Isolo Library Witnesses Face-lift, Influx Of Users
LAGOS State has no less than 20 public and specialised libraries including the e-learning centre on Broad Street, Lagos, established to meet the reading needs of the residents.
They are all being supervised by the Lagos State Library Board. One of them is the Isolo Public Library. As at 2012, the number of books in these libraries was put at 168,812, while the number of readers at the libraries was 177,573, and volumes of books read were 138,721.
Nine of the 18 libraries were built during the Lateef Jakande administration, while two were established during the Col. Buba Marwa administration.
While some of these libraries are opened to the public, few are specialised and requires registration before accessing it. The Isolo Public Library on Holy Saviour Street, Isolo, seems to have been given a facelift as the place now wears a new look with facilities such as air-conditioning system, new ceiling fans, and new reading chairs and tables, all for the comfort of the library users. With a carrying capacity of 120 people, the library is being used by adults, and children on daily basis.
The ambience of the library is conducive as surrounding trees provide shades to the building, reducing heat in the reading rooms and supplies fresh air.
When The Guardian visited the place, the gate leading to the library compound was open and there was no security guard. Though there was power outage, a generating was seen in the main library lobby, which some library users said provide alternative power.
A staff of the Lagos State Library Board, who opted not to be named, said the library opens at 8am and closes at 4pm, adding that books and materials for the library are sourced from the Lagos State Library Board secretariat, while on the average, 150 users make use of the facility everyday.
He noted that the library is opened to all irrespective of age, and there is a section for children, stressing that the library is update with books. “In a library, there must be old and new books.”
Speaking with The Guardian, 19-year old Adebiyi Oluwatosin, who was in the Library reading in preparation for his post-UTME, said he began using facility five years ago after being introduced to it by his mother, who is a teacher.
He stated that the library in recent time has been busy by people preparing for JAMB, WAEC, post-UTME, and GCE. “I usually come with my books because they are the ones I want to read.
The rules for borrowing books in the library is that you must have an identification card, and I don’t have one now. I don’t have any ID card now, the one I was using before was school ID card, and it has expired since I passed out from my the school,” he said.
For Onwubiko Kenneth, a regular user of the library, the renovation has helped re-ignite the urge for reading at the library. “Before now, the library was nothing to write home about.
The urge to come to the library wasn’t there but with facelift given to it, many people are now coming to the library to read and it has help re-ignite the reading culture, particularly among the children here in Isolo,” he said.
He added, “I’m enjoying the library now. If there is power from the electricity company the air-conditioning system will be put on, making the whole cool and soothing. With this, there is no way you will read without grasping what you read.”
Barrister Akujobi Kingsley, also a regular user of the library called on Lagos State government to digitalise the library, stressing that the world has become a global village with the advent of digitalisation. “If the library is digitalised, it will help in recovering the materials in the event of fire disaster and take away the idea of stock pile of books, which is now obsolete,” he said.