Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Library Collection as Correlate of Library Use: A Study of Secondary Schools in Oyo State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Library Philosophy and Practice

Library Collection as Correlate of Library Use: A Study of Secondary Schools in Oyo State, Nigeria

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

A school library is useful in literacy work from the earliest stage because it encourages good reading habits to be formed when children are young. Nothing is as important to the quality of library services provided to library patrons whether academic, public, special or school library as the quality and range of resources selected, acquired and retained by a library. A school library may be seen by some to be small and inconsequential but if the fact that it is part of the overall school system is critically looked at, it becomes obvious that as much as the collection of a university library is important to its community, so also is the collection of a school library to its pupils and staff. (Badawi, 2004).

The importance of libraries and their collections in the school system cannot be overemphasized. Effective teaching and learning requires the support of librarians and well-stocked libraries. Similarly, meaningful study and learning demand adequate provision of library services. (Fadero, 2001).

The Taiwo Commission (1968) on the review of the failed first Universal Free Education System, launched in the defunct Western Region noted that there was an appalling shortage of reading materials in most of the schools in the then Western region. The Commission observed further that very little consideration was given to the building up of libraries and to the inculcating in pupils the culture of using the library. Several studies have shown that library usage cannot be divorced from academic performance. The Ontario Library Association (2006) using a huge sample (800 elementary schools, 50,000 students, with a sample specifically of grades 3 and 6) showed correlations between library staffing and reading performance in both grades, as well as a decline in enjoyment of reading correlating with a decline in staffing of libraries. Dent (2006), similarly found in a study of three Ugandan schools with varying levels of library access, that those students with library access scored higher in particular subjects than those who did not have access. Goodall and Pattern (2011) also show a correlate between library use and performance in a research carried out at the Huddersfield University.

Well-equipped libraries are necessities in all institutions and especially in secondary schools since they are the foundations for higher education. Well-equipped school libraries not only enrich the curriculum but also serve as the common laboratory of every school, providing leadership in the teaching of everything in the sciences, humanities, management and in fact, all fields of endeavour. Libraries are places where information services are rendered to users. Catering for the needs of users, in the context of the libraries, ideally means the provision of physical and bibliographic access to information sources (Oyewumi, 2006) and (Aina et al, 2011). It is sad therefore to note that despite the importance of a well-stocked library, it is generally denied the attention that it deserves in major education plans especially pertaining to public secondary schools in Nigeria.

Hay and Stuart (2005) in a research conducted on school libraries in Australia found out that there is a strong relationship between the collection of a library and patronage. Their research showed that more pupils visited a well-stocked library and this further boosted high academic performance because they usually have the perception that the library will supply their academic needs. Reading skills involve thinking skills. The extent to which young people use information depends upon their ability to understand what they read, to integrate their understanding with what they already know and to realize their unanswered questions. To this end, school libraries model and collaboratively provide the much needed support.

Academic performance and library use cannot be separated. Kumar (1982), noted that the performance of students can be considerably improved if they use the library regularly. …

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