National Library of Nigeria

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NLN Logo
The Official Logo of the National Library of Nigeria
National Library of Nigeria
9°03′05″N 7°29′02″E / 9.051314793591688°N 7.484004668405712°E / 9.051314793591688; 7.484004668405712
Location274 10th Street, Central Business Dis 900103, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria
TypeNational library
Established1964 (60 years ago) (1964)
Items collectedBooks, journals, newspapers, magazines, sound and music recordings, patents, databases, maps, stamps, prints, drawings and manuscripts
Legal depositYes, provided in law by:
Access and use
Access requirementsOpen to anyone with a need to use the collections and services
Other information
DirectorProfessor Chinwe Veronica Anunobi (chief executive, 8 September 2021)

The National Library of Nigeria came into operation in the mid-1960s with the enactment of the National Library Act of 1964 which was later replaced by Act No. 29 of 1970.[1][2][3] Prior to the passage of the National Library act, a series of educational conferences conducted in Ibadan served as the intellectual basis for the creation of a network of libraries funded by the federal government to provide accessibility of educational materials to Nigerians.[4][5] A government advisory committee was later created in respect to the necessity to develop a local repository of knowledge. The committee was charged with finding a way to aid the government in bringing to prominence the intellectual foundations of its policies, creation of a national bibliographic center and to provide an arena for the promotion of knowledge. The committee was the first major formal body that called for a National Library as part of its recommendations. The government accepted the demands of the advisory committee and undertook the necessary steps to build a National Library.[6][7][8][9][10]

History and organization[edit]

The construction of the library began in 1962 and it was finally opened for public use on 6 November 1964.[11][12] The headquarters was moved from Lagos to Abuja in 1995.[13][14]

The Library Act enacted by the House of Representatives of Nigeria guaranteed financial assistance to the project, the Act also provided provisions for the training of staff and the creation of a board of directors made up of professionals. In accordance with the demands of the Nigerian republic and the assembly, a group of 15 trained librarians were hired to provide a positive role in developing and manning the library.[15] A board was inaugurated in April 1966 by a new military government.[16] The board was made up of government officials instead of professionals as written on the original act. However, the board tried to improve on the original objectives of the library but the Nigerian Civil War hampered funding and formal government actions were not taken until 1970. In 1970, a new legal precedent was set with the creation of the National Library decree. The decree was partly enacted on the advice of the board which wanted to expand the library to other state capitals in order to create a network of repositories.[2][17][18]


The Library is funded by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Originally, the Ford Foundation was involved with the project.[19] The foundation brought in professionals, donated books and funded the library's expansion. The library over the years has built on its original mission. Today, it is a vital organ that acts as the intellectual memory of the nation. The library provides the intellectual ammunition to aid government officers in policy implementation.[20] However, the general direction of policy instability due to the military incursion to power sometimes created an imbalance between the intellectual memory of prior policies and the intellectual foundation of a new government.[21] The library also stays afloat intellectually by receiving copies of books published in the country by both the government and private authorities through the legal deposit provision in the Library Act.[22] This makes the library one of the largest depositories of knowledge in the country.[23][22][24][25] It also collects publications on contemporary or new ideas from international organizations.

The responsibilities of the institution also includes issuing of the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and ISSN (International Standard Serials Number) to publishing organizations, a process which was formerly cumbersome in the absence of appropriate technology at the regional offices but is getting easier with more awareness and infusion of mobile technology.[26][27][28]

Furthermore, as part of its mandate, the library runs an annual Readership Promotion Campaign all over the country to create awareness about the importance of literacy and to get the citizenry reading.[29][30][31]


The National Library of Nigeria has challenges that inhibit it from fulfilling its stated objectives.[32]

  • Dilapidated facilities and resources which are as a result of inadequate funding.[33][34]
  • The library headquarters operates from rented apartments as the complex which is meant to house it remains uncompleted since it was started in 2006.[35]
  • The library has 33 branches and is making efforts to effectively expand to the 36 state capitals of the federation as designated by the library decree of 1970.[36]
  • Poor reading culture in Nigeria is also a challenge as this spawns a nonchalant attitude to the growth of the library while hindering the uses of its facilities and services.[37][38]
  • Inadequate and non progressive staff training to keep the professionals abreast of current best practices in the ever-evolving information sector especially as pertains to use of technology to organize resources and offer services.[39][40]
  • Outdated materials are found in the library, hardly will you get new materials.[41]



Chief Executive Officer[edit]

Prof. Chinwe Veronica Anunobi was appointed as chief executive officer of the library on 8 September 2021.[44][45] She has served as the University Librarian of Federal University of Technology, Owerri, Imo State.[46][47] She is a member of the Governing Council of African Library and Information Associations and Institutions (AfLIA) where she is serving her second term and represents the entire West Africa region.[48] She took over from Prof. Lenrie Olatokunbo Aina who was the chief executive officer of the National Library of Nigeria from 2016 to 2021.[49][50][51]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bello, Nassir (1983-10-01). "The 1970 decree of the national library of Nigeria: a Reassessment". International Library Review. 15 (4): 375–383. doi:10.1016/0020-7837(83)90057-2. ISSN 0020-7837.
  2. ^ a b "Mandate » National Library of Nigeria". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  3. ^ "NATIONAL LIBRARY ACT". Nigerian Law Intellectual Property Watch Inc. 2017-07-18. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  4. ^ UNESCO, UNESCO (1953-08-21). "Development of public libraries in Africa". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  5. ^ "Abandoned Abuja National Library project completion cost climbs to N100b, from N8.59b". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 2022-05-02. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  6. ^ Enyia, Chris O. National library of Nigeria at 30: its history and prospects for the future (1992?)
  7. ^ Aguolu, C. C. and Aguolu (2007). "A Force in Library Development in Nigeria". World Libraries, ISSN 1092-7441. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  8. ^ Aguolu, C. C. (1980). "The Evolution of the National Library of Nigeria: Antecedents, Establishment, and Recent Development". The Journal of Library History. 15 (4): 393–426. ISSN 0275-3650. JSTOR 25541139.
  9. ^ Harrison, J. Clement (1966). "Review of The National Library of Nigeria: Growth of the Idea, Problems and Progress". The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy. 36 (4): 359–360. doi:10.1086/619485. ISSN 0024-2519. JSTOR 4305717.
  10. ^ National Library Act (2016). National Library Act (PDF). Federal Republic of Nigeria.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  11. ^ Aguolu, C. C. and Aguolu (2007). "A Force in Library Development in Nigeria". World Libraries, ISSN 1092-7441. Retrieved 2021-06-11.
  12. ^ Aguolu, C. C. (1980). "The Evolution of the National Library of Nigeria: Antecedents, Establishment, and Recent Development". The Journal of Library History. 15 (4): 393–426. ISSN 0275-3650. JSTOR 25541139.
  13. ^ Adeyemi, Nat M. (1972-01-01). "The National Library of Nigeria and Library Development in Nigeria". Libri. 22 (1): 77–84. doi:10.1515/libr.1972.22.1.77. ISSN 0024-2667. S2CID 143697377.
  14. ^ Adegoke, Adekunbi (1973-10-01). "The evolution of libraries in Nigeria". International Library Review. 5 (4): 407–452. doi:10.1016/S0020-7837(73)80022-6. ISSN 0020-7837.
  15. ^ Itsekor, Victoria O. (2011). "The Role of Librarians in the Development of Education in Nigeria" (PDF).
  16. ^ Olden, Anthony (1985). "Constraints on the Development of Public Library Service in Nigeria". The Library Quarterly: Information, Community, Policy. 55 (4): 398–423. doi:10.1086/601650. ISSN 0024-2519. JSTOR 4307895. S2CID 144058238.
  17. ^ Daily, Peoples (2014-10-20). "National Library and its challenges". Peoples Daily Newspaper. Retrieved 2022-05-11.
  18. ^ Ejechi, Victor Tochukwu (2019). "The State of The National Library of Nigeria: Why The Nigeria Government Must Act Fast". Library Philosophy and Practice: 3571.
  19. ^ Everts, Bart. "Independent Reading? A History of the Nigerian National Library" Presentation at the Missouri Valley History Conference, Omaha,NE, March 6–8, 2014.
  20. ^ "History of Library in Nigeria". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  21. ^ Luckham, Robin (1994). "The Military, Militarization and Democratization in Africa: A Survey of Literature and Issues". African Studies Review. 37 (2): 13–75. doi:10.2307/524766. JSTOR 524766. S2CID 143505146.
  23. ^ Nweke, Ken M. C. (1991-07-01). "Legal deposit laws in Nigeria and bibliographic control of Nigeriana since 1950". Government Publications Review. 18 (4): 339–345. doi:10.1016/0277-9390(91)90029-W. ISSN 0277-9390.
  24. ^ Diamond, Maria (2019-12-11). "National Library of Nigeria intensifies legal deposit drive". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  25. ^ OBASI, JOHN U. (1982-01-01). "Bibliographical Control of Nigerian Publications: Social Science Primary Materials". Journal of Documentation. 38 (2): 107–124. doi:10.1108/eb026725. ISSN 0022-0418.
  26. ^ "National library to issue ISBN, ISSN numbers to applicants within 48 hours -". The Eagle Online. 2018-12-18. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  27. ^ "National Library launches application to aid ISBN/ISSN issuance". Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics. 2019-05-12. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  28. ^ "National Library of Nigeria intensifies legal deposit drive". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 2019-12-11. Retrieved 2022-05-01.
  29. ^ "National Library Holds Readership Promotion Campaign in Anambra". Nigerian Voice. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  30. ^ "National Library Takes Readership Promoting Campaign To Ebenebe Community". Nigerian Voice. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  31. ^ "Readership Promotion Campaign: National Library sensitise NYSC members". The Sun Nigeria. 2019-06-20. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  32. ^ Iroanusi, QueenEsther (2018-06-18). "Dilapidated facilities, outdated books, other anomalies characterise Nigeria's National Library". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  33. ^ "National Library and its challenges". 20 October 2014. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  34. ^ The Guardian Newspaper (2018). "Agony over the National Library". Guardian Newspaper.
  35. ^ "Abuja's mockery of National Library project". Punch Newspapers. 19 November 2017. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  36. ^ "CONTACT ADDRESS » National Library of Nigeria". Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  37. ^ "Nigeria must address poor reading culture ― National Librarian". Tribune Online. 2019-11-04. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  38. ^ "Agony over the National Library". The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News. 2018-01-10. Retrieved 2020-05-24.
  39. ^ Okafor, Kelechi (2020-10-29). "Public Library Services in Nigeria: Challenges and Strategies". Library and Information Science Digest. 13: 116–125. ISSN 2672-4820.
  40. ^ Okafor, Kelechi (29 October 2020). "Challenges of public library". Lisdigest. 13: 116–125.
  41. ^ "10 Problems of Nigerian Library and Possible Solutions". 2018-05-24. Retrieved 2022-05-01.
  42. ^ "National Library of Nigeria - By intelApe". Archived from the original on 2020-09-22.
  43. ^ "FG begins construction of multi-million naira library edifice in Kwara". Tribune Online. 2022-02-03. Retrieved 2022-05-30.
  44. ^ "Buhari appoints new CEOs for National Library, NTI, NMEC, others". Tribune Online. 2021-09-08. Retrieved 2021-09-09.
  45. ^ "Boldscholar | Prof. Chinwe Anunobi Appointed as the National Librarian of". Boldscholar News. 2021-10-01. Retrieved 2022-05-01.
  46. ^ "Dr. Mrs. Chinwe Veronica Anunobi » Federal University of Technology, Owerri". Retrieved 2021-09-09.
  47. ^ Ejechi, Victor (2021-09-13). "PROFILE: Meet Professor Chinwe Anunobi, the new National Librarian". Medium. Retrieved 2022-05-01.
  48. ^ "Chinwe Anunobi". African Library & Information Associations & Institutions. Retrieved 2021-09-09.
  49. ^ "After one year on this job, I was offered N200m Abuja land - Prof. Aina, CEO, National Library". Punch Newspapers. 2018-10-28. Retrieved 2021-09-09.
  50. ^ "Nigerians' reading poor, alarming –Prof Aina, National Librarian". The Sun Nigeria. 2020-12-22. Retrieved 2022-05-01.
  51. ^ Online, Tribune (2021-09-16). "Anunobi pledges to reposition National Library". Tribune Online. Retrieved 2023-01-02.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]