A non-governmental organisation, Zacchaeus Onumba Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries (ZODML), said it would set up libraries in the 1,299 public primary and secondary schools in Anambra State.
Chief Executive Officer of the foundation, Mrs Ego Mbagwu, said this while donating five Oasis libraries and two Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) Time projects to St. Mary’s High School, and Nneamaka Secondary School, both in Ifitedunu, Dunokofia Local Government Area of Anambra State.
She said ZODML had earlier established four libraries in Anambra prisons, two in Enugu State; and in all prisons in Lagos State.
Mbagwu explained that the foundation’s emphasis on the library was informed by the growing need to acquire knowledge, particularly among the youths.
According to her, the decision to establish the library in public primary and secondary schools was to assist the students who might not be able to afford books due to financial constraints.
Describing education as the bedrock of development in any society, Mbagwu underscored the important role of the library in students’ academic achievement and lifelong learning process and self-education.
“It facilitates the work of classroom teachers and ensures each student has equal access to resources irrespective of home opportunities or constraints,” she said.
She expressed hope that the presence of the libraries in the schools would encourage self-education, better academic performance and produce life-long readers with an insatiable quest for knowledge.
In her remarks, Director of the library, Post Primary School Service Commission (PPSSC), Mrs Chinyelu Motu praised the foundation for the initiative, appealing for its extension to other schools in the state.
She also charged the school’s leadership to ensure maximum use of the books to improve pupils’ performances for the betterment of the society.
Responding, the Principal of St. Mary’s High school, Rev. Fr. Jude Onebunne, appreciated the organisation for choosing the school as one of the beneficiaries.
He regretted the declining reading culture, particularly among youths was worsened by the emergence of the internet.
Onebunne, however, assured the continuous efforts of the school’s authority in addressing the problem.
He said, “One of Nigeria’s major problems is reading. Like it is said if you want to hide anything from an African man, write it down. Internet did not help matters. They think it is everything you can google.
“Since we introduced a course that encourages each student to finish two novels per term, the difference has been glaring.
“I believe that bringing the library closer to the students would not only enhance their reading culture but further improve their academic performances.”
The principal pledged to reciprocate the gesture by ensuring the durability of the books.
“I’ll appoint supervisors and study prefects who will make sure every classroom is regularly locked to ensure the preservation of the books,” he added.