A director with American spaces Aondoana Daniel Onu says Nigerian librarians lack basic skills to function in the modern world. He speaks about the need for librarians to be trained to be able to function in the current dynamic environment. He said this in Abuja at the 60th Anniversary of Nigeria Librarian Association. Excerpts:
May we know you officially?
Aondoana Daniel Onu, American Centre Director from the US Embassy.
Why are we here?
We are here for the NLA Conference (Nigerian Librarian Association); the 60th Anniversary of NLA. We are also here to discuss American spaces.
American spaces are mini spaces-special libraries. They play a bigger function that is why they are seen as special libraries. Apart from that we also have books where people come to read like normal libraries. We also train people in capacity building programs. We teach people how to explain themselves; where we introduce them to new technologies and also show them best practices.
The impact of ICT in library practice is quite low largely because of funding. And we have people that are still under-skilled , especially in terms of applying technology in what they do and how technology can better serve their libraries. It is a huge challenge for our people in Nigeria.
An ordinary Nigeria Librarian larks skills. There is no incentive or encouragement.
It will be difficult to compare Nigerian libraries to other international libraries. One, we are investing less compared to other countries who have invested so much in the area of technology. There are a lot of things that have happened in the US that are still alien to our society. Like 30 years ahead of us. So we are far behind. It is a long way to go.
How can library practice be made attractive in Nigeria?
There are only two things; training and funding. Fund public libraries, fund academic libraries, make them more technological driven in such a way that people will leave those old ways of having to do a lot of things manually and be ready to apply technology. In this way it will better serve them and make their jobs easier. And at the same time invest a lot of money in training people.
Training people is one thing and also providing resources for them to be able to apply that knowledge in our respective libraries is key.
How can people be made to study library science?
The only way you can encourage people to study library science is to make the job of librarians attractive; better incentive, better wages, better training and up-scaling.
We have what is called American space which from time to time tries to do training for librarians. We introduce them to the best technologies that can serve in the libraries. We introduce to them best practices. We have huge resources to use in this regard.