The greatest legacy of Port Harcourt’s reign as UNESCO World Book Capital 2014, is without doubt the Port Harcourt Literary Society Library. A project of the Port Harcourt Literary Society (PHLS), the library was donated by SHELL Companies in Nigeria. It is a world class facility, whose outward architectural beauty is complemented by the ultramodern furnishings and equipment inside.
Port Harcourt made history two years ago with the city’s nomination as UNESCO World Book Capital 2014, the first city south of the Sahara to achieve this feat. The year of literary activities culminated in, among other things, the establishment of numerous book clubs in schools and these have continued to grow and inspire a new generation of readers. The Port Harcourt Literary Society aims to work with various stakeholders to build on the gains of the city’s recognition as a capital of books.
The library was envisioned as part of a bigger project, the Port Harcourt Book Centre, which is planned as a cultural and creative hub for writers in Nigeria. The idea for the Centre was conceived by Mrs. Koko Kalango, Founder of the Rainbow Book Club; she did the foundational work of the project and handed the baton to the Port Harcourt Literary Society (PHLS). Under the Leadership of Dr. Chidi Amuta, the Chairman Board of Trustees PHLS, the Society then embarked on raising funds for the actualisation of the centre.
The Book Centre comprises of an Event Block, a Theatre and Cultural Block, a Writers’ Residence and a library. SHELL Nigeria took on the building of the library as one of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, to mark Nigeria’s centenary anniversary. The soon to be commissioned library is a three floor building and consists of an adult section that seats 180 people, a reference section, an E-library and an Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) where readers can access the list and location of books in the library. The children’s library which can take 100 children at a time is guaranteed to generate excitement not only among our young readers but their parents as well, this section will cater to preschoolers, preteens and teens, it has an added bonus of an activity room and a nap room.
Other facilities and equipment in the library include meeting rooms, a photocopy room, a section for newspapers and magazines as well as online access areas where users will have access to computers connected to the internet.
Strategically located beside the Air Assault Golf Club, on the Air Force end of Eliozu Road, the library is built in a quiet and serene environment , with the golf club to the left and the River State Pleasure Park on the right, it is also easily accessible even when using public transport. Security cameras are also mounted both within and outside the library for the safety of the library users and their property, while the proximity to the Air Force base means added security.
There are many reasons to visit the library the most important of which is the easy access to quality information, both for adults and children.