The National Library of Nigeria was established for the fundamental goal of ensuring access to the entire fount of recorded knowledge for the progress and development of Nigeria. It is to serve as "the giant memory of the nation, its intellectual store-house, and the data bank for its learning and remembering processes".
The National Library of Nigeria was established by the National Library Act 1964 which was later repealed and substituted with the National Library Act No. 29 of 1970. The statute enjoins the institution to:
I. Assemble, maintain and extend a collection of books, periodicals, pamphlets, newspapers, maps, musical scores, films and recordings and such other matter as the Board considers appropriate for a library of the highest standing.
II. To collect legal deposit materials, in order to facilitate the distribution of published materials.
III. Establish and maintain a branch of the National Library in each state of the federation.
IV. Make the facilities of the National Library available to members of the public and others on proper terms.
V. Make such arrangements as the Board considers appropriate with respect to: A. The exchange of matters included in the collection aforesaid, B. The preparation and publication of catalogs, indexes and similar aids, C. The provision of assistance to other persons in the organization of libraries and with respect to the manner of using facilities under the control of libraries. D. Make recommendations and give advice on library development or organization to any department or agency of government of the Federation or a State or to any Local government authority.
VII. Responsible for the development of the National Bibliography of Nigeria and national bibliographical services, either in a national bibliographical centre or elsewhere.
VIII. To ensure adequate documentation and dissemination of Nigerian Indigenous literature.
In addition, the National Library renders the following services:
• Nigerian Name Authority File • Nigerian ISBN Publishers Directory • NIGERBIBLIOS • National Bibliography of Nigeria (NBN) • Nominal List of Practising Librarians in Nigeria • Directory of Libraries in Nigeria • Request for ISBN / ISSN • Information Request • Abstract and Index of Newspapers
The Library has a vast collection of educational and informative materials. They include: