The public library is a social institution, which is tied to the political and social realities of the communities where it is situated. As the name implies, this is a library that served the public.

UNESCO (2012) Defines public library as a local centre of information, making all kind of knowledge available to users. The services of the public library are provided on the basis of access for all regarded of age race sex religion nationality or social status. Specific services and materials must be provided for those who can not for whatever reason use the regular services and materials. In age groups most fined materials relevant to their needs. High quality and relevant to local needs and conditions are fundamental. Material must reflects current trend and evolutions of the societies as were as the memory of human endeavors and imagination. Collection and services are not subjected to any form of ideological, political or religious censorship or commercial pressure.

According to the oxford dictionary, public library is a non-profit library established for use of the general public and maintained drifty by public funds.

Public library has been defined variously by different individuals. Many see it as a place built for the inflection of books and other printed resources and the personal to provide and interpret such resources as required to meet the information, research, educational, recreational, cultural and aesthetic needs of the various users and it is usually financed with public funds. The public library’s clientele is heterogeneous and devoid of race, rank, status, bias as to who would avail of its services. It stocks every conceivable item that would add knowledge education, research, information and cultural needs to the society. In Nigeria today. Each of the 36 states including the FCT, Abuja has a public library board established under the public library act as United Kingdom (UK), but here in Nigeria, library board a state is established by edict or laws made by the state legislators.

Public library funding refers to making money available for the day to day running of the libraries. Finance is the live-wire of any established including land, labour, capital and entrepreneur and information. The capital here refers to finance which can be used to procure other factors of production thereby making it more important than others. Fund is obviously the major element in every established. It is equally the working capital of an establishment.

Public library funding generally means the various ways we derive the expected funds for capital and recurrent expenses. It involves the money available or allocation to for running its day-to-day activities. However, the funding and financial allocations to public libraries have remained poor decodes. Public libraries need adequate resources to run their services, pay and hire personnel, provide current information, arrange organize and monitor both human and material resources. Nigeria is a developing country and its society is not a reading society. Nigerians do not appreciate the importance and needs of public libraries and the services it offers and this problem reflects in the level of fund allocated to it by the government state government subventions which constitute about 80% of public libraries funds is grossly inadequate. This inadequacy is because of the political instability and bas economy of the country.

Late release of fund by the government is another problem; it means things cannot be done when required. All the plans of public library are hampered by late release of fund. Another problem is the existing infrastructural facilities in most public libraries are inadequate. Most of their reference materials are too old. There are no separate rooms for music library and audio-visual materials, and no rooms for serious library and audio-visual materials, and no rooms for serious readers, especially those carrying out research works. Lack of appreciation by policy makers in government is one of the problems. This shows that the public libraries in the nation are not given recognition and this is traceable not only to the non-quantifiable nature of library services but also the misconception given to libraries by government to get off these problems. There must be a re-orientation on the part of the policy makers in government to accord the public library the recognition it deserves. The problems have adversely affected the public library services and its operations. The result of the impending global economic situation on the other hands has drastically affected the attainment or achievement of basic standards in funding the libraries. From the history of public libraries in Nigeria, the problem of funds has remained an untraceable phenomenon. The Nigeria library association is worried by the poor funding of libraries in general but public libraries in particular. Therefore, the Nigerian libraries Association (NLA) has organized several conferences that highlight the problems of poor funding of public libraries and the need for improved funding. This conference suggested and recommended widening the sources of funding public libraries rather than solely depending on the government.

1.1       Background of Edo State Libraries Board, Benin-City   

            Edo state at a point was the proud owner of some of the best library facilities in the country to the extent that people came from far and near for research work. The libraries in the then Midwest region and later Bendel state were built during the military administration of Brigadier-General Samuel Ogbemudia. Then there was at least a government library in every local government headquarters. The library system so flourished that it even pride itself of having a will library which was explored by legal luminaries and wealthy persons who did not want to create acrimony for their children when they depart the earth.

For years, the Edo state library was a board of its own and was run as an independent body until it was merged with the ministry of education under the supervision of the commissioner of education. The state of the library began to deteriorate in the late 90’s when the military administration of the state group captain Baba Lyiam insisted that all government agencies should be self-sustaining. Students and others were made to pay stipends before they could use the library. The no funding policy of that administration led to the deterioration of the public library as workers made do with the few available books, and no attention was further paid to library facilities.

However, since 1999 when the country returned to the civilian rule, the library board has suffered poor funding even though it blossomed during the time of Ogbemudia, it deteriorated during the time of the military. At a time in Edo state, the public library was a bee hive of activities, but it is no longer so and this has led to the drop in the reading habits of the youths.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

In many public libraries, the budgetary allocation are not released as and when due, and this in turn delays the implementation of the programs of those libraries when the funds are eventually released. There is inadequate funding of public libraries by the state government which provides about 80% of the funds required by the public libraries. Shortage of funds have resulted in shortage of relevant text books as currently being experienced by students and researchers who are I need of the materials. Inadequate provision of funds has prevented the provision of current material needs by the staff and client in public libraries. Also, poor appreciation of the services of the library by those at the helm of affairs, how societal rating of the libraries especially public libraries in Nigeria pose a problem to funding of the public libraries.

1.3       Research Questions

  1. What is the major source of fund for public library?
  2. What is the state of funding in public libraries?
  3. Are the public libraries facing any problems?
  4. What are the problems faced by public libraries in Nigeria especially Edo state library Board, Benin city?
  5. What are the other sources of fund available to these public libraries?
  6. What are the problems associated with inadequate funding of libraries in Nigeria?

1.4       Scope of the Study

The scope and literature of this study will enable us to know the funding of public libraries in Nigeria, especially Edo state library board. The investigation is limited to Nigeria and only one type of library which is the public library. Only the staff and users of Edo state library board and other public libraries are to be consulted in the course of this investigation.

1.5       Significance of the Study

This study will enable us to know the state of public libraries in Nigeria that is the problem facing public libraries in Nigeria. It will also be of importance to the researcher or any other person who is interested in finding out the state of public libraries in Nigeria, especially Edo state library board, Benin City. It will also help us to appreciate the public library as an agent of political social and religious development of a community which can compel them into passing he right judgment and taking the right decision that affects their lives and existence. The topic as expected will be an added literature in this branch of public librarianship.

1.6       Operational Definition of Terms

  1. Subvention: – a subsidy, provision of financial or other support.
  2. Clientele: – the body or class of people who frequent an establishment or purchase a services.
  3. Heterogeneous: – diverse in kind or nature, composed of different parts.
  4. Library: – on institution which holds books and/or forms of stored information for use by the public or qualified people.
  5. Research: – diligent inquiry or examination to seek or revise facts principles, theories, applications, etc.