Budgetary allocations for books, newspapers, other reading materials and library accessories...Nkemdilim Osigwe Ph.d
Budgetary allocations of a government are clear pointers of its policy thrusts and interests. Obviously, the Nigerian government is enamoured with books, newspapers, other reading materials and library accessories as can be seen in the allocations to different offices in the 2016 budget (/http://www.slideshare.net/statisense/library-books-and-library-accessories). However, the Library, especially, the National Library that is statutorily empowered to acquire, process, organize and keep books and other reading materials for the general public seems to be somehow shortchanged. A cursory look at the analysis shows that what offices receive for books, newspapers and library accessories appear to be higher than what is given to the National Library for the same purpose! This is a trend. It is also a signpost of the misunderstanding of roles of libraries in communities. A government that starves a National Library of adequate funds for acquisition of reading materials and modern technologies for information creation, storage, organisation and dissemination does not understand that the national/public library is the common man's university. Well funded libraries help to squelch rumours and false news as they stock newspapers, magazines, reference books and textbooks as well as technologies that will help people access accurate information online. When those in authorities allocate huge sums for newspapers, books, magazines, shelves and computers without allocating a higher percentage of such to the national/public library it is a sure sign that the nation will become top heavy and 'thin down' in accessing of accurate information. For a nation with demographics such as ours in Nigeria where those in high posts and offices are not up to 10% of the population, that is borrowing and courting trouble. When the masses do not have free access to newspapers, news magazines, books and internet in libraries, then conjectures and half truths will rule! Every nation needs information for development purposes. Libraries provide access to accurate, relevant and timely information. A nation at whatever level of governance that starves the library of funds for acquisition of information materials and technologies is fighting itself and promoting stunted economic, educational and social growth.