Mr Samuel Bentil Aggrey, the President of the Ghana Library Association, has called on the Government to create a national library to help keep relevant national information.
He said a national library was important because it would help to collect and preserve all publications of the country and perform other critical roles.
Mr Aggrey made the call during the eight Presidential Inaugural Lecture of the Association in Accra on the theme: “National Development through the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – The Role of Libraries.”
Quoting the Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science 2010, he said: “National libraries are supposed to be the official repository of printed work, the general access library, information bibliographical centre and the centre of coordination, planning and stimulation of the entire library system of the nation.”
“Many African countries such as Togo, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Somalia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Cameroon, Mali, Chad, Southern Sudan, Kenya, and Nigeria have national libraries which are playing their expected roles,” Mr Aggrey said.
He said in the absence of a national library, the public library assumed further responsibility of preserving the cultural heritage of Ghana as well as providing resources and facilities for socio-economic development.
Mr Aggrey said libraries had significant roles to play in national development and that it was heartwarming that the current UN Agenda 2030 on SDGs provided a clear pathway for the inclusion of libraries and access to information in the national development plan.
He noted that the 17 SDGs were hinged on “poverty, hunger, health, employment, education, gender, sanitation, infrastructure, consumption, ecosystem, climate, peace, and partnerships,” adding that each nation was to set up structures to achieve the goals, targets and indicators.
Mr Aggrey said establishing a national library would help Ghana to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 as agreed upon by all nations.
He said it was relevant for the libraries to play critical roles in the achievement of the SDGs through repackaging of information for public consumption which could alter the behaviour of citizens to move in the direction of the goals.
Mr Aggrey called on the Government to increase the subvention given to libraries to ensure the effective management of public libraries.
“Government must resource the public libraries with the much needed funds, materials and infrastructure and, if possible, place libraries as a special unit under the presidency,” he said.
Mr Aggrey called for the establishment of libraries in all the districts of the country to help promote reading habits among Ghanaians to contribute to the development of the nation.