The Nigerian Library Association (NLA) started as a Division of the West African Library Association (WALA). WALA itself was established in 1954 as an offshoot of a UNESCO seminar on the development of Public Libraries in Africa held at Ibadan in 1953. With the political independence from colonial rule of Anglophone West African countries in the late 1950s and early 1960s, WALA national Divisions transformed in National Library Association (NLA) in 1962.
The objectives of the Nigerian Library Association include the following:
a.) to unite persons interested in Libraries, Librarianship and Information services;
b.) to safeguard and promote the professional interests pf librarians;
c.) to promote the establishment and development of libraries and to assist in the promotion of such legislation as may be considered necessary for the establishment, regulation and management of libraries in Nigeria;
d.) to watch legislation affecting and to assist in the promotion of such legislation as may be considered necessary for the establishment, regulation and management of libraries in Nigeria;
e.) to promote and encourage bibliographical study, research and library cooperation;
f.) to do all lawful things as are incidental or conducive to the attainment of the above objectives.
The supreme organ of the Nigerian Library Association is the Council which consists of the elected national officers of the Association, eight elected councillors and all the chairman of state chapters and Federal Capital Territory, as well, as special subject interest section chairmen.
Individual members of the Association now numbering about 5000 are drawn from carious types of libraries throughout the country. Every Librarian would normally, belong in the first instance to one of the 37 States/FCT Chapters and/or or more of the eleven seven interest groupings.
The eleven special interest sections currently in existence are as follows:
1. Academic and Research Libraries (ARL)
2. Association of Government Libraries (AGOL)
3. Association of Newsmedia Librarians of Nigeria (ANLON)
4. Association of Women Librarians of Nigeria (AWLIN)
5. Cataloguing, Classification and Indexing
6. Nigeria Association of Law Libraries (NALL)
7. Library and Information Science Teachers (LIST)
8. Public Libraries (PL)
9. Information Technology (IT)
10. Nigerian School Library Association (NSLA)
11. Association of Libraries for Visually Handicapped (ALVH)
12. Preservation and Conservation (PC)
Prior to its independence, the Nigeria Division within WALA had laid the foundation for a professional association, which worked actively to influence the Nigerian Government to promote Library development in the country. To date, it has to its credit the following notable achievements:
- The Nigeria Division successfully made a proposal for a National Library Policy, which became the blueprint for early library development and led to the inauguration of the Library Advisory Committee in 1958. This committee became the forum for the discussion if library development at the national level and advice on library matters and conditions of service for Librarians in the Federal Civil Service.
- The Nigerian Library Association made representation to Government for the establishment of the National Library f Nigeria and the National Library Act of 1962.
- The Association was also instrument in securing Government support for the professional education and training of library personnel leading to the establishment of the Institute of Librarianship at the University of Ibadan.
- The promulgation of the Librarians' Registration Council of Nigeria (LRCN) Decree in June 1995 and the subsequent inauguration of the Council by the Honorouble Minister of Education, Professor Boris hade on 28th May, 2002.
- The Association has successfuly influenced the Government in inaugurating the Council in May 2002 to enable it perform its stipulated functions of regulating the practice of the Library and Information profession in the country.
- Today, the NLA has 37 chapters with each State and the Federal Capital Territory having its own chairman and local administration.
- Similarly, the Association has twelve registered subject and professional sections, each after its own interest group.
- The NLA has successfully mobilised its members to be aware of the wind of change blowing around the world of information by encouraging training training and re-training on Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
- The prestigious award of the Fellow of the Nigerian Library Association (FNAL) was instituted in 1989 to honour members who have distinguished themselves in their professional practice.
- In 1991, the Association also instituted the Eminent Service Award for individuals adjudged to have rendered meritorious services to it.
- Other NLA Awards are listed here
The following prizes have been established to be competed for annually :
- The Award for Young Library and Information Professionals (yLIPs) is presented to a promising yLIP who possesses leadership qualities, problem-solving abilities and great potential for the future. The award instituted by the NLA in 2006 includes full sponsorship to the annual national conference.
- NLA Award for Innovation in Libraries. This new prize was estableshed as the invitation of the Nigerian Book Foundation as one of the awards to be made within the programme of the National Book Week.
- The E. B. Bankoa Librarian of the Year Award carries a prize of twenty thousand Naira (N20,000.00). This award was endowed by the past President of the NLA Alhaji Muazu H. Wali in the year 2001.
- Dr. James O. Daniel Award for the Most Innovative Library-Based ICT Project of the Year. The award carries a prize of twenty thousand Naira and a plaque.
- Dr. T. M. Salisu Award for the Most Published Librarian. It is an annual award. The award is basically to encourage particularly young librarians and interested members
irrespective of age to publish. The grant recognizes the importance of writing well-researched papers for publishing which is the platform for genuine interest in contributing to the development of the profession.
- Dr. Ghaji Badawi conference grant from 2008-2010
For further information or any enquiries, please contact
Nigerian Library Association
c/o National Library of Nigeria
Sanusi Dantata House, Business Central District,
P.M.B. 1 Garki GPO 900001, Abuja. FCT.
Tel: +234-8055365245, +234-9-234-6773