Internet has reduced adult patronage of libraries

Stephen Appiah/Jennifer Ansu/Peggy Sam/Priscilla Amoako, GNA

Accra, Sept.19, GNA – 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

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

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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