National Library Association visits very significant -Prof. Olaopa

Hon. Chairman FCSC, Prof. Tunji Olaopa (R) with Nigeria Library Association’s President and Chairman of Council, Mr. Dominic Omokaro paid him a courtesy call.
Hon. Chairman FCSC, Prof. Tunji Olaopa (R) with Nigeria Library Association’s President and Chairman of Council, Mr. Dominic Omokaro paid him a courtesy call.

……says library profession is endangered species.

With a gradual decline in reading culture in Nigeria and library not properly resourced, Prof. Tunji Olaopa has said that library profession has become endangered species. He lauded the visit by the association as very significant as it will help reshape the library profession.

Olaopa explained that he does not believe in tokenism of dropping a few projects but a movement that will bring about substantial result in library infrastructure and library profession. Hence, is not only about building infrastructure alone but bringing back reading culture.

Olaopa made this known when Nigeria Library Association National Executive led by its President and Chairman of Council, Mr. Dominic Omokaro paid him a courtesy call in his office.

As he pointed out that the association needed to do some advocacy around the library space as information hub; he also stated that the association needs more than advocacy to recalibrate the profession. He promised to facilitate a courtesy-visit to the Vice-President, Kashim Shettima office. He also advised the association to be very creative in their advocacy by having a prepared blueprint that shows effective implementation trajectory and a roadmap of how the issue being presented to the VP will be achieved. He assured the association of engaging with the President of Nigeria Association Authors and publishers association so that a date to visit the Vice-President will be picked where VP will be appointed as a patron and a champion for the book policy.

According to the Chairman, Nigeria is a late starter in the knowledge recalibration dynamics; and therefore, there was a need for the Excos to inject multi-disciplinary orientation into the profession saying that information science is an enlarged space. Olaopa said, rethinking of the profession is very important; emphasizing that it was a tragedy that the school library has broken down which has made the situation worse.

He disclosed that during his time as Permanent Secretary he facilitated as a form of community service with the construction of library, virtual library and e-library for some schools via sponsorship by Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Earlier, the President of the association Mr. Omokaro said the association was in the Commission for two reasons. The first was to congratulate the Chairman on his appointment as he was a round peg in a round hole.

According to Omokaro, the second reasons was on three key areas. The first was Chairman’s intervention in getting waivers for the employment of librarians into the Federal Civil Service. He informed the Olaopa that the profession has no employment in the cadre for many years; as retiring members at the top position have no replacement.

The second appeal according him, was for the Chairman to help them resuscitate the school library system. In his words: “the last time employment was made for school librarian in Nigeria was about 30years ago as I speak to you the entire school library system in Unity schools are in comatose because those library does not exist”.

He said if Nigeria intended to continue to be a leading nation then the country must embrace reading culture; as only readers that are leaders.

He equally said young people needed to be inculcated with skills of readership and studying in them.

Omokaro last appeal was to collaborate with the Commission to help train librarians in the Federal Civil Service so as to enhance their productivity and give value to the system. According to him, one of the things people are not getting as a librarian is the value. He said as a professional body, the profession’s value is not quantifiable in terms of the physical things people see but in manpower development that the profession support and bring out.

Taiwo Hassan
Head (Press & Public Relations).