With the induction and certification of 330 fresh library professionals, the country currently has a total of 6,796 qualified Librarians, the management of the National Library has said. Registrar/Chef Executive Officer of the Librarians’ Registration Council of Nigeria (LRCN), Prof. Michael Afolabi, disclosed this during the 11th induction and seventh conference of Certified Librarians in Nigeria, which took place in Abuja.
The theme was: “Transforming Libraries and Librarianship: Gateway for Sustainable Development.” He, however, urged graduates of Library and Information Science (LIS) to ensure that they are certified by the Council, saying most organisations have started to implement the Council’s policy to engage and promote only qualified and certified librarians.
“This implies that very soon, there will be no job or promotion for graduates of LIS, who are not certified. Let me reiterate here that all holders of LIS certificate, who are not inducted, are not recognised as professional librarians,” Afolabi said.
The Registrar, who noted that the minimum standards to regulate the management of school libraries and library professionals in the country had been released, again called for immediate adoption of the new standards. This was as he warned that the Council was already working of plans to clamp down and sanction any library which failed to comply with the directive, saying: “In 2020, LRCN finalised the production of the minimum standards for schools libraries.
The standards were introduced following the poor state of school libraries across the country. “All school libraries are hereby directed to adopt these new standards. The Council will intensify efforts to clamp down on non-compliant libraries and sanction defaulters accordingly. “I further encourage everyone present to obtain copies of the Council’s standards for public and government libraries, draft standards and guidelines for e-libraries, curriculum and benchmarks for library schools, as well as school library manual and other publications.”
Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, who harped on the importance of standardisation in library operations to ensure professionalism in the sector, said librarianship could slow down the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on citizens, health care systems and workers through dissemination of information.
The Minister, who was represented by the Director Library Services, Federal Ministry of Education, Mr. Barnabas Awunandu, commended LRCN for its efforts in training of librarians in the country. “I call on librarians to make effective use of the minimum standards for public, government and schools libraries to ensure standardisation in library operations across the country. These standards cover the practice, teaching of library science as well as facilities suitable for each category of library,” the Minister added.
The immediate past National Librarian, National Library of Nigeria, Mallam Habib Jato, urged Librarians to be aware of the new trends and development, as well as keep abreast with new and emerging technologies so as to decide on which ones to embrace and integrate into library services. Jato said: “A nation without functional libraries and information centres may lack access to information that would enable it to obtain sustainable development. “Efforts must be made to provide the right information at the right time.
With the right ICT in place, the objectives of libraries will not only be achieved, but will also help libraries in Nigeria to compete with their counterparts in the developed world. Developing countries such as Nigeria must also recognise ICT as a strategic tool for sustainable development.”