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For quintessential Librarian, Sesan Dipeolu ( January 13, 1930 — December 18, 2019)

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Interred in Lagos on January 17, 2020, Jonathan Olusesan Dipeolu the quintessential librarian would have clocked 90 years on 13 January 2020. He was born on 13 January 1930 in Lagos to Joseph Michael Odedeyi Dipeolu of Oke Ijeun, Abeokuta and Madam Felicia Aramide Dipeolu (nee blue blood Ijesha Arowojobe Idowu). Olusesan Dipeolu was a teacher, historian, journalist, librarian, administrator, international civil servant, editor, book seller and scholar. His education started at the age of five owing to his insatiable curiosity. His yearning for knowledge led him to stand at the fringes of spots where older children are having school lessons. His thirst for knowledge led him to tell his parents he wanted to go to school. He was sent to a school nearby because he was far too young to go to school.

That was how he started school at Odo-Oba Infant School,Lagos in 1935. he moved to St John’s School, Aroloya, Lagos from 1937 to 39; and Eko Boys High School from 1939-1947. He attended the University College, Ibadan from 1955 to 1959 where he obtained an honours degree in History. Thereafter, he taught in several secondary schools including Eko Boys High School; Ahmadiyya College; Methodist Boys High School and Birch Freeman School all in Lagos from 1949 to 1961. Then he applied to the University of Ibadan as an assistant librarian in 1961, rising to sub librarian in 1964. He served as a visiting librarian from October 1965 to September 1966 at the Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, United States.

In April 1967, he was appointed Deputy Librarian at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) and in 1970 he became the University Librarian, a position he held for 20 years. Mr Dipeolu had a stint at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa from 1983-1984 as Training Coordinator, Pan-African Documentation and Information System. He was a member, Library Association of Great Britain and the Nigerian Library Association where he had been a fellow since 1989. Dipeolu once described the University Library as the heart of the University. Thus, it was no wonder he was able to spread the on the job experience he had acquired to universities, university organs and committees.

Dipeolu was a member of the University senate; member of the University Governing Council from 1980-82 and again from 1986-88. He was a member of University appointments and promotions committee from 1976-82; member, administrative staff committee; member, Development Committee; member, University research committee and member of the board of Postgraduate Studies. For his service outside of the university, he had been Editor, NLA Newsletter; chairman, Western Nigeria Division, Nigerian Library Association and member, Editorial Board, Nigerian Libraries (1968-1975). He was a part-time lecturer in Library Studies, University of Ibadan (1970-74 and 1975-1979).

This great librarian had been President, Nigerian Library Association; member, National Library Board of Nigeria; member, Academic Planning Board of New Universities; member, board of directors, Sketch Publishing Company Limited; chairman, Board of Directors, Sketch Publishing Company Limited. Dipeolu had also been member, University of Ife Bookshops; member, University of Ife Press; Mr Dipeolu had been chairman, Committee of Librarians of Nigerian Universities and secretary, Conference of African University Libraries. He had been member, Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council; commissioner, Ogun State Civil Service Commission, member, Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) and member, Fellowship Award Committee, Nigerian Library Association.

A devoted family man, Olusesan was married to his late wife, Princess Claudine Ashabi Okoya of Ikorodu in 1956. They had five children who are all happily married. They are: Prof Adewale and Prof (Mrs) Morenike Dipeolu; Ambassador Adeyemi and Barrister Omowale Dipeolu, Gbolahan and Mrs Omotayo Alli Balogun; Dr olufemi and Mrs Nkowazi Dipeolu and Andrew and Dr Mrs Olaperi Aghaduino. In addition, there were many others who found solace in the hearts of Sesan and Claudine Dipeolu ranging from brothers and sisters to nieces and nephews, cousins and friends. Indeed his associates cut across ages, religions and ethnic groups. May his soul rest in perfect peace.


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Jonathan Olusesan Dipeolu
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