Site visit to Jordan Nu library in Ghana

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Marilyn Deer helped found and she and friends continue to support the Jordan Nu library.  It is a beautiful, model librarynear Vakpo in the North Dayi district, Volta region.  Marilyn recently returned form a month stay in Jordan Nu.  Here is her report on the library; it is a great example of a useful site visit report!  

This report summarizes my visit to the White Cross Mission Jordan Nu Community Library, spending the month of October 2012 observing and participating in library activities.  I was able to see the librarians, Cynthia and Ernest, interact with children of all ages as they taught them reading skills and helped them with school homework.

I observed both Cynthia and Ernest teach and explain the vowel and consonant phonics.  I saw them work with the children learning to spell, write short autobiographies and practice addition and multiplication.  Several students came daily for homework assistance.  Both librarians show teaching skills and seem to enjoy interchanges with the kids.  Both Ernest and Cynthia have excellent knowledge of the location of books requested, especially since they are diligent in dusting and cleaning the books and shelves regularly. 

My observations in the school classrooms showed that the students who use the library excel in their school classes. 

 I noticed several repeat adult patrons enjoying the written works of African authors and one gentleman studying the new beekeeping books.  The women were reading cookbooks, recorder music, Ewe history, and story books written in Ewe.  Many adults find the available reading glasses helpful. 

The condition of the building was good.  Extension of the rain gutter was necessary and completed to prevent damage to the building wall.  Ernest's skills and expertise in landscaping, pruning and planting is obvious in the beautiful approach to the library building.  Thanks to him there are now royal palms in the well cared for surrounds and gardens.

The numbers of library patrons are lower than during my previous visits.  The primary five teacher, Josephine, regularly teaches the Religious and Moral Education in the library.  Aneta school children regularly come during their morning class break.  There were many primary three students who frequented the library due to the absences of their teacher, Helen.  Anytime the teachers are not in the classroom, the children are welcome to utilize the library resources of books and librarian teaching.   

Fridays, being game day, bring many children to enjoy the puzzles and games available.  New and popular this year were the game, Cootie, and the pattern shape blocks which offered creative potential for designs.  Addition Bingo was also popular along with the continued enjoyment of Ludu, Memory, cards and Oware.  Tangrams (Tangoes) offered mental exercise and stimulation for older puzzlers. 

Duplicate books in boxes will be donated to the school when adequate storage is available at the school.  Some kindergarten(KG) workbooks were given to the school for use there. 

The Daily Graphic and Focus on Africa continue to be read often by older students and adults.  Political ideas and opinions are important reading due to the upcoming election in December.

Let's keep thinking about the library sign at the roadside. Let's plan on repainting the library in 2013 when there are no rains.  If the color is changed by the committee, care must be taken painting around the cement-raised flower design on the front of the building. Regarding library finances, the accounting has been excellent by the librarians of their petty cash use.  I also recommend attaching the accounts of the bank and the treasurer to each library monthly report. I recommend more reading of stories to the children by the librarians.  I'd like to see more use and reading by the librarians of nonfiction books, reading about countries, animals and topics found in the encyclopedias to the children.  Continue the teaching of phonics and encourage reading sight words using the flashcards and Bingo games. Ongoing spelling practice is valuable and writing of the alphabet and words is important.

The committee and librarians seem to be working well together and communicating their ideas and difficulties.  It is important that the librarians are always paid in a timely manner.  I am grateful for all of the dedication and commitment to the library and together we can make improvements and serve our community well. 

Marilyn Deer, November 18, 2012

1 Comment

During my last visit to Jordan-nu, I witnessed the good job that you have done. We appreciate your contribution towards building a reading habit in the children.
We were actually there to teach the final year students and offer a helping hand to building their future. I noticed there are some genius amongst them despite being deprived of facilities.
I must say that Merilyn you have done a great service to my community where i was born. I appreciate you!!!
Hope to see you once again in Ghana to share the success achieved by your initiatives. CHEERIO!!!

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Books, reading, and libraries relevant to Africa by Michael Kevane, co-Director of FAVL and economist at Santa Clara University.

Other contributors include Kate Parry, FAVL-East Africa director, Peace Corps volunteer Emilie Crofton, Krystle Austin, Elisee Sare, and Monique Nadembega.

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