoom because of the far distance from that place to the Sumbrungu Community Library. He came with his library teacher to the Sumbrungu Community Library on Monday, 21st May 2018 to officially invite me to the officially opening of their library on 1st June 2018.

Reading Kente for a King by Angela Christian retold by Kathy Knowles at the Sherigu library

Paul Ayutoliya writes:  At the Sherigu library on the 9th of May 2018, I held a group reading with patrons on the story of Kente for a King by Angela Christian retold by Kathy Knowles.

The summary of the story is about the evolution of the prestigious dress called Kente that is wore mostly by the Ashanti Kings and people of Ghana.  In the story, the was a powerful King of the Kingdom of Ashanti, who was a fearless warrior, brave in battle and respected by his subjects, the king’s people were expects in metal works, carving and weaving. No one could match them when it comes to the quality of gold weight they cast, the stools they carved or the cloths the wove. All the weavers in the Ashanti Kingdom have a weaving center called Bonwire. According to Legend, Kurugu and Ameyaw who were brothers from this (Bonwire) village went into the forest to hunt. There they saw a spider weaving a beautiful web. Kurugu, the senior brother, said, “If a little spider can make such a lovely design, we should be able to do same. The two brothers returned to Bonwire and wove special cloths using black and white fibres from the raffia palm tree. They named these cloths “Kente” after Kenten, the Akan word for basket, and presented them to their King. The King was very pleased.

‘As the years passed, the King grew tired of wearing only black and white kentes, so he called his royal weavers of Bonwire together. He showed them the many fine cloths they had woven and congratulated them. “But”, the King said, “if you want to please me even more, could you weave a kente cloth using many different colours?” The weavers wanted to please their King, but how could they weave a cloth of different colours when all they had was black and white yarn? Opoku, one of the best weavers, had an idea. We are surrounded by many different trees and plants. We could get beautiful coloured dyes by pounding their bark and roots, and grinding their seeds. The weavers did so and were happy with the colours they produced- gold, green and red. When each of them had woven a coloured kente, they set out once again for the King’s palace in Kumasi. At the King palace, their leader spoke: “Oh King! Our King! Great is our joy, for now we have woven coloured kentes for you.”  The King replied: “My people! My dear people! You have truly pleased me today. How beautiful and coloured are the kentes you have woven.” The King removed his white and black kente and put on the brightly coloured one made by Opoku. The weavers rejoiced and returned to Bonwire to weave more beautiful kentes for their beloved King.’ As the weavers returned to Bonwire, the best weaver Opoku did not relent on seeking for more beautiful cloths than what they got, he wanted to please their King even more than what they have done so far.

From the story, I share the following lessons with patrons:

  • Whatever talent or skill we have, let’s work hard to improve it.
  • Nature has a lot of potentials or lessons that surrounds us that we can apply to improve ourselves in whatever we are doing or engaged in. Referring patrons back to the brothers who went into the forest to hunt. The idea at the beginning was to go into the forest and hunt but they returned to their village with lessons from the little spider that wove a beautiful web. With that idea they got from the spider they were able to weave cloths also that pleased their King, they happy themselves that they are able to do something that their King is pleased with.
  • Learn to appreciate the little in your hands when asking for some more. The King called the royal weavers together, years he congratulated them for the beautiful black and white yarn Kentes before requesting for coloured kentes.
  • We should think critically on what we can explore on the natural resources that we have around us. Opoku quickly came out with an idea that they could get coloured dyes by pounding the bark of the trees, the roots and grinding their seeds.

I concluded with the pupils by saying, in order to realize or identify whatever opportunity that exist around us better or skill one has, then reading books daily at the library, in school, at homes and other places were books can found should be taken seriously.

May update from the three CESRUD/FAVL Ghana community libraries

From Paul Ayutoliya: This is an update of the happenings in the three CESRUD/FAVL Ghana community libraries.  Basic schools resumed schools on the 8th of May 2018, many of the pupils spent this particular day in the respective libraries as there are not always serious academic work on the first week of reopening schools in most schools in Ghana especially the rural villages like ours. The first day activities in our respective libraries was characterized by story books reading, games and all kinds of interactions on what pupils were engaged in during the brief vacation period. Some of the story books pupils read among others includes the Cats and Dog Series by Elke and Rene Leisink, Trinity High students in crime by CNN Lokko, Once Upon A Time In Ghana II by Anna Cottrell and Agbotadua Togbi Kumassah in the Sumbrungu Community Library, at  the Sherigu Library, patrons read among others Kente for a King by Angela Christian, Little stories for Little Ears, My Grandfather is a Magician by Ifeoma Onyefulu, the usual Fati Series by Kathy Knowles, Adventure of the Homo-Twins by E.J. Hevi, All About Ama and…., at the Gowrie library, library users also read the following books among others; Peter Wish, Amoako and the Forest, Emeka’s Gift, Welcome Dede.

At the Gowrie Kunkua Community Library, I read with library users on the story of Peter Wish by Kathy Knowles. At the Sumbrungu Community Library, I am yet to hold a major group reading with patrons, what I do currently is read with the little children individually from time to time on two, three, four and five letter words. The words are written with pictures of say Refrigerator, Table, Car, pen, computer and more. Is sometimes interesting, some the children are unable to pronounce the word but as soon as you showed them the picture, then they quickly mention the name but then there are a lot of individual reading, group reading with the librarians, games and a whole lot fun activities. In fact, the daily and night sessions in the library, the number of users in just keep increasing.

Apart from these activities and others in the respective libraries, I visit the surrounding schools talking to pupils or students on the importance of library usage. At times, we (one of the librarians perhaps and myself) are normally given time to share a story with the pupils. In concluding this report, performance in the libraries are going on well, in the coming days we hoping for more improvement.