Libraries and the Learning Child

I grew up at a time when the community played a significant role in the upbringing of a child. My first visit to a Library was with an uncle who was at the university; it was an unusual experience. It stimulated my interest in reading, something I have continued to do till this day. I was about 8 years old, but it was a world I enjoyed being a part of; serene and orderly.

Current research on early literacy and brain development indicates that it is never too early to prepare children for success as readers. Libraries play a key community role in the distribution of early literacy information.

Suffice it to say that Children need the opportunity to develop their reading and writing skills. Libraries can play a key role as children continue the development of these skills. Library collections are of major importance to the child and they include a good selection of materials (hard or soft copies).

 Libraries do not have to be huge edifices. They can be small and carry comfortable furnishing for adults and children with basic ambiance (akin to the corner of a big room). These can be donated to small communities. We do not need National or honorary Libraries that cost a fortune but add no real immediate or medium term value to the average Nigerian child. Our children can develop a reading culture enhanced by facilities close to home. Early literacy skills lead to later academic success and early gaps stay throughout a child’s education. Let us  build  libraries. Literacy is freedom!

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  1. My earliest memory of visiting a library was when I was 7 years old n I visited the Kaduna library with my elder sister. I was awestruck because I was a child who had started reading books, magazines n newspapers at a very early age n I couldn’t believe that there could be a building dedicated to so many books n the silence n serenity I felt when I was reading there made me want to come back n partake of such an experience again but its rather disheartening dat this is one of the cultures we’re loosing today. Our children – encouraged by we their parents will much rather watch films n play video games than read.

  2. The Library system in this country is nothing to write home about; visits to the library should be encouraged more by both the parents and the school authorities. The saying that goes “if you want to hide something from a black man, put in in a book” should no longer be applicable in our society. I further suggest that every home should have something like a mini-library no matter how small it is.

  3. Yes Bob. We can make our own little effort by having a mini library or space we can use to encourage reading. Well done LC! This is a lot of good stuff you are giving us.

  4. The Library is a reservoir of knowledge. It’s benefits cannot be played down for a parent, teacher and even the child. Even from as early as the age of 2yrs, children should be exposed to the Library though for ages 2-5yrs it shod be cosy, less formal, exciting and full of fun adventure. Parents are advised to set up mini libraries at home for children and adults and stock it with relevant books so that they can draw from the ‘wells of knowledge’. This aids learning. ‘cos information is a key factor that determines the quality of life of an individual and the library is a major source of such information. Cheers!

  5. Didn’t go to any public library while growing up but my dad had a mini library at home so I was exposed to some good books and it did help a whole lot with my communication skills . There is always a huge difference btw children who were exposed to reading at an early age and those who weren’t. I Do ve faith in libraries but reading as a culture should first be developed at home and in schools so we can see the effective use of these libraries.

  6. l have always been a lover of books, and this love was developed when i was in nursery! (so i was told by my parents). Really and truly, every child would fare better in their literacy skills and have a good boost of confidence, if given the opportunity to explore the wonders of a library…just exposing them to the variety of books and colors and pictures!!! we dont have to wait for a system whose priority is in frustrating her citizens, as parents and teachers lets make this happen in our homes and classes, who knows?, we could be the pacesetters.. cos readers are leaders! Kudos to you LC, you are really making so much sense.

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