Lagos and revamping of library services
Recently, the old Herbert Macaulay Library in Yaba, Lagos, was transformed by the Lagos State government with the assistance of GT Bank, into a state of the art learning and recreation facility. With the goal of raising the library to global standards, a total overhaul of the internal and external structures of the facility was carried out. These included a complete refurbishing of the building, equipping the library with state of the art furniture, the installation of computer and internet facilities to create an e-library and the provision of books to ensure a pleasurable and highly rewarding library experience.
Equally, the state government has completed the renovation and upgrade of public libraries in eighteen secondary schools across the State with top class facilities. Lagos Digital Library, an online repository of education content, is another creative innovation in the quest of Ambode’s government to guide the people to the library.
The importance of a library cannot be over-emphasized as it is virtually a university of its own giving opportunity to all and sundry to drink from its cistern of knowledge and thus promoting lifelong learning.
It does not end there. Public libraries exist in many countries across the world and are often considered an essential part of having an educated and literate population.
Libraries also go a long way helping in the transmission of knowledge of the earlier generations to the later ones; and by this mean; to help in accumulation and further building up of knowledge from generation to generation.
Importantly, the need to revamp the Lagos State public library for general use becomes clearer when situated in the context of the Lagos State government drive to promote reading culture among students and the public. Not a few will consider the State government’s policy in this direction as well thought in this age when social media has distracted the average youth and students from reading.
The reasons for the decline in reading culture are not far- fetched. For one, reading is a taxing exercise that involves full concentration. Second, in our society today, nobody is interested in embarking on any activity that has no corresponding financial gains. Third, our socioeconomic environment is not reading friendly. The daily struggle for economic survival provides little or no time for people, especially those living in the cities, to cultivate a good reading habit. Also, the decline in the standard of education in the country has seriously affected reading culture in the country. Equally, high cost of books, particularly the imported ones, has contributed to a decline in reading culture in the country.
It is, thus, in line with the commitment of the present administration in Lagos State to expand access to knowledge that everything is being done to create a conducive environment for library users.
However, it is worth mentioning that a horse can be forced to the river bank. But a horse cannot be forced to drink if it does not want to. It is one thing for government to make efforts to revamp and refurbish libraries, it is a different thing entirely for Lagosians to optimize and maximize the use of these libraries around them. Hence, Lagosians, especially the youths should make good use of this laudable government’s project to banish ignorance and by inference poverty out of our society.
Jedidiah Omisore, Lagos.