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Library Philosophy and Practice 2011

ISSN 1522-0222

Use of Library Resources by Staff and Students of Secondary Schools in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State

Uche Arua
Michael Okpara University of Agriculture
Umudike, Nigeria

George I. Chinaka

Introduction

A school library is one that is established in a primary or secondary school (Edoka 2000). In modern times these libraries are evolved into school library resource centers. According to Fayose (1995), “--- a school library is that part of school where a collection of books periodicals, magazines, and newspapers, firms and filmstrips, videotapes, recording of all types, slides, computers, study kits, and other information resources are housed for use by teachers and pupils for learning, recreational activities, personal interest and inter personal relationships of children in school”.

This range of information resources is necessary to enable the school library fulfill its functions among which are: to systematically provide information resources required for the school’s educational programmes and to assist in improving and increasing the reading skills and learning habits of students. The researchers did not see any library in Secondary Technical School Afaraukwu and Okaiuga Secondary, though there was a place labeled as library.

Government College Umuahia has a good library accommodation and furniture but the collections were mainly outdated. The materials were not displayed on the shelves; they were locked up in a store. There were no seats in the library of Ibeku High School. The school library accommodation is part of the block refurbished by the Shell Development Company, Port Harcourt. There were also no tables for students to make use of the library. The collections were outdated and were locked up in closed shelves.

Students had to come into the library with their seats or blocks in order to make use of the library. They also came in with their own books. The collections of the school libraries are outdated and no more relevant to the present teaching and learning.

At Girls Secondary School, Umuahia the library was accommodated in a space of about two classrooms. Few tables and racks were seen. The library was stocked with old books. In fact, some of the books are of higher level of readership and therefore not relevant to the teaching and learning processes in the school.

Williams Memorial Secondary School, Afuigiri has an impressive school library. The carrels were arranged for easy movement in and around the library. The books were impressively recorded and arranged, also not catalogued as was the case of other libraries, earlier visited. One unit of personal computer (PC) is stalled in a room adjourning the library hall.  The equipment and furniture were donations from the indigenes of the community living abroad and the State Ministry of Education.

At Girls Secondary School, Akpahia-Afuigiri, the researchers observed that the library lacked chairs and tables. There were also no shelves. The library collections were mainly donations from groups of indigenes of the community. These materials were not properly documented and also not well arranged in the cupboards. Very few students were observed reading their personal books in the library. The library is poorly accommodated.

Aguolu (2002), posits that work in a school library requires staff of various categories and levels of education and training. The following categories may be needed, depending on the student enrolment, staff collection and academic programme.

  • Librarian employed as school librarian with or without any teacher qualification.
  • Teacher-Librarian (currently any teacher put in charge of the school library with or without library training.)
  • Library Officers
  • Library Assistants
  • Library Attendants
  • Library Prefects.

These categories of employees will help school libraries fulfill their mission.

Background Information on Umuahia North Local Government Area

Umuahia North Local Government Area was created in 1996 by the then Government of Ibrahim Babangida in August 1991. This local government Area is made up of two major clans namely: Ibeku and Ohuhu.

There are nine autonomous communities namely:

  • Affarata Ibeku
  • Afaraukwu Ibeku
  • Emede Ossah
  • Ibeku Egwuasa
  • Isingwu
  • Okaiuga
  • Ndume
  • Amaoforo
  • Nkwoegwu

There are fourteen secondary schools in the area namely:

  • Government College Umuahia Founded in 1929
  • Ibeku High School Umuahia founded in 1960
  • Girls Secondary School Umuahia (formally Holy Rosary Girls Secondary School) founded in 1906.
  • Junior Girls Secondary School Ugwu Nchara Umuahia founded in 1995
  • Aamuzukwu Girls Secondary School founded in 1983
  • Afara Secondary Technical founded in 1993
  • Ossah Community Secondary School founded in 1993
  • Isingwu Community Secondary School founded in 1962
  • Williams Memorial Secondary School Afuguri, founded in 1962
  • Afuguri Girls’ Secondary School Afuguri, founded in 1961
  • Okai-Ugah Nkwoegwu Secondary School founded in 1982
  • Isieke Ibeku Secondary School founded in 1981
  • Ohuhu Community Secondary School, founded in 1962
  • Ofeme Technical School founded in 1967.

Objectives of the Study

The research is based on the following objectives:

  • To examine the stock of the library resources of the secondary schools under study;
  • To determine if these resources are used by both staff and students of the secondary schools under study;
  • To establish the reasons why staff and students use the library;
  • To show the frequency of the use of library resources by staff and students of the libraries under study;
  • To determine if the library resources of the schools under study satisfy the information needs of both staff and students;
  • To identify the factors that encourage or inhibit library use by staff and students and suggest possible solutions.

Review of Related Literature:

A number of publication exist in the area users studies. But non of them has any direct focus on Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State. Mohammed (1998) defined library as a collection of a wide variety of library materials housed in each school centrally organized by staff professionally prepared to offer service to students and teachers that will enrich and support the educational programme of the school. In other words, it is an integral part of the school not an adjunct. It is also the intellectual center of the school. Ibetoh (1998) confirms this when he opined that school library is an essential ingredient in learning at any level of education, pointing out that it is the  intellectual center of the school containing records not only of the intellectual but also cultural and social products.

The Federal Ministry of Education’s minimum standard for school libraries (1992) identified the following types of books (library resources) which school libraries should acquired to include reference books, non-fiction including text books, supplementary orders (materials) (easy to read book) and fiction (story books, novels, cartoons). The establishment of school libraries stock with variety of reading materials is one thing but the exploitation of such resources to achieve one’s ends is another. Elaturoti (1993) posits that the usefulness of any school library media center like the Abadina Media Resource Center Ibadan depends on its maximum utilization by students otherwise it is as good as wasted. Similarly, Orji (1996) found out that users use the library for many and varied reasons namely; to prepare for examination; for leisure; recreation for serious academic work, to see friend and people and so on. He concluded that school libraries are as good as wasted if they are not properly used by students. Okeason and Okpeota (1993) in their views on students utilization of library  resources remark that the ability to read is the most important mental skill that a person can acquire, pointing out that people read for ideas and for information to release tensions of lives and for opportunities to savour all varieties of experience. Reading ability and the mental capacity that go with it are vital in passing examinations, and solving office problem when engaged after leaving school. They are also vital in business as well as the industrial world.

According Abdullahi (1998) most of the Nigerian students who enter universities have never used the library effectively during their primary and secondary schools. He suggested that teaching of basic instruction on skills like orientation on the library, rules and regulations for using the library, proper use and handling of books arrangement of books in the library among other things as panaceas.

Aguolu (2002) posits that work in any school library requires staff of various categories and levels of education and training, indicating that the following may be needed depending on the enrolment, staff, collection and academic programme; librarian employed as school librarian with or without any teacher qualification, teacher librarian (currently and teacher put in charge of the school library with or without any library training library training). Library Officers, Library Attendants, and Library Prefect. It is only when this is in place that effective library service can be guaranteed.

Methodology

This research work is restricted to only seven secondary schools in Umuahia North Local Government Area of Abia State. Four from Ibeku can and three from Ohuhu clan. The choice was by means of random selection. All the schools were written down in pieces of paper. The researchers then picked and whichever one that was marked was chosen. Only students from JSS 2and SS 2 were involved. This is because at this stage, the students are fairly matured to respond and interpret questions with minimum difficulty and also because this group of students constitute the majority of those who make use of the school library resources hence can provide useful information for the study. The research instrument was the questionnaire. The questionnaires were administered by the researchers themselves and were equally completed on the spot by the respondent thus the return rate was 100%.

Analysis of Data and Discussion of Findings

Use of Library Resources by Staff and Students

Table 1 indicates the use of library resources by respondents. From the table, all the (350) respondents use the library. The implication is that  there is awareness that library exists in these schools, consequently, the researchers are dealing with people who make use of the library.

Table 1. Use of Library Resources by Staff and StudentsResponses  No of respondents  Percentage

Yes 350 100%
No 0 0
Total 350 100%
Frequency of Library Use

From table 2 seventy nine (79) of respondents use the library always, two hundred and seventy one (271) representing (77.43%) use the library occasionally. From the result it is evident that a greater majority of respondents use the library occasionally. This implies that more efforts need to be made to improve the frequency and regularity of library use and one of such efforts could be in the area of provision of current and up-to-date materials.

Table 2. Frequency of Library Use by Respondents

Responses No of respondents  Percentage
Always 79 22.57
Occasionally 271 77.43
Total 350 100
Adequacy of Library Accommodation

Table 3 shows that one hundred and fifty respondents representing (42.86%) replied that their libraries accommodation is adequate while two hundred (200) representing (57.14%) indicated that their library accommodation is not adequate. On account of this result, it is concluded that secondary school libraries in Umuahia North do not have adequate accommodation. Adequate accommodation is a necessary pre-requisite for effective library programme. For instance, space is needed for the library stock, for processing and for users services. A separate building centrally located in relation to other building in the school but remote from noisy areas are usually recommended. In some of the schools the researchers did not see any library (Secondary Technical School Affaraukwu, and Okaiugha). Information resources are the first essentials of any library services, and any library school, which is to be considered relevant and efficient in service delivery, must contain current and well-chosen materials to meet the academic needs of the school.

Table 4. Type of Library Material Used by Respondents

Responses No of respondents  Percentage
Books only 150 42.86
Books/Magazines  50 14.29
Newspaper/Magazines  97 27.71
Audiovisual 38 10.86
Globe and Atlases  15 4.28
Total 350 100
Satisfaction of Information Needs

Table 5 indicates that a vast majority of respondents (70.29%) are of the view that the information resources available to them in to their libraries do not satisfy their information needs. While (29.%) of respondents have contrary view. Based on this result, it is concluded that the information resources of the secondary schools understudy do not satisfy the information needs of users.

Table 5. Satisfaction of Information Needs of Library Materials.

Responses No of respondents  Percentage
Yes 104 29.71
No 246 70.29
Total 350 100
Problems Militating Against the Use of These Materials

Table 6 highlights the problems militating against the use of library by staff and students in the seven secondary schools sampled. As could be seen from the data analysis. Lack of current and up-to-date information materials (42.86%) is the most outstanding problems militating against the use of these libraries. This is followed by poor library accommodation (25.71%) and poor library orientation (20%). While the others are restricted library hours (8.57%) and lack of professional teacher. Librarian for processing the materials (2.86%).

Table 6. Problems Militating Against the Use of These Library

Responses No of respondents  Percentage
Lack of current material 150 42.86
Poor accommodations 90 25.71
Lack of professional teacher/librarian for processing material 10 2.86
Poor library orientation 70 20
Restricted library hours 30 8.57
Total 350 100

Conclusion and Recommendations

This research work took off to realize six clear objectives and based on the findings of this work, these clear objectives have been achieved. Consequently, the following recommendations are made:

  • Adequate provision of fund is necessary for the provision of current information resources and also for the employment of qualified and trained teacher-librarian.
  • User education should be taken seriously in secondary schools in order to boost the interest of both staff and students on the use of  library resources. This will also help to sharpen their search skills and elimination of users frustration.
  • Purpose built libraries should be built in secondary in Umuahia North Local Government Area in particular and Abia State in general.
  • Both State and Local Government should accord library provision a top priority attention because library services are social service to the entire citizenry and posterity.

Reference

Abdulahi, Aishatu (1998). The Role of Libraries in Primary and Secondary Education in Nigeria. Teaching Education Today 8(1 & 2) pp. 21-26.

Aguolu, C.C. and Aguolu, I.E. (2002). Libraries and Information Management in Nigeria. Maiduguri: ED-INFORM services. Pp212-218

Edoka, B.E. (2000). Introduction to Library Science. Publishing, pp.15-16.

Elaturoti, D.F. (1993). Usage pattern of library resources among secondary school students: users survey of Abadina Media Resources Center.  Nigeria School Library Journal 3 (122) p.30.

Fayose, P.O. (1995). School Library Resources Center for Educational excellence. Ibadan: Federal Ministry of Education p.13.

Ibeto, C.A. (1998). Agents of Primary School Library Development. State Primary Education Board: Nigeria. School Librarianship: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow. Edited by Elaturoti, D.F. Ibadan: Nigeria School Library Association. Pp. 237.

OKEASAN, C., and Okpeola, S.M. (1993). Programmed text for College library users life. University press p7.

Orji, C.E (1996).. The use of public library by civil servants: A case study of Umuahia Public Library. B.L.S. Research Project Report. Abia State University, Uturu (unpublished).

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