Somewhere in the 1990s
A little girl descends the hill from the Mfantsipim Staff Flats. Her dad is a teacher in The School so they live on the hill. She comes down all the way to the Kotokuraba Market, her sister is in step. They make their way through the streets of the municipality. They are super excited. They greet people on the way. Some are happy to see them. Others wonder where two little girls will be going in the hot Cape Coast sun. Their destination is the library.
At the library, they greet the librarian who is happy and angry to see them. The girls give her a lot of fulfillment about her work. For the longest time, she wanted children to frequent the library and it had been an uphill task. But the girls go all the time and it makes her feel rewarded. Yet, they give her troubles too. They practically wreck the place when they are there. And sometimes, she finds them at the adult section reading books they are not supposed to read. Then on some days, she has to sack them from the library so she could close.
The little girl is Dorcas Fafali Tsey and this is how she got her passion to read.
Twenty years later, she decides to identify herself as A Lady Who Loves To Read. Her reason is simple. After many years of pursuing and fueling her passion for reading, it is time to share it with other people. She uses social media to drive this agenda.
Tsey’s strategy is first to show people that there is a wide range of books that could interest them. She displays a variety of books with stimulating captions on her Facebook timeline to get people interested. She believes that one of the reasons people do not read enough or at all is that they do not have materials they are interested in. Therefore, she commits herself to making the books she reads interesting enough for other people to get attracted to them and want to read them. Out of this sustained interest, she started two book clubs on WhatsApp where e-books are shared, read and discussed.
Last year, Tsey marked two years of influencing people to make reading a habit. The highlight of the celebration for me (because I was invited to participate in some of the activities) was that she decided to turn her personal passion into an organization. Clearly, the passion has outgrown her as an individual and it is time to scale up and spread the gospel of reading to the corners of the country.
Consequently, maintaining the same name – A Lady Who Loves To Read – and backed by a team of three young men and two ladies, Ms. Tsey unveiled the organization at a meet and greet held as part of the two years anniversary in November last year. The team is committed to cultivating and inspiring a habitual reading culture among individuals, families, corporate and public institutions. It is their goal to encourage every family to own a library and have a family reading time, to help individuals read at least 25 books a year, partner with the right organizations to have books at restaurants, in public transports and at bus stops and to encourage religious and corporate institutions to have libraries and book clubs. If you think these goals are awe-inspiring, wait till I tell you about the activities, programmes and services A Lady Who Loves To Read renders.
Once every quarter, in conjunction with other book lovers and organization, Tsey and her team organize a book exchange fair. This attracts bibliophiles from different parts of the country who come to give away some of their collections and take books from their contemporaries. Book vendors also attend and sell their books at ridiculously discounted prices. There is networking, book discussions, games and food.
The team also runs a courier library service called OKABRY. With as little as GHS 35, you get four books delivered at your doorstep for your reading pleasure for a month. At the end of the month, the courier comes for the books but you keep the knowledge. This is a hustle-free library system for readers. Check out their website on www.aladywholovestoread.com and subscribe today.
My personal favourite of their services is the personalized one. I call it the book consultancy service where if you want to pick up the habit of reading, they sit down with you, have a discussion and try to find out what interests you, then shop for the right books for you. Then, they put you on a reading schedule and monitor you until reading becomes your thing. This makes them sound like book/reading shrinks, doesn’t it?
Apart from these, they set up libraries – both online and physical – for organizations and put together reader and author engagement seminars and workshops.
A Lady Who Loves To Read – the person and the organization – is onto something for our societies and the country. They deserve commendation for the feats they have achieved thus far. That’s what I seek to do with this column today. Hopefully, it will serve as a propeller to cause them to do more. Cheers, TLWTR!