THE ROLE AND CONSTRAINTS OF SCHOOL LIBRARY
THE ROLE AND CONSTRAINTS OF SCHOOL LIBRARY
Man’s capacity to learn, to organize learning, to communicate this learning as knowledge, to other members of the species, and to act on the basis of learning and knowledge constitute the subject matter of education (Golsin, 1965). According to develop his mental capacity in such a way as to arm him to play a specific role in a developing programme. It also sets value on the human factor in development which makes man capable of shaping his history. Malue (1968) had strongly argued that a country will never be developed unless education is developed because it is through better education that maximum use can be made of human resources.
The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to examine the extent to which school libraries help to promote qualitative primary education. It will also look into the constraints to effective utilization of school libraries in primary education and finally suggests ways of improving school library service.
School library and Primary Education
The importance role which libraries play in laying sound educational foundation for children had been eulogized in library literature but summed up by the American Library – Association when it stated that:
Whatever form the soul searching regarding education of the child may take sooner or later, it has to reckon with adequate of library resources in the schools ..
The school library exists for the pupils avail himself of the emerging developments in educational thinking and practices …, to be given sustained exposure and to equip him with intellectual curiosity, desirable learning and reading habits and available. The quality of education a child received depends to a large extent on the level of exposure of the child and the teacher to knowledge stored in libraries (Anene, 1972). The school library provides knowledge, education and enlightenment which form the basic for full development of the pupil’s talents and skills required for national development. Any effective educational system requires systematic use of reading materials provided by libraries, while any education programme with the absence of adequate library provision starting from the primary school results in poor foundation at the primary level, ineffective secondary education, inefficient university and absence of life-long integrated adult education. Therefore, for a successful education programme, library services must be provided starting from the primary school. Any primary education without library not only adversely affects the standard of, but also results in manpower wastage after elementary schooling (Fafunwa, 1966).
1) Striving to meet the needs of pupils and teachers.
2) Providing young boys and girls with appropriate library materials and services for their growth and development as individuals.
3) Stimulating and guiding pupils in all phases of their reading so that they find increasing enjoyment and satisfaction, and may grow to critical judgment and appreciation.
4) Providing opportunities for pupils to develop helpful interests, to make satisfactory personal adjustments and to acquire desirable social attitudes.
5) Helping pupils become discriminating users of library and of printed and audio-visual materials.
Through these activities, the library thus functions as a service agency, a teaching agency, a material and reading centre in the school.
A Service Agency
As a service agency, the library further the school objectives by providing materials for all subjects and all interests of pupils, because through it, books and other materials are distributed to all study centres, classrooms and wherever they will be needed. And from all parts of the school pupils, teachers, classes, and individuals go to the library to use books, magazine, visual aids, to find facts, and to read.
A Teaching Agency
The library function as a teaching agency when it suggests materials to be read for particular topics and supplies all types of material for developing and expanding interests. It acts as a teaching agency also when it helps pupils to learn how to find information in references books and how to take notes. Through its bulletins, posters guides and exhibits, as well as its inviting appearance and atmosphere it teachers informally and encourages learning.
A Material and Reading Centre
The library functions as a material and reading centre where books, films, pictures and other information materials can be obtained by pupils and teachers easily. Easy location is achieved through simplified cataloguing classification, shelving, filing and displays which facilitate retrieval by pupils and teachers (Okonkwo, 1986).
An effective library service to pupils requires that the books are skillfully selected in order to provide materials that enrich and support the school curriculum taking into considerations the varied interests, abilities, and maturity levels of pupils served. Selection calls for a careful study of the curriculum by teachers and librarians with the aim of providing materials that stimulate growth in factual knowledge, library appreciation, aesthetic values and ethical standards – which is the sole aims of primary education. Books are, therefore, selected for excellence, accuracy of knowledge, integrity of treatment and good moral value. They include information materials that are up-to-date and related to the pupils environment and their needs, as well as those that help the children to develop under guidance, the practice of critical reading and thinking (Ogunsheye, 1969).
One of the barriers to be overcomed in educating our children is the lack of a spirit of inquiry, stemming from lack of interest in topics or books outside the curriculum and which in turn leads t lack of initiative in discovery or finding out facts, or learning by oneself. But the fundamental objectives of primary education is to break this barrier and the school library is a veritable is a veritable education agency for doing it.
The Teacher-Librarian and Primary Education
The teacher-librarian is very instrumental to effective use of school library to achieve the educational objectives because of his training first in education and secondly in librarianship.
His knowledge of educational psychology enables him to understand children while his librarianship training makes him knowledgeable in books and all types of learning materials. Also his expertise in teaching methods enables him to stimulate interest in the use of books and the library among pupils and teachers because he knows his readers and his books very well (Douglas, 1979).
He uses many devices for encouraging the use of library materials. He encourages pupils to read by giving them lists of books to read, b beautiful displays and book jackets, by recommending magazines, and newspapers to be used by pupils and teachers, and by recommending books for extra-curricular interest of pupils. In addition, he takes pupils to the library for pleasure reading and reference work, and draws pupils attention to new information by pasting articles and clippings on bulletin boards.
Pupils in the junior classes are not left out of the motivating influence of the librarian. He organizes poetry hour during library periods as a time enjoyment, when children can search through poetry books, find and read aloud or silently poems for personal satisfaction. The library periods are also used by pupils to browse through the shelves and find things of interest to them. Another important programme for children in the library is the study-hour during which the teacher tells or reads stories or plays recorded stories for the children. Through these programmes, the teachers-Liberian arouse the interest of children for reading and they gradually inculcate the habit of using the library for all forms of education.
The teacher-librarian encourages teachers too to use library. He does this by notifying teachers of new books and materials received, by sending to teachers list of interesting magazines articles, by involving the teachers in selection of materials for the library, and by attending promptly to teachers’ request, he co-operates fully with teachers in achieving the educational goals of the school. The library can contribute to this achievement of goals only when teachers educate through the library and when the teachers educate through the library and when the teacher- librarian develops in the library favourable attitudes towards its use because libraries depend on the knowledge, values and skills of teachers.