I was going to start with ‘late last year’ but I think I have done that twice now. I made so many decisions for this year, everyone wants to get better (I think). Last year, I planned to do a library tour especially in Lagos. I targeted public libraries and spaces where people were free to read. The first place on my list was You Read Library, Yaba. You Read Library is a Gtbank CSR initiative and trust me, it is a beautiful space. As a lover of beautiful spaces, I immediately made up my mind to enjoy reading there even without the experience. I have been there already (for book reading sessions) before I actually decided to go read there.
My free day is Friday so I decided to go mid-morning after a failed attempt to wake up early. Fortunately, this was also the period that the Guinness World Record for Reading Aloud was ongoing. I was going to have a great day in that beautiful space.
He made it eventually!!!
When I got to You Read Library I met people standing outside but it did not mean anything to me. I casually walked to where the now Guinness world record breaker was making things happen. I stayed there for a while, got up to actually read in the library.
“You can’t go into the library, it is full, you have to wait outside, I will give you a number”, those were the words that welcomed me.
A great day in a beautiful space indeed.
First of all, I am not a library person (even though I was the library prefect in secondary school). I have visited my uni Library thrice, it’s my third year now, I did not go at all in my second year so that was all in my first year. Then I get to this Pinterest-picture worthy space and I have to wait outside. How wonderful is that? I did wait for one hour or so but this was after I went back to where the Guinness World Record attempt was ongoing.
I am not going to lie, it was not a great start. I have been anticipating coming here so much for this ride to flop. It got to my turn, number 42. I made my way inside and still searched for a seat. I finally found an empty seat with a computer. As the Nigerian that I am, I pulled out my charger to charge with the computer.
One minute I am charging my phone, the next I look around and I can’t find my phone. It was so funny because I was sitting by the wall. I asked the person sitting next to me if he saw my phone but prior to me checking for the phone, I was being interrogated by a worker in the library on the reason I was sitting in a seat with a computer.
This is the point I stand up, go to the desk and Voila my phone is with a worker. I asked for the reason he took my phone without informing me.
“I have the right to seize your phone”, he says confidently while bringing out the rules.
Then we go back and forth on how I was unaware of the rules because it is somewhere on the table. I start asking myself questions; “why am I even here?”. There are two ways I have learnt to settle things in Nigeria. It is either you beg or form hard guy. Honestly, I just wanted to be on my own, do my thing and leave. I begged.
He later returned my phone after which I was too disoriented to read longer than I expected. It is a good place to read honestly, I did not want to break any law so I couldn’t take a picture of the interior but I found some online.
The library is chilling and cozy although I think the ‘waiting outside’ problem should be dealt with. It is a great place to be.
-Come early: if you do not want to waste time and have the opportunity to maximize your time, come early.
-Ask for the rules before you get penalized for something you had no idea you were breaking.
-Just take whatever you will need to the library; there is no point carrying extra stuff.
-It is at 233 Herbert Macaulay Way, Sabo yaba, Lagos
-I was told to take my ID card to gain access.
Have you been to the library before?