Samuel Olajire Olanlokun; Children book author, novelist, folklorist, poet, who as a distinguished librarian and teacher attained the position of the president, West African Association of Library and Information Science. In 1991, he was listed in the International Directory of Distinguished Leadership published by the American Biographical Association, Raleigh, North Carolina. Until his death on March 31, 2006 he was the librarian of the University of Lagos, one of the four principal officers of the institution.
With more than forty children story books written by him, Olanlokun waded transverse the moralistic to the fantastic. His tales, from The Adventure of Tafa (1987), Kole the Superstar (1989) and The Mystery Woman of Aporo (2002), is described as firing the imagination. He was the impish spirit who gathered those funny and often mischievous characters to inhabit his readers’ imagination and the lives of children. Olanlokun’s characters are original, multi-dimensional and entertaining. His tales, like most folk tales and children stories, always have a happy ending. He had the Dickensian ability to create unforgettable characters that would lure mature readers to relive childhood and re-enact the magic of the African spirit.
Olajire Olanlokun was born in Okemesi, Ekiti State, September 24, 1944. After his elementary education in Okemesi, he attended Anglican Grammar School, Otan Aiyegbaju, Osun State, where he sat for his secondary school certificate examination in 1964. He graduated from the University of Lagos with an honours degree in History in 1970 and obtained a postgraduate diploma in Librarianship from the University of Ibadan in 1973. He had a master’s In Library Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees from the University of Pittsburgh, United States in 1980 and 1982 respectively. He taught History and Literature briefly at the Reverend Kuti Memorial Grammar School, Abeokuta, Ogun State, before he joined the National Library of Nigeria In July 1973. Olanlokun moved over to the UNILAG library in 1973 as the documents librarian and rose to the peak as the university librarian in 2004.
Though his profession was librarianship, he devoted his energy and talents to writing stories for children. In 1999, he won the Association of Nigerian Authors and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation literary prizes. He wrote 27 professional papers published in international journals, including International Library Review and the African Journal of Library Archive and Information Science.
Apart from childrenstories, Olanlokun was the author of two full-length novels: Fugitive in Love (2001) and Honey in Ivory Tower (2001). He also authored other works, Including Micrographics in Libraries; An Annotated Bibliography, (1984) and Resilience in Leadership: A Biography of D.S. Adegbenro (1996)[i].
[i] TELL April 24, 2006