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National Library of Nigeria intensifies legal deposit drive

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The National Library of Nigeria (NLN) has intensified efforts towards the achievement of one of its critical mandates, with the purchase of two operational vehicles that have been deployed solely for the use of state branches in moving around to collect legal deposit materials. The library’s Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Lenrie Olatokunbo Aina, stated recently at a sensitization workshop organised for key stakeholders in the publishing industry, held at the University of Ibadan, South West, Nigeria.

In his welcome address, Aina said, “The national library has the responsibility to collect publications emanating from Nigeria, publications about Nigeria and any work authored by Nigerians anywhere in the world. However, this responsibility is facing the challenge of non-compliance by publishers and authors, despite the legal deposit collection provisions as espoused in our enabling Act. This is why we have intensified efforts in sensitizing the public about this obligation. But beyond that, we have purchased dedicated vehicles for our state branches, which will be on a continuous visit to publishing outlets, collecting the publications.”

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Aina further added that because there has been a growing concern about the non-compliance by most publishers, authors, printers, academicians and government printers with international standards for publishing, the sensitization activities have also been focusing on adherence to publishing standards through the obtaining of International Book Number (ISBN) for books, monographs, reports, etc, and International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) for journals, newspapers, magazines, etc by all categories of producers of publications.

Earlier in her opening remarks, the Zonal Coordinator for the workshop in the South West, Prof. Mrs. Iyabo Mabawonku, informed participants that “today, three papers will be presented by notable scholars speaking on strategies and perspectives of improving legal deposit collection and access to ISBN/ISSN in Nigeria. Additionally, this workshop will dedicate the second day to practical and hands-on demonstration on how to obtain ISSN/ISBN using online platform by visiting the NLN website.”

In presentations made by a staff of the Legal Deposit Department of the organisation, Mrs. Lauretta Isioma Ekwemuka, she informed the audience that legal deposit collections had increased from an average of 8,000 volumes of 3,000 titles in 2014 to 53,000 volumes of 12,500 titles in 2018, representing a compliance level of about 600 per cent in terms of volume, 400 per cent in terms of titles.

National Library of Nigeria is mandated by the National Library Act 1970 to collect all materials that are published in the country. Section 4(1) requires publishers of every book published in Nigeria shall within one month after the publication deliver, at his own expense, to the National Library of Nigeria for permanent preservation. The collections form part of the total stockholding of the nation’s repository library. The Act, which was amended in 1987, is presently being reviewed to suit contemporary times.

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