TEACHERS AND STUDENTS USE OF SCHOOLS LIBRARIES FOR DEVELOPING READING CULTURE

ABSTRACT

Reading culture enables one to acquire knowledge, seek individual self- improvement and for re-creative purposes. The school library as a resource centre inspires a love of reading among users. This study aimed at establishing how the school library can be used to nurture a reading culture among Form Three students. It sought to establish the use of the school library in development of a reading culture among secondary school students in Abuja , Nigeria. The objectives were: establish the types and relevance of reading materials available in the school library, establish the perception of Form Three students towards the use of the school library, investigate how students make use of the reading materials provided and to find out the roles of librarians and Heads of Subject for English in promoting a reading culture among students. The study was guided by Vygotsky’s socio-cultural model of Reading and Skinner’s Behaviorist theory. It adopted a descriptive survey design. Schools were purposively sampled in that only schools with libraries were selected, hence a total of ten schools was achieved. Moreover, one librarian and one Head of subject for English were picked from each school hence a sampling frame of 10 Librarians and 10 Heads of subject for English was attained. The sample also included 31 students selected by simple random sampling in each school, thus a total of 310 students were used. Data was collected using the questionnaire, interview and observation schedule and a document analysis checklist. It was analyzed using descriptive statistics then presented thematically and also in form of tables and figures. Findings indicated that school libraries mostly stocked examination oriented texts like course books, revision books and story books (mostly old text books), newspapers and books on donations. It was established that students believed that these texts equipped them with knowledge and skills necessary for passing examinations. Consequently, they used the library to complete assignments, conduct research and make notes. However, most of them did not read for leisure because of lack of attractive reading materials, the tight exam-oriented syllabus and lack of enough time for usage of the library. Librarians played various duties like recommending titles for stock and displaying materials and books for easy access by students. Heads of Subject for English encouraged them to read variety of story books, newspapers and journals to improve in English language besides teaching them summary writing skills. However, most schools did not have library periods thus students used the library only when they were free or when a teacher was not in class. Education planners should revise the current syllabus to enable students find time for leisure reading. Schools should stock their libraries with quality literature to enhance learning outcomes and foster a love of reading for pleasure, teachers and librarians to identify interesting texts and library weeding to be conducted. The study will be significant to education planners; teachers and librarians who should help students develop reading interests and also add to existing body of knowledge on the use of school library in language teaching.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION

1.2 Background to the Study

The concept of school libraries has become a subject of renewed interest for researchers and educationists alike both nationally and internationally (Walker, 2005). Researchers have indicated some definitive concepts with respect to the use of school libraries. The library provides physical or digital access to material, and may be a physical building or room, or a virtual space, or both. A library's collection can include books, periodicals, newspaper, manuscript, films, maps, prints, documents, microform, CDs, videotapes, DVDs, Blu-rays Discs, e-books, databases and other formats. Libraries range in size from a few shelves of books to several million items. In the 21st Century, the role of the School Library is imperative to the teaching and learning program of a school. The main goal of the library is to encourage the development of lifelong learning in our students, by promoting a reading culture and developing sound research skills(Akinbode, 2005).

All over the world libraries are dedicated to providing free and equitable access to information for all, be it in written, electronic or audiovisual form. They play a key role in creating literate environments and promoting literacy by offering relevant and attractive reading material for all ages and all literacy levels and by offering students, teachers and family literacy classes. They embrace the social responsibility to offer services that bridge social, political and economic barriers, and traditionally make a special effort to extend their services to marginalized people. Libraries assist in finding, using and interpreting appropriate information that opens up opportunities for lifelong learning, literacy enhancement, informed citizenship, recreation, creative imagination, individual research, critical thinking, and ultimately, empowerment in an increasingly complex world (Amucheazu, 2006).

Reading is an activity which helps to develop the mind and personality of human beings and ultimately enriches their intellectual lives. As students learn to enjoy reading; learning becomes relevant and in that way improves their reading culture and self concept. Reading helps readers have mastery of their lives, and situations in life.  Examples of how people in the books managed their situations give students knowledge of how to cope with similar situations. According to Elaturoti (2011), students can only achieve their potentials in life if they have developed interest in the use of their school or class library. This is because reading helps an individual to achieve greater control, increased independence and a greater sense of self worth and belonging (Meribe, 2005).

Apart from provision of reading materials, school libraries provide reading programmes that motivate students to read for pleasure.  Reading culture are reading activities school or class libraries provide to create awareness of the collection and motivate students to read for pleasure and academic achievement. They are reading experiences provided in the school or class library to encourage students’ use of the collection and inculcate voluntary reading cultures in students.  The reading programme include display, exhibition, access to reading materials, lending of books, storytelling, debate, book talks (Carbo and Cole, 2005). Engaging students in variety of reading experiences through book talks, readers’ theatre, and storytelling will help students develop habit of listening, comprehension and recall.  Students’ participation in debate and book club will challenge them to read widely and seek information in the library. Asiabaka (2008), maintained that school facilities management play a pivotal role in the actualization of educational goals and objectives by satisfying the physical and emotional needs of the staff and students. School records are an important means of accountability because they provide proof.

Library seeks to promote a reading culture in the students, teachers and the Community. Reading for enjoyment is encouraged through the library’s extensive fiction collection, which includes graphic novels and a range of general interest magazines. Library also plays a vital role in supporting the teaching and learning program of the School. Access to a wide range of relevant resources and equipment is available from the Library, via the catalogue.  The Library team collaborates with classroom teachers to develop information literacy skills, making use of the excellent facilities provided in the Library Learning Space and appropriate online databases.  Lack of interest in reading among students is one of the causes of low education quality in Nigeria. In fact, reading is a source of knowledge. Teachers should not only focus in teaching in classrooms, but in motivating students to improve their knowledge (Bassey, 2006). Although the main purpose of a library is a source of knowledge, it is more often used as place to store books. Students still prefer to choose other activities than reading books in a school or class library.

The issue of poor reading culture in the Nigerian society cannot be overemphasized. Because reading makes great people and great nations, the researchers were moved to carry out this study to see how far the use of school library programs can go in promoting the dilapidating reading culture which is getting worse. Providing equity of access to reading resources, engaging authors’ visits, and supporting books fairs, exhibition and displays are means to building lifelong readers.  Specifically reading culture promotion is one of the cardinal roles of school library (Dike, 2008).  Four out of the nine contributions expected of the school libraries in Nigeria are on reading development.  According to the Minimum Standard; libraries promote the development of reading skills and encourage long term learning habits through reading, listening to and viewing a variety of learning materials.  Reading culture form the key to continuous success in school as well as personal enrichment of the teachers/students. Libraries also provide opportunities for further reading and use of materials other than prescribed classroom textbooks. Stimulate research and independent study by providing a wide variety of materials so that it does not only supply information in printed form, but also in pictures, films, tapes etc.  This makes learning more exciting. It provide materials for recreation and encourage teachers/students to read for pleasure.  Free voluntary reading also helps students in the acquisition of other language skills, success in their academic, improved reading ability, vocabulary knowledge, emotional stability, enjoyment of leisure hours, and increased knowledge of political, economical and social issues in his environment. (Sandars, 2007). The study is therefore going to look into the teachers and students use of school libraries for developing reading culture in secondary school.

1.2 Statement of the Problem 
Most secondary schools in Nigeria are facing non-availability of properly established libraries and proper literacy programmes (Ajumobi, 2004).  Even those that may have library facilities, these are either poorly stocked or have outdated books which may not inspire students to read. Lack of school libraries or poorly established libraries have a negative impact on literacy levels of students. The non-availability of library resources in most case often force students to read only what they are taught by teachers during class. (Tella, Ayeni and Popoola, 2007). Many factors are responsible for the decline in students’ use of school libraries and reading culture in our society. Some of these factors include unfamiliarity with reading on the part of many students, inadequate development of reading skills amongst students, lack of continuity with reading programmes on the part of the teachers, and language interference, amongst others. The distraction by the fallout from technological innovation in the world today, such as the easy availability of the entertainment media, games and gambling, the inadequate funding of educational institutions including funding of libraries and e-library units.

Also, through the introduction of information and communication technologies, students are seen carrying their phones and texting messages, listening to music, yahoo yahoo, etc. They neither study nor read and thus are getting deformed. Their command of English language is poor, so also is their vocabulary and diction. All these are because they do not read anymore (Akinbola, 2007).

The teachers should provide assignments that require students to use library resources so as to spread the culture of reading beyond the library walls; the teachers as well as school administrators must understand the need for a culture of reading in schools to support the recreational reading lives of students and to develop the reading habit in our students, preparing them for future academic success and lifelong literacy and learning. It is a concern that many students do not choose to read, and teachers need to work to build and maintain a strong culture of reading in schools so that students do not just learn to read at school, but choose to read in their free time as well. This study intends to look into teachers and students’ use of school and class libraries for developing reading culture in senior secondary schools.

Objectives of the Study 
In order to achieve its intention, the study utilized four objectives which were;

i.    To establish the types and relevance of reading materials available in the school library.
ii.    To establish the perception of Form Three students towards the use of the school library.
iii.     To investigate how students make use of the reading materials provided in the school library.
iv.    To find out the roles of Librarians and Heads of Subject (H.O.S) for English in promoting a reading culture among Form Three students.

Research Questions 
  i.    What types of reading materials are available in the school library and of what relevance are they?
  ii.    What is the perception of Form Three students towards the use of the school library?

    iii.    How do students make use of the reading materials provided in the school library?

    iv.    What are the roles of Librarians and Heads of Subject (H.O.S) for English in promoting a reading culture among students?

Justification of the Study 
This study was justified on the basis that there is an outcry that there is a poor reading culture among adults in Nigeria hence the need to establish if the problem emanates from the secondary school level. The Nigerian system of education has been termed exam - oriented so could this be the source of the problem among adults? (Glogowski, 2008; Mbae, 2010; Mureithi & Kipchumba, 2011).
Moreover, literature on the use of the school library in development of a reading culture among secondary school students is little. In Nigeria particularly, there are few studies done on promotion of a reading culture in primary schools hence this study is justified to examine the use of the school library to develop a reading culture among secondary school students.

Significance of the Study
The study findings will to be useful to the Ministry of Education, other education planners and policy makers in decision making regarding policy issues like establishment of well stocked libraries in schools. This is through sectoral policies in form of legislation, regulation and guidelines. Moreover, it will be useful to parents who should among other roles support the school in maintaining a good library status and also support their children develop good reading habits in different ways like reading to children.
Librarians and teachers will find the results of this study useful in that they will re-define their roles in fostering a love of reading among students. In addition to this, they will play a major role in choosing appropriate materials for their school libraries. Students will also find the results of this study useful in adopting appropriate reading strategies that will enhance their acquisition of reading habits and consequently a reading culture. Lastly, it is hoped that the research will open up new avenues for further research.

Scope and Limitations of the Study
This section discusses two aspects namely the scope and the limitations of the study.

Scope of the Study
Scope is a description of the boundary of a study in terms of content, methodology geographical and theoretical coverage and time (Oso & Onen, 2008). Based on the stated objectives, the study was concerned with the use of the school library in the development of a reading culture among secondary school students. Further, it explored the types of reading materials available in the school library and their relevance.

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Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 147 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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