It is no longer news that the reading culture among Nigerian youths today has assumed a worrying dimension. This situation is further compounded by the non-implementation by the government of a robust funding for libraries across the country. It is against this backdrop that experts in the education sector has called for a strategic long-term funding of libraries especially e-libraries to arrest this worrisome trend.
It is no longer that university libraries across the nation are in deplorable conditions with no books, journals and other reading resources, while in some cases, standard libraries are non-existent owning to inadequate funding by the government and the agencies saddled with such responsibilities in the face of the country’s harsh economic situation.
A cross section of education experts that shared their thoughts with BusinessDay are of the opinion that in order to conceive and cultivate good and systematic habit of reading among the students, there is the need to hinge the success on the availability of quality books and consequently, a library that is equipped with the modern reading materials.
Oyetakin Popoola, a librarian in one of the tertiary institutions is saddened by the fact that the economic realities on ground and government’s apathy to library development in the country has hampered the competitive push of students and universities to be relevant on the global scale.
He affirms that the quality and standard a university can be better judged by the content and quality of the service offered by its library. This, he however lamented, is not the case with Nigeria owning to government’s apathy to education, a situation which has affected the quality of the products of such institutions of higher learning.
According to him, “in the absence of proper government funding of e-libraries, it is not possible to encourage and maintain an educated populace of which youths are in the majority.”
Popoola further maintained that without proper funding for electronic libraries by the government. The country risks the chance of being isolated from the global information system.
In his words, “libraries are expected to serve as information delivery centres to enable universities to make development impacts on research, teaching, learning and public service. It must be realised that a university is as good as its library.”
“There is an urgent need to transform these conventional libraries into e-libraries which are cost effective and can empower their universities for effective teaching, research, learning and solving national problems and by so doing boost the reading habits of students,” he added.