Librarians and Library staff have been charged to make the Library attractive by turning it to a Social Hub, where people meet to interact for various activities.
The charge was made by the University Librarian, Dr. (Mrs.) Fehintola Onifade during the celebration of the Nigerian Library Association (NLA) Annual General Meeting and the Celebration of the Black History Month, in remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African in Diaspora.
According to Dr. Onifade, there is urgent need to turn the Library to a Social Hub because Libraries are products of people and therefore they should be a place of interaction.
According to her, “Librarian’s work revolves around people, without them there will be no work for them”, adding that there are other service providers competing with the library moreso through internet facilities, users can bypass the library to get information.
According to her, “Libraries are levelers, they should be able to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich, therefore, libraries as social hubs are places where people with different backgrounds, passions, beliefs and interests can take part in a living democratic culture”.
She stated that the largest group of library users are young and professional people who expect that every aspect of life will be quick, efficient, streamlined, available and immediate on demand Library staff to be smart and up to the task by training and retraining themselves, charging in order to be knowledgeable of modern mobile apps with the use of social media and must be able to explore the use of technology to their advantage.
To keep Libraries more relevant and useful, Dr. Onifade advised that Librarians should get involved in other areas of learning in order to open up more activities in the library. Stressing that Libraries in partnership with other agencies can conduct adult literacy classes; vocational training skills; researches; information literacy skill and bindery services.
Other services they can also conduct according to her include, games spot; information counselling and crèche services, adding that Librarians should keep abreast of all ways to get information to the public.
In addition, Dr. Onifade canvassed for good behaviour from the Library staff, saying “We have to relate with our customers in a civilised manner”. Noting that making the library a social hub starts with the library environment by making it look attractive, conducive, clean and tidy for users.
In a related development, the Nigerian Library Association (NLA) while holding its AGM, also celebrated the Black History Month, in conjunction with Wikimedia Nigeria Foundation (WNF).
Also known as the African-American History Month in the United State of America, the Movement began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African in Diaspora.
This year’s Black History Month was organised simultaneously in the United State of America and Nigeria, in partnership with AfroCrowd and Oregon State University on one hand and Wikimedia Nigeria Foundation and the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) in Nigeria on the other hand.
The Black History Month afforded the Library staff at the AGM the opportunity to get trained by the resource persons from the Wikimedia Nigeria Foundation on the usage of Wikipedia online Encyclopaedia for editing and updating histories and information of notable people already domiciled in Wikipedia.