National Library Commences A Week Long Exhibition

By Sailu Bah
Gambia National Library Service Authority (GNLSA) has opened a week
long exhibition on Thursday, 26 February 2015, at the main National
Library facility in Banjul.The exhibition, which was graced by guests such as the Permanent
Secretary of the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE),
Mr. Baboucarr Boye, staff of the Library, students, renowned
historians, Gambian writers, the media as well as civil society, seeks
to showcase, both in texts and pictures, the library service from the
colonial period to date and what it can offer to the public.
In his welcoming remark, Mr. Alieu Sonko, Senior Library Officer,
noted that the event is part of the celebrations marking Gambia’s 50
year anniversary. He said the Gambia National Library as an
institution has a lot in stock for the Gambian people when it comes to
both national and world history.
Mr. Sonko said it cannot be exactly estimated but there are more than
D125,000 books in the national library. He said that a lot of people
are coming to the library to make research, adding that the facility
can provide people with all what they need for their research in terms
of materials on history, politics, economics, social history and many
more.
He concluded by urging the general public to come and register and to
make good use of the educational materials in the national library.
Mr. Bakary Sanyang, the Director of Bibliographic Services of GNLSA,
elaborated on the main objectives of the exhibition which he said is
to present “the gains made thus far as the custodians of the country’s
written heritage”.
He explained that the exhibition is divided into six parts, which
includes the ones that examine the historical milieu of the Gambia
from its early beginnings, key figures of the Gambia in struggle for
self rule and eventual independence and the opinions about the
Gambia’s economic viability as a nation.
In her statement, Mrs. Matilda Johnson, the GNLSA Director General
designate, described the occasion as a memorable day for all.
“Our efforts have come to fruition and very soon you will see the
wealth of information and knowledge available to you all in this noble
institution,” revealed Mrs. Johnson.
The Director General designate said as Gambia is celebrating 50 years
of independence and nationhood, people should think not only the
present and the future but the past where the journey started. She
said this is the reason why her institution has decided to stage this
exhibition to showcase the journey that Gambia has taken from
pre-colonial times to independence, the first republic then the
transition into the second republic and what Gambia envisages for the
future.
She said that they have thought it fitting to invite a cross section
of the community to witness the occasion. “A community which we hope
will be able to champion our cause for reading and learning and the
quest for knowledge. A community which we hope will disseminate to the
wider public and help promote the National Library Services,” added
the national library head.
She expressed hope that the GNLSA will become a household name across
all the regions in the Gambia.
She also envisages that this exhibition will be one of many and that
it would put the Gambia National Library in the public eye.
For his part, Mr Abdou Wally Mbye, the former Director General of
GNLSA, reiterated some of the comments made by the previous speakers
and  thanked the staff for their tireless effort towards the management of the Library.
He also called on Gambians to make the best use of the Library and the
facilities it offers.
Guests and viewers at the opening were taken round by the staff to
view the posters, pictures and texts that were on display.