Nigerian University Libraries and the World Bank Loan

  • Ahmed A. Balarabe Usmanu Danfodiyo University


There are 24 federal universities in Nigeria, all established since 1948; all of their funding comes from the central government, through the National Universities Commission. Nearly all of library funding is derived from their parent institutions. Following the short–lived oil boom of the 1970s, the Nigerian economy has been in crisis, with great dependence on foreign loans. In 1995 the foreign debt amounted to US$32.8 billion. University subsidies have decreased radically, and the money available to libraries has nearly disappeared. Acquisitions have halted in many libraries, except for donations; for example the University College Hospital, Ibadan, dropped all periodical subscriptions in 1985. In recent years libraries have had the benefit of loans from the World Bank, beginning with US$120 million in 1990. Funds are used for books, periodicals, and equipment. Administration of the loan has brought difficulties as well as rewards: failure of book agents to handle orders has been a major problem. Journal procurement — handled through a British vendor — brought no periodicals to the libraries for two years after the contract was approved. Libraries have had trouble in writing satisfactory orders since they do not have bibliographic tools. The overriding concern among librarians is what will happen when the World Bank loan program ceases; fortunately the government has initiated a new education tax, with a share of the revenue designated for libraries.

Author Biography

Ahmed A. Balarabe, Usmanu Danfodiyo University
Ahmed A. Balarabe is Senior Librarian and Librarian for Medical/Veterinary Sciences at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto, Nigeria. His MLS is from Ahmadu Bello University. In 1990 he attended the International Graduate Summer School, College of Librarianship, Wales. His earlier employers included the National Library of Nigeria and Kaduna State Ministry of Education. Mr. Balarabe has published articles in Nigerian journals and in the African Journal of Library, Archives & Information Science, and has presented papers at conferences of the Nigerian Library Association.