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 Library 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.
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.” 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.