As a way of reinvigorating the culture of reading among its citizenry, the Lagos State Government through the Parks and Gardens Agency, LASPARK has entered into a partnership with a Non-Governmental Organisation, the Open Library Initiative, to reinvent the culture of reading in a greener and serene environment across some major parks in the State.
According to the General Manager of the Agency, Mrs Balikiss Abiola-Adebiyi, the initiative was in line with the commitment of the State Government to promote learning and advance the knowledge-base of the generality of Lagosians.
Speaking at the launching of the Open Library Initiative at Ndubuisi Kanu Park, Alausa, Ikeja recently, the General Manager said that it is imperative to note that combining recreation with reading is becoming phenomenal among the global populace and Lagos State cannot be an exception, especially as a pacesetter in developmental issues in Nigeria.
Abiola-Adebiyi explained that the Open Library Project has many advantages, especially in a recreational environment, stressing that apart from its cost-effectiveness, the initiative provides an opportunity for the library to become more accessible to children and their parents in a more relaxed and conducive environment where learning will align with recreation.
She also revealed that the State Government is considering the establishment of a virtual system in all LASPARK parks where users will have the opportunity to study through their apps online, real time.
While appreciating several NGOs who had identified with the State Government in one way or the other, the General Manager said that the State recognises the unique role which NGOs as partners in progress had so far played in the State’s development.
“We are happy to partner with the promoter of this unique project, Mr Olaide Akanno, the Director of Service, Open Library Initiative. I assure you that the State Government will continue to provide your organisation with all necessary support for replication of this project in all our Parks across the State”, she reiterated.
Giving an overview of the mode of operation of the initiative, the initiator, Mr Olaide Akanno, said that the NGO is starting with 5000 books in two of the States parks, the Muri Okunola and Ndubuisi Kanu Park in VI and Ikeja respectively.
“Initially, we wanted to operate the library via a mobile App. However, with only two locations at Ndubuisi Kanu Park and Muri Okunola Park yet, we realised we would be overwhelmed since the App would have been universally available. For now, we have to operate manually and to use the library, willing individuals will pick a Registration Form free to provide basic simple details about themselves”, he explained.
He, therefore, advised those that would be benefiting from the initiative to guard the books jealously so that others would not be denied the benefit of use or truncate the idea behind the initiative.