Nigerian libraries and the reading culture challenge



Nigerian libraries and the reading culture challenge



By Richard Mammah



Librarians in Nigeria are about rounding off their 60th Anniversary celebrations of the founding of their umbrella body, the Nigerian Libraries Association, NLA.


The event is being hosted at the Bolton Events Centre, Wuse Abuja from July 3rd to 8th, 2022 and would be concluded with the transfer of power to a new set of leaders of the decades-old association after the tenure of incumbent President, Professor Innocent Ekoja.


It has indeed been a week of serious focus and discussions around the state of libriaries in Nigeria, the practice of library information sciences and the attitude of Nigeria and Nigerians, common oand leaders, to libraries, the books ecosystem, the reading culture, research and intellectual activities and the overall national development process.


As is to be expected, so many things were said in the myriad of papers presented. But one that struck a strong chord with this reader was the advocacy made by the Keynote Speaker for libraries to spare a serious thought about working with book clubs within their spaces. And that indeed would be a game-changer.


Indeed, libraries have over the years continued to play very significant roles in the shaping of lives and indeed the overall health of the nation. Many are the stories of people who used libraries to carve out impressive paths for themselves, one notable one being Mr. Odia Ofeimun, former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, ANA. There is indeed no limit to what a functional library can do in the life of an individual. Conversely too, a nation that places great premium on its libraries is one that is primed for the highest competitive peaks. Nigeria must give more attwention to its libraries.


But at the same time, librarians themselves should also continue to work towards ensuring that the libraries they superintend over are indeed quite vibrant knowledge and culture centres. And in this, a low hanging fruit is to invite or incorporate book club operations into their mix where they are not presently available. As aggregators of the prime peaks of the reading-savvy talent in the community, book club members bring in priceless levels af drive, motivation and passion that would just sit very well in the overall scheme of things. With the right levels of cooperation and collaboration, it will be a win-win for all.




Richard Mammah is President, Network of Book Clubs and Reading Culture Promoters in Nigeria, NBRP.



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