Dada For Digital Libraries
With a major in Readers’ Services in her Master’s degree obtained at the University of Ibadan, Dada’s interest and specialization in readers’ services motivated her constant search for reports and documents that would widen the horizon of Nigerian readers. In her research, she has compiled and published several articles and bibliographies.
While piloting the affairs of the Nigeria Library Association (NLA) in Lagos, she has been actively involved in the move for digitalization of libraries and the clamour for Nigerian libraries to move beyond the traditional method of practice which was among the issues she tackled in the last yearly general meeting of the Nigeria Library Association, Lagos chapter.
An innovative librarian and life member of the British Council, Dada has kept her career going as she improves the relevance of the library by updating books and improving record keeping and documentation system in the institute and the association in general. Once a librarian with the British Council in Nigeria, she was involved in the promotion of library services to the British Council target groups during her two-year sabbatical which ended in 1991.
While acting as director of library and documentation services, Dada has not relented in the digitalization of newspapers, articles and books in the NIIA library as part of the effort to apply information technology in library practice.
Born to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Theophilus and Sarah Bolodeoku from Ondo State, Dada attended Queen’s School, Ibadan and finished in 1974 before gaining admission into the University of Ibadan where she obtained her first degree in Geography in 1977 and Master’s degree in Library and Information Science. She decided to have a Master’s in Library Science because she felt the only job she could get with her first degree was teaching.
“When I was about applying for my Master’s, I heard about library science and chose to give it a trial, although the decision to pursue my masters was made out of frustration and pain of my mother’s death. I came back home after my youth service to realize that my mother died a few days to my return. It was a big blow to me because I was looking forward to seeing her again, being the last in the family of eight. I was very close to my mother. In her absence, the home became too cold for comfort. So, I hurriedly applied for further studies just to get away from my home,” she recalled.
While in search of succour for the loss of her mother, Dada’s excellent performance in her studies earned her an immediate recommendation to the NIIA where she was employed upon completion of her Master’s degree. “I had a lecturer in the reference service while in Ibadan who was known to be very good in the course and his lectures were always interesting. That was how I developed interest in Readers’ Services. The NIIA then used to recruit direct from the university and that was how I was employed in 1979.
“Being a librarian is very interesting. It is like a new thing every day because you have the opportunity to assist people on the path of knowledge, just like a teaching. In the course of my job, I met this student from King’s College who wanted to write an essay on J.F Kennedy. I guided him well on the relevant books to read and he came back later that year to inform me that he made very good grades. The satisfaction I derive shows that the job is worth doing. This library serves journalists, military personnel, Ph.D students and many others. I can remember assisting people like Admiral Mike Akhigbe,” she recounted.
As an academic, Dada lectured at the NIIA when it was offering an Ordinary National Diploma in International Relations some years ago. She went into research in the early 80s after getting an approval from Admiral Elegbede of the Defence Intelligence Agency based on her proposal to collect all the written documents on Nigerian defence and security which were locked up for many years. The information she gathered and published has gone a long way in assisting researchers across the country.
Having served in the Readers’ Services for 30 years, Dada is currently in charge of the Press Services section. “The Press Service section is updated, we have press clips on relevant issues that date back to 1965. Researchers get original materials here, anything that is local is available here, even written materials on bank reforms, African issues and Nigerians’ views on some international issues.”
On the issue of inadequate funding of Nigeria’s libraries, Dada said the present administration has shown interest in book acquisition in various libraries compared to the 80s. “Books are going into the library now than before. It got to a time in the 80s that our subscription of journals stopped because we could not pay even for 10 journals but now we can subscribe up to 40.”
As the chairman of NLA Lagos chapter, she coordinates all the activities of the association and has been striving to guide libraries and librarians through the trends and gradual movement of library practice from the traditional approach to the digital method. ” In the association, we educate librarians through workshops and lectures. We also publish journals, and the executives ensure that the members are kept abreast of emerging trends in the profession.
“We normally have a library week once a year and a day is set aside for readership programmes. On the readership programme, we organize debates in schools and also visit libraries in each of the local government areas of Lagos. All the local councils are now striving to have at least one public library within their locality and we are greatly in support of all these projects because they are all geared towards increasing readership in the country. There is also a mobile library where people borrow books and return them in a week or two and we realize that books have been going round Lagos as expected,” she said.
After organizing the last workshop of the NLA which focused on educating librarians on digital library and resources, Dada plans to base her next workshop on how to help readers through the launching of massive readership progammes that would assist people of different categories.
She is now giving back to the society through the regular contribution to the development of her secondary school, Queen’s School, Ibadan. “Recently, we donated sets of computers to the school library after renovating the entire school including the assembly hall. The chairs and locks were also replaced. Members come together once in a year to wine and dine. It is usually a memorable event and we derive joy in moving the school forward. The school impacted a lot on me as a boarder, especially in manners and etiquette.”
DDada has risen through the ranks in the past 30 years and has 21 books and publications to her name with many others she co-authored on Internet and computerization. “In the NIIA, one must have a good number of publications to be able to move to other levels and once you get to the position of a deputy which demands a lot of administrative work, you will be left with limited time for research and publications.”
Married to Mr. Muyiwa Dada, a pharmacist who used to be her brother’s close friend, the mother of three views her success as part of the reward for serving God. “God who made all these possible and also saw me through an ectopic pregnancy at my first attempt. That is why I don’t count time when it comes to working in God’s vineyard.”
Apart from putting up the library of the Nigerian Communication Commission and the Akhigbe Library, Dada is aspiring to write more books on librarianship and her experience in the profession which she believes will be useful and encouraging to young librarians.
While nothing that librarianship is not a money-making profession, she urges the youths and student librarians to be hardworking and consistent.
She sees fashion as one’s ability to look neat and not necessarily expensive. “To me, beauty radiates from the inside no matter the modern beauty enhancement people use.”