La­gos and re­vamp­ing of li­brary ser­vices

Daily Trust - - OPINION -

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.

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