Poor Infrastructures Discourage Users From Cross River State Library
The Cross River State Library located in the heart of the city of Calabar is a poor site. The complex has been a shadow of itself with shattered windows and roofs.
Part of the walls surrounding the complex has fallen off, the toilet facilities are not working and the library has been functioning without electricity for the past three years.
The supposed gigantic edifies was former Calabar Prison called Bricksfield Wall. The library is stocked with over 4,000 books. A source who spoke with The Guardian disclosed that the state library has never received attention from past government administrations and the state government only gives attention to other educational projects that attract money to the state pocket.
Investigation revealed that several letters have been written to inform government of the state of the library, yet nothing has been done to improve the complex.
These developments have reduced activities and the culture of reading among the young and old who go there to seek for quiet and peaceful environment.
In an interview with some users of the library who lamented over the poor state of the complex, complained of lack of electricity, water and lack of toilet facilities.
A secondary School student Bright Udoh, said visiting the library has become part of his daily activities since the beginning of school vacation because he was preparing for his WAEC exams.
Narrating his ordeal, he said, “I come here everyday to read because the house is not conducive for me since I am preparing for my Junior WAEC, but I cannot charge my phone when it is down or use the toilet when I am pressed because the toilets are locked up with keys. Sometimes I leave earlier than I planned to stay because I needed to go home and use the toilet”.
Another who identified himself as a researcher, Mr. Amos Bodunrin, said the library has always been helpful in terms of getting books for his research, but stressed the need for proper rehabilitation of its infrastructures.
He noted that the building has lacked maintenance over the years, and if something is not done soon users of the place will stop coming and such could affect the reading culture of the people most especially the young ones.
In his words, “this library needs proper maintenance because it has been abandoned for too long. We cannot make use of the toilet facilities here, the windows are all shattered and there is no electricity since I have been using this place for over two years now. “The state government should know that the reading culture of the people must not be allowed to die.
The young ones need to be encouraged to keep that culture alive by making the atmosphere for reading conducive for the users”. Because of this poor situation, some teachers even reject postings to schools in the rural areas.