A library for the rural community of Nsutem

The mudLIBRARY is building project in the village of Nsutem, Ghana. In close cooperation with the local community, the NGO Bookdropghana, the Accra-based construction company Hive Earth and many volunteers, we have erected a small building that will serve as a library for the community of Nsutem.

Key Facts:

Built area: +/- 300m2
Indoor area: +/- 70m2
Financing and workshop organisation: start October 2020
Construction plans: start April 2022
Construction start: 16th of July 2022
Construction end: 1st of November 2022
Building cost: +/- 35.000,- €




Community of Nsutem and Bookdrop Ghana


Nsustem, Ghana

What have we built?

The library comprises two rooms. The main area covers about 50m2 and is equipped with a 5 meter long bookshelf and several tables and chairs. Suspended from the timber trusses, the bookshelf floats freely in space and can be circled from all sides. The media room with about 25m2 is equipped with four computers with internet access. The idea is to facilitate computer-literacy workshops here in the future. The two rooms are enclosed by a spacious covered outdoor area with several retreat and seating areas. Including the covered areas, the built-area of the library adds up to about 275 m2. The library is connected to the local electricity grid and there is lighting both inside and outside. In addition to the library and directly connected to the existing canteen building, we have also built a canopy with a washing and cooking area.

Output and Outcome

The mudLIBRARY provides people in Nsutem and arround access to literature and digital media. Where for most people in Europe a library is a standard facility, in Ghana, and especially in rural areas, this is absolutely not the case. But there is more. The mudLIBRARY, for example, also demonstrates that mud (earth or loam) can be a modern building material and, when used properly, a superior alternative to cement blocks. Find out more about the impact of the mudLIRBARY project in the following sections.

Social Impact

  • The mudLIBRARY gives +/- 15.000 people in Nsutem access to literature and digital media. Our partnerorganisation “Bookdropghana” will moreover use the library to organise literacy courses in the near future.
  • With the construction of the mudLIBRARY we can bring the advantages of modern earth buildings under the  attention of 1000+ people in the region.
  • We have alternately employed +/- 10 varying local labourers on the construction site and familiarized them with rammed earth building techniques.
  • We have taught almost 50 architecture students the basics of rammed earth and several other basic construction skills.
  • For over 12 weeks, young europeans and ghanaian locals have worked side by side on a construction site. This cultural cross-fertilisation is hardly quantifiable but, in our humble opinion, priceless.

Environmental Impact

  • Compared to conventional construction methods in Ghana, we estimate to have economized about 9 tonnes of CO2-emissions with the mudLIBRARY.
  • Compared to conventional construction methods in Ghana, we estimate to have economized about 60 tonnes of construction sand with the mudLIBRARY.
  • The thick walls (40cm) of the mudLIBRARY serve as a heat buffer and therefore make mechanical air conditioning systems superfluous

The Construction Process


Under construction…

The Design

Schermafbeelding 2022-12-27 om 20.35.49

Under construction…

The Project Leaders

Kwame Deheer

Hive Earth