I attended the first of two professional seminars being organized by the Ghana Library Association on Friday 18 May 2012. This was part of the organization’s 50th anniversary celebration, having been founded in 1962. As is often the case, the event took place at the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) Hall here in Accra. The central location is a great plus, and I suspect that it is not too expensive, which is great for local NGOs. Personally I find that the set-up is very traditional, with raised stage – about a metre and a half higher than the floor – with a long table and the usual podium. Definitely a high table, and an audience. But at least the chairs were OK, the air-conditioning worked, and the microphones worked, so I shouldn’t complain.
The organization of the event was good; I arrived early – as usual – around 7.30am – and already the registration table was set up, with tantalizing 50th anniversary promotional items displayed for sale. How could I resist? I didn’t… Folders were ready, and copies of the papers were available on a CD! Less paper, less trees, less hassle doing photocopying and dealing with people who want copies of papers but don’t really need them or didn’t pay to attend. It’s also good to listen to a presentation, and then know that one can read it later at one’s leisure.
The programme did start a little late, but the first part went quickly, and everyone kept to time. As there was a significant sponsor plus some donors of books, there was time for them, but that was OK. [It seems this is becoming a part of programmes where there are sponsors – as I noticed this was an integral part of the Blog Camp 2012 as well.]. A group photo followed, then there was the usual snack break, before getting down to the main presentations.
Prof Anaba Alemna (at the Dept of Information Studies, University of Ghana, Legon) spoke about “Libraries – Key to national development”, arguing that the potential for libraries in Ghana has not been realized because of lack of enabling legislation and support from key groups. Valentina Bannerman (University Librarian at the University of Education in Winneba) discussed the role of libraries in building a knowledge economy. And the final presentation was by the ever controversial Kosi Kedem (Chair of the Board of the Ghana Library Authority and former Member of Parliament) who managed to criticize four key groups of stakeholders for not supporting the creation of a National Library in Ghana. Naturally the last presentation did inspire lots of questions and some rebuttals; but that was enjoyable, and thought provoking. Unfortunately the event had to come to an end, otherwise we would have been there for several more hours!