My colleague blogger, Fiona Leonard, wrote very recently about a recent visit to the Ghana Book Trust in Accra.
The headline “Where do books for Africa go to die?” says it all. The last time I went there – sometime last year – the situation was no different. I was looking for some “light” reading for students and for the library at work, and I did find a reasonable selection – both for the time I had to look, and for the money I had to spend! But I did have to scrounge through some large dirty boxes on the floor and a few shelves of non-textbooks.
I do admit that I felt that GBT was definitely not what it used to be. First of all, there weren’t many people there; yet I emember occasions when it was full of students looking for texts to buy, as well as institutions hoping to supply their libraries. It was dark – maybe it always was, but I didn’t notice it, and definitely dingy looking. Definitely not a very attractive place to go.
Yet, as was mentioned by Fiona, GBT continues to receive containers of books from donors in North America, although they no longer act as recipients of books for Book Aid International which has stopped working in Ghana and West Africa.
So what has happened? And why? The word on the street is that some companies in the book trade were not pleased with GBT who were supplying many organizations at very low prices, but is this a reason for the lack of care?
Thanks Fiona for saying what many of us should have said ages ago, and for being outraged!