The Hidden Treasures Within Libraries: Why They Matter
Libraries are physical or virtual collections of information, resources and services that are useful to individuals or groups.
They provide safe spaces for learning and facilitate inclusive, equitable and quality education for all.
Also known as research specialists and information professionals, librarians are trained to manage libraries. They analyze the needs of their users and provide them with information such as book recommendations, organize events like grant writing, guest lectures, and offer consultancy services on publishing, information brokerage, etc.
Libraries gather and store books, atlases, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, military records, maps, art works and other items in order to preserve cultures and traditions. These include rare, precious and significant works that might been lost, destroyed or impossible to find.
Access to resources
Libraries are important because they provide their users with free Wi-Fi, computers, software that can advance professional development e.g., Adobe Creative Cloud, book club memberships, language learning resources as well as opportunities for art display and promotion.
Promote education and literacy
For voracious readers, the library is a terrific way to find books at no cost or for a very little fee. When reading for leisure or studying for examinations, students benefit from the decorum in libraries since it reduces distractions and improves understanding and assimilation. Libraries also provide educationand entertainment through games, videos, books, tutoring and other services for people of all ages.
Provide a safe space
Users of the library have access to conference rooms, reading rooms and other places for personal and group activities, meetings, meditation and children’s area away from the bustle and commotion of daily life. Unemployed people can apply for jobs using the free internet and other services such as photocopying, scanning and printing of documents. The library is a good place to meet people who share your interests and socialize.
Types of libraries
There are various kinds of libraries, all of which exist to promote intellectual development, knowledge dissemination and access to information.
Everyone is welcome to use public libraries. Most public libraries are free or charge small amounts for their cards. Having a library card gives the patron access to all the resources in the libraries, including books (print and e-copies), journals, newspapers, CDs and DVDs, artworks, movies, free internet access, and special events like book clubs, discussions, festivals or programs hosted by the library. There are a total of 38 national libraries in Nigeria: one in each state, Federal Capital Territory and the National Library of Nigeria. The National library collects every publication in Nigeria, by Nigerians or about Nigeria and makes them available to readers in both physical and digital copies.
Schools, universities and research institutions all have academic libraries attached to them or located there. They host intellectual resources that support the curriculum, stimulate learning beyond the prescribed syllabus and support faculty and student researchat the institution. Examples are libraries in schools and higher institutions, medical libraries, law libraries, engineering libraries, libraries in research organizations, etc.
These libraries are owned and operated by individuals or corporations to serve their needs. Most private libraries provide insight into the lives of famous people, archive genealogycharts, retain private medical records, and can be used as a personal resource for study, reference purposes, entertainment and mental stimulation. Areas of particular significance to the organization are typically the only ones covered by special libraries. The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Gani Fawehinmi Library, Zaccheus Onumba Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries and LeanHub Library are examples of some privately owned libraries in Nigeria that are accessible to the public.
What is the next step?
September is National Library Card Sign Up Month!
To enjoy the numerous benefits that libraries offer, go ahead and sign up for a library card or consider volunteering there. You can also participate in library events, donate books or other resources and spread the word about the libraries in your community.