Onyinye OyedeleMonday, January 19, 2009
[email protected]
Ontario, Canada



ibraries are invaluable tools in a nation to foster Literacy. When we encourage people to read and write, there should be a concerted effort towards building and investing in educational resources at the grass root level. A local library is an integral part of a Community. It is a place where people can read books and newspapers, borrow educational materials, use the Internet, and have study groups. It is also a place where early childhood reading can be developed. A library is a place that promotes and provides interest in books. It serves members of the public by stocking variety of books, informational videos, DVD, CD's, journals, and magazines for intellectual consumption. A local library is an asset in any community because of the wealth of knowledge and access to information that it provides. It is amazing the genre of books that are available to borrow with your local library card! Or just for you to sit down and read!


Local libraries are part of the building blocks for a reading culture. It is a grass root approach to improving literacy. If people are provided with the resources and facilities to improve their knowledge base, then there is a place to direct and challenge them to go and have access to it. Local libraries and the reading environment provided could help to engage both young and old people in reading habits. Community leaders while providing basic facilities such as good roads, clean water supply, security and waste disposal systems, should also ensure that library services are available for students and parents to be engaged in lifelong learning. It is important to enrich young and old minds with knowledge.

The library is also a place where information on available local services such as job search or employment training, Resume/CV Writing, vocational or self -development courses, leisure activities, or small business providers, can be readily available. Novel or poetry reading programs for school children can also be organized to keep them engaged. A local library is also a place where authors can have workshops and interact with other writers or members of the public. Libraries can also have special programs in designated rooms where they have mini public lectures, seminars or special learning classes to train community members who find a library environment more comfortable and less intimidating compared to an academic institution. A local library is an additional literacy avenue that complements the academic institutions already in existence in a community.

Improving literacy is beyond the classroom or the four walls of a Primary or secondary school, Polytechnic or University, or other institutions of learning. It is a lifelong pursuit. We must continue to expose our minds to good literary works and take advantage of free resources provided by the local, state government, or private individuals. Local libraries should be available and accessible to all. There is no investment in improving the literacy of the people that can be viewed as a waste. We are preserving, nourishing and equipping the minds of the people. A leader who values the intellectual well being of the people will continue to look for, and invest tangible funds into projects that will foster literacy. It is a legacy worthy of pursuit.

While allocating budgets for public funding, building local libraries could be a project worth considering. As companies, Non Governmental Organizations (NGO's), groups or private individuals look for avenues to help build the community, local libraries and other projects related to improving literacy, and a reading culture amongst young people would be a worthy investment. Developing communities and sustaining the change that we aspire to see in our nation can also be achieved through the information available to the leaders of tomorrow. When a nation places priority on educating and engaging young minds with books and materials that can inspire and teach integrity, moral values, discipline, hard work, diligence, accountability, honour, and respect, then we can say that we are putting the future of our nation into "safe hands."

Finally, the level of literacy of the people in a nation can help to contribute towards its "wealth." We must fuel the passion for education in our nation. We must continue to create avenues to arouse and sustain interest in reading. We must catch young minds now by exposing them to books that will shape and prepare them for leadership. Local libraries are great tools for keeping the community informed and ensuring that people have access to centers for reading and writing. It is also a good tool of research for teachers and other academicians. Local libraries when established in communities help to nurture and foster a long lasting commitment to improving the literacy level in the nation.