Identifying The “Sizzle” In The Library’s Programs, Services And Collections
1.1 Background to the Study
The library is the heart of education because the library is the centre of activity of any educational enterprise. School libraries contribute to the total development of teachers and students. It enlarges their knowledge and stimulates critical, imaginative and creative facilities. The development of any meaningful educational program depends on the library. Thus, the quality of the library in terms of its holdings determines the product of any socio-economic and political development. Dike (1980) applauding the gradually evolving educational practice which tends to shift emphasis from the teacher to the learner, sees in the school library as a reliable instrument for actualizing this much derived educational reform. Both library and education have not enjoyed universally accepted definition. Professionals in the field seem to look at them from several perspectives. The early idea of a library was that of collection of books containing knowledge and information that must be chained together and preserved for consultation only. Today, the definition of the collection of the library has changed. In a very simple way, the library today can be defined as the collection of books and non-books materials arranged in an orderly manner and made accessible to users. In this information age, a library goes to include the totality of human and organized material resources available, both books and non-book forms providing and obtaining needed information. The library facilitates the use of resources by a particular user or group of users for such defined purposes as education, recreation, awareness, decision making, management, research and development. In Dike (1993) the relationship between school libraries and education, especially the way in which the school library and its resources can contribute to the education of teachers, children and youth was well established. From the discussion, it is clear that there is an intimate, inseparable relationship between the purpose and the role envisaged for the school library and the education which is meant to support learning. She further stated that the central role of the library is inextricably tied to certain idea of educational reforms. This means that learning takes place through interaction with variety of library resources, with individuals or small groups carrying out inquiries or projects under the guidance of the teacher librarian. In that way, the role of the library becomes central. Education has been defined in many ways by different authors, Dike (1993) agreed that two themes emerged from the various definitions. Education according to her can be viewed broadly as enculturation or more narrowly as schooling. To Olatunde L. (1985) education can be defined as almost exclusively for the satisfactory achievement of human purpose. It is the attainment of progressive non-selfish, good living in the human community; it is the wise, useful, profitable, helpful and progressive application of good knowledge, through high spiritual, moral task and physical disciplines; it is the bulk of the positive expressions which reflect on man, from all impressions on him; it is the continuous to and fro flux of actions and reactions – positive reactions between man and its surroundings in which a man and his surroundings interact taking and receiving mutually from each other; it is the overall goodness that man gives back to the environment which together with his own initiatives and intuitions, develop a man’s personality. Fasanya (1985) says that education may be regarded as a method of leading people out of ignorance. It is a means of socializing human beings. It involves the bringing up of a child in a community and constantly training him to adjust himself to the changing world around him. It is a lifelong process. In its broadest sense, education is a process by which individual gains knowledge or insight or develops attitudes or skills. Having dealt briefly with the definition of library and education, let us look briefly at some of the methods developed to reflect the emphasis on teachers/learners, the learning process and needs of modern world. There are three interrelated areas namely, resource-based learning, inquiry methods and open classroom concept. According to her, a consideration of the attempts to shift the focus of the learning environmental resources methods and structure from the teacher to learner brings us to educational roles of the library. It is the school library which can offer a wide variety of resources – print, audio, visual and concrete to suit the individual needs of students and varied demands of learning situation. It is the school library she stressed which can provide a model for open classroom concept in our schools. It is stressed here that students and teacher alike have opportunities for individual or small group work. The teachers can facilitate learning by bringing together resources, guiding students in their questioning and information sharing ideas and encouraging interest she concluded. It is pertinent to stress the fact that the school library is one of the basic requirements for quality education. The school library is a program that embraces teaching, advisory and guidance service for a unique and vital part of quality education. The school library contributes to education in a number of ways; some of its contributions according to Dike (1993) include:
- Expanding learning process
- Assisting with development tasks
- Encouraging reading
- Developing appreciation, attitude and value
- Developing learning skills
- Developing critical thought For instance, school libraries are supposed to provide material and services to meet the needs of the students and teachers.
Alokun (2004) observed that school libraries cater for students and teachers in primary and secondary schools in search of information, assignments, project writing to acquire new knowledge and for recreational purposes etc. School libraries also acquire and organize relevant materials for the use of students and teachers; prepare and transmit knowledge; teach the use of books for information and research; stimulate interest in the use of books and other library materials as source of pleasure, relaxation and study by students; give guidance and assistance to teachers and students in the choice of materials for use in teaching and learning. In order for the school library to perform the above functions effectively, he stressed that the collections must include books, periodicals, audio visual materials etc. These materials must be carefully selected, acquired, processed and arranged for easy retrieval he concluded. Also these materials should be suitable for reading and at the level of the students. Boman (1999) explained that the primary goals and objectives of the school library are to implement, complement and supplement the total educational program of the schools. Other objectives and goals of the school library are concerned with the development of reading skills, literacy tasks, discrimination in choice of materials, instruction in the use of books and libraries and the development of the social, intellectual and spiritual values of students and teachers. With the resources, the school library can plan a program or work that aims at new more ambitions educational results which would be impossible if it were restricted to the use of direct teaching and formed textbooks alone. The modern school library plays a very vital role in educational development of both teachers and students. In this view, Azumi (2001) gave the following as fundamental functions of the school libraries: To maintain adequate learning and teaching through the provision of materials needed by both teachers and students;
- To collect the materials that will encourage students and teachers to undertake research and study independently;
- To help students and teachers choose life professions by reading about those professions or persons engaged in such trade;
- To inculcate in children and teachers reading habits;
- To supply creative materials to the users;
- To provide for relaxation and recreation and judicious use of free periods.
American Library Association quoted by Ezekwe (1999) listed out the responsibility or functions of the school library as stated in the American Library Association in its Library Bill of Rights that endorsed the following as responsibilities of the school libraries as follows:-
- Provide materials that will enrich and support the curriculum, taking into consideration the varied interest, abilities and maturity levels of the pupils served.
- Provide background information which will enable pupils to make intelligent judgments in their daily life.
- Provide materials on opposing sides of controversial issues, so that young citizens may develop under guardians the practice of critical reading and thinking.
- Provide material representative of many religious, ethnic group and their contributions.
- Place principles above personal opinion and reason above prejudice in the selection of materials of the highest quality in order to ensure a comprehensive collection appropriate for users of the library.
- Provide current materials for the staff and students and to be abreast with development.
To sum up therefore, one would say a good library system not only support but teaches and enriches the educational development program and prepares the students and teachers to be useful citizens and future leaders. Schools as we know, are integral to teaching and all academic programs are essential nucleus for research activities. Therefore, the success of any educational system depends on the symbiotic efforts of the librarians and the teaching staff since both are interdependent. The teacher must constantly visit the library and liaise with the librarians so as to be aware of what is in the library and give guidance to students in tapping resources that are readily available in the school libraries, especially in carrying out their assignments. The teachers should encourage the students to visit the library and seek assistance from the library staff in obtaining the information which they require. It is also observed that teachers being a role model to students can have both negative and positive impact on students’ habit formation. If teachers do not regularly use the school library, the students’ attitude towards the use of school library would be negative, which might affect the academic potentiality of the students. The modern school library offers a wide variety of materials that supply information not only in printed form but also in non-print format to make learning more attractive, real and exciting. In order to be the school teaching and learning laboratory, it must be a media centre which houses not only books and other printed materials, such as magazines, newspapers, and pamphlets, but non-print materials, such as pictures, tapes, slides, transparencies, filmstrips, films, models of various types and even natural objects to encourage students and teachers to use a variety of sources for information needs and knowledge. The obvious and inherent limitations of the previous educational system in Nigeria necessitated the inclusion of educational services in the new National Policy, of which library is one. The policy on education (Nigeria 2004) states that the library is one of the most important educational services. In the same vein Onadiran and Onadiran (1980) observed that both librarians and educationists regard the school library as the heart of the school and the apex on which the intellectual life of the school rests. It is in realization of the fact and to improve the quality of teaching and learning that the government of Benue State in 1978 and Kogi State in 1998 made a proposal in the white paper in 1978 and again in 1998 to improve the quality of libraries in secondary schools in the state. As a result, all government-aided secondary schools in Kogi State received supply of books and other materials for the libraries. Most schools also appointed full-time educational personnel as school librarians. This kind gesture from the government attracted the positive attention of both teachers and students to use the library.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The place of school libraries in the overall development of secondary school education cannot be over emphasized because as a resource centre, it is expected to acquire and organize print and non-print materials suitable for the needs of the users and more so, as a learning laboratory. It is expected to provide materials to support teaching and encourage students to find out things for themselves. In the past, government has sunk large sums of money into the provision of library material resources for both teachers and students of the state. Regrettably, observations indicate that government efforts have not led to effective utilization of school libraries by teachers of Idah Local Government Area. If the teachers do not use the libraries, it will be difficult for them to prepare their lessons very well which will affect their teaching and productivity generally. Moreover, the situation will have a cycling effect on the quality of students as the teachers will be breeding half-backed graduates from the schools. The consequence of this sad development could be that these young school leavers will be ill-equipped and will not be able to face future academic challenges. Beyond this, no research has really been undertaken on teachers’ utilization of the school library for teaching and learning in the local government area. In view if this, the researcher decided to embark on this study to find out specifically the use made of school libraries by secondary school teachers.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The objective of the study was to examine the use of libraries by secondary school teachers. Specifically, the study intended to;
- Identify the resources available for use in school libraries.
- What will teachers benefit from the use of school libraries?
- Ascertain the use made of school libraries by secondary school teachers.
- Determine the problems affecting the use of libraries by the teachers.
- Offer suggestions that would enhance the use of the library by teachers.
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the available resources (man, materials and money) in the school library?
- What do teachers benefit from the use of school library?
- The main purpose of visiting the school library?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
- Books, pictures, charts, graphs and maps, motion picture and related projectors, display or chalk board, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers, dictionary, encyclopedia, globes and atlas. On the other hand, sides, films, filmstrips, transparences, record and record players, television, audio-tapes, cassettes, and cassette recorders are not available in their school libraries.
- Teachers know the importance of school libraries but unfortunately are not using the library effectively as suppose base on their negative responses to the school libraries.
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study will be undoubtedly of immense help to a good number of local government areas in Kogi State. This is because it will encourage them to develop and equip libraries in secondary schools having seen its needs. Also, the state as well as the local government education authorities in the state will benefit from the innovative ideas applied for effective and efficient library services in the schools. The teachers in the local government area, the state and the secondary schools will have a better orientation towards the use. This study will help the teachers to demand for the improvement of the school libraries so that teachers and students can benefit from it. It will also 13 enhance teachers’ better attitude towards utilization of school library. The teachers’ job will be made much easier if they consult the materials in the library and the students will perform well in school. The findings will help individual and organizations that are interested in developing libraries to know the resources that are lacking in secondary school libraries case they will want to make donations and gifts to the school libraries for improvement.
The school management and the ministries of education will benefit as it will be an eye opener to them on the need for libraries in secondary schools. It will also serve as a model to other researchers that may wish to understudy the use of libraries. The study will also be a contribution to literature on Library and Information Sciences in the country.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is limited to seven secondary schools in Idah Local Government Areas of Kogi State. The secondary schools are: Government Girls’ Secondary School, Idah, Government Day Secondary School, Idah, Idah Secondary Commercial College, Idah, Dickson Memorial College, Idah, Ogah Memorial Grammar School, Idah, St. Peter’s College, Idah and Holy Rosary College, Idah. It is also limited to teacher’s utilization of secondary school libraries as it concerns secondary school teachers of Kogi State.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
The increasing awareness of the school library necessitates the collection of all types of learning resources and instructional materials to reflect the school program and curriculum. Similarly, the personnel required in school libraries should be well trained to enable them meet the task ahead. During the process of reviewing the literature for this work, many sources were consulted. Among sources consulted were books, periodicals, journal and other documents such as newspapers that are related to the study. However, the researcher observes that from the literature review and all aspect of the school library discussed, there appeared no aspect actually highlighted or discussed strategies for the effective utilization of the school library resources by the school teachers. This is the gap this study is set to fill as a contribution to knowledge. In this information age, a library goes to include the totality of human and organized material resources available, both books and non-book forms providing and obtaining needed information. The library facilitates the use of resources by a particular user or group of users for such defined purposes as education, recreation, awareness, decision making, management, research and development. In Dike (1993) the relationship between school libraries and education, especially the way in which the school library and its resources can contribute to the education of teachers, children and youth was well established. From the discussion, it is clear that there is an intimate, inseparable relationship between the purpose and the role envisaged for the school library and the education which is meant to support learning. She further stated that the central role of the library is inextricably tied to certain idea of educational reforms. This means that learning takes place through interaction with variety of library resources, with individuals or small groups carrying out inquiries or projects under the guidance of the teacher librarian. In that way, the role of the library becomes central. Education has been defined in many ways by different authors, Dike (1993) agreed that two themes emerged from the various definitions. Education according to her can be viewed broadly as enculturation or more narrowly as schooling. To Olatunde L. (1985) education can be defined as almost exclusively for the satisfactory achievement of human purpose. It is the attainment of progressive non-selfish, good living in the human community; it is the wise, useful, profitable, helpful and progressive application of good knowledge, through high spiritual, moral task and physical disciplines; it is the bulk of the positive expressions which reflect on man, from all impressions on him; it is the continuous to and fro flux of actions and reactions – positive reactions between man and its surroundings in which a man and his surroundings interact taking and receiving mutually from each other; it is the overall goodness that man gives back to the environment which together with his own initiatives and intuitions, develop a man’s personality. Fasanya (1985) says that education may be regarded as a method of leading people out of ignorance. It is a means of socializing human beings. It involves the bringing up of a child in a community and constantly training him to adjust himself to the changing world around him. It is a lifelong process. In its broadest sense, education is a process by which individual gains knowledge or insight or develops attitudes or skills.
For any school library to operate efficiently, there must be adequate funding from the state government. Adequate funding will solve the problems of good accommodation, resource materials as well as qualified library personnel. This study revealed that there is a need to equip the libraries in Idah Local Government Area of Kogi State, with adequate resource materials and human resources to meet with the standards of modern school libraries to reflect its present concepts and scope. Teachers in Idah Local Government Area did not avail themselves the potentials and opportunities of the school libraries available to them to acquire new knowledge, new idea, as well as learning new styles due to apathy and infrequent use of library resources. On the library staff, this study revealed that the provision of the National Policy on Education (2004) which stipulates that librarians should be trained before employed into the services of school libraries is not implemented in Kogi State. The issue of the quantity and quality of library staff to work in the school libraries is not followed. Aguolu (2002) emphasizes that the systematic development of educational resources and their fruitful utilization to achieve the objective of primary education within the 6-3-3-4 system, calls for availability of different categories of library staff adequate in both quality and quantity where is lacking. The aims and objectives of secondary education and the effective implementation of school programs will be unrealistic. As noted, this is the situation in secondary school libraries in Idah Local Government Area. For lack of connecting the school to electricity, most audio-visual resources, computer with their projection equipments can be of little effect in these schools. To compound the situation, the schools are not provided with generator which is the order of the day in most homes today. Generally, non-print media were absent in the school libraries. Textbooks were made available to some extent in most of the libraries. However, there is need to stock school libraries with current reading materials and non-print materials to attract good number of users. It was discovered that in all the schools visited, there is none with a library building; rather classrooms were converted to library.
The conditions of school libraries development in secondary schools in Idah local government area as seen in this study is yet to meet with the standard. Having been starved of funds and qualified personnel to manage school libraries makes it impossible to function properly as an integral part of the total educational program of the school. Teaching and learning under this situation in the schools will undoubtedly employ the traditional chalk and talk method. This, in fact, will affect individual differences in learning abilities, there is therefore the urgent need to improve the quality of school libraries in secondary schools in Idah in order to take advantage of the modern instructional techniques in education towards quality teaching and learning to our teachers and students. To facilitate the effective utilization of school library resources, the researcher wishes to make the following recommendations:
- There should be employment of adequate number of staff for school libraries in Idah local government area.
- There should be employment of trained, skilled and qualified staff for the school libraries.
- As observed during the distribution of questionnaire, the present stock in most school libraries is inadequate in quality and quantity. Data supplied are below the government recommendation that a school with enrolment of 500 students or less should have 1,500 titles.
- The state branch of Nigeria Library Association (NLA) should organize development and training courses for school librarians, media specialists to enhance their efficiency in the running of the school library.
- Reading table and chairs should be provided to encourage teachers to use the school library.
- There is also need for a well designed library rather than converting classrooms as school library because this does not provide for all the necessary offices and work rooms.
- New and current books and other educational resource materials should be provided including audio-visual equipment projectors.
- Inclusion of library period on the time table will encourage teachers to visit the library more regularly.
- The stock of the school libraries should be good and adequate in quantity, quality and varied so as to reflect the school curriculum.
- Since teachers are the end users of the library resources, they should be involved in library development.
- Both library staff and the teaching staff should be regularly sent on library conferences and seminars to update their knowledge in the library.
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