Library of Africa and The African Diaspora by Ernest Ankomah

The Library of Africa and The African Diaspora in Accra, Ghana now open.

The Library of Africa and The African Diaspora, formerly known as Libreria Ghana, has been open for members in Accra, Ghana since March 2020. It officially opens to the public on July 1, 2020.

In 2017, British-Ghanaian writer Sylvia Arthur moved to Accra and set up Libreria Ghana where for a small amount of money, subscribers at the private library could read and borrow from the library. Apart from the options for readers, there were also book readings and launches, poetry recitals, film screenings, and other arts events at the new space. The organisation also did outreach with book donations and other activities for kids who came from lower-income parts of the region.

Watch Sylvia Arthur talk about how the new library came about to YouTube Channel Literandra, which focuses on African literature, below;

On May 20, 2020, the organisation shared that they had officially shed the name Libreria Ghana, and would henceforth be known as the “Library of Africa and The African Diaspora” or LOATAD. In a Twitter statement they said, “We decided to change our name to reflect who we are, what we do, and what we stand for. We are a decolonised library with a focus on books by writers from Africa and the African Diaspora. We have books from almost all African countries, and across the Diaspora.”

The thread went on to state, “We strive to join the seemingly disparate threads of global Black literature together under one roof thereby celebrating the breadth and depth of Africa and her Diaspora’s contribution to the world of literature.”

Watch Sylvia Arthur talk about the new library to Literandra below;

The new Library of Africa and The African Diaspora has an expansive collection featuring books by writers from almost all African countries and Black authors from the United States, the Caribbean, Europe, and beyond. It boasts an extensive archive and special collection of rare and out-of-print books, drawing historical links between African and Diaspora writers and their work.

They also host a residency programme for writers seeking to immerse themselves in their work for an extended period while making use of the library’s resources.

It has three bedrooms available for rent to visitors from around Africa and the world wishing to enjoy a unique travel experience. The three rooms are named after Ama Ata Aidoo, Ayi Kwei Armah, and B. Kojo Laing.

The first view of the new space was seen online on June 8 and there has been a lot of excitement about this new opportunity for African writing. Here are some images from the new space shared by the library taken by photographers Nipah Dennis and Ernest Ankomah. If you wish to visit the library, you can learn more about them on their Facebook page.

The African Writers Shelves at the Library Of African and The African Diaspora (LOATAD),
The African Writers Shelves at the Library Of African and The African Diaspora (LOATAD)
Royal Stools for Royal Readers. Photo/Ernest Ankomah
Royal Stools for Royal Readers. Photo/Ernest Ankomah
Marielle Franco Way at the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD)
Marielle Franco Way at the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD)
Walter Rodney Way at the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD).
Walter Rodney Way at the Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora (LOATAD).
Ghanaian Writers Photo/Ernest Ankomah
Ghanaian Writers Photo/Ernest Ankomah
Kwame Nkrumah Photo/Ernest Ankomah
Kwame Nkrumah Photo/Ernest Ankomah

31 Replies to “The Library of Africa and The African Diaspora in Accra, Ghana now open.”

  1. This is a great initiative to create an inform citizens. I will be glad to one day spent a night in ” Ayi Kwei Armah”

      1. Greeting/Shalom to you and LOATAD supporters, there is one of several American-based funders/grantmakers/philanthropists of color whom the founder or library-book collector can do in order to apply grants to cover your area of expertise that I know of. There may be two things going against your goalmaking gig – doesn’t the librarian/book collector have an American-based banking account to externally withdraw assets from and secondly, is it permissible for any African international funding seekers to request American-based financial support if, or when needed? I am interested in going back to Ghana since my last visit there fourteen years before and awaiting available funds through secure employment. Shalom

  2. Great work.. These are the things we need to build the nation in terms of culture and tourism.
    Thanks to everyone involved 🙏

  3. Who will boo at such a blessing pure. Triple blessings upon those who thought of us in such an honey-and-milk-flowing way.

  4. Good initiative there. Hope that this good initiative is carried across all the regional capitals to bring reading and library to the door step of the under privileged.

  5. What a joy that The Library of Africa and the African Diaspora exists and so beautifully. Our grateful thanks to Ghana and all who made this project possible.

  6. A significant milestone…Vusi Mchunu, South African African heritage investigator , curator and writer…please approach the BBC for donating the Africa History series by Dr. All Mazrui, Dr. Basil Davudson and Dr. ZAINAB Badawi. I think the Prof Louis Gates series are under PBS/GBP.

  7. Book by book, you have built an enviable connection for the entire African diaspora. May your efforts connect the descendants of the millions of people taken from the motherland through your collection!!

  8. Great initiative. Well done Ohemaa. This is a great outreach concept that can be used to educate the little ones about the African Culture and Story.

  9. This is a great enhancement and to a course i studied in the University; Africa Diaspora. All about Africa. A lovely opportunity to learn more about the continent. This is very thoughtful. Thanks

  10. Woooao! What a Wonderful Project! How does one donate Books etc to help enhance this Great Vision?
    May the Good Lord Bless the Project for it to make a Positive Impact on all users. Amen

  11. Amazing project shaping the future of Africa and the Diaspora ! These are the kinds of massive investments the AU needs to do. The story of Africa and people of African descent would not change significantly until the current and future generations are correctly and properly well-educated. May this initiative become the norm across libraries in Africa and the Diaspora.
    I hope to see the launching of a mega global media organisation by the AU for the whole of Africa and Diaspora. The skewed and inaccurate narratives and misinformation about Africa needs to change from this generation onwards.

    1. I fully agree with you Sir, especially about the need to change the skewed and inaccurate narratives and misinformation about Africa and indeed the Diaspora

  12. I read a previously published article by Sylvia Arthur discussing the origins, challenges, and accomplishments of her bookstore. Ms. Arthur’s curatorial, archival, and bibliographic labor attests to the richness of African literature. She aspires me in my book collection and academic efforts in promoting global literature and writers. I will add the African Literary Podcast to my repository of global lit. sources. Kudos.

  13. This is a wonderful initiative. As I approach my 84th birthday I have always dreamt of such things taking place. Hopefully one day those who have willfully and maliciously oppressed and surpressed Africa and Africans will admit that African History goes further back than the Atlantic Slave Trade. All I can contribute to your efforts are a few of my cherished Books written by Africans and Africans from the Diaspora such as Chancellor Williams, Marimba Ani, Dr.Ben Jochannan, Dr .Eric Williams, Cheik Anta Diop Edward Blyden and more. Tell me how you can get them to you. I’m currently in The Gambia.

  14. Please arrange tours at GMT +6 so we in the USA East coast can join. 6 am is too early for us! I’m excited for the tour. Is the list of books online for us to reference and be inspired by? Thank you for your dedication!

  15. Wonderful endeavor and we pray it will be successful. One small question: The Black Jews or true Jews are often overlooked when it comes to people of African descent. Is there a section of the library for books on this specific group of Africans? Also, can we contribute books to the library and if so, how would we go about it?

  16. I am excited about this library. It is unique and a wonderful creation that will showcase the best that is Africa. The history of Africa will never be complete without its literary Giants. I look forward to visiting the library when in Ghana. Thank you for your efforts.

  17. A great initiative- I believe it will showcase Africa and what our true journey has been. The history of Africa, written by our Colonial masters MUST be critically looked at. For far too long, we have without question, accepted everything thrown at us. Unfortunately our history scholars have followed and accepted what they have been told and based their researches on them.
    We have for Centuries accepted our enslavers description of what happened to us over 400 years – to them, it was THE TRANSATLANTIC SLAVE TRADE – yes and we have obediently accepted this CRIME as TRADE – because that is how the PERPETRATORS chose to tell the world – ABD WE THE VICTIMS ACCEPTED IT!
    THIS LIBRARY SHOULD STAND AS A TESTAMENT TO ERADICATE ALL THE INJUSTICES AND LIES THEY HAVE PANDERED OVER THE CENTURIES

    WE MUST REFUSE TO ACCEPT THEIR VERSION – describing criminal activity as TRADE!

    WE HAVE TO CHANGE THAT – we suffered under it and to us it must be

    THE TRANSATLANTIC GENOCIDE, PLUNDER, HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND RAPE OF AFRICANS BY EUROPEANS.

    This is more to the point!

    HOW CAN A CRIMINAL BE ALLOWED TO CAPTION HIS CRIME?

    IT IS AN UNSULT TO AFRICA IF WE ALLOW THEM TO CALL THEIR CRIME A TRADE!

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