Going for the inevitable

I didn’t know whether any of the bookshops in Accra would have copies of

Bought at Vidya's on 25 Sep 09

Dan Brown’s The lost symbol on the day it was officially released, so I decided to wait a little bit until Vidya’s got their supply.  So last Friday I went by there on the way back to work from the bank, and met the owner and her colleagues sorting out boxes, and putting prices on items received in a recently arrived consignment. Including of course, a limited number of copies of the famous, or infamous, Dan Brown book.

I did buy some other stuff – how could I resist?

So far I am on chapter 20 or so, but it is a long book!  Already I can imagine that this will provoke a lot more tourism to Washington, DC!   I even recommended it to K who is not the world’s greatest reader, but I suspect he would enjoy it too.

I wish it were possible to just stay at home and finish it, and then pass it on, but I don’t think that would go down well at work!

I do have a lot of other books to read – and I really should get cracking on them.  I am becoming a little lazy and/or heading for the web instead!

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Kwame Nkrumah and books

Members of GhanaBlogging are supposed to have been talking/writing about Kwame Nkrumah over the last week or so, as part of the centenary celebration of his birth, which is officially celebrated on 21 September.    This is definitely belated, but will just have to do.

Certainly Kwame Nkrumah wrote books, and he respected them, and their use by others.  After all, he ensured that the Ghana Library Board started off as an institution to supplement the facilities offered by the formal education sector.  It is very much a pity that political views of Nkrumah after his overthrow probably led to a diminishing level of support to the GLB leading to its almost total decay during the 1980s.  And by the time the economy had recovered, the whole information scene had changed drastically, but the GLB still maintained a view of the world that harkened back to the mid to late 20th century.   Though I do have to admit that they do now have a website, which could be termed as progress, even if the time I accessed it the date was Saturday April 26, 2008 – and this was in September 2009!

Back to Kwame Nkrumah.   I don’t think anyone – whatever their political allegiance – will deny that Ghana’s first President was an intellectual.  He wrote several books, many of which are still studied in Ghana and elsewhere.

A probably incomplete list follows:

  • Ghana:  The autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah (1957)
  • I speak of freedom (1958)
  • Africa must unite (1963)
  • Consciencism (1964)
  • Neocolonialism (1965)
  • Axioms of Kwame Nkrumah (1967)
  • Challenge of the Congo (1967)
  • Voice from Conakry (1967)
  • Handbook of revolutionary warfare (1968)
  • Dark days in Ghana (1968)
  • Class struggle in Africa (1970)
  • Revolutionary path (1973)
  • Rhodesia file (1974)

The irony is that here in Ghana it is quite difficult to obtain copies of his books, despite more than forty years having passed since he was overthrown in a coup, and more than thirty years since he died.  There used to be a shop in the Ghana Trade Fair that sold some of his work, but no longer – at least as far as I could see.  If one is lucky, a local bookshop “may” have some of his books, but as usual, the easiest way of obtaining his publications is to order them from either the UK or the US, unless one is really prepared to put in a lot of effort and move around Accra or indeed Ghana!   Rather sad really.

A Kindle – finally!

I forgot to mention that I finally saw a Kindle at the recent Web 2.0 for libraries workshop which I attended earlier in the week.  It was one of the several “gadgets” (as we like to say here in Ghana) on display.   I wish I could have really looked at even more but others were clamouring also to see it.  It did look pretty slim and nifty…

Unfortunately you can only buy it in the US at the moment, though I gather it should be available in Europe fairly soon.

Hmmm…  should I consider buying one of these on my next US visit?

Forthcoming Ghana Book Fair in November 2009

I hear that this year there will be another Ghana Book Fair, even though there was one last year.   Apparently there is a shift to a yearly event.

Dates from what I can remember are:  2-7 November 2009, and the venue is the National Theatre, as it was in 2008.

The Ghana Book Publishers Association doesn’t seem to have a website, but there is a very brief link on the APNET website.

Web 2.0 for librarians workshop

I attended a presentation cum workshop on Web 2.0 for librarians at the US Embassy Information Resource Center here in Accra.  All part of the continuous professional development offered to members of the Ghana Library Association.  [Apologies for not putting up a link to the GLA website, but this is under review and reconstruction, to make it more interactive, among other things.]

Not too surprisingly I felt I had some acquaintance with a lot of what was talked about and demonstrated, but I also picked up several tips, and learned of some new websites and approaches, including Zamzar, which converts audio-visual files on the web to those which one can download, and then play on a pc, without the internet!   Will definitely go and check that out, and see how it works.

After the presentation – which was hardly formal – there was time for some hands on practice for the twenty five or so of us who were present –  including taking digital photos, setting up Facebook pages and trying a hand at basic blogging.  I sort of ended up as one of the informal resource persons, which was pretty amusing.

I don’t consider myself particular adept at use of these technologies, but I am somewhat surprised that there are no blogs by any Ghanaian librarians – at least that I have been able to find!   Maybe that will change?   I was also reminded that the whole point of blogging is to say something regularly!

So here I am…