…marks Library Week with sensitization lecture for schools

Edo State Library Board, in collaboration with Nigerian Library Association, Edo State chapter, with support from Edo State Ministry of Education, on Wednesday, 22 November 2023, held a Library Week sensitization lecture and secondary schools debate at Imaguero College Hall, Benin City, to instill reading culture and the love of books in youths.

The debate and presentation of books aimed to broaden the knowledge base of participating primary and secondary schools was given depth with participants told to pitch their idea and vision for the future library.

The Library Week ran with the theme “Revitalizing public library system for national development”.

Speaking to The Nigerian Observer on the relevance of the sensitization week and need to carry students along, the Director, Edo State Library Board, Mr. Efosa Egharevba, stated, “The public library is very key. That is why you can see primary school pupils, secondary school students and adult users here. The public library caters for the reading needs of children from the cradle to adulthood.”

Mr. Egharevba said that secondary school students were brought in to discuss what they hoped to see in the future public library space while the occasion also paved way for primary school pupils to showcase their reading and comprehension abilities, which is in line with the Edo State MEGA agenda, part of the Edo Best 2.0 pillar where every child has ability to read fluently without being aided.

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He said the link between societal development and the lack of it resided squarely in the quality and content of intellectuals at hand, especially those willing to read and do research. He nonetheless observed that Edo State had quality intellectuals with innate abilities which could be harnessed to develop the nation.

Against the prevailing backdrop and need for mentorship of youths, Egharevba opined that this could be achieved through intellectual programmes such as the library event, in review, where there was knowledge transfer. The public library, he maintained, “aims to drive away ignorance”.

However, based on societal phobia and disinterest in using dark, dank, cobweb-infested public libraries, Egharevba called on sceptics to pay reading visits to the Edo State Library, which he described as a one-stop shop for knowledge transfer.

Reacting to the question on whether the public still patronized public libraries, Egharevba said the aim of the Edo State Library Board was to re-sensitise and reawaken the reading culture in the people.

“One of the participating secondary school students said the best way to read was through the use of e-books. The government is putting so much into electronic reading already. There is free WiFi at the Edo State Civil Service Secretariat where the library is presently located. With your gadgets you can access not only the social media handles of government but academic sites where you can access e-books, e-journals and magazines.

“You can also get e-copies of the Nigerian Observer newspaper, for instance, and not just in the paper form. This is our aim. We want to reawaken the reading culture through use of the physical and e-books,” he said.