Stakeholders in the book industry have been advised to ensure compliance with the legal deposit law which compels them to deposit copies of their publications with the National Library of Nigeria for preservation.
The National Librarian Prof. Chinwe Anunobi made this submission at the 2023 sensitization workshop organized by the National Library of Nigeria which held at the Federal Ministry of Education, Abuja on the theme: Bibliographic Control in Information Resource Publishing in Nigeria: the Way Forward. The National Librarian remarked that although there has been some level of compliance to the legal deposit requirement, it is statistically clear that many are yet to comply. According to her, the NLN collected a total number of 8,051 titles in 2021 and 5,504 titles in 2022 which does not represent the total number of publications emanating from the country in the years under reference. She therefore urged authors and publishers to always ensure that they deposit the required number of their publications within one month, as required by Section 4 of the National Library Act.
Also speaking about the quality of publications, Prof. Anunobi emphasized on the need to ensure that all publications meet global standards of publishing. It will be embarrassing to have our published heritage despised and/or criticized in the global community of documented knowledge. A published document is globally accepted only when it has an international standard number which has been duly assigned to it as a unique identity and in Nigeria, the responsibility of assigning these numbers is vested on the National Library of Nigeria, the National Librarian stated.
She further informed that NLN has successfully automated the process of obtaining ISBN and ISSN and encouraged authors and publishers to get familiar with the process and access the numbers for their publications seamlessly. Ministries, Departments and Agencies were also urged to obtain the international standard numbers for all their publications, including their news bulletins.
In his opening remarks, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Education, Mr. Andrew Adejoh, who was the Chairman of the occasion commended the NLN for bringing authors and publishers together via the workshop so that the country's heritage could be collated. According to the Permanent Secretary who was represented by the Director of Special Duties in the ministry, Malam Zubairu Abdullahi, It is very imperative to harness and put this national history in a single repository which then becomes a national asset. The responsibility has been assigned to the NLN and as government, the Federal Ministry of Education will continue to support the NLN to coordinate the country's knowledge to compete with global standards.
In his keynote address at the workshop, the Managing Director of Havillah Merchandise, Mr. Lanre Adesuyi called on all publishers and producers of information resources to redouble their commitment in supporting the National Library in effective bibliographic control as it is not only a foundational element for organising knowledge but also a gateway to a more accessible and interconnected world of information.
Also present were the Registrar, Librarian Registration Council of Nigeria, Mr. Idris Wase, and the President of Nigerian Library Association, Mr. Dominic Omokharo who both presented goodwill messages commending the NLN and encouraging authors and publishers to adhere to legal deposit law and ensure compliance to international publishing standards.
Two papers were presented at the workshop; Administration of International Standards in Book Publishing and Legal Deposit Compliance in a Digital Age. The papers were presented by Ms Amaka Ojielo and Dr. Adejumoke Ajibola, the Director of the International Standard and Programmes Department, and the Director Legal Deposit Department respectively.
Participating stakeholders who attended the workshop included authors, publishers, librarians, academicians, researchers, book sellers including government printers.