© 2018 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
How lack of power supply, poor funding has rendered Nigeria’s e-library useless
THE e-library section of the National Library has been rendered unusable as a result of poor power supply as well as poor funding to buy generating sets.
This is in addition to the squalid state of the main library due to neglect.
When visited, the National Library premises, as well as the Federal Capital Territory branch of the Library were in bad shape: dirty surroundings, outdated books, dilapidated structure, power outage and shortage of staff.
The e-section of the library, of course, is the worst hit since computers cannot function without electricity supply.
A staff of the National Library told Premium Times, as part of a report into the state of the institution, that the lack of funding is the major problem facing the institution.
“It (the e-library) has not been functional due to logistic problems. The cost of maintaining generator is very high and we rely on what is given to the National Library headquarters. The overhead cost is not being regular.
“As a matter of fact, it was the USPF (United Service Provision Fund) that funded the e-library. They gave us 50 computers, internet services and generator.
“To pay NEPA bill is a problem. To buy diesel to power the generator is a problem. Besides the fact that what is being allocated to us is not what is being released, it is not even coming as at when due. It is irregular,” the source said, pleading to remain anonymous.
On the website of the National Library, the institution describes itself as “Nigeria’s intellectual store house and databank”, but this claim is misleading c.onsidering the situation of the library.
A new and permanent site for the National Library being contracted to Reynolds Construction Company (RCC) at the initial sum of N8.590 billion has been under construction since 2006.
The project was designed to be completed in 22 months.
12 years after, the building is yet to be completed and the contract price has since risen to N38 billion as at October, 2016.
According to a survey conducted by Librarian Registration Council of Nigeria, there are 316 public libraries in Nigeria with 510 qualified Librarians. The printed materials including books and journals are 21.3 million.
And many of these libraries lack the necessary ICT facilities to provide quality service delivery in the information society.
The Council recommends that libraries be adequately equipped with ICT so that traffic in public libraries, which is the “people’s university,” can be increased.
The rural populace will also benefit as most of them do not have the purchasing power to have these ICT facilities in their homes.