A Non-Governmental Organisation, Zachaeus Onumba Dibiaezue Memorial Libraries (ZODML), has pledged to set up libraries in 1,299 public primary and secondary schools in Anambra, to enhance reading culture among students.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, Mrs Ego Mbagwu, made the pledge at the inauguration of some libraries donated to some schools in Ifitedunu, Dunokofia Local Government Area.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that five Oasis libraries built for primary schools and two Drop Everything And Read (DEAR) time projects (libraries) for secondary schools were inaugurated at the occasion.

Mbagwu said the organisation had earlier established four libraries in Anambra prisons, all prisons in Lagos state, while two were set up in Enugu State.

She explained that the foundation’s emphasis on library was informed by the growing need for the acquisition of knowledge, particularly among the youths.

“The decision to establish libraries in public primary and secondary schools is meant to assist the students, who might not be able to afford books due to financial constraints.”

While describing education as the “bedrock of development in any society,” Mbagwu underscored the important role of library in students’ academic achievement and lifelong learning process and self-education.

“It facilitates the work of classroom teachers and ensures that each student has equal access to resources irrespective of home opportunities or constraints.”

Mbagwu expressed the hope that the presence of the libraries in the schools would encourage self-education, better academic performance as well as produce life-long readers with an insatiable quest for knowledge.

In her remarks, Mrs Chinyelu Motu, the Director of Library, Post Primary School Service Commission (PPSSC), commended the foundation for the initiative and appealed for its extension to other schools in the state.

Motu also charged the school’s leadership to ensure maximum use of the books to improve students’ performances for the betterment of the society.

Responding on behalf of the beneficiaries, Rev. Fr. Jude Onebunne,the Principal, St. Mary’s High school, Ifitedunu, commended the organisation for choosing the school as one of the beneficiaries.

Onebunne expressed concern over the fall in reading culture, particularly among youths, which he noted, was worsened by the emergence of the Internet.

He, therefore, stressed the need for schools’ authorities to address the problem.

“One of Nigeria’s major problems lack of reading. Like it is said, if you want to hide anything from an African man, write it down.

“The Internet did not help matters; youths think it is everything you can search on Google.”

He expressed the belief that libraries would not only enhance reading culture, but further improve academic performances.

The principal pledged that the school would reciprocate the gesture by ensuring the books were well utilised.