The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Kolawole Salako has stated that the University is making deliberate and sustained efforts at going digital. The Vice-Chancellor made this known during the annual conference and general meeting of the Association of Women Librarians in Nigeria (AWLIN), held in FUNAAB. The Vice-Chancellor, while describing himself as a lover of books, said the reason why many young people lack intellectual commitment is because they do not read books.
Prof. Salako called on government to provide constant electricity supply to aid teaching and research. According to him, “the unfortunate thing, which is not addressed in Nigeria, is lack of electricity supply and water. Lack of electricity can hinder proper conduct of research and ICT. Water is also necessary to prevent illnesses like malaria and typhoid fever”. He emphasised that FUNAAB would continue to try its best to provide facilities that would help improve and run library programmes within the available resources. The Vice-Chancellor further stated that the University Librarian, Dr. Fehintola Onifade had been committed towards the hosting of the workshop with the support of University Management.
The National Chairperson of AWLIN, Mrs. Clara Aibangbee, represented by the National Secretary, Mrs. Ruth Bature, stated that the AWLIN national conference was an annual event, which had taken place thrice in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, once in Bayelsa State, once in Awka, Anambra State; while the 7th edition was held in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Mrs. Aibangbee disclosed that AWLIN had been the rallying point for women librarians in Nigeria, stressing that the association was patterned after the women section of the International Federation of Library Association (IFLA). She added that the IFLA women section is charged with recognising women’s role in realising the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), stating that the IFLA women group focuses mainly on women, as users of library and information services.
Delivering her keynote address on “Information Technology and Information Society: Re-examining the Role of Libraries”, the immediate past University Librarian of FUNAAB, Dr. Mulikat Salaam noted that human society had gradually evolved over the years from agricultural, to industrial, and to the present day of information society, stressing that information was now considered an essential commodity and critical factor of production aside land, labour, and capital. She stated that before the advent of ICTs, library collections had existed mainly in the print format while librarians served as storekeepers, who provided access to resources that were domiciled in the library.
She canvassed for librarians to acquire core ICT competencies and skills that would make them overcome the threats of becoming obsolete in the face of modern day competition. She noted that information was a powerful ingredient needed by every nation. Dr. Salaam recommended that ICT policy should be put in place for library operations and government at all levels while stakeholders should create the enabling environment for ICT’s adoption and application.
At the occasion, awards were presented to the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Salako; a Professor of Library and Information Science, University of Ilorin, Prof. Lenrie Aina; who was represented by the Head of Department, Ogun State Branch of AWLIN, Mr. Ayoola Ajayi, in recognition of their contributions toward the progress of AWLIN and for supporting women’s development while the National Chairperson of the association, Mrs. Clara Aibangbee; and the National Secretary, Mrs. Ruth Bature; also received awards in recognition of their excellent service to AWLIN, over the years.
Responding to the award, Prof. Salako thanked the librarians for the honour, stressing that his love for women and children was non-negotiable. He stated that women and children should always be respected and protected. Goodwill messages were presented by the Iyalode of Yoruba land, Chief (Mrs.) Alaba Lawson, represented by Miss Matemilola Ololade; international delegate from the Oregon State University, United States of America, Mr. Richard Sapon-White; College Librarian, Federal College of Education, Osiele, Abeokuta, Dr. Godwin Oyewole; the Chairperson, NLA Ogun Chapter, Dr. Oyinade Tomori; and the Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA), Women Business Group, Mrs. Cynthia Sakam, among others.