History of the Nigerian Library Association

The Nigerian Library Association (NLA) started as a Division of the West African Library Association (WALA). WALA was established in 1954 after 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 into National Library Associations of their respective countries, thus giving birth to the Nigerian Library Association (NLA) in 1962.



The objectives of the Nigerian Library Association include the following:

  1. To unite persons interested in libraries, librarianship, and information services;
  2. To safeguard and promote the professional interests of librarians;
  3. To promote the establishment and development of libraries and information centers;
  4. To watch legislation affecting libraries and assist in the promotion of such legislation as may be considered necessary for the establishment, regulation, and management of libraries within Nigeria;
  5. To promote and encourage bibliographical study, research, and library cooperation and;
  6. To do all lawful things as are incidental and conducive to the attainment of the above objectives 



The supreme organ of the Nigerian Library Association is the Council which consists of the Executive Committee, Chairmen of all State Chapters and the Federal Capital Territory, the National Librarian/CEO of the National Library of Nigeria, the Registrar of the Librarians Registration Council of Nigeria, as well as Chairmen of special interest groups (Sections).

Individual members of the Association now numbering about 5,000 drawn from various types of libraries, would usually belong, in the first instance, to one of the 36 States/FCT chapters or/and one or more of the thirteen special interest groups. The thirteen special interest groups currently in existence are:

  1. Academic and Research Libraries (ARL)
  2. Association of Government Libraries (AGOL)
  3. Association of News Media Librarians of Nigeria (ANLON)
  4. Association of Women Librarians in Nigeria (AWLIN)
  5. Cataloging, Classification, and Indexing (CAT & CLASS)
  6. Nigerian Association of Law Libraries (NALL)
  7. National Association of Library & Information Science Educators (NALISE)
  8. Public Libraries Section(PLS)
  9. Information Technology Section (ITS)
  10. Nigerian School Library Association (NSLA)
  11. Association of Libraries for Visually Handicapped (ALVH)
  12. Preservation and Conservation Section (PCS)
  13. Medical Libraries Section (MLS)




Prior to its independence, the Nigerian 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:



  1. The Nigerian Division of WALA 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 of library development at the national level and gave advice on library matters and conditions of service for librarians in the Federal Civil Service.
  2. The Nigerian Library Association made representation to Government for the establishment of the National Library of Nigeria and the National Library Act of 1962.
  3. The Association was instrumental 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, Ibadan.
  4. The promulgation of the Librarians’ (Registration, etc) Council of Nigeria (LRCN) Decree in June 1995 and the subsequent inauguration of the Council by the Honourable Minister of Education, Professor Borishade on 28th May, 2002.
  5. The Association successfully influenced the government in inaugurating the LRCN in May, 2002 to enable it perform its stipulated functions of regulating the practice of the Library and Information profession in the country.
  6. Today, the NLA has a chapter in each State as well as the Federal Capital Territory. Each has its own chairman and local administration.
  7. Similarly, the Association has thirteen registered subject and professional sections, each looking after its own interest group.
  8. The NLA has successfully mobilized its members to be aware of the global changes in the library and information sector by encouraging training and retraining in Information and Communication Technology. 



The NLA publishes the following:


  1. Nigerian Libraries: (Journal of the Nigerian Library Association) Published twice yearly, first published in 1962.
  2. NLA Newsletter 
  3. Chapters and Sections publish newsletters and journals.


NLA Honours and Awards

  1. The prestigious award of the Fellow of the Nigerian Library Association (FNLA) was instituted in 1989 to honour members who have distinguished themselves in their professional practice.
  2. In 1991, the Association also instituted the Eminent Service Award for individuals adjudged to have rendered outstanding and meritorious services to it.
  3. The Honourary Fellow of the Nigerian Library Association award (HFNLA) instituted in 2018 to honour non Librarians who have contributed immensely to the Library and Information Science Profession in general

Other Awards 

  • Merit Award
  • Eminent Service Award
  • Best Public Library Award
  • Best Section Award
  • Best State Chapter Award
  • Recipients of Nigerian Library Association Service Award
  • Recipients of Best Library Week Activities Award



The following prizes have been established to be competed for annually:

  1. 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.


  1. NLA Award for Innovation in Libraries.  This prize was established at the invitation of the Nigerian Book Foundation as one of the awards to be made within the programme of the National Book Week.
  2. Prof. Ajibero Award for the Best Ph.D Dissertation in Nigerian Library Schools was instituted in 2010. The Award also carries a plaque and a cash prize of twenty thousand naira.
  3. Victoria Okojie Award for Advocacy and Promotion of Library &   Information Services, endowed by Dr. Victoria Okojie, former NLA President and immediate past Registrar of LRCN. The award carries a cash prize of N20,000 and a plaque


  1. Mrs Grace Oluremi Odusanwo’s award for the Best Librarian (AGOL). 

The Award sponsors deposited N250, 000 each as value of the Award in perpetuity as agreed by Council with an annual cash value of N20, 000 to the Awardee and a plaque.


  1. Dr. T.M Salisu Award for the Most Published Librarian. The award carries a cash prize of N20,000 and a plaque.
  2. NLA Outstanding Journalist Award. The award is annual for the most outstanding journalist in Nigeria who had done well in promoting the Library & information Sector. 




  1. Pst. Dominic Omokaro, FNLA, CLN                 -  President
  2. Dr. Umar Lawal, CLN                                                 -  Vice President
  3. Dr. Emiri Ogochukwu, CLN                                    -  Secretary
  4. Dr. Juliet Alex-Nmecha, CLN                                 -  Treasurer
  5. Dr. Amogu Uma-Kalu, CLN                                     -  Financial Secretary
  6. Dr. Pius Olaojo, FNLA, CLN                                    -  Public Relations Officer                                                                           
  7. Prof. Abdu Balarabe, FNLA, CLN                         -  Editor-in-Chief
  8. Prof. Innocent Ekoja, FNLA, CLN                         - Immediate Past President