From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
National Librarian and Chief Executive Officer of the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) Prof Chinwe Anunobi, has decried the shortfall in the manpower strength of the organisation, highlighting its effect on service delivery to the public.
She disclosed that NLN has not employed new staff in the last ten years, within which period some staff exited the organisation due to retirement, transfer of service and few have deceased.
Prof. Anunobi who was at the office of the newly appointed Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. David Adejo Andrew, to brief him on the activities of NLN, appealed to him to assist NLN so it can effectively serve the public well.
She said: “The effect of this manpower shortage is that more than 50 per cent of our staff have exited, and we are left with less than 50 per cent to run the organisation’s 33 state branches and the headquarters. This is grossly affecting the turn around time of our service delivery to the public.
“It’s also affecting the processing of newly acquired books to enable them get to the shelves, it is affecting our standard numbers processing, especially in reporting the utilisation back to the headquarters in Paris and London. This has also stalled the release of new International Standard Book Number (ISBN) to us.
Head, Public Relations Division, NLN, Vershima Orvell-Dio, in a statement noted that the Chief Librarian of Nigeria also updated the Permanent Secretary about the mandate of NLN, the nature of operations in its 33 states and the headquarters in Abuja, as well as the eight-point agenda which she designed to help her drive a modern library.
The Permanent Secretary, Mr. Adejoh, in his response, promised that he will give the utmost support he can afford, to see to the progress of the National Library.
He said: “my duty, for which I am paid for, is to support and drive government policy in the education sector for the growth and progress of our dear nation. I will give my best, with the support of all concerned, to realise this.”
Prof. Anunobi, had upon her assumption of duty, announced that her administration will focus on eight thematic areas including, digitization and development of National Repository of Nigeria, (NRN); virtual library services development; automation of library operations and services; enhancing the branch libraries environment; providing library services to the “hard to reach”.
Other areas are; enhancing literacy sensitization and encouraging documentation of family heritage in indigenous languages; expansion and strengthening of national library archive; collaborating with schools to ensure the establishment and management of libraries for promotion of reading.