A non Governmental organisation (NGO) ,christened School Libraries Matter Initiative has decried the alleged scandalous state of most School Libraries in Ekiti State .
The Executive Director of the NGO, Adewumi Idowu Paul ,in a statement on Sunday lamented that Ekiti ,which prides itself as the nation’s fountain of knowledge cannot boast of decent and well equipped Library in the 21st century.
The organisation noted that the world economy is now being controlled today by wonder kids who took shelter in Libraries
Specifically, NGO advocated adequate funding and staffing of Libraries arguing that ” School libraries are not just a bunch of rooms filled with books; they are a national network of incubators for future economic potential and development”
” Ekiti State of Nigeria is famously known as “Fountain of Knowledge” where education is viewed as a tool for self and communal development, it has not brought much impact to the people of Ekiti as a whole.”
According to a report released by the Ekiti State Government in November 2021, Governor Feyemi disclosed that his administration had spent N16 billion to develop basic education in the state (Building new schools & Renovating others), but they forgot to invest in their libraries.
He therefore called on government and other critical stakeholders in the education sector to rise to the occasion and effect the needed reform that would revamp the Libraries.
” Most libraries in the State, according to Adewumi, “are in a devastating, pathetic, critical, emergency, and worrisome condition”.
“Most Ekiti’s School libraries are characterized by dilapidated structures, falling roofs, bushy environment, absence of electricity supply, lack of staff, abandonment of Library building, lack of library materials, used as a staff Office among others,” the Executive Director lamented.
“The poor attention to School libraries can be said to have contributed to the increase in crime rates, illiterate population, the spread of rumours, etc.” the statement said .
According to the NGO, government could leverage on the support of old Students Associations, as well as well-meaning Ekiti sons and daughters in resuscitating and restoring the glory of school libraries in Ekiti State.
” Raising a Community and Nation with well-equipped libraries solves problems through intelligence capacity building and effective sustainable development, this has been seen over the years as the important roles Libraries play in nurturing talent and potentials imperative for economic prosperity, productivity and futuristic transformation, as well as Sustainable growth and development.
“School Libraries are the places where future world-changers ground themselves, recharging their intellectual curiosity and emotional fortitude to survive another day in the relentless melee of the schoolyard.
“Look at the world’s most valuable companies and take note of who’s in charge. It’s the kids who took shelter in school Libraries, the geeks and nerds, who are reprogramming our future.
“The books are important, of course. They are the ultimate tools in self-guided learning, but they are only part of the mix that makes school libraries an essential place to shelter and protect our most promising youth.
“To many, school is a tough place, to others, somewhat easy, but then, the social hierarchy of any schoolyard is complex, unforgiving, and ever changing. Youngsters need a safe space to explore who they are, be themselves, and discover that they’re not alone in contemporary Society.
“Consequently, school libraries are the safe harbours in the storm of adolescence and capacity building for excellent citizenry and development. It’s too easy to suggest that school libraries are a relic of the analogue world. Books are a small, but important part of the value that school libraries offer. But the safe space that libraries create; a place of study, reflection, and exploration, is the true gift of school libraries.
“To think about school libraries only as a repository of books is to think of churches as storage units for stained glass. The school library which is an integral part of the school Community is one place where anyone can seek refuge designating a welcoming and comforting place to escape the bullying, more of physical and emotional, as well as the daily social upheaval, and cliques of the school years.
“The school library is a type of demilitarized zone in the war for daily schoolyard survival. It’s the one place where students who are serious about intellectual exploration can feel accepted and unashamed about wanting to excel. It’s the one place where loners, geeks, and misfits can escape to through fiction or fuel their interests with non-fiction.” It stated.