The library has a 100-capacity auditorium, 45-seater multi-media centre, seminar rooms and a museum that holds historical materials that reflect the life and works of the late President Mills.
The two-storey edifice, situated opposite the Cape Coast Castle, also has a virtual sound room that echoes the voice of Prof. Mills in his memorable speeches and images that bring to life his sojourn as a celebrated academic, keen sportsman, humble politician, devout Christian, servant leader, President and peace-loving Ghanaian.
Although not a typical book library, it will preserve and make available the papers, records, collections and historical materials of President Mills and other prominent African intellectuals and political leaders.
The facility will be managed by the University of Cape Coast Libraries, and its research events will be coordinated by the university’s Faculty of Arts, with support from the Directorate of Research Innovation and Consultancy of the UCC.
The inauguration of the facility coincided with the fourth anniversary of Prof. Mills’s passing.
President Mills, the first Ghanaian sitting Head of State to have died, passed away on July 24, 2012.
Inaugurating the facility, President Mahama said nothing better immortalised President Mills than such a library to promote research and academic work.
Recalling memories of the deceased President, he described Prof. Mills as a “patriot, tolerant, humble, peace-loving, loyal, devout Christian, father for all and calm leader”.
“He was our Rock of Gibraltar,” he said, and urged Ghanaians to adopt his character.
President Mahama unveiling the plaque to inaugurate the John Evans Atta Mills Presidential Library
According to the President, the high level of tolerance and humility exhibited by Prof. Mills were attributes that Ghanaians, particularly political leaders, needed.
Those attributes, he said, had helped the late President to effectively execute his mandate of serving the country for many years and asked others to imbibe them.
Commenting on the unique location of the building, President Mahama said while the Cape Coast Castle reflected the story of slavery, the library told a story of an emancipated Ghana and the efforts of a leader to transform the nation.
Apart from academic benefits, he said, the presidential library would help enhance tourism in the region and called for its effective maintenance.
He thanked the Ogua Traditional Council for releasing the land for the project and commended the members of the Ghana Telecoms Chamber, particularly Airtel, Tigo and Vodafone, for supporting the project.
Osaberima Kwesi Atta II, the Paramount Chief of the Ogua Traditional Area, who chaired the ceremony, described the library as a “befitting tribute” to the late President Mills who cherished education.
The Vice-Chancellor of the UCC, Professor Domwini Kuupole, expressed delight in the project and said he was hopeful that it marked the beginning of the presidential libraries system in Ghana.
He cited countries where such libraries were used to preserve the legacy and records of leaders for present and future generations to draw lessons and urged Ghanaians, particularly teachers and students, to make use of the facility.
On the management of the library, Prof. Kuupole proposed the establishment of a foundation to co-ordinate public support towards the work and sustenance of the facility, since the government alone could not provide sufficient resources in that regard.
The ceremony was also attended by a former President of Malawi, Joyce Hilda Banda.