Everyone Needs to Acquire the Reading Skill, Others Fail With Time, Age Says Nwabueze Nwoko

Everyone Needs to Acquire the Reading Skill, Others Fail With Time, Age Says Nwabueze Nwoko

Everyone Needs to Acquire the Reading Skill, Others Fail With Time, Age Says Nwabueze Nwoko

Mr Nwabueze Nwoko, is the head of the National Library of Nigeria, Bayelsa State branch, in this interview with our Online Correspondent, Ebizimo Onegiofori, he spoke on why everyone needs to acquire the reading skill, adding that other skill fail with time, and age.  Excerpts.

What is the impact of the social media on reading culture in Nigeria?

The common thing is that young people rely so much on social media instead of coming to the library to read books because to them, the social media helps them to sit in their comfort zone to look or find anything they desire. Many persons use the social media wrongly. In the social media, we have e-books, they don’t know this.
Someone told a story about his trip abroad, while in the aircraft, all the white people brought out their books to read while the black people were watching television, this shows the negative impact in our society, many people are no longer reading books, they are only interested in watching movies, short skits and television.

They only download everytime, I tell them that someone sat down to upload this things you are watching on the social media because without uploading, there can be no downloading so why don’t you visit the source of the materials and get the proper information.

I read somewhere that when you are holding a book and reading it, the information goes from your veins to your brain. When people learn so much on the social media, they can become half educated, our professionals did not get their training through the social media, it is through reading. Although the social media has its positive sides but it’s impact on reading culture has become a source of concern particularly for our youths.

Reading is a skill that everyone needs to acquire, other skills may fail with time and age.

What are the objectives of the Readership Campaign organized by the National Library of Nigeria?

The people who started the National Library noticed a decline in the reading culture. The objective was to change the popular narrative that if you want to hide something from a black man, put it inside a book. We want to change that narrative, we want people to know that the black people can read and be the best.

We also intend to use the Readership Campaign to reach out to people in enclosed places, those termed as hard to reach such as rural areas, IDP Camps, Correctional facilities for them to have book clubs and literacy centres to improve the reading culture.

The campaign began in Lagos and Abuja but it has been extended to other parts of the country because we need more people to be literates. The more literate we are in the society, the more organized we would be, having better leaders and followers as well as to reduce conflict in the society. Reading is a skill that everyone needs to acquire, other skills may fail with time and age. A person who has boxing skills, footballers, running and others may no longer do them as they grow older but reading is a skill that can be there forever, exercising the brain even in old age.

How is the response of Bayelsans to reading?

I have met many persons who have shown interest in reading but have not taken any action to come to the library to read. We would like Bayelsans to read, we are here to serve the state, we need more people particularly young people should use their strength and time to read rather than engage in social vices.

How can Bayelsans use the National Library in the state?

All Bayelsans can use the National Library, we don’t charge anything like other libraries. We just want people to come in write down their names and just read. The names are needed for us to get the statistics of the number of people using the National Library.

We have books of various interest and if you have your own books, you can also come with them to read. Every library user has a book in the library, using the National Library is free of charge, we encourage all persons to come and read and keep reading.

Tell us about the functions of the National Library?

The functions of libraries are to serve readers, to charge and discharge books. However, the National Library has some unique functions. It is a research library, we do not loan books but anyone can come to read. We are the only agency that can issue the International Standard Book Number because every book has a number. We can also issue International Standard Serial Number, these are numbers for that come serially, weekly or monthly for books, journals, newspapers and magazines. No other libraries can issue these numbers.

We also issue International Standard Music Number even though our musicians are not patronizing the National Library. We also collaborate with other libraries, state libraries, school or college libraries, we look at where they are lacking and offer help, that is how we function.

Share with us the history of the National Library and the one in Bayelsa?

The National Library was established in 1964. Although it started small in Lagos but it has expanded. It was established by foreigners. The principal organization that formed the National Library was known as West African Library Association, WALA.

The National Library has grown in Nigeria as it can be found in over thirty states of the federation, we have only a few states that are yet to have a National Library.

The library is a growing organization, we intend to grow to the stage where people can have access to the library online and get information. We are moving to the stage of having an automated library which would be easier for people to use.

Here in Bayelsa, the National Library is three years, we came into the state in the year 2020.

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Nwoko Nwabueze. I am from Abia State, I am the Head of Branch, National Library, Bayelsa State.

I have worked with the National Library for a good numbers of years. I have a degree in Library Science and a Masters Degree in Library Science all from the Abia State University. I equally have a Masters Degree in Sociology from the University of Port Harcourt. My personality eschews bitterness because it does not help anyone, I make more friends than enemies and I learn to live in peace with people around me, I also believe that conflicts should be resolved quickly for the benefit of all.

How can we improve the culture of reading amongst young persons in this era of social media?

I think we can do much to improve the reading culture in our society. The people we are asking to come and read are from homes so it begins from the homes with the parents. The responsibility lies on parents to encourage their children to visit the library to read. We are open, we are still carrying out our campaigns but we are not seeing the people in the library.

Parents should also learn to provide special reading corners in their homes for their children to read when they get back from school. We would also have other forms of engagement in the library to help people learn, we also intend to have entertainment in the library to attract young people, television that people can watch football matches and other forms of entertainment that would make people enter the library.

We also organize reading competitions for various schools, giving out prizes to the winners in order to encourage reading. Parents are to be held accountable if their children are not reading. Also, the government should collaborate with the National Library to improve the state of our libraries so we can have more people using the libraries to read, thereby improving the reading culture.

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