The Acting National Librarian, Dr Oluchi Kalu, has said the “dwindling reading culture” among Nigerians poses a great danger to the nation’s development.
Kalu said this on Tuesday in Enugu during the 2021 Readership Promotion Campaign (RPC), with the theme, “Building a nation of readers, share your story’’.
She said that an improvement in the people’s reading culture would enhance the quality of life, democracy, education, the economy as well as foster development and reduce social vices.
Kalu, represented by Mrs Anthonia Onuoha, Director, Collection Development and Technical Services, National Library of Nigeria (NLN), said the campaign was designed to promote reading habits among children and youths.
“We want to use the campaign to encourage and revive the moribund reading culture among Nigerians by way of promoting the availability of good reading materials.
“Collectively with other stakeholders, we shall proffer solutions to identified obstacles to reading culture in Nigeria,” she said.
Kalu further said that NLN had over the years sensitised and educated youths and children on the importance of reading.
According to her, the idea is to enhance the knowledge and creativity of people in various literary activities.
“So the round table discussion among the stakeholders will be to deliberate on ways to promote the reading culture among Nigerians,” she said.
The Liberian said the campaign was simultaneously taking place in Enugu, Bauchi, Plateau, Kano, Bayelsa and Kebbi, having held in four other states.
She urged participants to make reading their hobby in life.
Mrs Rachael Nebo, NLN Branch Head, said that reading culture could be improved and promoted, “if we begin to catch them young at the foundation stage.
“Reading will make you learn the culture of other tribes and how to love and appreciate them.
“Tell your parents to buy you small novels with moral values and when you read, it will make you learn from people’s mistakes,” Nebo said.
She said the younger ones would be ahead of their contemporaries if they read constantly.
”Reading enlightens and educates. I assure youths that readers are leaders.
“I also advise the youths to use their phones on sites that are educative and add value to their lives.
“Phones are good if you use them for your assignments and research work or read online,” she said.
Also, a publisher, Mr Jude Ugo, urged parents to improve the reading capacity of their children, adding that readership without parental assistance would not work.
“The American neurosurgical expert, Ben Carson, was assisted by his mother to overcome his reading challenge.
“Parents should encourage their children and wards to learn and draw a functional timetable for them,” Ugo said.
However, a student of Climax Pre-University College, Enugu, Mr Obasi Emmanuel, blamed the decline in reading culture on the advent of social media.
Emmanuel said that many students spend quality time on social media activities than their books.
He thanked NLN for organising the campaign and charged parents to share reading books with their kids.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that many primary and secondary school students, book clubs and other stakeholders attended the programme. (NAN)