The Nigerian Library Association (NLA), Oyo State chapter, recently observed its annual Library Week, Conference and Annual General Meeting. The week kick-started with a rally which took off from the University of Ibadan gate while other programmes designed to mark the week followed.
The NLA is the umbrella body for libraries, library professionals and other relevant stakeholders. The body promotes efficient library services, seeks to unite and also empower members’ efficiency through seminars, conferences, workshops and publications.
Speaking with Nigerian Tribune at the end of the association’s Annual General Meeting held at Segun Aganga Hall, International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan on the last day of the event, the host chairman who has now become an ex-officio, Dr Olaojo said “This tenure organised conferences, seminars and workshops in order to strengthen our members academically and to be relevant wherever they find themselves. All the while, this association has been able to bring all members together far and near in Oyo State. As we are gathered here, we have been able to rekindle the political awareness because many who are not willing to identify with us before now are doing so; they pay their dues and are making impact in their respective offices and organisations.
“Furthermore, the association is quite relevant to national development in the sense that it is in the area of generating, processing, disseminating, retrieving, storing and at the same time repackaging information for individual needs. There are many people who need information to better their lots, some to strengthen themselves, to defend or argue a particular thing. Our association has been able to perform these roles and responsibilities very creditably.”
The head, National Library of Nigeria, Oyo State chapter, Mr Bashiru Akanni, said “Every year, the organisation embarks on the said campaign to sensitise the populace on the importance of reading beyond examination or employment purpose but for lifelong development. As a graduate, if you stop reading, you would become a semi-literate and that is why reading is a continuous thing from cradle to the grave.
“The last one we did, we took the readership campaign to correctional service centres where the inmates were told the importance of reading. We went there with books, shelves and even three bags of rice. We also went to Moniya area of Ibadan where they were made to understand that when we talk of education, we have formal and informal. Apart from that, we go to hospitals to address pregnant mothers on the importance of reading. According to a psychologist, if pregnant women and nursing mothers can cultivate the habit of reading, it would have a great impact on the child in the womb as the child would develop interest in reading. We have our branches throughout the federation where people can come to read books, journals and newspapers.”
Chief Executive Officer, Option Books, Ibadan, Mr Oluranti Olumoroti, was one of the guests at the event. In his remarks, he stated that “What we do in the book selling and publishing industry is to ensure that the right type of publications are made available for people who would need them
“The thing about information resources is that there is no problem on earth that you would not get a piece of information (publication) to meet. So our responsibility is to get those books or journals to meet the needs of the end user. As book sellers, we make sure we get publications anywhere they are published. If they are not in our area, we ensure they are gathered and published. Nigerians read but we do so only to meet specific needs. What is required is for all stakeholders, religious organisations, community leaders to make sure that we encourage people to read. In encouraging Nigerians, we must motivate them by having reward for reading.”