Sylvia Arthur is a writer and the founder of the Library of Africa and the African Diaspora (LOATAD), a decolonized library, archive, museum, and writing residency dedicated to the work of African and diaspora writers from the late-nineteenth century to the present day. Based in Accra, Ghana, Arthur began the library with her own collection of 1,300 books. LOATAD now holds about 4,000 books by, and ephemera from, writers from forty-one of Africa’s fifty-four countries, as well as work by Black authors from the Americas, the Caribbean, and Europe.
LOATAD uses literature as a form of activism in two ways: The first is by producing, preserving, and disseminating knowledge derived from a literature that has been unrecognized, at best, and hidden, at worst. The second is by expanding and diversifying the meaning of literature and libraries from an elite institution into one for all people by incorporating traditional African methods of oral storytelling into the exclusive institution of the written and print library.
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