Enugu Central Library In Shambles 59 Years After
ENUGU State is not removed from the rot in public, school libraries in Nigeria. The Central Library, Enugu is about the only public library in the state. The other is the National Library belonging to the Federal Government.
The Central Library was established in 1958 for the old Eastern Region. The facility was also to provide a location for research and expansion of knowledge devoid of distractions.
The Guardian gathered that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) which championed the project selected Enugu, the capital of the then Eastern Region to host the library.
A year later in 1959, the 100-seater capacity library became functional, playing host to books and sundry referral materials, supplied by UNESCO in line with its mandate.
Right from the inception, students and others who made use of the library did so because it housed materials that were not easily available in their institutions or elsewhere.
About 59 years after, the Enugu Central library has become a shadow of itself. Ironically, rather than provide materials that would aid knowledge expansion, library users now go to the place with their own reading materials.
A visit to the library located on the Ogui area of Enugu, indicates that it no longer discharges the mandate intended by its promoters. The place now presents the picture of an institution in dire need of serious attention.
In fact, the general decrepit and squalid nature of the facility also makes it very difficult to hazard a guess regarding when last any form of rehabilitation work was carried out on the structure.
Inside the stuffy library halls are old and disused tables and chairs. One of the first model three ceiling fans in the two halls had packed up, making it difficult for air to circulate even when there is electricity supply.
This has forced several students who thronged the place to arm themselves with plastic hand fans. The inadequate space inside the library and the lack of reading desks has also forced some library users to make use of any available space, even outside the hall for reading.
Sadly, these people have a lot to contend with because bordering the library are very noisy outfits ranging from bus terminals, mini- shops to supermarkets among others.
In fact, directly opposite the library are four mass transit parks. One of them is the Young Shall Grow Motors’ park which is demarcated by average height perimeter fence. At the other end is the popular Ogbete Main Market.
While the market opens from Monday to Saturday, the park operates on daily from 5.00am to 9.00pm. The noise emanating from loud speakers mounted in the bus terminus, noise from car engines, inadequate accommodation and study materials for the library users have become great challenges in using the library.
Miss Ngozi Orji, a student told The Guardian at the premises of the library the she come there to read with a lot of tears because there are no alternatives. The distractions here are simply much and the heat inside is so unbearable, especially during dry season.