A survey by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Wednesday in Enugu showed that facilities at the complex have become old and dilapidated.
An undergraduate in a state-owned tertiary institution, Mr Harrison Eze, told NAN that there were no modern books on the shelves, while the chairs and tables have all become rickety.
“We only come here because we find the environment relatively conducive for reading.
“We come with our own books because this library has no new books on its shelves.
“You can only see old and outdated books on the shelves.
“We also read under this mango tree because the hall gets stuffy due to lack of space, ventilation and incessant power failure.
“As you can see, the hall cannot accommodate a reasonable number of people,” he said.
Harrison pleaded with the authorities to upgrade facilities in the library, including stocking it with modern books and computers.
Another student, Mr Victor Ibe, said that he had never found any relevant book on the shelves.
“I only come here because of the serenity of the environment.
“Nothing is working here. The fans are bad, the roof leaks and the lighting system is also bad,” he said.
Ibe said that those who patronise the library had no other option than to make use of what they had in the premises.
In his reaction, the Director of Library Services, Enugu State Library Board, Mr Fred Eze , confirmed the situation.
He said that the board was faced with a myriad of problems, including lack of funds.
Eze said that the services rendered by libraries the world over were not reciprocated in terms of funding.
“Public libraries the world over appear to come in when every other expenditure had been met.
“The truth is that public libraries are part of the education sector and usually suffer the problem of funding.
“Government does not give libraries the priority ithey deserve,” he said.
The director said that the reading space in the library was inadequate as the structure was constructed 57 years ago to accommodate 300 persons.
“This structure was built in 1958 to serve the former Eastern Region of Nigeria and was designed to take not more than 300 persons.
“It is still the same structure that exists today.
“The library was inherited by the old Anambra State and then transferred to Enugu State after its creation in 1991; but since then, nothing has changed.
“We have an average of 500 readers on daily basis and that is why you see many of our readers under the tree for lack of space,” he said.
Eze said that the complex had no generating set to keep the atmosphere inside the reading hall cool.
“The building is properly ventilated, but the problem is that public power supply has been erratic and most of the times, the fans do not work,” he said.
The librarian said that the board had no funds to equip the shelves with modern books, while donations from individuals and groups had drastically reduced.
He said that the morale of staff was low as the parastatal found it difficult to meet up with their welfare.
“The Library Board is a parastatal that renders social services and do not generate funds.
“Our monthly subvention is a one line route meant for salaries, pensions and everything.
“If the subventions do not come regularly, then salaries will not be paid regularly and the result will be low productivity,” Eze said. (NAN)