African Library Project

Ghana's First 31


How do you start over 30 libraries, all at once?  Just send a container with 497 boxes of books from 29 different US book drives to a wonderful local partner!  It all began when Ernest Ankomah Kyeremeh, Director of the Ghana-based Michael Lapsley Foundation (MLF), called ALP to propose a partnership to start rural libraries in Ghana.  Ernest was persistent and persuasive, so we undertook a careful vetting process, developed a memorandum of understanding, and screened 31 local library applications submitted by MLF.  From NYC to Juneau, a flurry of book collections and fundraising began.  Books piled up, Girl Scout cookies traded hands, and a bar in Manhattan created a special African Library Project drink to raise shipping money!

Chris Bradshaw and her husband, Steve, just returned from Ghana to visit some of the new libraries and get better acquainted with the MLF staff, board, and supporters.  MLF has a unique model of working with Members of Parliament and Traditional Chiefs to financially support the libraries, while local villages and schools offer the daily support needed.

“The Ghana libraries are off to a wonderful start.  The teacher-librarians are brimming with ideas, and the students flock to the libraries to read at every available opportunity,” enthuses Chris. “These 31 libraries are just the beginning of a strong partnership to support literacy in Ghana.”

December, 2011