National Library of Nigeria

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The National Library of Nigeria came into effect in the mid-1960s, with the enactment of the National Library Act of 1964. Prior to the passage of the National Library act, a series of educational conferences conducted in Ibadan, had laid the intellectual basis for the creation of a network of libraries funded by the government to provide accessibility of educational materials to Nigerians. A government advisory committee was later created due to the necessity for the development of 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.[1]

History and organization[edit]

The construction of the Library began in 1962 and the Library was finally opened in November 1964. The headquarters was moved from Lagos to Abuja ca. 1995.

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 concord 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. A board was inaugurated in April 1966 by a new military government. 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


The library is aided financially by the federal government of Nigeria. Originally, the Ford Foundation was involved with the project.[2] 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. 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. The library also stays afloat intellectually by receiving copies of books published in the country by both the government and private authorities, it is today one of the largest depositories of knowledge in the country. It also collects books on contemporary or new ideas from international organizations.Its responsibilities also include the issuance of the ISBN and ISSN to publishing organizations, a process which is today cumbersome in the absence of appropriate enabling technology at the regional offices.


The library has failed to effectively expand to the 36 state capitals of the federation as designated by the library decree of 1970. In concert with the lack of facilities in the state capitals, a lack of adequate social amenities for the library staff in some state capitals is another obstacle to the library's development. There is also a lack of sufficient professional librarians; the library failed to effectively protect itself by training students in library science, today the few graduates of library science gravitate towards jobs in the publishing business. The lack of adequate amenities provided by the library also does not help in recruitment. There are also insufficient storage devices for audio or visual collections.


  1. National Library of Nigeria, Emir's Palace Road, Kano City, Kano State.
  2. National Library of Nigeria, Oda Road (Opposite Ondo State Law Commission), Akure, Ondo State.
  3. Ondo State Public Library, St Peters Bus Stop, Oyemekun Road, Akure, Ondo State.
  4. National Library of Nigeria Festival Road P.M.B. 1, Area 2 (Near Shopping Centre) Garki, Abuja.
  5. National Library of Nigeria, 227, Herbert Macaulay Way, Yaba, Lagos State.
  6. Illupeju Public Library, Opposite LSDPC, Illupeju, Lagos State.
  7. National Library Enugu, NTA road, beside ESBS junction, Enugu.
  8. Enugu State Library, Market Road, Opposite Mgbemena Park, Enugu.
  9. National Library, No 1 Bida road, opposite CBN, Kaduna
  10. Kaduna State Library, No 3 Bida road, opposite NBTE, Kaduna
  11. Kwara State Library, No 16, Sulu Gambari way, opposite NIPOST Office, Ilorin Kwara State
  12. Akwa-ibom State Library: Plot 43 IBB way, Uyo akwa-ibom state
  13. Edo State Public Library, Benin City.
  14. Federal Library, Jos Beside Plateau State Polytechnic Holshe
  15. State Library, Jos Tafawa Balewa, Opp Plateau Riders Jos-North
  16. National Library of Nigeria, Iyaganku, Ibadan, Oyo State

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Enyia, Chris O. National library of Nigeria at 30: its history and prospects for the future (1992?)
  2. ^ Everts, Bart. “Independent Reading? A History of the Nigerian National Library” Presentation at the Missouri Valley History Conference, Omaha,NE, March 6-8, 2014.

Further reading[edit]

  • Anthony Olden (1995), "National Library of Nigeria", Libraries in Africa, Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, ISBN 0810830930

External links[edit]