Mrs Beatrice Ampadu, the Regional Head of the Ghana Library Authority in Accra, has said that the internet and social media has reduced the patronage at local libraries.
Mrs Ampadu in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) explained that with the advent of internet, E-Library and social media, the patronage of Libraries across the country has reduced drastically.
She said cursory statistics on daily usage of the Accra Regional Library indicates that its patronage by pupils and students has not changed, but “we are experiencing a drop in adult usage.
“Adults now have lots of options through the internet for research, books, and other general information seeking, which otherwise they would have visited a Library in order to obtain”.
Mrs Ampadu said, most of the adults don’t like going to libraries because they always do own research by using the internet on their phones, laptops or desk top computers.
She said in order to remain relevant to the public “we have updated our services through adoption of technology. Through World Reader we have a tablets with uploaded E-Books for children to read”.
She therefore appealed to government to provide them with more new books, more tablets and probably their website be activated.
On his part Mr Simon Teye, the Librarian at George Padmore Library on African Affairs also told the GNA that the patronage of libraries can never become outmoded, “as we advance in knowledge acquisition so would be the usage of library including public ones”.
Mr Teye said “we intend improving our services with the introduction of Compact Disk (CD ROM) to make accessibility easier.
“The introduction of CD Rom is to attract more readers to develop interest in patronising and visiting libraries, infuse technology into the library system, and narrow the gap. We upload just limited pages of the books on the CD Rom, but to get the full story, one needs to physically visit the library”.
Mr Teye however urged organisations and individuals who are passionate about building a progressive knowledge-based society to assist it to document and store its information in a conducive format and environment.
He said the storage facilities were not enough for the numerous hardcopies of research work, stories and various newspapers that the library had to preserve for the use of today and prosperity, adding that, hard copies are deteriorating because the storage environment was not favourable.”
Mr Teye said the Library required more desktop/computers, scanning machines and photocopiers to enable the library to transfer information from hardcopies to softcopies.
He described the library as a “last-stop” research library, saying it houses vital information on African Literature, History, Languages and Philosophy, among other subjects.
The George Padmore Research Library was set up in June 1961 by Dr Kwame Nkrumah in memory of Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse, who changed his name to George Padmore when he became a champion of Pan Africanism.
Born 28 June 1903, in Trinidad, Padmore, was also a journalist and an author.
George Padmore died on September 23, 1959, in London from ill health. His ashes were, however, interred in Accra.
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