The Library Tree

Great Plains Publications

The Library Tree

Deborah Cowley


How a Canadian woman brought the joy of reading to a generation of African children

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This is the inspiring story of a Canadian woman who transformed a simple afternoon of reading to a group of children in her backyard in Ghana, Africa, into seven large community libraries in poor areas of the country’s capital, support for more than 200 smaller initiatives around Ghana and in other African countries, and a publishing venture that produces children’s books in English and Swahili.
Kathy Knowles now runs her volunteer-based Osu Children`s Library Fund out of her Winnipeg home with twice-yearly trips to Ghana. Her work promoting libraries and literacy continues – construction is now underway on a three-storey library in the area of the capital known as Korle Gonno.
“You are proof that the vision and actions of just one person can make a tremendous difference in so many lives!”
     — Michaëlle Jean, former Governor General of Canada, following a visit to the Nima Library in November 2006.


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About the Author

Deborah Cowley

DEBORAH COWLEY is an Ottawa author and broadcaster with extensive international experience. In 2000 she travelled to Ghana to interview Kathy Knowles for a cover story that appeared in Reader’s Digest the next year. Since then, she has continued to work closely with Kathy as a volunteer, and has visited Ghana with her on fifteen trips. She has seen first-hand how Knowles’ dedication and determination have brought books, reading and libraries to Africa. This is her fifth book.