Public Library Services and the Information Needs of Women in Northern Nigeria.

  • G Badawi

Abstract

Nigeria was a British colony that became independent in 1960. It is the most populous state in Africa. Northern Nigeria comprises of 62% of Nigeria’s land mass and 53.7% of the national population. Majority of the people in northern Nigeria are Muslims and the culture of these people reflects largely Islamic influences. Western-style education was introduced into the southern part of Nigeria by Christian missionaries in the mid 1800th. On the other hand, it took the Europeans another 64 years to establish the first primary school in the north in 1907. European form of education was initially rejected by the people of the north regarding it as a threat to their culture and religion. For many years people were not willing to send their children (especially girls) to those schools. Early marriage was popularly supported by most families and large percentages of girls were rarely allowed to attend formal western schools or go beyond primary school education. As such, greater percentage of the population but most especially the female population in Northern Nigeria could not read. Public Libraries in northern Nigeria were also rejected as alien by the community because they were stocked by the British with documents written in the English Language. Very few people could read at that time and the few that could, only read documents written in Arabic. After independence, the aspiration to develop and the desire for education encouraged political leaders of Northern Nigeria to build more schools in towns and villages and girls were encouraged to attend. Within thirty years after independence, the numbers of pupils (especially females) in all educational institutions have increased tremendously in the region. The increase in literacy among the population increased the level of library utilisation and this encouraged the governments of northern Nigeria to increase their support for libraries.
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eISSN: 1596-5414