THE National Assembly is seeking to rename the National Library of Nigeria as Chinua Achebe National Library.
A public hearing on the bill seeking an amendment to the National Library Act Cap 59 Laws of the Federation, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Basic and Secondary Education, was held recently.
The official news bulletin of the National Library of Nigeria dated April 16, 2018 and obtained by Nigerian Tribune indicated that the leadership of the NLN appeared before the House Committee to make contributions to the proposed amendment of the National Library Act.
Chairman of the Committee, Honourable Zakari Muhammed, was quoted to have said the draft bill under consideration seeks to amend certain sections of the National Library Act, including renaming the National Library of Nigeria as Chinua Achebe National Library.
He said the bill also sought to review and make penalties stiffer for breach of provisions as well as compel the National Library Board to establish national e-library in order to bridge the gap in teaching and research.
The bill also seeks to specify the tenure of office of the director/chief executive officer of the National Library.
Making contributions on behalf of the National Library of Nigeria, the legal adviser and secretary to the board, Mr Aminu Ogaji, described the proposed renaming of the National Library as unconventional.
He argued that there is no national library in the world that is named after personalities, even though sections or floors of the building could be named after such renowned personalities. The National Library of Nigeria, he maintained, should maintain the status.
Ogaji, who represented the director/chief executive officer of the library, Professor Lenrie Aina, however, expressed support for the bill, especially in the area of prescribing stiffer penalties for the breach of the provisions of the National Library of Nigeria Act.
He said the Act should be amended to raise fine for default from 50 pounds to N250,000 in addition to depositing perfect copies as required by the act.
He urged the committee to consider prescribing penalties for users of fake ISBN, ISSN, ISMN and violations of other publishing standards and the sum of N100,000 was suggested to the House Committee to be the fine to which any author or publisher who defaults would be liable, while anyone who provides fake ISBN shall be liable to a fine not less N200,000.
Ogaji also suggested that the nomenclature of the Chief Executive Officer of National Library of Nigeria should be changed from Director to National Librarian to reflect the professionalism that is required in that office.
He also said the tenure of office of the National Librarian should be amended to serve for a term of four years in the first instance and may be re-appointed for another term and no more.
On the amendment to compel the board to establish a National e-library that is separate from the National Library of Nigeria, Ogaji suggested that since the National Library already has an existing Virtual Library Service Department, it should be expanded to cover the scope envisaged by the bill under consideration.