Survey of Staff and Organization of Private Secondary School Libraries in Ondo West Local Government Area of Ondo State
Samuel O. Ogunniyi
Adeyemi College of Education
Effective and quality service delivery in the library depends on the quality of staff. The ease with which users access and retrieve materials is organically linked to the quality of staff. In school libraries, teacher-librarians are saddled with the responsibilities of providing quality service and systematic organization of school library resources. The importance of the teacher-librarian in the school library cannot be over-emphasized.
Even in most Nigerian public secondary school libraries, professionally-qualified library staff or para-professionals are scarce. Alabi (2007) surveyed seven school libraries in Lagos and found that they are still being staffed by unqualified personnel.
The objectives of this study are to:
Library resources without professionally qualified staff to organize them will not be of any use. In support of this, Onatola (2004), affirms that "there is need to have in every school a Teacher-Librarian, who shall be ready to effect and facilitate interactions between the teachers, learners, and the books". Onatola further states that "the Teacher -Librarian shall be directly responsible to the principal of the school for the day-to-day running of the library."
There are always staff specifications and qualifications for effective service delivery in any organization, private or public. The National Policy on Education (2004) recognizes the need for training librarians and library assistants. The policy is still on paper and yet to be implemented. On the number of staff to be employed in the school library, Fayose (1995) outlines the requirement as follows:
1. School Librarians should be doubly qualified in teaching and librarianship.
2. A technician should have the knowledge of the management, production, and use of audiovisual materials
3. All schools with an enrolment of five hundred pupils/students should have a librarian, technician, and a library assistant.
4. Schools with lower enrolment can have a librarian and a library assistant.
5. Typists, cleaners, security men, and others who are needed besides those who are directly involved in library work.
6. Some schools use volunteer members (students) as library assistants.
Metzger (1992) supported the dual professional qualification for teacher-librarians. Through the systematic organization of resources in the library by the teacher-librarian, the following services are offered to users of the library:
2. Book-box service
3. Bibliographic services
4. Inter-Library loans
5. Repackaging information.
6. Reprographic services
7. Reference services
8. Exhibition and displays
9. Hobbies and societies
10. Teaching Library use skills
11. Teaching study skills (Fayose, 2002).
The services listed by Fayose are crucial to Nigeria educational development. Despite the services offered by the school library, there are still problems. According to Fayose (2003), government has always paid lip service to school library development, but many policies remain on paper and are never implemented. Dike (1993) posits that, “funds that could be used to develop school library services were more than expended on crash programmes.” A second reason is perhaps that there was insufficient demand for school libraries.
Moreover, most teacher-librarians had no exposure to librarianship before appointment and no training, even years after appointment (Ogunleye, 1988).
A survey was adopted for this research. All available staff of six private secondary schools were used for the study. A structured questionnaire was the instrument used for data collection. Demonstration Secondary School, Adeyemi College of Education library staff and students were used as a pilot study.
Nine copies of the questionnaire were administrated to all nine staff of the six private school libraries surveyed. All nine copies were returned and used for analysis.
Table 1: Gender
Five staff (55.6%) are female and 4 (44.4%) male.
Table 2: Qualification
None of the staff are qualified as either a paraprofessional or professional librarian.
Table 3: Organization of library materials.
Question: Are library materials catalogued and classified?
Two-thirds responded that library materials are catalogued.
Table 4: Classification scheme
Question: If yes, what scheme do you use?
Of the six respondents who catalogue their library material, one each (16.7 percent) use Library of Congress classification and Dewey Decimal classification, while 2 (33.3 percent) use another system. Two respondents indicated the reasons for not cataloguing materials: Awosika College staff has no education in librarianship, while La Salle. College staff indicated that the books were few and the space very small. The staff in Dele International College did not respond.
Table 5: Challenges facing the library
Question: What are the challenges facing the library?
Table 5 reveals that the biggest challenges facing the surveyed libraries are the lack of a library hour on the school timetable and lack of relevant materials. One respondent indicated a lack of reference materials for research. Table 6: Suggestion for improving library services
Table 6 shows that although mutilation of library materials was not a major problem, nearly 90 percent of respondents felt those who mutilate or steal library materials should be disciplined. More than half of respondents supported the provision of relevant materials and inclusion of library hours on the timetable. Furthermore, two library staff responded that proper orientation should be given to student and other library users as regards proper handling of library materials. In addition, one respondent suggested that the government should not just compel schools by law to build a standard library but also aid them in building a collection.
Conclusion and Recommendations
The research reveals that the staff in the libraries surveyed are not professionally qualified, and not able to organize library resources systematically. The major challenges facing the library are the lack of relevant materials and the omission of library hours from the school timetable. The following recommendations are made based on the results.
These suggestions, if carefully followed, would make private secondary school libraries a haven for the coming generation in Nigeria.
Alabi, A. O. (2007). Empowering literacy from childhood: A survey of teachers and libraries of higher institutions staff schools in Lagos State, Nigeria. Nigerian Libraries 40 : 58, 61
Dike, V.W. (1993). School library services in the goings and beyond: A perspective. Nigeria School Library Journal 3 (1 & 2): 7-8.
Fayose, P.O.E. (1995). School library resource centres for educational excellence. Ibadan: AENL Educational Publishers: 15-24.
Fayose, P.O.E. (2002). School library. Ibadan: Centres for External Studies, University of Ibadan: 4-5, 30-36.
Fayose, P.O.E. (2003). Children, teachers, and librarians: Developing information-conscious children. Inaugural Lecture Series of the University of Ibadan held on 30-10-2003.
Federal Government of Nigeria (2004). National Policy on Education. Lagos: Government Printers.
Metzger, A.J.B. (1992). The training of teacher librarians for community junior secondary schools in Botswana. Journal of Library, Archives, and Information Science 2 : 143-144.
Ogunleye, G. O. (1988). Manpower aspects of secondary school libraries in the 6-3-3-4 educational system in Nigeria: Case study of Ondo State. Library Review 37.
Oanatola, A. (2004). Basics of librarianship: Theory and practice. Lagos: Omega: 28-29.