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A Critical Review on Poor Reading Habits Among Nigerians: The Role of Libraries

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Review: Aina, Ogungbeni, Adigun, Ogundipe, A. J., J. I., J. A., T. C., 2011. Poor Reading Habits among Nigerians: The Role of Libraries. Library Philosophy and Practice, [Online]. 1522-0222. Available at: http:/www.webpages.uidaho.edu/~moblin/aian-ogungbeni-adigun-ogundipe.htm [Accessed at: 12 August 2017].

The authors of the said article are namely Adebowale Aina, John Ogungbeni, T. Ogundipe and Adebayo Adigun. At the time of publication, which was in October 2011, Aina, Ogungbeni and Ogundipe were librarians by profession. However,
Adigun was the agricultural head of department at the Lagos State University. The article which they compiled together mainly highlights the crucial relationship between the accessibility of libraries and the Nigerian children’s reading abilities. This article is of lasting relevance to the Nigerian education system, as illiteracy still continues to be a burden that Nigeria faces. The authors have adopted a general approach in this article, with the inclusion of a wide range of points that should be considered when resolving this issue. The article pulls no punches as it distributes blame amongst the local and state government, the proprietors of schools and with the children themselves. Thus one may infer that the articles intended audience is people with influence, on a national and global scale.

The main point which the authors present is the important role a library can have in the promotion of reading habits among Nigerian children.  It recognizes that libraries are unfairly perceived to have a minimalistic role in the overall excellence that a child may attain. However, the authors state that although libraries are generally used for the educational or personal use, it also significantly aids in the holistic development of the Nigerian child. The continual access to a library and the never ending addition of new reading materials, on a wide range of subjects, will undoubtedly pique the child’s interest and yearning for knowledge. The authors assert that a well-read child will not only gain exposure to new ideals and philosophies but will also gain enlightenment in the manner of thinking and behaviorism. This in turn will be the foundation of the child’s future success.

Although this article has referenced other academic works; there is a more subjective undertone present with no supporting statistical evidence. The argument which is presented specify Nigeria’s crisis and vividly depicts the resolutions needed. This further depicts the significance of this article, as most recognized resolutions may not necessarily be effective or realistically viable for implementation in all countries.

“Libraries play an important role in the promotion of reading habits” also has its pitfalls. The authors should have also placed more emphasis on the methods to generate and maintain students’ interest in using the library facilities. Even though the authors have asserted that libraries can be used as a toll of promotion, the fact remains that if there is no demand for such facilities, and then it will all be of no use. “There are a lot of factors which influence success in language learning. However, one of the most important factors is the learner's motivation to learn the language in order to be able to use it in real-life situations” (Daskalovska, Gudeva and Ivanovska, 2012). The same argument can be made for reading habits. An absence of interest in learning how to read will not necessarily mean that access to a library will provide that motivation.

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