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|Letter To The Governor Of Kwara State, H.e. Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq By Ad Kehinde by kennydee05(m): 5:25pm On Sep 17, 2019|
LETTER TO THE GOVERNOR OF KWARA STATE, H.E. ABDULRAHMAN ABDULRAZAQ
Mr. Governor, following your visit to the Kwara State Library Complex yesterday (Monday, 16th September, 2019), it is pertinent that I write you this open letter. It is my believe that after you have gone through it, you will see the reasons why there is an urgent need to give public libraries in Kwara state necessary attention that would lead to sustainable information literacy in the state and also make Kwara state a leading knowledge society in Nigeria.
I started having an interest in the library during my secondary education days at Iludun-Oro Comprehensive High School, Oro, Kwara State. Fortunately for me, there was a functional library in my hometown, David Afolayan Memorial Library. The library was donated by the Children of the Late David Afolayan in memory of their late father. I was a regular user of David Afolayan Memorial Library because the library has it in collection textbooks that are of importance to my secondary school education. However, as I write this letter, the library has become a shadow of itself. The once cherished library has now metamorphosed into a forest, while the rooms in the library have turned to home for rodents and all sort of animal species and the books on the shelves have accumulated dust to the extent that some of the texts on them are no longer readable. Similarly, this is the ugly condition other few public libraries in the state are.
Sir, as big as Kwara State is in terms of land mass, and growing populations coupled with the literacy not so perfect literacy level in the state, it saddens me that the only place we can call library (stated owned), the Kwara State Library Complex has been a shadow of itself, the complex is not conducive for reading and it also accommodates outdated reading materials. I am glad that you have witnessed this yourself following your visit, however, beyond the visit I would be more than glad to see a total turn around for good in the condition of public library services across the state.
Sir, it is understandable that public libraries in Kwara state are founded wholly with taxpayers money, therefore, in agreement with the UNESCO public library manifesto (1972), public libraries in Kwara state should stop charging people for its usage, particularly users below higher institution level. This would encourage primary school pupils and secondary school students to use the library and also improve the reading culture among them.
Sir, you would agree with me that education is an essential instrument for human development and library is one of the mediums for its actualisation. Based on this, the public libraries have obligations to provide accessible and relevant information services and equal use to all members of the state irrespective of their age, gender, religion, economic status, political status, state of origin, nationality, age, religion, ethnic, professional and educational status. However, the current state of public libraries services vis-a-vis dilapidated building, outdated reading materials, lack of professional librarians, incessant power supply, lack of ICT facilities, poor funding, library staff attitude to work and lack of enough public libraries in the state has made it impossible for children of nobody and Kwarans at large to have access to better library resources that would improve their academic performance and equip them for lifelong learning.
Sir, following the aforementioned, I would like to make some recommendations on how to resuscitate the state owned public libraries. Sir, it is pertinent to note that the library is the hub of academic activities in the state and as such, there should be at least an ultramodern library in each of the 16 LGAs in the state while the Kwara State Library Complex should be made a cynosure of all the eyes to provide qualitative electronic library services.
Sir, I would like to bring to your attention that public libraries, globally are currently evolving to meet the needs of their diverse communities beyond repository of books and offering conversation library services. Today's libraries provide invaluable resources that befits the 21st century and day society. In light of this, Kwara State Library Complex should offer invaluable services such as coding, gamification, animation, App development, and other related IT inclined services that would prepare children and youths in the state for the future.
Sir, it is also pertinent for government at all levels in the state to develop a sectoral plan strategy that would help to transform public libraries in the state into an institution that would equip Kwarans with requisite information that would make them information literate person and subsequently make Kwara state a knowledge society.
Sir, owing to the present state of public libraries across the state, there is a need to have special intervention fund and increase the budgetary allocation of the Kwara State Library Board in order to revamp the public libraries across the state and build more public libraries so as to increase access of Kwarans to public libraries as it is impossible to make credible gain in education without improved library services.
In addition, sir, the Kwara State Library board under close supervision of the State Ministry of Education should strategically and radically embark on "Operation Equip the Libraries", this would help to bring back to live public libraries across the state.
Sir, there is a need to have local community book repositories and mobile libraries across the state. More so, Kwara State Library Board Should embark on literacy competition among primary school pupils and secondary school students in the state as this will help to improve their reading culture, literacy and also improve their academic performance.
Sir, in the face of the tiny budgetary allocation and increase in the state wage bill, Kwara State Government should collaborate with private organisations to support the state in revamping the public libraries in the state. Also, the state should apply for donation of books from national and international organisations to complement the library collections.
Sir, there is a need to improve the budgetary allocation of the library so as to allow the library meet up with its financial responsibilities. And also, the Kwara State Library Board should recruit competent professional librarians that would help in providing library services and manage the libraries.
Lastly, it is important that the Kwara State House of Assembly review law that guides legal deposit in the state so as to encourage compliance.
In conclusion, I would like you to know that a literate child will grow up to become a literate youth and a literate you will grow up to become a literate adult. This can only be possible if necessary action is taken to revamp the public libraries in the state.
Yours sincerely Sir,
Adetola A. Kehinde (CLN)
*About the Writer*
Adetola A. Kehinde writes from Ilorin and he holds MSc and BSc in Library and Information Science from the "Better by Far University", University of Ilorin. The author can be reached on:
Phone Number: 08068218386
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