Policy Guidelines for Nigerian University Libraries


Two of the objectives of AULNU as stated in Article III (c) and (h) of the Constitution are “to formulate standards for operations and services in Nigerian University Libraries” and “promote the welfare and interests of its members”. Accordingly, the Association has over the years made various efforts to develop some guidelines or recommendations with a view to ensuring standardization and uniformity of library practice in all Nigerian universities. In some cases, the Government itself through its agencies also introduced certain policies affecting the development of the country’s university libraries. Some of these policies/guidelines are enumerated in this Section.

The Library Development Fund (LDF) Policy, 1993

One of the significant developments in the history of Nigerian University Libraries was the formulation of the Library Development Fund (LDF) policy, arising from the Academic Staff/ Federal Government negotiations and agreements. In recognition of the crucial role of University Libraries in the enhancement of teaching, learning, research and community service, the policy was aimed at ensuring the provision and sustenance of high-quality library resources and services in all University Libraries in Nigeria. Consequently, on 18th January, 1993, the then Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Idris A. Abdulkadir vide his letter reference No. NUC/ES/1387 Vol. xix/3 captioned “Library Funds,” wrote to all the Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities to expatiate on the new Library Fund Policy viz:

  • Each year, 10% of the total recurrent grant to each University should be fully committed to the operations of the University Library.
  • This is to be fully effective from the 1993 allocation.
  • Out of this amount, 60% should please be committed to purchase of books and journals while 40% is committed to personnel emolument and purchase of other consumables required in the library.
  • The funds will henceforth be listed separately and released separately (after this first quarter) along the same lines as has been the practice for Research Funds.
  • These Library Funds should not lapse from one year to the next, and the available unused funds should be carried forward to the following year.
  • The utilization of these funds should be subject to quarterly accounting to NUC and such accounting should be within a one quarter interval i.e. the amount being released for first quarter 1993 is expected to be accounted for by the end of the third quarter of the same year and so on.
  • The amount actually allocated for books in relation to journals should be decided by each University. As a practical demonstration of the Government commitment to the implementation of the said policy, a copy of the list of the 1st quarter 1993 Library Funds already released to the Federal Universities was sent to all the Vice-Chancellors for information and immediate compliance (see Table I). Also sent was a copy of the accounting form for these funds which had been designed to be simple, effective and to the point (see Table II).

General Guidelines for University Libraries, 2000



In November, 2000, CULNU under the Chairmanship of Mr. J. A. Arikenbi issued “Standard/Guidelines for University Libraries”. According to the Chairman, the intention of the Guidelines was to provide some readily available information to assist librarians, university administrators and others in planning or providing suitable and adequate university library services. The Guidelines were based on the actual practice in the majority of the university libraries in Nigeria and a careful study of established or preferred standards for university libraries modified to suit local conditions. Care was taken to recommend only attainable and feasible guidelines. Both qualitative and quantitative standards were recommended as applicable to specific areas of library operations and or services.

However, the Guidelines provided were minimum standards and it was assumed that where an institution could afford a larger amount than as recommended, this could only improve upon the services and it should not hesitate to do so. It would run counter to the spirit and intention of the Guidelines for a university library with already better funding than were provided by the Guidelines to have its expenditure reduced. The objective of these Guidelines was therefore to provide an agreed framework within which informed judgment could be applied to the circumstances of individual libraries.

Though formulated since 2000, some aspects of the Guidelines are still relevant to the current practices in Nigerian University Libraries. It is, however, pertinent for AULNU to initiate a general review of the Guidelines so as to address the emerging and real contemporary challenges in the management of university libraries in the country. Specifically, the Guidelines covered critical areas like finance, collection development, readers’ services. library funding, personnel matters and building as presented below.

The Contents of the Guidelines

1.         Finance

1.1       Recurrent Estimate

The NUC recommended that at least 10% of the total University recurrent expenditure should be provided for library services in – universities. The Committee of University Librarians agrees that this is the minimum that could be made available to provide adequate library services in a university. This recommendation was made since 1992/1993. CULNU suggests 15% of recurrent budget; 3% of capital budget; and 5% of teaching and research equipment grant.

1.2       Special Grant (Take off Grant)

An additional sum of one million annually for five years should be provided for the rapid provision of basic book stock in all new universities in the beginning years.

2.         Collection Development

2.1       Acquisitions Policy

  • Provision of basic text and reference books to meet the needs of undergraduate teaching;
  • Subscription to current periodicals in all fields of the University’s endeavours to enable members of the teaching staff to keep up with recent developments in their respective subject fields;
  • Selective acquisitions of back files of periodicals particularly of the core journals in each discipline;
  • Acquisition of a number of major reference works and bibliographical tools in order to acquaint library users with what is available in their subject fields and make possible the tapping of resources of other university libraries both within and outside Nigeria.
  • Provision of general reading materials that would assist in broadening the outlook of staff and students.

2.2       Basic Book stocks

Within the first three years, a new university library should have a basic book stock as follows:

  • 20,000 volumes
  • 1,000 periodicals titles
  • A growth rate of not less than 12,000 volumes per annum.

3.0       Readers’ Services

A.       In order to assist the university in its principal functions of promoting teaching, research and community service, university library should provide the following services:

i.        extensive holdings of books, journals as well as microforms, audio-visuals, print and non-print materials in relevant areas;

ii.       reference and information services;

iii.       specialized and in-depth assistance to readers in the exploitation of library resources;

iv.      bibliographic instruction programmes at levels appropriate to the needs of the clientele;

v.       facilities for consulting non-print media;

vi.      services, which enable library users to benefit from the resources of other libraries;

vii.      e-mail, fax, telephone, computer and Internet services; and

viii.     bindery, reprography, etc.

B.         Catalogues

In order to facilitate access to the contents of the library and promote operational efficiency, a university library shall keep complete records of its holdings in a manner consistent with recognized bibliographical standards and requirements. Every multi-unit or multi-campus service should have a union catalogue of the holdings of constituent libraries

C.         Access

Within the limits set by the objectives and priorities of the individual university, a university library shall provide maximum access to its collections for all its clientele. Most items in the collection should be readily available for consultation in the library and for circulation to authorized clientele. However, access to and circulation of rare, valuable and high-demand materials should be appropriately controlled and restricted.

D.         Library Co-operation

University libraries should recognize that their collections constitute a significant part of the nation’s total bibliographical resources. Accordingly, they should be willing to share with all research libraries the responsibility of supporting higher education and research in general, and each other in particular, through various library co-operative efforts.

4.0       Personnel

4.1.      Status

Professional librarians should have academic status (i.e. be academic staff). The Committee of University Librarians has recognized that the best system is for professional librarians with relevant degrees and postgraduate qualifications to be academic. As such, all university libraries where librarians have academic status should retain this and other university libraries should strive for this status.

4.2       Basic Entry Qualification for Academic Librarians

A good University degree plus professional qualification or a good University degree in Librarianship

4.3       Training

There should be a well-defined and purposeful staff training programme especially at mid-career. This training should aim towards a Masters’ degree or a Doctorate or some specialization in needed areas of Librarianship.

4.4       Career Structure and Designations

Academic librarians should adopt the following academic related structure and designations recommended by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and in use in most of the university libraries now.

  • University Librarian                                          USS 15   Equivalent to Professor
  • Deputy University Librarian                          USS 14   Equivalent to Associate Professor
  • Principal Librarian                                            USS 13   Equivalent to Senior Lecturer
  • Senior Librarian                                                USS 11   Equivalent to Lecturer I
  • Librarian I                                                         USS 9     Equivalent to Lecturer II
  • Librarian II                                                        USS 8     Equivalent to Assistant Lecturer                              
  • Assistant Librarian                                           USS 7     Equivalent to Graduate Assistant

4.5       Membership of Academic Bodies

The University Librarian should be a statutory member of all Academic Boards/Committees that deal with curriculum and academic planning, physical development, teaching, research and publications. The University Librarian is normally a Principal Officer of the University and a statutory member of Senate or Academic Board.

4.6       Staffing

            a)   Professional to non-professional                1:3

            b)   Total Library staff to enrolment                  1:50

            c)   Professional staff to enrolment                   1:200

5.0       Building Standards

5.1       Reader Seating

Provision should be made for one reader space to every four students i.e. 25% of enrolment.

5.2       Reader Space

a)            2.3m” or 25sq. ft. per reader space – Carrels 7.8m” or 75sq. ft.

b)           Total reader space may be distributed as follows:

  • Individual tables and carrels               20%
  • Easy Chairs                                          10%
  • Multiple tables for 4-6-8 persons       85%
  • Private room/study                               5%

c)            Micro reading room                       3m2 per person

5.3       Shelving Space

                        Books                          Sound Journals

                        m2 /1000vol. 3              m2 /1000 vol. 3

                        Open Access 4.65       9.35

                        Close Access 4.03       8.06


a)       The figures include provision for the reorganization of space or returns of borrowed materials

b)       Shelf 85% occupied in effectively full shelving space can also be calculated at 15 volumes per foot.

5.4       Staff Offices

            University Librarian                                          25m2

            Deputy University Librarian                             15m2

            Sectional Head                                                14m2

            Other Librarians                                               12m2

            Secretary/ Typist/Clerical                                 10m2

Total staff area varies from 5-8% of gross area of Library.

5.5       Other Areas

            a.         Bindery Technician                                                                                                    24m2

                        Binder                                                                                                                       10m2

            b.         Photocopy Technician                                                                                                24m2

                        Assistants                                                                                                                   10m2

            c.         Shipping and receiving                                                                                              28m2

            d.         Conference Room                                                                                                       2.3m2 per person

            e.         Staff Room                                                                                                           2.3m2 per person

            f.          Periodicals (assuming1/4display 3/4 storage)                                                              25.13m2 /1000 vols

            g.         Book storage including 18% for administration                                                          5.49m2 /1000 vols

          h.            Bound journals storage including 18% for administration                                         11.03m2/1000 vols

            i.          Circulation desk                                                                                                           0.13m2 per reader space

5.6       Balance Area

An allowance of 331/3% total floor area should be made for circulation space, toilets, general storage, ducts, etc.

5.7       Light Levels

            Reader areas               500      Lux      (45 lumens)

            Book stock                              500      Lux      (45 lumens at lowest shelf level)

                                                            300      Lux      (27 lumens)

                                                            150      Lux      (13 lumens)

Proposal of CULNU on ETF Intervention in Library Development, 2000

On 12lh October, 2000, the Education Trust Fund (ETF), presently Tertiary Education Trust Fund (TETFund), requested for a proposal from CULNU concerning ETF Intervention in Library Development. Consequently, at its 74th meeting on November 23, 2000, the Committee, under the Chairmanship of Mr. Abiodun Arikenbi. discussed the matter exhaustively and made a proposal for the consideration of the Board of Trustees of the ETF in the execution of projects for Library Development especially in the Nigerian universities. In the proposal, CULNU argued interlia:

The collection development practice in University Libraries cannot be subjected to a once-and-for-all procedure where books are hurriedly selected for purchase through contract rendering. Journal subscription is even more technical in practice. The character and nature of the book trade would also not allow this. Libraries select, acquire and process books on a regular and continuous basis taking care of the ever-growing needs of their clientele. Consequently, there cannot be and should not be centralized acquisition of books and subscriptions to journals for Nigerian Universities.

It is imperative, therefore, that each University Library be given the opportunity to select and purchase books and subscribe to journals that would take into consideration its peculiar character and meet the specialized needs of its clientele. To achieve the above with ETF’s Intervention, CULNU proposed that:

  1.        Dedicated accounts be established for University Libraries for the purpose of managing ETF fund for library and book development.
  2.        Libraries should be informed directly of disbursements of this fund to universities.
  3.        Librarians should be one of the three (3) signatories to the account. The other two being the Bursar and the Vice-Chancellor.
  4.        The fund should be used for books and journals in all formats including electronic ones, as well as the associated technologies to harness these resources.
  5.        There should be a staff development component of the project to enhance the professional competence of young librarians especially.
  6.        The operation of the fund should be monitored and reported to ETF on agreed periodic basis.

It is ironic that only item 4 of the said recommendations are currently being implemented by TETFund, while the remaining recommendations, especially the issue of contract rendering for books and journals have remained to be implemented. It is, therefore, necessary for AULNU to vigorously pursue these and any other issues that constitute stumbling blocks towards the successful execution of TETFund Intervention in Library Development Projects across the universities in Nigeria.

Remuneration, Severance Allowances and Welfare Package for University Librarians


As Principal Officers, the appointment of University Librarians in Nigeria is tenured by law. The extant law regarding this issue is the “Universities (Miscellaneous Provision) Amendment Act 2012” which was signed into law by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan dated 11th May, 2012. Section 3(4) specifically provides inter alia:

Bursar or University Librarian should hold office for a single term of five (5) years only beginning from the effective date of his appointment and on such terms and condition as may be specified in his letter of appointment.

The law further states that:

Notwithstanding subsection (4) of this section, the Council may upon satisfactory performance extend tenure of the Bursar or Librarian for a further period of one year only and thereafter, the Bursar or Librarian shall relinquish his post and be assigned to other duties in the University.

Prior to the above cited law, the legal framework relating to the appointment of University Librarians was Degree 11 of 1993: and S.6(4) and (5) provided for a renewable option of a second tenure of another five years. However, the current law has limited the tenure of University Librarians to a single term of five years. Consequently, the new law has, since its enactment in 2012 generated a considerable controversy and discussion not only among AULNU members but also members of their counterpart Associations of Registrars and Bursars of Nigerian Universities, especially with regards to the positions and appropriate emoluments for such Principal Officers after completing their tenure. To this end, a number of letters of complaint/agitation were written both separately and collectively by the three associations to the National Universities Commission.

To clarify this contentious matter, the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission wrote to the National Universities Commission dated 30th October, 2014. The letter captioned “Clarification on the Emoluments of former Principal Officers of Tertiary Educational Institutions” reads as follows:

Where a person vacates a tenured position as a Principal Officer in a tertiary’ educational institution and chooses to return to a career position in the same institution or a similar one, lie should be placed on the salary grade from which he was appointed to the principal office. Further, he should be placed on the step of the salary structure that he would have attained by annual increment had he not been appointed to the principal office. Such an Officer is not allowed to carry to the career position, the remuneration package that he had earned while occupying the principal office position.

 On receipt of the said clarification, the NUC vide its letter dated 20th November, 2014, requested “all Vice Chancellors of Nigerian Universities, especially the Federal Universities to commence the immediate implementation of the directive in their respective institutions. However, despite the NUC’s circular letter to all the Vice-Chancellors, the issue has ever remained contentious and topical in all the meetings of CULNU/AULNU. In this Section, some of the various efforts made by the Association concerning remuneration, severance gratuity and welfare of its members are discussed.

  • Proposed Salary and Allowances Package for University Librarians: Submission of CULNU to NUC in 2012
  • Severance Gratuity Under the Public Office Holders Act 2008: Joint Submission by CULNU, ARNU and ABNU in 2014
  • Comprehensive Conditions of Service/ Welfare package for Principal Officers in Nigerian universities.

On 17th April 2012. a special meeting was held at the National Universities Commission between the officials of the Commission and some officers of CULNU on the above-mentioned subject matter. At that meeting, the then Chairman of CULNU. Prof. Benki S. H. Womboh presented a document titled “Proposed Salary and Allowances Package for University Librarians” to the Executive Secretary of NUC, for consideration and implementation in Nigerian universities. The content of the document reads:

  • i.        New consolidated salary package of at least N 800,000.00 per month.
  • ii.       Severance gratuity on successful completion of the new tenure of five (5) years at the rate of 300% of Annual Basic Salary.
  • iii.       Paid overseas leave at the end of the five (5) years.
  • iv.      Rent free residential house, free electricity and water supply.
  • v.       Furniture allowance of Five Million Naira (N 5,000,000.00) University. Librarians to go with the furniture so purchased at the end of tenure.
  • vi.      University Librarians be entitled to one paid international overseas conference per year at a rate not less than N 2,000,000.00 (Two Million).
  • vii.      University Librarians should be entitled to a sabbatical leave of one year.
  • viii.     University Librarians should be entitled to monetized accumulated annual leave for the five (5) years, of successful completion of service.
  • ix.      University Librarians should go with their official cars after the successful completion of five (5) years of service.
  • x.       University Librarians should be paid allowances for one driver, two domestic servants and gardener, one cook, one steward and two day/night watchmen.
  • xi.      University Librarians should be entitled to and paid any other allowances similar to that of any other Public Office Holders at the commensurate rate.

On 24th January, 2012, the National Universities Commission (NUC) forwarded a letter to all the Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities for necessary action. The letter captioned “Request for Clarification: Severance Gratuity under the Public Office Holders”, dated 16th December, 2011 emanated from the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission. The letter reads:

1.       The Clarification on the Severance Gratuity according to “Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances etc.) (Amendment Act 2008 are as follows;

  • i.    A Public Office Holder would be entitled to the payment of Severance Gratuity on successful completion of Tenure (5 years for the Vice-Chancellor);
  • ii.   The rate is payable at 300% of the Annual Basic Salary.

2.       This allowance at 300% Annual Basic Salary is to be enjoyed by elected and appointed political, public and judicial office holders at all tiers of Government after the successful completion of each tenure. This should be on the condition that the affected officers would have disengaged honourably which is meant that the cessation of service must not be due to impeachment dismissal or termination of appointment due to a proven case of impropriety and or related offences. In view of the above, therefore, the three concerned Associations in the Nigerian University system contended that, as Principal Officers, the appointment of Registrars, Bursars and Librarians is tenured by the extant law viz: “Universities (Miscellaneous Provision) Amendment Act 2012”. signed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria dated 11th May, 2012.

The three Associations further argued that, since the extant law has limited their tenure to a single term of five (5) years, they should thus enjoy the same single tenure of five years as Vice-Chancellors (who are on tenured appointment and are entitled to the payment of Severance Gratuity. In a bid to ensure the implementation of the Severance Gratuity in Federal Universities, the then Chairman of CULNU, Professor I. I. Ekoja initiated a joint meeting with ARNU and ABNU. The meeting was successfully held on 31st August, 2014 at Sharon Ultimate Hotel, Abuja. The meeting, which was attended by the officers of the three Associations deliberated extensively on the matter. At the end of the meeting, a joint letter was signed and submitted to the Executive Secretary of NUC on 1s‘ September, 2014. The content of the letter titled: “Request for Clarification: Severance Gratuity under the Public Office Holders Act 2008” is as follows:


We bring you felicitations from the Executive Officers and members of our three University-based bodies, namely:

i.          Association of Registrars of Nigerian Universities (ARNU)

ii.          Association of Bursars of Nigerian Universities (ABNU)

iii.         Committee of University Librarians of Nigerian Universities (CULNU)

We write with reference to the above-named subject matter as contained in the NUC letter Ref. NUC/PER/191/Vol.l date 24th January, 2012 and signed by Mal. I. I. Dan’iya, Director, Management Support Services being a communication to Vice Chancellors of Federal Universities.

We observe that contrary to the intention contained in the Act of 2008 and the Setter from the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission dated 16lh December. 2011, which was the Implementation of Severance Gratuity for elected and appointed public office holders, who have fixed tenures of appointment across all the tiers of Government, the Act is being implemented in the Nigerian University System only for Vice-Chancellors. Principal Officers other than the Vice-Chancellors, namely Registrars, Bursars and University Librarians are pubic office holders appointed. for one single term of five (5) years just like the Vice-Chancellors, in view of the Universities (Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Act 2012. As a result, limiting the benefit of severance gratuity to only Vice-Chancellors appears very untenable.

It is in view of the foregoing that we are requesting for the usual kind assistance of the Executive Secretary of the NUC to write to Vice-Chancellors of Universities to make severance gratuity applicable to other Principal Officers of the Nigerian University system with similar tenure of five (5) years like the Vice-Chancellors, namely Registrars, Bursars and University Librarians. We attach copies of the following documents:

i.        Certain Political, Public and Judicial Office Holders (Salaries and Allowances etc.) Amendment Act 2008.

ii.       Letter from Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission to the NUC dated 16th December, 2011.

iii.      Covering letter of the NUC Letter to Vice Chancellors dated 24th January, 2012 Ref. No: NUC/ER/191/Vol. l The letter was jointly signed by the following officers:

1.       Dr. Omojola Awosusi (Ekiti State University), Chairman, ARNTJ

2.       Alhaji Yahaya Hassan (UDUS, Sokoto), Chairman, ABNU,

3.       Professor Innocent I. Ekoia (University of Abuja), Chairman, CULNU.

The other officers of the three Associations, who attended the meeting included Mr. Davis Ojima (Bursar, Ignatius Ajuru University of Education), Mr. Sam N. Egwu (Registrar, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki), Mrs. Matilda Nnodim (Registrar, University of Port-Harcourt), Mr. Tonny M. E. Nogun II (Registrar, Benson Idahosa University) and Prof. A. A. Balarabe (PRO, CULNU, Usmanu Danfodiyo University, Sokoto).

In addition to the issue of Severance Gratuity, the joint meeting of the Associations also discussed and recommended the following comprehensive conditions of service/welfare package for Principal Officers in Nigerian universities.

Career Progression for Librarians and Para-Professionals in Nigerian Universities, 2016

In order to ensure uniformity in appointment, promotion/progression of various categories of staff in all Nigerian Universities, CULNU, at its 95thmeeting held at the University of Lagos from 7th-8th April, 2014, constituted a Committee on Career Progression for Librarians and Para-Professionals in Nigerian Universities. The Committee comprised Professor Felicia E. Etim (University of Uyo), Professor A. A. Balarabe (UDU Sokoto), Dr. A. D. Ugah (University of Agriculture, Makurdi), Dauda B. Adamu (Bauchi State University) and Mrs. Roselyn Subair (Afe Babalola University). The term of reference of the Committee was to propose a career structure and progression for Professional Librarians, Para-Professionals/Library Officers, Bindery Officers, Computer Operators and Porters. After extensive deliberations at the 96th -98thmeetings, the report of the Committee was finally adopted at the 99th meeting of CULNU held at the American University of Nigeria, Yola on 24th May, 2016.

The report is divided into five different categories (A – E) as presented below:

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