STAKEHOLDERS in the book sector in Nigeria have made certain resolutions on improving the book industry. These resolutions were reached at the ‘Publishers Forum’ session held at the 23rd Lagos Book and Arts Festival (LABAF) on Thursday, November 18, 2021. Stakeholders who signed are drawn from the Committee for Relevant Art (CORA), Nigerian Book Fair Trust (NBFT), Nigerian Publishers Association (NPA), Booksellers Association of Nigeria (BAN), African Library and Information Associations and Institutions, and the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria. The theme of the session was ‘Getting books to readers across the country and the Role of Library and Resource Centres in Getting Books to Readers.’
Specific speakers and panelists that made presentations were Mr. Dare Oluwatuyi, Chief (Hon.) Uchenna Cyril Anioke, Dr. Nkem Osuigwe, Mr. Gbadega Adedapo, Mr. Dotun Eyinade, Iquo DianaAbasi, Farida Ladipo-Ajayi, Princess Irede Abumere, Mrs. Funmi Ilori, Mrs. Amara Chimeka, Mr. Rufus Onaopemipo and Mr. Ademola Adefolami, with moderation from Mr. Richard Mammah, President, Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria (NBRP) and coordinated by Segun Aribisala on behalf of CORA, with sponsorship from Quramo Publishing.
Among the resolutions reached and issued via a communique include: ”Stakeholders’ resolution to encourage greater collaboration and networking among players in the book ecosystem as part of a drive for a more seamless book sector and to better facilitate joint advocacy in the overall interest of all players. Book industry stakeholders must be fully ready to raise their voices and make their activities more visible for all to see through enhanced public awareness and sensitization. ”Government reminded of its role in the continued nurturing and development of the book sector, beginning with the coming into effect of Federal Government-gazzetted National Book Policy within the shortest possible time, to encourage the attachment of functional and viable book clubs to all libraries in the country, and to encourage governments across board, and particularly at the local government area level, to establish, maintain, staff and furnish at least one community library per LGA, whose book stock must be renewed and updated annually.”
”Libraries should be seen and regarded as more than ‘houses of books,’ but even more appropriately as ‘living community houses and centres of ideas and culture’ where unfettered dissemination and transmission of information is maximally encouraged and takes place,” the communique continued, ”that government, as well as stakeholders in the book trade, should pay even greater regard to factors of ease of availability and affordability of books as a way of engendering improved readership patronage. That in a practical sense, stakeholders should do more to facilitate the coming into being of at least one ‘National Books Distribution Company’ as a practical vehicle for lowering distribution and marketing costs within the next three years.
”That publishers must take advantage of the information technology tools prevalent amongst the youths nowadays, to package their contents for readers across various formats (audio books, e-book, V-book, braille etc) to encourage and promote reading amongst the youths, and that the respective associations in the book trade should continue with their ongoing engagements in respect of the restoration of the traditional book chain and invest more resources in order to better guarantee the immediate and long-term sustainability of the book ecosystem in Nigeria.” Signatories to the communique include Mr. Jahman Anikulapo (Committee for Relevant Art), Mr. Gbadega Adedapo(Nigerian Book Fair Trust), Chief (Hon.) Uchenna Cyril Anioke (Nigerian Publishers Association), Mr. Dare Oluwatuyi (Booksellers Association of Nigeria), Dr. Nkem Osuigwe (African Libraries and Information Associations and Institutions) and Mr. Richard Mammah (Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria).