Head of the National Library of Nigeria (NLN) in Kwara State, Mrs Kafayat Olani, has revealed how the reading culture in Nigeria can be revived.
Olani, in an interview with News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said one of the ways to instill the culture of reading in children is by early grooming.
She said that this would help in stopping the declining reading culture among young people in the country.
“The decline was as a result of the failure to instill in them a reading habit.’’
She said government should therefore implement policies that would include celebration of Literary Days in the school curriculum.
“Reading culture has been a frontline debate all over the world, even in the advanced countries, but the problem is that mobilisation and awareness campaign on the advantages and importance of reading have not been inculcated at a young age.
“More so, the government has not been fair in ensuring that reading culture becomes a practice is imbibed by the schools. Most schools do not have libraries, even when their schools are expensive in terms of fees.
“But when you don’t have good libraries, how do you want pupils and students to read extra outside the classroom?
“We must catch them young by introducing and celebrating all kinds of literary activities.
“If we include these days, such as Poetry Day, Day of the African Child, World Book Day and others, in the curriculum of the schools, it will help them to revive the reading habit.
“This will go a long way in reviving the reading culture,” Olani said.
However, she noted that parents should also be a role model to their children by embracing the revival of the campaign for better reading habit.
“If we say the reading culture is declining, how many parents read? You cannot be a role model to your own child when you always watch movies. So, they do exactly what you are doing.
“Until we go back to the drawing board to understand the process of reading and to work on it, we might still be complaining of the decline in reading culture which will in turn affect the overall performance of an average educated person,” the librarian said.
She added that there should be a balance between Western and cultural materials.
“Our society is oral. Since we are adopting the Western education, we should adopt it in all totality and ensure that every aspect of education is taken serious.
“We should read grassroots cultural material, and then balance it with foreign monographs which are not part of our culture.
“Even in other parts of the world, they are going back to the grassroots to read materials. So, why should we not balance it.
“So, we need a lot of policies to be put in place, a lot of strategies to encourage the children to make reading a fun.
“We need to make the children to understand that reading is not all about academics to pass, but about enjoying themselves, knowing others and having their own cultural influence on them,” Olani added.