By: Usman Yakubu Usman
On a bright Tuesday morning, Auwal Mohammad, a 300-level student of English Literature, at Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto eagerly prepared for his day of academic activities. His first stop was the library, where he had hoped to delve into English and Literary journals before immersing himself in other books. However, to his dismay, when he entered the Abdullahi Fodiyo library, he discovered a glaring absence of English and Literary journals.
Abdullahi Fodio University Library, situated on the school’s permanent site, represents the central academic institution for research, where every student aspires to achieve academic excellence.
“What I witnessed was shocking. As soon as I entered the library, specifically the serial section where I expected to find those English and Literary journals, I saw only scientific journals on the shelves. There was just one journal on English and Literary studies. Many others were missing. I am at a loss as to what has happened. To be honest, these journals have been instrumental in helping me grasp the concepts of my discipline,” lamented Auwal.
He continued, “I could remember reading a comparative analysis of women’s conditions in novels by Chinua Achebe and Ngugi wa Thiong ‘O. It was written by our esteemed professor, Asabe Kabir, from our own university. Its structure and language significantly aided me during my exams.”
The dearth of English and Literary Studies students in the library is noticeable.
Auwal said that in the previous year, his friends and he regularly visited the library to access those journals as they provided valuable insights into both English and indigenous languages.
“However, with the current situation, we are limited in our library visits and rely solely on the internet for personal research,” he added.
More Students Express Dissatisfaction
As the academic session of 2022-23 commenced, numerous students pursuing English Language and Literary Arts found themselves disheartened. Only a few among them frequented the library.
“What is the point of going to the serial section of the library if what I need to read is unavailable?” questioned Nafisat Aqasim, a 300-Level student from the English and Literary department.
Consequently, even among the few who still visited the serial section, some chose to exempt themselves upon realizing that all the journals on English, Arts, and Literature had been removed and were nowhere to be found in the Abdullahi Fodio Library.
Amidst this frustrating situation, Abdullahi Danjuma, a 400-level student of English Language, recounted the stress he faced when he visited the library in search of English language journals for his research project.
“My project topic has been approved by my supervisor, which made me very happy. However, I don’t know where to find English and Literary studies journals in the library. I have been scouring the catalogues to locate relevant sources, but even if I find them, where can I access the journals? They were absent from the serial section,” Abdullahi bemoaned.
Suleiman Musa, a 300-level student of English Literature from the department of English and Literary Studies, also expressed his disappointment.
“I am deeply unhappy with what I witnessed. When I visited the library with my friend, I eagerly wanted to show him some of the Literary theories on Niyi Osundare’s poems, but I couldn’t find a single journal on that topic,” he stated.
Suleiman, an avid reader and dedicated student, emphasized on how reading those periodicals directly benefited him.
“During the previous semester, I regularly visited the library to explore various topics that corresponded with the courses I was taking. Believe me, this helped me in multiple ways. Firstly, it enhanced my creativity, and secondly, it exposed me to a broader field of Literature and English,” he said.
In response to the situation, the school librarian, Mal. Idris Yahaya who is the head of the serial section, explained that the journals had been relocated to the departmental library while others are still in the main library.
“The journals have not been lost. Some of them have been transferred to the departmental library. You can verify this with your department. They are there. We make an upgrade, that is why they are not in thier normal place, and the English students can request for it at the serial section if they want to use them,” he said.
Students Want Journals at Main Library
Lateefa Bagidi, a 300-level student of English Literature who had previously visited the departmental library, shared her thoughts when asked by the reporter.
“I went to the departmental library to study once, but it was quite burdensome. The departmental library can be inaccessible at times. Unlike the main library, the departmental library opens one day and closes the next. It would be better to have the journals where they can be easily accessed,” she said.
Lateefa added that if there is an upgrade of some journals in the main library, the English Journals should also be upgraded and be kept in their normal places.
“If not done this way, some English and Literary Studies students may find it difficult to locate them,” she concluded.