By Gbenga Sodeinde
In this exclusive interview with GBENGA SODEINDE, the University Librarian, Bamidele Olumilua University of Education, Science and Technology,Ikere (BOUESTI), OMOLOYE OYEGBAJU speaks on a wide range on issues including: his career ; libraries and librarianship ; reading habit of Nigerian University Students ;
the importance of reading and studying to educational success ; the negative effects of social media on the reading culture of students ; his experiences as consultant to several academic institutions in Ekiti State as well as the available facilities at BOUESTI Library, Excerpts:
Question: Let’s meet you.
Answer: My name is Omoloye Oyegbaju. I am a Librarian. I had my first degree in Librarianship in 1997. I obtained my Master’s degree in Library and Information Studies from the premier university (University of Ibadan) in 2003. I was inducted as a Chartered Librarian in 2005 being amongst the first set of registered Librarians in Nigeria.
I began my working career as a librarian with the defunct College of Education, now Bamidele Olumilua University of Education, Science and Technology, Ikere-Ekiti. By the grace of God and through the dint of hard work, I have worked meritoriously in all the units in the library. Besides, I have also served as a Consultant to some institutions in Ekiti State and beyond. Presently, I am the head of the University Library.
Question: what can you tell us about library and librarianship?
Answer: The library (librarian) is the custodian of knowledge. In other words, the library is the reservoir of knowledge. The library has been recognised globally as the academic nerve centre in any academic institution. In the sixties and seventies, the library was commonly referred to as ‘the peoples’ university’. Both the rich and poor had unrestricted access to the library, particularly the Public library. So, the library has always been part of us, that is, an essential part of our educational system.
Librarianship is the study and practice of the profession. What this implies is that for anybody to work professionally in the library, he/she must have to go to the university to read librarianship as a field of study. Librarianship as a course of study is more professional than being an academic course. It is like studying medicine, architecture, law and their likes. As an encouragement for those willing to make it a career choice, the employment opportunities are their for them to grab. The number of tertiary institutions in Nigeria is increasing by the day. Besides, there are opportunities in notable government and private establishments in the country, too.
Question: What can you say about BOUESTI University Library?
Answer: Our university library is one of the best in the country, particularly in southwest Nigeria. The components of a library are the building, collection, personnel and the clientele. Being an academic library, our University Library scores high in these areas. Our library building complex can accommodate at least 750 users at a time.
Our Electronic library in the BOUESTI library has a sitting capacity for 80 users. In fact, the library building is a beautiful edifice to behold! Our library collection in both print and non-print is enormous. It cuts across all the academic programmes run by the university. To complement the printed materials, the University library subscribes to academic databases with huge electronic resources.
Question: What can you say about the reading habits of your university’s students?
Answer: As we all know Nigerian students have a lot of challenges confronting them today. Unlike in those good old days, where peer-group pressure was the main bane to academic success, a legion of obstacles now surface. Principal among these obstacles/challenges is the influence of the social media on the students.
Precious time is spent on the social media than on meaningful purposes like reading and studying. Quite a number of students find time to read when their examination is approaching. However, this is not to say that there are no serious students who are determined to succeed. Meanwhile, it is the duty of librarians to make library use pleasurable and attractive to students. This is our calling and we shall not renege on it!
Question: On ways to success, how far so far?
Answer: To God be the glory. However, nothing good comes easy! A lot of perseverance, dedication, commitment, hard work, motivation, determination, honesty, innovation and other work ethics are needed to succeed in the work environment.
Question:How can aspiring librarians become like you!
Answer: Honestly speaking, I have been through thick and thin. I have paid my dues and I am still forging ahead by His grace. I have mentioned the needed attributes in my answer to the previous question. To anyone willing to be like me, I will simply say “Be prepared!”
Question:What interesting things can you say about Librarianship?
Answer: Librarianship makes you a walking or human encyclopedia! When faced with a difficult question, a librarian has been trained never to say “I do not know” but rather to request for a little time to get back to provide the answer to the query, perhaps, after little research. After all, all the answers are in the books!
Question: What is your advice for your university students and other students about reading habits?
Answer: So simple, they have to develop their study skills and reading habits! Schooling is not a scam! Education is the game changer. Education makes the poor to sit in the palace. The rich may also cry without education. Therefore, the vehicle to educational success is by reading and studying.