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NLSA president calls for improved library legislation

The president of the National School Library Association, Professor Virginia Dike, has advised the Federal Government to incorporate standardised school library legislation in the National Policy on Education for effective implementation.

She gave the advice at the 31st Annual Conference of the association, themed ‘The School Library for Digital Age’ held last week at the Kunle Filani Hall, Federal College of Education, Abeokuta.

Professor Dike noted that there is an urgent need to push for library legislation, whether as a separate legislation for school libraries or within, that for education, saying the current statement in the National Policy on Education “lacks teeth” and not backed by provisions for funding.

The NSLA president further emphasised the importance of infusing Library period into the school timetable across primary and secondary schools. This, she said, would provide opportunities for children and youths to develop the reading habit, and that seeking information from books and other media would produce creative thinkers.

“The challenge facing us now is how we can exploit the possibilities of newer technologies, blended with resources and media in all forms, to further our hopes of what education should be and the central role school libraries play in realizing this vision,” she noted, adding that the mere dexterity of youths in manipulating electronic gadgets cannot be described as being information-literate.

Justifying her position, Professor Dike cited a recent research which revealed that many undergraduate students could not use word processing applications.

The students, the research showed, were adept at using social media like Facebook, and Twitter for social networking purposes, but had neglected emails and older media that offered more opportunities for in-depth information gathering.

According to her, when it comes to the Internet, the research showed that many students had only mastered the ability to Google-search terms, rather than the intricacies of literature searching that would avail them access to wealth of resources on the World Wide Web.

Earlier in her opening remarks, the acting provost, Dr. (Mrs) B. A. Adeniji, represented by the Dean, School of Languages, Mr. A. G. Sanya, described the library as a fulcrum which education sector thrives on.

Dr. Adeniji expressed displeasure with the current state of libraries in many primary and secondary schools, despite the National Policy on Education’s clause that ‘for a school to be accredited, there must be a functional library’.

She called for a cordial relationship between the NLSA, the Federal Ministry of Education and the various state ministries of education to improving the situation.