Ex-CEO and Chief Librarian of the National Library of Nigeria NLN, Prof Lenrie Aina said his administration created sources of revenue for the apex library.
Aina whose tenure ended about a forthnight ago said in the past the apex library remitted all monies generated via its issuance of International Standard Book Number ISBN and International Standard Serial Number ISSN to Nigerian writers/publishers – to the federal government.
However, a successful presentation at the accountant-general’s office on the need for internally generated revenue to support its many projects – saw the minister of finance grant the library right to 75 per cent of revenue sourced via the ISSN and ISBN.
The library was also granted rights to revenue generated from the rental of its Center for Advanced Library and Information Management CALIM, a center mandated to train librarians and information specialists at the advanced stage.
According to Aina, registration fees at the center goes directly to the TSA, however, with the support of the minister of finance – government returns some percentage of the monies made from renting CALIM’s halls and seminar rooms (the library charges non-library organization renters N150,000 and library associated organizations pay N50,000).
With monies sourced from the aforementioned, the library has become more productive, such as building a CBT center which it rents to JAMB and other organizations for conducting examinations. ‘‘We have had testimonial from JAMB that our CBT is the best in the whole of the southeast,’’ he said.
The centre, he noted is being updated to offer trainings for its library assistant staff limited to level 6, the opportunity gains additional qualification to be promoted up to level 13 (senior library assistants to principal assistants and chief library assistants).
Other pro-active achievements of Aina’s administration include the drafting and publication of a 17-point five-year strategic plan for the library, and the establishment of a podcast studio to host its local and international guests.
Aina also set aside N100 million for human capacity development when he discovered upon his assumption of office (as a result of his open-door policy) were ashamed of working at the library. He set about laying the groundwork to build confidence in his staff, offer them opportunities of gaining new skills, experience and rewards for efforts at self-development.
‘‘Before assumption of office, many members of staff were frustrated by the lack of promotion or recognition after gaining additional qualifications. For instance, a staff working in the admin department decides to study accounting and switch departments, is not able to ‘because it is not their schedule’. Or a library assistant takes up part-time training or an open university programme to study history and gain a degree, they are refused recognition and promotion.
‘‘There were cases where a library assistant with a degree in a particular course remains in level 4, while an outsider with same degree as the librarian staff are employed at level 8; or a situation where their degrees are ignored because their departments of study weren’t accredited as at the time, they acquired the degree. These caused a lot of problems. These I had to correct as it affected over 100 staff members. Many junior staff became senior staff. These transformations made them relax knowing that whatever training they acquire they will be converted immediately.’’
Aina finished his tenure with 83-paged autobiographical publication “My Steward At The National Library of Nigeria” and is returning to Ibadan and the academic world where his shelved research thesis awards completion.
Aina, a professor at the University of Ilorin, was on a sabbatical leave at the University of Ibadan when he was appointed the CEO of the library. He further looks forward to the continuation of the revision of his 2004 text for tertiary students studying library and information science. The text culled from his experiences of African libraries will be revised from twenty to twenty-eight chapters.
‘‘Beyond the board, my time at the national library was a five-year tenure that I thoroughly enjoyed. I have learnt from my staff, and my staff members also learnt from me, and we have moved this place (national library) forward,’’ he concluded.