29 Jun 2020


A University don, *Udo Nwokocha, Professor of Library and Information Science*, has disclosed that it is difficult to separate Library from Development, Science and Technology, as modern research is hardly conducted in isolation, but based on results of earlier studies.

According to him, no matter what detractors do or say, the Library is at the heart of all Academic activities in Institutions of Higher Learning, especially the University. Little wonder, the American historian and novelist, Shelby Foote
remarked: “A University is just a group of buildings gathered around a Library”.

Professor Udo Nwokocha, the University Librarian and Member, Governing Council, Abia State University, who made these assertions while delivering the 28th Inaugural Lecture of the University on the topic: *BOOKS, INFORMATION AND LIBRARIES: A TRIANGLE OF SOCIETAL DEVELOPMENT (IGUA IMARA)*, further stated that scholars have  largely agreed that Books, Information and Libraries are interwoven and are known to work together to promote Education and Development.

The Seasoned Administrator and erudite scholar recommended that University Libraries should be used to ensure that only graduating students who visited the Library up to a minimum of 10 percent of the total number of Academic weeks they spent on Campus should be cleared by the Library.

He discussed the evolution of Information materials, emergence of modern books, the historical development of Libraries, from Alexandra Library, Egypt (the first Universal Library in the World), to the evolution of Libraries, from barefoot Libraries to the modern virtual Library (Libraries without borders) and its attendant myths.

According to him, a typical book consists of several parts namely, cover, jacket, bluib, spine, preliminaries, the text and subsidiaries. He disclosed that *human beings are like books*.

According to him, “without any apology, all of you in this auditorium look like books. Infact there is no difference between you and books. If you doubt me, let us look at some parts of a book for comparative review”.

*Book Cover:* The book cover can be compared to the dress put on by humans. Our body is like the text of the book which need to be protected.
*Jacket:* The jacket can be compared to the jacket worn by humans.
*Spine:* The Spine of the book is same as the spinal cord in human beings.
*Text:* The text represents the body and soul of the work.

He disclosed that the ancient world had great value for Libraries, as a lot of resources and efforts were invested in their development. “In all civilizations, the Library has been known to serve as a spring board for political, cultural, religious, technological and socio-economic development”.

In conclusion, the Lecturer stated unequivocally, “that the Library is invaluable and almost impossible to do without. Therefore, the earlier we got used to and take care of it, the better for our Universities and the Society at large”.

He therefore recommended as follows:

🔸 That a uniform name for Library Schools in Nigeria, which is *Department of Library and Information Science* should be adopted

🔸 That all Nigerian Universities should work towards establishing a *Faculty of Library, Communication and Information Technology*

🔸 That activities of the Librarians Registration Council of Nigeria should *go beyond just registering Librarians and move to the stage of accrediting Library Schools*

🔸 That the prevailing regulation by the National Universities Commission that 10 percent of every University recurrent budget should be reserved for use by its Library should be implemented without further delay.

As part of his personal and family support for the promotion of the reading culture, the Lecturer instituted, subject to the kind approval of the Vice-Chancellor, the *”Nwokocha Mba Annual Prize for the Best Undergraduate Library User in Abia State University”*, which would be presented to any deserving graduand during Convocation Ceremonies.

He described the Vice-Chancellor, *Distinguished Professor E. Uche Ikonne*, as *”an action-oriented Academic, an Administrative guru, a consummate clinician, a doyen of Optometry, a man filled with the milk of human kindness, whose performance since assumption of office is breathtaking and deserves commendation and emulation”*.

The Vice-Chancellor and Chairman, *Distinguished Professor E. Uche Ikonne*, appreciated the Lecturer and formally welcomed him into the *”College of Distinguished Professors”*

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