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NBRP demands passage of Library Bill of Rights, seek promotion of reading culture, others at Uyo conference

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OBINNA EZUGWU

The Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria (NBRP), has demanded that a Library Bill of Rights be passed by the legislature as an instrument to provide uncompromising support for intellectual freedom and the provision of all types of libraries for all.

The group which made the demand in a communique issued at the end of its maiden conference and annual general meeting held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital on Sunday, September 19, emphasized the need for value reorientation, and aggressive readership promotion to entrench the reading culture in all communities within the Nigerian society.

The communique signed by NBRP president, Mr. Richard Mammah and Founder, Uyo Book Club, Dr Udeme Nana said the well attended national conference hosted on behalf of NBRP by the Uyo Book Club, witnessed presentations by stakeholders drawn from the National Library of Nigeria; the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria; the Nigerian Copyright Commission; the Booksellers Association of Nigeria; the Nigerian Publishers Association, Librarians of Nigerian Universities; Media and Information Managers; Authors; the Political Class; Students and the Broader Reading Public, who reviewed the state of the reading enterprise in Nigeria today, the operations of the NBRP and steps to boost the reading culture through greater exploration of public libraries, book clubs, e-books and social reading, and resolved as follows:

“Lament the continued poor appreciation of the place of reading in national development and the inadequate deployment and maintenance of infrastructure in this regard.

“Call attention to the imperative of an all-out drive to emplace the reading enterprise at the centre of the national development process given it’s notable multiplier effect across all levels and strata of national growth and achievement.

“Emphasize the urgent need for value reorientation, and aggressive readership promotion to entrench the reading culture in all communities within the Nigerian Society.

“Endorse the campaign of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria for the establishment of at least one well kitted library and book club per local government in the country.

“Demand that a Library Bill of Rights should be passed by the legislature as an instrument to provide uncompromising support for intellectual freedom and the provision of all types of libraries for all.

“Request that a libraries’ advocacy group comprising book clubs, stakeholders in the book trade, schools, students, parents, journalists, non governmental organizations, donor agencies, etc should be formed to lobby for the continued prioritizing of libraries on the agenda of government.

“Reiterate that social reading should continue to be encouraged given its impact on the proper cultivation and enhancement of sound human values, peer review, and the multiplicity of constructive ideas for individual and national development.

“Require that stakeholders in the book trade should continue to work at improving the book chain for greater reader impact, reading culture enhancement and national development through taking steps towards the gradual restoration of the structural elements of the book chain.

“Hold governments at all levels accountable to their social function and proper positioning of the education and culture sector in the national development process.

“Advocate voluntary citizens and Community initiatives and involvement in book clubs establishment and libraries management.

“Urge stakeholders in the book trade to work towards the introduction of an Integrated private sector-driven National Books Distribution Company that would help address bottlenecks in the books supply chain and lead to the lowering of costs.

“Heartily commend His Excellency, Mr Udom Emmanuel, Governor of Akwa Ibom State for his support for, and participation at the Conference and for accepting and signing up to serve as Grand Patron of Akwa Ibom Book Clubs.

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“Endorse that Uyo will be the National Book Clubs City for a second year, commencing from April 23rd 2022 and that Lagos would take over as National Book Clubs City from April 23rd 2023 through April 22, 2024. Accordingly also, Uyo would host the 2022 National Conference and AGM of the Network of Book Clubs and Reading Promoters in Nigeria.

“Decide that the Interim National Executive of NBRP, comprising Mr Richard Mammah as President; Emmanuel Okoro, General Secretary; Ms. Irene Udosen Okon, Assistant Secretary; Mrs Funmi Ilori, Treasurer and Adekunle Smith, Esq, Legal Compliance Officer; remain in office as a substantive NBRP executive for a two year term.

“Thank Watbridge Hotel, Uyo and Ibom Air for their gracious sponsorship and support towards the successful hosting of the event.”

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