The Federal Government has pledged to relocate the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) to its permanent site in Abuja.
The Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu gave the assurance at the launch of the Annual Readership Promotion Campaign with the theme ” Sustaining Life Long Reading For Positive Change” organised by the library in Abuja on Tuesday.
Adamu, represented by Mrs. Justina Ibe, Director, Education Support Services, of the ministry said the theme of the campaign was apt “as lifelong readers are constantly learning new things with each turn of the page’’.
He said the 2018 theme sought to find ways of sustaining an established reading culture that brought about positive change in Nigeria.
”To sustain a lifelong reading culture, there is the need to develop reading interest right from childhood. Strong behaviors are developed through training and repetition from childhood through the teen years.
“This means a sustainable and lifelong reading should be developed in children by parents and schools during early child care as well as through basic and secondary school years.
“This can be achieved by making available to them books they can read and enjoy, hence the need to stock our libraries with interesting books that can impacts positively on the children, ” he said.
The Minister said the advent of the Internet had affected the reading culture negatively as students no longer read in order to solve given tasks, rather they Google from the Internet and download without synthesising.
Adamu said to sustain lifelong reading, there must be a collaboration between government and the private sector to promote readership campaign.
He added that publication of good books that are interesting to the public and the institutionalisation of prizes and scholarships awards are some of the important ways to attract public interest in reading.
Earlier, the Chairperson, NLN Board, Prof. Zainab Alkali, appealed to the government to strive hard towards completing work at the permanent site of the library in Abuja.
Alkali, who is also a renowned author said Nigeria required a befitting library worthy of her name.
“The Holy Qur’an urges mankind to read, in the name of the Lord.
“The honorable minister Sir, we want to obey the divine injunction and read, but the nation requires a library worthy of her name.
“Today I seize the opportunity of your proximity to appeal to you on behalf of the National Library to relocate the library to a more befitting site and resume construction work at the permanent site which now looks like a forgotten monument, ” she said.
Alkali said that reading was important because it makes a person knowledgeable and exposes him to new information daily.
She said great nations of the world knew the importance of reading and hence they did not neglect their libraries.
Alkali added that reading helps the reader to know how to confront life challenges successfully, learn from other people’s experiences and avoid pitfalls that come from similar experiences.
“We all know how important reading is because there is a huge difference between a literate and an illiterate person, illiteracy comes with a status of inferiority and none wants to be referred to as an illiterate, ” she said.
Alkali added that the digital world had opened the portal for people to experience new dimensions in life saying however the advancement of technology should not be an avenue for people to relegate reading culture to the background.
”As we tag along with the rest of the world in global advancement in technology, as the world goes wild digitally, we must bring back the book.
“Reading enables us to think, reflect deeply and to act, in reading comes knowledge, in knowledge, comes wisdom and in wisdom there is power and there lies our secret of a fulfilled life, ” she said.