The Nigerian Library Association (NLA) successfully held her Conference/AGM as scheduled at Admiralty University of Nigeria (ADUN), Ibusa from 27th-29th October, 2021, with the theme- “Strong Libraries, Strong Societies. The conference was attended by over 150 participants from libraries within and outside the state as well as Library Schools.
Day 1 commenced with a courtesy visit by the NLA enlarged EXCO team to the Vice-Chancellor and Management of the University. The NLA Delta Chairman, Dr. Nelson Edewor who led the team, appreciated the University Management for accepting to host the Association’s Conference. He further mentioned that the ambience of the University is indeed the ideal for academic endeavours and encouraged the Management to keep it up.
In his response, the Vice-Chancellor; Prof. Paul Omojo Omaji thanked NLA Delta for the hosting choice of the University and pointed out that ADUN is a library friendly Institution therefore will always be supportive of the Association/Profession. He further stated that NLA should be proud of the University Librarian; Dr. G. N. Onyia and also, Mr. Sylvester Ebhonu for effectively representing the profession in the discharge of their duties. Prof. Omaji further expressed his disappointment with leaders of the Nation for the uncompleted state of the National Library at Abuja for over 2 decades. He emphasized that it is an embarrassment to the profession and the nation at large.
The activities for the day continued with the pre-conference workshop delivered by Mr. Sylvester Ebhonu on “Repackaging the Stereotyped Librarian: What to do.” This was followed with some paper presentations to close the Day. The University Librarian, Dr. (Mrs.) G.N. Onyia also took participants on a virtual tour of the library.
Day 2 of the programmes was the opening ceremony of the conference. In his welcome address, the NLA Delta Chairman, Dr. Nelson Edewor charged librarians to think out of the box in the delivery of effective library and information service as we live in extra ordinary times that require extra ordinary measures. The keynote address was presented by the keynote speaker; Prof. Barr. Charles O. Omekwu with the theme “Understanding the Nexus Between Strong Libraries and Strong Societies.” He mentioned that the value of libraries is hardly appreciated in societies where poverty, hunger, etc is prevalent. He charged libraries to employ social media in the delivery of cutting edge library and information services. In his words “inspite of their potential abuses, social media platforms are vital tools to connect with library users in ways that are dynamic, timely, innovative, constant and continuous. Any proposal to gag or fetter the social media platforms must be stoutly refused, resisted and rejected.” He encouraged academic libraries to migrate their resources to cyber space and enable open access to their collections and services by the global user communities.
The VC of ADUN; Prof. Omaji while declaring the Conference open, charged librarians to be proud of the profession as they remain worthy partners in deepening the democratic space of the nation, thereby engendering development. He shared his own experience of how libraries have helped in transforming his life as a Teenager in secondary school and in the University. He stressed the need for an inclusive society and charged participants to become “unstoppable librarians” who will make the libraries strong with a view to making society strong. He used the opportunity of the occasion to announce a book written by his wife; a fellow Librarian; Mrs. Alice Omaji, which has been released on Amazon. Book Title: Leading Change for a Culturally Inclusive Australia: My Role as a Change Agent.”
Other activities carried out include paper presentations with panelist and conference participants making insightful contributions on several aspects of the theme of the conference. A major high-point of the Day was the presentation of trophies to 3 secondary schools in the state for coming out tops in the state-wide Readership Promotion Campaign. Finally, the day was wrapped up with a gala evening where Conference participants were treated to beautiful tunes in an informal setting. It also featured mini quiz as well as refreshments to unwind.
Day 3 of the programme was scheduled for the AGM, which was well attended. As part of the closing ceremony, the Registrar, Commodore Isaac M. Mankilik PhD. (Rtd.) presented a plaque on behalf of the Vice Chancellor to the Association. Thus ended the 2021 Annual Conference/AGM of the Delta State Chapter of the Nigerian Library Association.