Why students don’t use school libraries?
In a study conducted on students in Morogoro Municipality, Tanzania, it has been found that most commonly used library sources by students are books and novels. However, it has to be considered that knowledge cannot be acquired only through text books or lectures. Some other resources of information, which are commonly used in present day education, are also required such as different kinds of dictionaries, atlases and maps, poetry books, and audio visual presentations. Sometime, these are not available in libraries; therefore, it becomes difficult for students to find all the required information. Among other difficulties faced by students in the libraries of schools is the provision of latest and up-to-date reading materials, limited reading hours, absence of sitting facilities for most of the students, and lack of informative or professional librarian, who can help in finding the required material (Benard & Dulle, 2014).
In many developing or under-developed countries, lack of policies, improper availability of library information resources, and lack of understanding of the importance of libraries by teachers are also some of the factors that can result in decreased utilization of school libraries. Lack of funding is also a problem that can reduce the number of important books and resources in libraries, and decrease the proper maintenance of the structure or building of libraries. Poor systems of library management and poor standards of library are also causing the decrease in use of library sources. These poor management and standards are due to poorly paid staff and work overload (Benard & Dulle, 2014). Fewer racks and tables are also among the reasons that are decreasing students’ interest in utilizing library resources. Some books are older than the present knowledge and some books need higher level of readership, thereby decreasing their importance in teaching as well as learning (Arua & Chinaka, 2011).
In many developed countries, availability of a huge amount of information on internet is also an important reason that students are not using their school libraries. Moreover, many schools and universities are also helping their students to get access to online books or soft copies of books and other informative materials such as teacher’s notes, therefore enhancing their abilities to search online for the required information (Stone, Pattern, & Ramsden, 2011) and decreasing their interest in reading physical copies of books.
Concluding remarks and further studies
Usually, school librarian has four important roles; teaching, instructing, informing, and doing the work of program administrator. As a teacher, school librarian helps students in finding their books and assisting them in schoolwork. Moreover, some schools also provide a flexible schedule in which students are required to visit libraries and improve library using skills. As an instructor, librarians can help students in improving their research, literacy, and critical thinking skills. As an information specialist, librarians can help in developing a resource base for the school according to curricula. As an administrator, they can improve the library in different aspects such as proper placement of books and appropriate structure of the library. So, professional librarians are among the most important parts that can help in improving students’ interest in using library sources.
Government can also help schools in providing proper funding for up-to-date information and qualified staff. Moreover, implementation of those policies that can improve standard is also required, so that there would be adequate management and administrative practices regarding the principles, procedures, and operations at the library level.
Further studies can be done to find the frequency of book loans and e-resource access by students as these studies could help in finding the factors that can improve the use of libraries by students. Some other points of research may include the difference in gender in the use of school’s libraries and socio-economic background of students in the school.
Arua, U., & Chinaka, G. I. (2011). Use of library resources by staff and students of secondary schools in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State. Library Philosophy and Practice(1), 83.
Benard, R., & Dulle, F. (2014). Assessment of Access and Use of School Library Information Resources by Secondary Schools Students in Morogoro Municipality, Tanzania. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). Paper 1107.
Stone, G., Pattern, D., & Ramsden, B. (2011). Does library use affect student attainment? A preliminary report on the Library Impact Data Project. Liber Quarterly, 21(1), 5-22.