The Chairman, Conference of Chairmen and Director of Public Libraries in Nigeria, Mr. Giwa Franklin who is also the Director, Ogun State Library Board has decried the growing poor reading culture among the youth in Nigeria as worrisome, imploring the government at all levels to wake up and rescue the situation by developing and equipping libraries with modern facilities that would attract the youth in considering reading as a normal norms and right culture.
Giwa in a chat with the newsmen in Abeokuta, said development of public Library has not only suffered long time neglect but also been poorly funded, Pointing to inadequate staffing, lack of modern equipment in public Libraries, nonconductive library environment, which devoid of a worthwhile recreational and online facilities, that could lure people to read for intellectual research, encourage developmental skill writing, knowledge gathering among others are parts of challenges confronting the subsector.
He said that irrespective of the challenges confronting the increase in poor reading culture of African people and Nigeria in particular, the Ogun State government under the leadership of Governor Dapo Abiodun has brought in a new innovation which has brought complete restructuring, remodification and reorganization into the State Library to achieve its set objective for the State educational development.
He highlighted some of the steps taken by the present administration in restructuring the State Library, which includes; the introduction of ICT based Library with print, soft and internet facilities where people can conveniently access information without stress, cheering e-community where everybody will be computer savvy, promoting paperless library, digitalizing all books and bibliographies, creating soft links to about 100 computers system where more than 7,250 materials are being uploaded into the server for all readers across the State.
He said in the area of manpower development, the staff of the state library received first of its kind training and retraining on modern Library Science, disclosing that the present administration had helped in exposing the staff to major Conferences and workshops, in order to increase their knowledge and skill particularly in Library and human management, where some of them just concluded a specialized training on modern Library development in Kano State.
Giwa said that the State had also embarked on complete restructuring and beautification of libraries in Ijebu-Ode and Simon Adebo in Abeokuta in accordance with global standard, while other libraries in Sagamu, Ikenne, Ilaro and Ota were not left out in the ongoing restructuring as work had been concluded to turn them around into befitting edifice.
He explained that some of them had been completely revamped with new chairs among other core facilities, such as installation of computers to ensure full capacity, noting that for a long time, public library in the state had suffered neglect and left undeveloped by the immediate past administration, hailed Governor Abiodun’s resolve to uplift the lost glory of public Libraries across the state by making them conducive to encourage intellectual development and promote academic prowess among the young people in the state.
Giwa noted that part of the efforts put in place to further ensure a new dawn in the State public Library, was the survey of about 3,000 libraries carried out in public Primary and Secondary schools in collaboration with Ogun Digit Class to ascertain their conditions and put in place necessary facilities to ensure their full utilization.
He noted that effort is also geared towards the creation of Gateway Readers’ Club across Schools in the state, saying the government had also synergized with the World body such as Book Aids for a renewed support in books supply and in other areas to enhance the State Library.
He added that Governor Abiodun sincere interest in developing public Library led to resuscitation of Counterpart Funding which was last paid in 1998, saying that Governor Abiodun administration through the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology had resolved to end poor reading culture affecting patronage of public Libraries in the State through strategic implementation of laudable policies that would further make public Library more attractive and conducive for intellectual recreation, academic research and socio-economic development of the state.