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Stakeholders call for upgrade of public library in Nigeria

Some participants at the conference in Enugu

 

Alex Enebeli

Librarians in Nigeria have called for the upgrade of the public library in the country to enhance development and improve service delivery.

This is contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the 5th Annual Conference of the National Librarian, Directors and Chairmen of State Public Library Boards in Nigeria on Friday in Enugu.

The theme of the conference is ‘Nigerian Public Libraries in Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The Journey so far’.

The conference was held under the chairmanship of the Acting University Librarian, University of Agriculture, Umudike, Dr Isaac Ogbonna, and hosted by the National Librarian, National Library of Nigeria (NLN), Prof. Chinwe Anunobi.

It noted that most public libraries in the country lacked the requisite digital infrastructure to drive digital literacy and digital inclusion in their immediate communities to advance the objectives of the SDGs.

It stated that libraries should invest in professional learning and development to address identified barriers that hinder the digital needs of library users, including lack of staff knowledge and capacity to handle requests from their clientele.

According to the communiqué, most state public libraries operate disparate and moribund public library laws enacted in the 60s and 70s which are incompatible with current realities and hence have become obsolete and impracticable in the 21st century library and information service delivery.

This, it said, should be uniformly reviewed and harmonized in tandem with current realities and global best practices to enable them perform optimally.

It said that there is the need to improve low-level Information and Communication Technology penetration in communities and public library systems in Nigeria to effectively harness and advance the SDGs.

The communiqué further said that most public libraries in Nigeria seldom provided innovative programmes and activities that would make their libraries attractive to young people.

“Most librarians in the public libraries are not well motivated and passion-driven and this results in low-level innovation and creativity.

“Public libraries are not adequately funded to deliver efficient services and deploy sufficient information resources required for the attainment of the sustainable development goals.

“The libraries should make provisions for innovative programmes, activities and services such as games corner in the library, smart scientific spaces to leverage on science and technology for community development.

“The digital literacy is imperative to the attainment of sustainable development goals and State governments in Nigeria are enjoined to provide digital infrastructure and facilitate wide-ranging digital training and capacity building for staff of public libraries in their states,” it appealed. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Vincent Obi