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10th Ghana International Book Fair opens

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The 10th Ghana International Book Fair officially opened on Wednesday in Accra, to provide the public with a one stop-shop for books, educational materials and other stationery.

The fair, which started on November 1, is intended to close on November 6.

Professor Esi Sutherland-Addy, a renowned writer and current Board Chairperson of Afram Publication, in an address expressed worry about the fallen interest in reading in the society.

She attributed the trend to lack of funding for the public library system, the advent of the electronic revolution and inadequate parental supervision and encouragement.

“The public library system is plagued with under- funding challenges leading to their current poor state of services,” she said.

The fair which is on the theme: “Enhancing Literacy through Libraries-A Reading Nation is a Winning Nation,” aims at boosting the reading culture of Ghanaians.

It also offers a platform for all book industry practitioners, educationists and policy makers to converge and share ideas and innovations for an accelerated literacy programme with the national public and school libraries as the fulcrum.

Prof Sutherland-Addy, underscored the importance of basic literacy to the development of the nation and urged civil society to collaborate with the public libraries at the Community, District, Regional and national levels in the area of funding, to help boost the interest of the youth in particular in reading.

She said apart from the fact that reading enhances the intellectual capabilities of an individual, it also preserves the cultural heritage.

Prof Sutherland-Addy urged the libraries to be more users centred, innovative in their services to help achieve industrial development.

He indicated that though Government has demonstrated its commitment to boost the culture of reading among children of school going age by introducing the Mobile library initiative among other strategies, it is yet to yield the required results.

She challenged parents, teachers and students to develop interest in reading to enable them build a strong intellect for enhanced development.

She asked indigenous book publishers to maintain a robust competition in order to maintain the cultural identity and sustain their competitiveness in the industry, which has become very challenging.

Mr Donnan Tay, Acting Director-Tertiary, Ministry of Education, said government would continue to provide the necessary support aimed at uplifting the status of libraries in the country to be able to meet the expectation of their clients.

He suggested the introduction of reading competition among students to enhance their interests in reading.

Mr Asare Konadu Yamoah, President, Ghana Book Publishers Association said it was unfortunate that investment in reading and libraries had declined over the years leading to the present state of poor interest among the Ghanaian society.

“Literacy continues to be a challenge in Africa. Today in Ghana we are witnessing the declining quality of our education and culture. We have ignored the very foundations of social and economic development,” he said.

He stressed on the need for the development of appropriate strategies to change the situation.

Source: GNA

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