President, Nigerian Library Association NLA Prof. Innocent Ekoja addressing Journalists ahead of the 60th National Conference in Abuja
The Federal Government has developed a library and information services policy to guide the operations of library services in line with global best practices in the country.
The President of the Nigerian Library Association NLA Professor Innocent Ekoja stated this in Abuja while briefing journalists ahead of its 60th National Conference.
Professor Ekoja who expressed concern over the poor state of libraries across the country said the policy would help to reposition libraries in the country.
Professor Ekoja explained that the Library Registration Council of Nigeria LRCN has also developed standards to ensure that schools with substandard library are closed.
He said ‘’The NLA, through the Federal Ministry of Education has come up with a library and information services policy, the policy specifies the kind of personnel that should be, the learning content, It is in the final stage of being implemented.
And again the NLCN has developed standards for school libraries, for academic libraries, for public libraries and any other kind of libraries and using their standards. They will be visiting these libraries from time to time to see whether they meet the requirement for the libraries so in terms of libraries not been well equipped, we are going to work with the regulatory bodies of schools to make sure that schools with libraries not well equipped are closed down. If your library is not well equipped your school will be closed.
Just like the NUC does accreditation in our universities and other tertiary institutions, if the library does not have up to 70% and above, that programme will not get full accreditation it is either failed accreditation or interim accreditation. So library is very important’’.
Professor Ekoja said the theme of the Conference is Library and information Services and the Development of Nigeria 1962-2022
Speaking on the achievements of the NLA over the years, Professor Ekoja said at inception, the Nigerian Library Association was part of the West African Library Association until 1962 when Nigeria pulled out and formed the NLA.
‘’Over the last 60 years, the NLA has impacted a lot to library and information services provision in the Country.
The Association was at the forefront of the establishment of National Library of Nigeria and was also responsible for setting up the guidelines.
The NLA was also responsible for the setting up of the Liberians Registration Council of Nigeria which is the body that regulates the practice of librarians in the country.
I want say that it is the only one of its kind in Africa and the envy of many countries including developed countries like Europe and America, they want to copy from us. At the international level, we contributed actively to the establishment of African Library and Associations and Institutions and we have huge members who are contributing to running it. We also have members with the world body, International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions who are contributing to the growth
So this coming conference we have as our theme Library and information Services and the Development of Nigeria 162-2022 and the choice of the theme is deliberate, we want to showcase to Nigeria what we have achieved over the years.
Professor Ekoja said its members were being trained both locally and internationally on modern library through the deployment of information communication technology to make libraries attractive to the younger generation’’.
He said funding is the major challenge affecting the growth of libraries and called for more investment from the government and corporate organizations.
The national Policy on education provides that every schools has libraries and currently all the nations Unity colleges have library
Writing by Daniel Adejo