In today’s society, where we are constantly seeking knowledge, access to information through reading is very important. This implies that there should be more libraries, book stores, and platforms promoting literature to enhance information sharing, storytelling, intellectual development, cultural activity and sustainable development. In Accra, these are seven bookworm havens everyone should know about.
Libreria in West Legon is Ghana’s first subscription model library dedicated to providing readers with high-quality African literature as well as contemporary international content. The founder, Sylvia Arthur, saw the need for a carefully curated fictional and nonfictional collection of African, African diaspora, travel writing, current affairs and children’s literature for interested Ghanaians.
What used to be 1,700 of her personal readings are now a fundamental part of a growing bookworm haven open to all ages. Since its opening on 15th December 2017, Libreria has organized talks, games and performance sessions to engage book lovers from all parts of Accra. In addition to providing the latest and best books which readers identify with, Libreria looks to stimulate and maintain active reading for kids through this fundraiser everyone should support.
Libreria, 114 Westlands Blvd, Accra, Ghana +233 55 250 5989
Balme Library, University of Ghana
Since its establishment in 1948 in Gold Coast (now Ghana), on what is now University of Ghana, Legon, the Balme Library, which got its name directly from David Mowbray Balme, has been one of the biggest bookworm havens in the capital and country. About 12 kilometres (7.45 miles) northeast of Accra central, you’ll find Balme: the oldest and largest of all Ghanaian university and tertiary institution libraries.
Ever since the institution gained full university status, its 40,000+ students and those from outside institutions use the Balme Library on Mondays to Fridays from 9AM to 10PM and 8AM to 4PM on Saturdays. The original emphasis of the university was on the liberal arts, social sciences, basic science, agriculture, and medicine; but with time, more technology-based, vocational and postgraduate training programs were introduced, and as such, the library grew to accommodate literature from those subjects. It is one of the few libraries where you can find books on nuclear physics and engineering, also because only a handful of schools in Africa offer these courses.
George Padmore Library
George Padmore, the leading Pan-Africanist, journalist, and author, left Trinidad in 1924 to study medicine in the United States, before moving to the Soviet Union where he worked on African independence movements. Padmore also lived for a time in Germany, France, and London, before moving to Accra late in life, where he died on 23rd September 1959.
In June 1961, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first Ghanaian president and a dear friend of George Padmore, set up the George Padmore Library on the Gamel Abdul Nasser Avenue in Accra. Hard copies of rare African research work, African literature, history, languages, philosophy, stories and newspapers can be found here. Also, independent authors can acquire their International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) here.
George Padmore Library, Gamel Abdul Nasser Ave, Accra, Ghana +233 26 348 5254
Vidya or SyTris book stores
For warm and welcoming customer service as well as a good stock of contemporary books, check Vidya bookstore on the 18th Lane Oxford Street adjacent the Ivory Coast Embassy, or SyTris, located on the GIMPA Campus (in front of Mamphey Conference Hall) and SilverBird Life Style Shop, Accra Mall.
Place your orders for books you can’t find at Vidya for prompt delivery.
Vidya Bookstore, 18th Lane-Oxford Street, Accra, Ghana +233 24 426 2098
SyTris Bookshop, A&C Mall Jungle Rd, Accra, Ghana +233 50 744 4204
Osu Children’s Library
For the past 25 years, Kathy Knowles, the wife of a former gold mining employee from Canada, has helped to construct libraries in Ridge, Nima, Mamprobi, Nungua, Goi, Madina, Korle Gorno and other communities outside Greater Accra as part of the Osu Children’s Library Fund Project. In close partnership with local authorities and communities, the fund develops a network for book lovers, primarily in Ghana, where literacy, theatre, art, tech adoption, volunteering and publishing come together.
Multimedia Library Alliance Francaise
For French expatriates in Accra, as well as persons wishing to learn or improve their French, Alliance Française’s Multimedia Library houses over 8,000 books on French language and culture for general public use. There is also the Alliance Française Book Club, which started in May 2017 with the captivating book The Iced Water Seller by Mariska Darko.
Alliance Francaise d’Accra, Casely Hayford Rd, Accra, Ghana +233 50 128 7814
Radio and online hubs
Tune in to Writers Project every Sunday after 8PM to hear poets, storytellers and authors read their content on Citi FM in Accra and online, and do well to visit at least one of their amazing public readings in the capital. Afrolitt’ is your go-to vibrant readers’ dialogue web series. Also, Book Nook is your final online destination for antique books.