Students of Alex Ekwueme Federal University Ndufu-Alike Ikwo, (AE-FUNAI) have expressed displeasure over the state of the university’s library.
Some of the students who expressed dissatisfaction with the present state of the school library hinged their claims on limited table space and unavailability of books in the library. In a school with about 10,000 students, only about 136 desks are available in the library.
Some of them who spoke with PREMIUM TIMES said there are not enough desks in the library and the few available ones are always occupied. This results in overcrowding where students have to jostle for space, and sometimes even have to sit on the floor to read their books.
Odefar Nnenna, a 300 level student of the Political Science department, complained about the limited space in the library which leaves the library keepers with no better option than to ask students to leave their bags outside before entering the library.
She expressed the fear that unscrupulous individuals might use the opportunity to steal from students since library personnel cannot watch from their positions.
“Because there is not enough room in the library, students are asked to keep their bags outside. Library keepers fear that students might steal books from the shelves if they are allowed to go in with their bags. But all these fears would have been unnecessary if the library was large enough, or better still if the school authority had provided us with lockers to lock our bags before entering. Our library is not up to standard. It does not befit the status of a federal university, and it is very bad,” she said.
However, Miss Odefar also rapped the school management for stocking the library shelves with what she termed “outdated textbooks” and largely “European literature.”
She said, “We need more African works. We are Africans, and charity begins at home. It is not as if there are not enough African authors writing. We have only chosen to ignore them simply because we don’t believe in them. All that has got to change.”
A 300 level Mass Communication student, Abang Glory, said there are not enough Mass Communication texts in the school library. She further stated that she often visited the library during exams only to find that there was little or no provision for her programme of study. This, Abang maintained, gave her a feeling of exclusion.
“It gives me the feeling that something is wrong somewhere, that some people are being alienated from the university community,” she said.
Another student, Nwojo Evylin of the Accountancy department, complained that students are being dismissed too early from the library and this is a new development. She stated that people could study in the library from nine o’clock in the morning till eight in the night but currently, students are being sent home as soon it is three-thirty or four o’clock in the evening. This, she said, negatively affects their academic performance since they are not allowed to study for any reasonable length of time in the library.
In reaction to the students’ complaints, the school management has asked for patience as the construction of a bigger, more conducive and accommodating library is in steady progress and will be completed before December this year.
“We are assuring you that before December, the building of the new library will be completed. And we ensure that we will serve you better,” Dr Christiana Akidi, the university Librarian said.
The school’s Public Relations Officer, Iyke Elom, on his part, refuted the allegation by some students that there are not enough books in the library. “Our library is adequately stocked with both e-books and hard copies. So, it is a lie that the library is not well-stocked,” he said.
At the start of every session, students are mandated by the school management to pay N300 as a levy for library services. Some students who spoke with this newspaper questioned how the money is being used.
Mr Elom, in reaction, said library services are funded by the university, and not by the yearly N300 paid by the students. “Library services are funded by the university. Books are bought by the university. So the amount paid by students are used to augment the funds from the university,” he said.
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