Who leaves a stable job for a life of certain uncertainty? Who puts their career on hold so they can touch the lives of many? Who leaves the comfort of home for the harsh realities abroad? Who dares to be a doer in a world that’s full of talk? In our latest Spotlite exclusive, Sylvia Arthur talks to Alessandra about her move from the UK to Ghana, and the future of the library she founded in Accra.
For those who may not know, Libreria was Ghana’s first subscription model library. Founded by Sylvia Arthur, it consisted mostly of books – from her personal collection – that were written by people of African descent. Although the library itself was set up in one location, there were smaller versions of the library, Little Librerias as Sylvia would call them, that existed (and still do) in other locations. Having run for two years, Sylvia felt that Libreria was due an expansive makeover. This is one of the talking points that were discussed in this interview.
LOATAD (Library Of Africa and The African Diaspora) as the library will now be known as, will build on the legacies of Libreria, which as Sylvia herself said, has always been “a private library with a public mission”. With more space in its new location, LOATAD will be a residential library with bookable rooms named after African literary icons (such as Ama Ata Aidoo), and a literary museum featuring special collections of works mostly written by African (and especially Ghanaian writers). Taking pride of place, a collection of signed books by Ayi Kwei Armah including a handwritten letter by the Ghanaian author will be centre stage in the museum alongside other ephemera such as Kwame Nkrumah’s autobiography and an original manuscript of his from 1956.
“[We are] a private library with a public mission” Sylvia Arthur
When asked if the outreach programs and other initiatives that Libreria has come to be known for will remain a mainstay at LOATAD, Sylvia was positive that it would. As some of you might still remember, we organised two events last year in support of Sylvia and the wonderful work that she has been doing in Ghana. There was a fundraiser that took place around the same time, and the money that was raised went a long way to fund the Libreria library laughs scholarship – an initiative that funds a child in Ghana through junior high school. With more events like these planned for the future, and the fact that the library will remain subscription based, there is cause to be certain that funding will be secured, and that outreach programs will continue to be a part of the LOATAD story.
Stream away and support the movement
So as to not exhaust all the talking points from the interview, I shall leave it at that, but the interview is full of more and exciting conversations between Sylvia and Alessandra. From her passion for book collecting to what she sees as the main issues that face the African literary scene (particularly in Ghana), Sylvia pulls no punches. So grab a drink, get comfy and stream away. For those who would like to, you can support Sylvia and the work she is doing in Ghana by making a donation online. You can also contact us if you would like to make donations in the form of books and/or other useful equipment to the library.
This interview is made up of 4 segments, all of which are now available online. So don’t forget to visit the channel for the remaining interview segments.
Special thanks to Sylvia for the interview. To support us, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE our videos.
Happy watching, and see you again soon.
Special thanks to Sylvia for the interview. To support us, PLEASE SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to LIKE and SHARE our videos