‘I have observed the eagerness of my schoolmates to come to the library as often as possible. Before vacation, a certain boy in my class said “the library is so wonderful and I get to read new books everyday coming across new words which I now use in my English essay.” According to others too,it is a place where one is able to concentrate and become more serious by just looking at your fellows.’ (Alex Boayke, Library Prefect, Primary 6)
It is housed inside the Messiah International School, and is also open to the local community during the evenings as late as 9pm. The school now has library sessions built into its timetable, and a number of pupils from other schools pack into the small room during the evenings and weekends.
‘The library is a catalyst in its own way. It is really helping the pupils in their academic life. Both teachers and pupils have been using books from the library as teaching and learning aids. During English lessons, pupils go to the library to make use of the dictionaries available to look up for words, their meanings and sometimes synonyms if necessary. This has actually been great improving teaching and learning as compared to previous outcomes. Also, since the library has a conducive environment for learning, pupils who are willing to study during their free time are able to have a quiet environment. Concentration is essential for learning and the library provides just that with minimal distraction. The library is helping the pupils in ways they don’t even realize. They believe that they are reading for fun but it is also beneficial.’ (Joseph, Director of the Messiah International School, Abofour)
‘As a parent, I can’t keep calm about how helpful the library has been to my kids. I need to let all know so that they understand its essence. I have realised that my kids have resorted most often to reading during their free time. At first, the only thing they were reading was their notes plus the books I seldom bought them from the bookshop. Apart from that, they were seen hanging out with this friend or the other. But now, since they are allowed to borrow books, they seem to be around most of the time. I’m also happy to say that, they are improving as they try to select phrases from these books and say them. Gradually, if this continues I know they are going do really great. I’m proud of my child’s school now.’ (Parent in Abofour)
Support of New Classroom Block and Library
The Messiah International School (run by devoted director Joseph Addae) is an astonishing private school where the quality of teaching is outstanding. Despite very poor facilities (the school is most definitely not run for profit) they achieve outstanding results.
Following the destruction of several classrooms in bad weather, using funds raised specifically for this purpose and a £8,000 grant from the Chalk Cliff Trust, a £2,000 donation from Repton School, and a £500 donation from the Stella Symons Charitable Trust, we have decided to support the rebuilding of several classrooms and place two large community libraries on top of these classrooms, on the condition that the classrooms and libraries are open to the entire community in the evenings. The building work on this was completed in December 2017, and the school was opened by a remarkable ceremony involving pupils, parents, and educational and traditional leaders from across the community.
Given that we have observed that this school, in the heart of the community, truly does offer its facilities to the entire community, and has excellent management, we thought that further expanding the library in this area would have a significant impact. The interest in reading and ability of teachers and older pupils to support pupils’ reading has already been demonstrated.
Abofour Book Club
The librarian, Gloria Addae, has also initiated a book club at the school, which meets every Friday morning at 6.30am to discuss books they have read, to read books together, and to play various games associated with reading. The club has its own President, Vice-President, and Secretaries. Pupils have to prove their interest in reading across a period of time in order to be invited to join the club, and minutes are taken at every meeting. Pupils compete over how many books they have read, with a girl called Rebecca claiming to have read over 300!
Gloria Addae, volunteer librarian, Abofour, founder of the Abofour Readers’ Club:
‘I know that I love books and I feel obligated to look after them since they look after me so well. I was very happy when the library was established since I knew its impact would be great upon those who used it. Without available resources, it’s difficult trying to inculcate the habit of reading in people. The environment in there is very serene. Dictionaries are being used to look up words that seem a bit complicated. Even some of the teachers use materials from the library to teach and top up to what they already have. The Readers Club will have been non-existent if we had no library. Participants of the club are very entertained. Sometimes, pupils are being asked to read out loud which is building their confidence level and the panic that goes with doing something in front of people. Because of the library, Fridays are special as we get to do our own changes to certain plots and characters in books chosen. We also get to do informal sections free from strictness.’