NIGERIA’S problematic reading culture challenge got a major dent during the week when critical stakeholders converged to sign a historic agreement on making public libraries hubs for book club activities. It was part of the determination of stakeholders to jointly enhance the culture of book reading in Nigeria through collaborating on the establishment and functioning of book clubs in public libraries in Nigeria, with the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) and the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Culture Promoters in Nigeria (NBRP) on Monday, October 2022 signing a Memorandum of Understanding in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.
The agreement, which was initiated on the sidelines of a South-South Zonal Sensitization Workshop on ISBN, ISSN and Legal Deposit Compliance for Publishers, Authors, Printers, Librarians and Other Stakeholders, took effect from November 1, 2022. The agreement was signed by the National Librarian and CEO, National Library of Nigeria, Prof. Chinwe Veronica Anunobi and President of Network of Book Clubs and Reading Culture Promoters in Nigeria (NBRP), Mr. Richard Mammah.
While opening the session, event chairman and founder of Topfaith University, Mkpatak, Dr. Abraham Emmanuel, said, “I am delighted to be a witness at this event and enjoin every witness to go out there from now on as ebullient champions and drivers of the readership promotion crusade. I assure you that all of our Topfaith schools are available and ready to key into this very laudable readership promotion initiative. I am completely signed up for it.”
Speaking during the session, Anunobi affirmed that the National Library was not only concerned with the process of producing books but also with their consumption. According to her, it is to more deeply engage the consumption and readership dimensions of the mandate of the library that it has deemed it fit to enter into the collaboration with NBRP.
According to Anunobi, “While we produce, we must also read. This is more so as you really cannot do well in the world of today if you do not read. That is why we have invited promoters of reading to come and sign this MoU with us.”
In his own remarks, Mammah observed that one of the things that the NBRP had found out in the course of its work was that Nigerians were not using the existing public reading spaces in the country as much as they should. He stressed the determination of NBRP to help drive more reading traffic to existing public libraries, as a first step in enhancing and actualizing our national reading capacity.
The session was chaired by the founder of Topfaith University, Mkpatak, Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Emmanuel Abraham, and had in attendance the University Librarian of Federal University, Otuoke, Bayelsa State, Prof Felicia Etim, a PDP Senatorial Candidate in Akwa Ibom State, Barrister Ekong Sampson, founder, Uyo Book Club, Dr. Udeme Nana, and the representative of the Vice Chancellor of the University of Uyo, Prof. Nyaudoh Ndaeyo, among others.