The Benue State Library is now a ghost of its former self. The usual serene environment and inviting ambience are fading away from the iconic edifice that hitherto attracts all and sundry. In this report, Daily Trust on Sunday captures how the library is fast losing its relevance and the plans of the government as regards the facility.
Once upon a time, the 31-year-old Benue State Library was a cynosure of all eyes and the darling of bookworms.
The two-storey building, which houses the library complex located along Senator Iyorchia Ayu Road, was a beehive of activities.
The library provided knowledge seekers with the opportunity to access various study books and helped prepare many students and young school leavers for WAEC, NECO and JAMB examinations.
A secondary school student at that time, Mary Sokpo, said at least with an identity card, students like her could access numerous resource materials including past question papers and syllabus in the library.
However, the story is no longer the same. The building hosting the library is now dilapidated and in a pitiable state, in dire need of rehabilitation.
It’s also no longer the public space that people patronise with passion neither is it still the repository of knowledge where rich educational materials could be sourced even with the ICT section introduced about five years ago.
Our correspondent who visited the library observed obsolete materials everywhere, broken wooden chairs and desks as well as plastic containers sitting in the halls to accommodate rain water from leaking roofs.
A previous library user, Ada Ochegboji, said going there to read again was just a waste of time because there are neither books nor the once serene atmosphere in the premises to crave for.
Apart from a few staff who were on their duty desks in some of the halls downstairs, no patronisers were in sight.
State chairman of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Paul Ugah, whose office is also situated in the building, regretted that a lot of people have lost interest in reading as a culture in Nigeria and Benue State in particular.