Idowu Adegbilero-Iwari on ResearchGate


Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Public Library as Community Hub: Modern Library Services to Catalyse Personal and Community Development

A Poster accepted for presentation at the 2nd AfLIA Conference& 4th African Library Summit, to hold 14th -20th May, 2017, Yaoundé, Cameroon
Modern Library Services to Catalyse Personal and Community Development
Adegbilero-Iwari's Poster

I am seriously thinking Public Library revolution for the evolution of African and Nigerian development. Support this revolution and make libraries do more. Remember, no nation or people can develop beyond her libraries (knowledge base).

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Journey to the Largest Library in the World and the Need for a Library-Conscious Nigerian Society

Library of Congress: Inside
Either an alien in the country of books or my journey to the world’s largest library or something, I don’t really know what to call my writing. For the records, the care I received from the Americans that I had contact with dissuaded the thought that I was a stranger. But the stark parallel line between their excellent book culture and our… made me feel like an alien in the country of books. And of a truth, it was a great height of achievement in my professional capacity as a librarian to find myself in the revered Library of Congress, world’s largest library, in the company of four other young and promising librarians from developing nations of the world as 2016 Jay Jordan IFLA/OCLC Fellows.
Adegbilero-Iwari Idowu as IFLA/OCLC Fellow
2016 IFLA/OCLC Fellows
It all began late into my pursuit of a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture with a specific interest in Animal Production and Health at the renowned University of Agriculture in Abeokuta, South-west, Nigeria. I began to see my consciousness of the state of books whenever I entered the ‘Nimbe Adedipe Library, a gigantic building at the heart of the university widely regarded as the nucleus of the growing campus. I noticed my urge to read things outside agriculture. But most importantly, my urge to correct a poorly appearing book became noticeable.  When even my most cherished book, the Bible, has any folds, I quickly straightened it out. Little did I know then that I will sometimes in my life have to be a custodian of books as a Librarian, the challenge I took on myself to undertake upon the counsel of my dear aunty and her husband. I am so grateful I heeded that counsel.
Adegbilero Idowu on the Capitol Hill, Washington, DC.
I am, today, a Librarian, a Certified Librarian of Nigeria (CLN) with International exposure. I have been graced to experience Librarianship and see Libraries in Nigeria, South Africa and the USA. The latter, being the latest experience, got me both exceedingly crestfallen and excited. Heartbroken each time I moved from library to library either in the State of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois or in the capitol. Appalled because my mind was back at home, Nigeria; appalled for the 180 degrees difference between our libraries and those libraries; appalled for the 180 degrees difference between the two societies with respect to books. The difference is like the one between darkness and light or the crest and trough of mountains. My sorrow swelled not only for the states of things back home but for the failure of our leaders who often come to the US and such countries but perpetually closed up their minds from receiving the light that such visits bestowed. I can't even remember the last time Library Funding is a budget issue in the Federal, States and Local Governments annual appropriation bills.

Adegbilero Idowu visited Westerville Public Library 2016
Inside the Westerville Public Library
In America, library is the strength of the people. The libraries are the hubs of the communities. The library represents the city square, the common place for the people of a community. Little wonder, every community has its own library. In the state of Ohio alone, there are 251 government-funded public libraries compared to say 3 in Oyo State or 1 in the whole of Ekiti State that are functioning below standard or the 26 branches of the National Library of Nigeria across the federation.
Library cards are as important as the Green card to the citizens and residents of this country. Libraries are usually flooded with people of all demographics from babies, toddlers to the visibly aged and with corresponding services for all. Library Services are innovative and modern. The architectures are deliberately self-imposing, attractive and well lit. There are tech shops, FabLabs, coffee shops and self-service centers across the libraries. Libraries are beauties to behold and pleasant places to visit. The now becoming a fad glass walls in libraries to connect library users with events outside the library is novel. Libraries compete with hotels for aesthetics and beauty. Furniture for sitting and reading are exceptionally attractive and comfortable to use. And librarians are tech savvy.
Thompson Library, Ohio State University: Inside
For instance, in Westerville, a northeastern suburb of Columbus, Ohio, the Westerville Public Library, was like a technology shop. It arrested almost every known technology to serve its users. The Columbus Metropolitan Library, even though under reconstruction for expansion as at April with a target of June 2016 for completion, has already shown great display of eminence and the candour of a society that is about and committed to libraries. And further into the country side, the magnificent edifice known as the Indianapolis Public Library is awe of a building to glimpse. And about two hours’ drive away from it in sister state Illinois, the Champaign Public Library with her masterpiece architecture and all-round services, is a breathtaking library package for a reading society.
And to the world’s largest library, a national treasure situated on the Capitol Hill, the irrepressible Library of Congress with its three self-imposing buildings: the Jefferson building directly opposite the US Capitol, the James Madison Memorial building besides the Cannon House Office building, and John Adams Building on the other side adjacent to the US Supreme Court on the way to Hart Senate Office building. All three buildings on different streets interconnected underground are the pride and beacon of the American reading society. Thomas Jefferson’s famous quote “I cannot live without books” was an emblem on his personal collections’ section of the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress, as do the whole of Washington, District of Columbia is a Jerusalem of a sort for tourists from all over the earth. There the great memory of human civilizations lay in books, artworks and quotations on the walls. What an awesome experience.
Adegbilero Idowu at the White House
 But in all of these, my mind was at home. The National Library of Nigeria that is taking forever to construct and the ill-constructed, deficiently equipped and old books-stocked libraries across my country at home. Besides, my mind was inundated with precious ideas to turn things around suddenly. I was just wishing for the opportunity. I was just wishing I have the funds to start with a modern community library at Ijan-Ekiti, my birthplace. I was just wishing there could be an Andrew Carnegieamong our rich elites who could believe my dreams of a book and reading society. Andrew Carnegie built, of his personal wealth, a total of 2,509 Libraries between 1883 and 1929 across the world among which 1,689 were built in the Unites States. This is apart from his age-long endowment to global library education and development part of which I am a beneficiary as a Carnegie grantee to train at the University of Pretoria, South Africa in 2015. This is a challenge to the Dangotes, Adenugas, Otedolas of this great country. Dangote should just give me a modern library and Adenuga another, and see what we can do from there.
Whoever builds a library builds life. Whoever builds a life builds a culture. Whoever builds a culture, builds a history and a dome of wealth for posterity to draw. Consider my journey to world’s largest library an invite to build an Africa and a Nigeria full of the light that knowledge can radiate.  And finally, our collective aspiration for development must be met with the resolve to base our efforts upon the reading of books and a library-conscious society. Just like Thomas Jefferson couldn’t live without books, our desired developed society cannot be realized without libraries.
By Adegbilero-Iwari, Idowu
Emerging Technology Librarian
Elizade University, Ilara-Mokin
Adegbilero tour of Washington, DC, April 2016
Ondo State, Nigeria
April 2017