A Survey of Senior Secondary School Libraries in Jammu and Kashmir, India

Article excerpt

Introduction

School libraries have always been an indispensable adjunct to education, a base for gathering innovative thinking, a stimulus to culture and an aid to self development (Onal, 2009). Morris (2004) contends that a school library serves as a center and coordinating agency of all materials used in the school. The IFLA/UNESCO School Library Manifesto (2000) while emphasizing the creation of strong and effective school libraries mandates that "for each country there should be work on developing links between school objectives and its library services." Thus, the contemporary school library has moved beyond the concept of mere an isolated facility for housing of books and other materials which has no role to play in the teaching-learning process in a school. Rather, it is seen more as the structure for integration of the library services with school's curriculum in the current world education scenario.

Traditionally school libraries offered conservative lending services and reading room facilities wherein students used to borrow books and browse through some newspapers and magazines. There was no concept of innovative personalized services. This state of affairs usually resulted in children's lack of interest in libraries. However, with the advancement of technology, school libraries came up with innovative programs and services for children that aimed at reversing this trend (Snowball, 2008). The integration of various school programs into school libraries have developed in to innovative hybrid library classrooms where students take full advantage of the library facilities and the resources (both technological and informational) for their course work. This activity/program brings the concept of school library in to school culture and increases student motivation with their active involvement in learning process (Houston & Spencer, 2007). The implementation of models like a community based school library has proved to be a success in relation to factors such as school participation, learner's participation in school activities during and after the school especially in areas where there is dearth of school libraries (Le-Roux, Hendrikz & Francois, 2006).

The information and communication technology revolution has helped every organization to improve its efficiency/productivity both qualitatively and quantitatively. The school libraries also fell in line with others to become not only the traditionally perceived learning environment as a physical space but also the virtual learning environment. With the advent of computers, the nature of school library management and services has changed phenomenally. In the developed countries school libraries are developing intranet sections in collaboration with big corporations to promote greater interest in library by making available latest and easily accessible information to the school children (Shenton & Johnson, 2007). Most of the schools have developed school library websites. Students are kept informed about various activities and programs of the school through these websites (Jurkowski, 2007). Educational digital libraries are becoming sources of innovative teaching resources in schools. The information sources like internet, digital and audio-visual media are complementing books in school libraries. Recent research has revealed that internet is the most preferred information source used by students for project in school libraries followed by digital information sources which are preferred over print and audio-visual materials. The main reasons identified for using different information sources by Shaheen & Kanagasabai (2007) are "accessibility", "ease of use" and "appropriateness."

Another important and innovative aspect of modern school libraries is the collaborative arrangements with public, college and university libraries. According to Lonsdale & Armstrong (2006), these institutions have huge resources at their disposal and can play an important role in improving the situation in school libraries by delivering the information literacy skills relating to use of e-resources particularly to secondary schools. …