SKF! by Adewale Ṣóbọ̀wálé

I first saw what can be said to be a family library in the home of our neighbours with whom I attended the same school. The elder was SKF. He was two years ahead of me. He was a very brilliant chap.

The second who was my mate in primary school was Gbenga. He too was a teacher’s delight.

Both of then later went to Igbobi College, Lagos.

Of course, SKF was two years our senior. He later died as a result of a motor accident on Ikorodu Road.

Gbenga left IC for the International School, University of Ibadan. He was later admitted to UI to read Computer Science.

Back to the library. The comic magazines of those days like Buster were neatly arranged on shelves. Novels like the African Writers’ Series, James Hadley Chase, James Bond, Nick Carter series were also not found wanting.

They also had the Guinness Book of Records.

And dictionaries!

That was where I first saw the Webster’s Dictionary.

They also had games like Scrabble, Chess, Monopoly, Ludo, Cards, etc. When we were tired of staying indoors, we went into their compound to play ping pong.

Am I boring you?

We talk about reading culture every time. But are we making the environment conducive for reading?

In the Lagos of my time, there was a library at Adekunle, another at Oyingbo. There also used to be a Central Library on Lagos Island. I don’t know if they still exist now!

Of course, the British Council Library was on Kingsway Road at Ikoyi!

There’s no doubting the fact that we don’t have enough libraries. When we now consider the self inflicted recession in which we have put ourselves, the situation might not get better soon.

We are looking forward to a situation where we would have area libraries. For instance, if we have ten families on each street. That will be at least twenty people.

Let’s now take six streets. The twenty people we have on each street multiplied by six will give us one hundred and twenty.

Out of the one hundred and twenty, at least a two third of them must have had some formal education.


What we are looking at is their donating those books they had used into a common pool. Maybe we can call it an area library.

And, of course, some families have children who are undergoing post secondary education. The books they had used would be very useful here.

Sorry, iya elepa, peanut sellers, there are no more waste papers for you!

Somebody could be kind enough to donate a reading space. We could also have newspapers and magazines.

That’s the beginning of a library.

If we look at the project as a social service for our children, before we know it, several of such would have taken off.

Of course, our young ones would be encouraged to read!


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