18 April 2011 – Northern Regional Library

Today I made a mistake. Ignorant Obruni that I am. I decided to visit the Northern Regional Library in Tamale. When I was headed into town on my way up north I saw this library behind Barclay’s bank. I had never seen it before. I am sure it had to be there but  for awhile I had on library blinders because I needed a break from what I had done for the past 25 years.  For whatever reason I saw this library and decided that I would visit it on my way back down from Sandema.

So with camera in hand I went to visit the library. As I approached I took two shots from across the street and the one above before I entered the library gate. I walked right in past a small building at the gate and raised my camera to my face. Someone hissed at me. This is a common way to get someone’s attention but it is one of the things I have not been able to adapt too and it always makes the hairs on the back of my neck bristle. I turned to see who was hissing but no one indicated they want me so I started to take this great photo of a library on wheels in front of the main entrance.

There was that horrible hiss again! When I turned this time someone was walking towards me. He berated me for coming and taking photos of his building without talking to him. Oh that shack was a security shack. I almost always greet security people because I think they have a hot and boring job but I messed up this time.

I humbly apologized to him. I explained that in US it’s OK to take photos outside of a building but we should ask permission once inside. I apologized again and asked if he could tell me if the director was working today. He called over the Library Accountant and said that the Accountant would take me to see the director.

I talked with the Head Librarian, Aaron and got the scoop on the library. It’s the central library for the Northern Region. Books are purchased by the National Library then sent up to Tamale. Aaron assured me that of course they would always accept donations! Then through the Library on Wheels books were also distributed to other town libraries or into the readers hands if there was no library in their village. Books were loaned out for 21 days. The library consisted of three departments –  Children’s, Adults and Technical. They also had a meeting room for about 100 people.

The Head Librarian then said that the Accountant would show me around because I as an American would understand the need for security. I agreed. The only surprise on the tour was the Technical department. I had assumed it was the cataloging department but I was sooo wrong. It was PCs for public use. Wisdom was the technical librarian who showed me around. They had 8 PC on tables big enough for two people to sit together and use the computer. They were charging 60 Pesewa per hour (1 GHC is the going rate) and using CyberCafe to manage the computers. We also talked about software to manage all the functions of the library and  I promised to send Wisdom links to  two open source software, Evergreen and Koha. (I did that very afternoon.)

At the end of the tour the accountant took me out the front door where at last I got my photo of the library on wheels in front of the library.



1 Comment

  1. May 7, 2011 at 3:38 am

    […] I saw this library behind Barclay’s bank. I had never seen it before. … Read more:  18 April 2011 – Northern Regional Library « 1person Share […]

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