By Millicent Ifeanyichukwu
The National Library of Nigeria has identified reading as a springboard to the much desired changes needed for growth of the nation’s economy.
Mrs Chinwe Anunobi, the Librarian/ Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Library, made the assertion at the 2021 Readership Promotion Campaign held on Tuesday at the National Library, Lagos.
Anunobi was represented by Mrs Frank’s Ofodile, Deputy Director of Planning, Research and Statistics, National Library.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the 2021 edition of the Readership Promotion Campaign, with theme “ Building a Nation of Readers: Share your Story”, had a round table discussion with network of reading clubs and reading promoters as facilitators.
She said, ” Our democracy, economy, education and quality of lives are all enhanced by reading well and critically, hence we are emphasising on building a nation of Readers “.
” The campaign is to encourage and revive the moribund reading culture among Nigerians by way of promoting availability of reading materials and to collectively, with other stakeholders, seek solutions to address identified obstacles to reading culture in the country.
” We have over the years, continued to embark on the readership promotion campaign with the focus on children and youths in primary and secondary schools by way of sensitising, informing and educating them on reading culture.”
According to her, the idea is geared toward enhancing their knowledge and creativity via various literary activities.
The librarian added that the campaign was extended to some groups in the society including expectant and nursing mothers, worker, travelers in motor parks and in particular inmates in the Nigeria correctional centres as well as rural communities.
” We adopted this strategy to ensure that no social stratum is neglected in the campaign and awareness created by previous editions, which we will continue to extend to expectant and nursing mothers as well as inmates in Nigeria Correctional centres.
” This campaign has created an enabling environment for the inmates to be reading and running academic programmes which is a great achievement to the reading culture campaign,” she added.
NAN reports that the network of book clubs and reading promoters in the programme comprised of publishers, librarians and authors, while books were distributed to the students from various schools.
Earlier in the speech, Mrs Obianuju Onuorah, Deputy Director, Head of Branch, National Library, Lagos, said the annual event to constantly remind Nigerians on the need to make reading a lifestyle.
According to her, statistics say Nigeria is not a reading nation, therefore, the National Library made it as a mandate to organise the programme
which features activities such as ‘ Read Aloud ‘
” For example, the ‘ Read Aloud ‘ is to build the attention mind of the students, listening ability and then there is a bond jus like parents have with their children.
” So, these are the things we are trying to encourage that parents to also create time to read to their children and ensure they catch their attention as well.
” As a matter of fact, it should start from cradle and the message behind it all is that we should read to gain knowledge, for fun, for pleasure and not necessarily to pass examinations,” she said.
On the sideline, Mrs Modupe Oziyi, a retired Director of Lagos State Ministry of Education, who anchored the ‘ Read Aloud ‘ section with the book titled ‘ No Condition is Permanent ‘ by Ben Samuel, urged the students to learn a lesson from the book.
” I noticed that you were all attentive while I was reading aloud, which you have confirmed by answering the questions that followed the story, and I believe that you captured the lesson in the story,” she added.
Meanwhile, Mr Richard Mammah, President of Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria, commended the Nation Library of Nigeria for a well organised event, described it as impactful.
” This is a very laudable event with a meaningful theme by the National Library, I am sure the students here today are going home loaded in addition with books given to them,” he said.
Mammah, however, called on the government to increase budget allocation for education, but solicited higher percentage of the budget should be allocated to the library sector.