Kenneth Dike Library – Ibadan, Nigeria - Atlas Obscura

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Kenneth Dike Library

Ibadan, Nigeria

Not only does this library house unique Arabic manuscripts, but it was also designed to keep the building cool during warm days.  


In 1948, this magnificent library was constructed as part of the University of Ibadan. Named after professor Kenneth Dike, the first indigenous Principal, and former Vice-Chancellor, the design is heralded as an amazing example of  “tropical modernism.” The library was created by Maxwell Fry and Jane Drew, two artists that pioneered the Modern Movement in England. The library is covered in patterned sunscreens, a popular architectural feature at the time. These panels keep the building cool during hot days as the screens deflect sunlight. 

While the architecture of the building has been recognized for its uniqueness, it’s what’s inside that truly makes this library a gem of Nigeria. Amid the library’s collection are around two million books, journals, and other academic resources. These include ancient Arabic manuscripts and text, along with documents from the country’s colonial period. 

The entire library contains around 3,000,000 volumes and seats 1,550 readers. There are also multiple branches of the library that can be found both on and off-campus. 

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November 30, 2021

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