1.1 Background to the Study
The library is the heart and centre of activity of any educational enterprise. The development of any meaningful educational programme greatly depends on the quality of the library in terms of its resources, their use and eventually, the influence on the users. Adefarati (2002), while applauding the gradually evolving educational practice in Nigeria which tends to shift emphasis from the teacher to the learner, states that the library is a ‘reliable instrument for actualizing this much desired educational reform’. The power of the library lies in its resources which can influence, make or mar society’s effort at development (Keith, 2004). According to Popoola and Haliso (2009), school libraries should contribute to the total development of the students as well as their teachers. A school library has the role of enlarging knowledge and stimulating critical, imaginative and creative thinking among students.
Dike (2000) stated that there is strong connection between the students’ use of school library and their academic performance. Students that use the school library often perform better in test and examination than students who fail to use the school library. According to him, school library is very important in shaping learning process involving reading for leisure, studying to pass examinations and obtaining useful information on different aspects of life. He went further to state that researchers have demonstrated that school libraries have positive impact on students’ achievement. It must noted that positive impact can only be achieved through effectiveness of school library. According to Adeleke (2005), school libraries help children in primary and secondary schools to discover for themselves through independent study and learning how to ask questions.
Wikipedia (2016) defines a school library (or a school library media center) as a library within a school where students, teachers, and often, parents of a public or private school have access to a variety of resources. According to Dike (2000), school library is defined as the learning laboratory for excellences where teachers and students find the world of knowledge and interact directly with the resources, acquire information literacy and develop research skills for lifelong learning. One aspect that the above definitions failed to deal with is the fact that school libraries are actually libraries found in schools that are below the tertiary levels of education – namely primary and secondary schools. This is in line with the definition of school library by Asikhia (2010) who stated that, ‘school libraries are those in the educational institutions such as pre-primary, primary and secondary schools which are important to the life-wire and foundational up-bringing of children.’ He further went on to state that their primary responsibility is to stock materials that are of interest and developmental growth for young children and teenagers.
Ezenwa (2003), states that the school library is called a media centre, resource centre, or instructional material centre to reflect the expanded role of the school library in education. He further puts forward that it is an inexhaustible store house of unrestricted educational resources in diverse formats systematically organized for young users. Thus, a school library cannot be separated from the school and still expect all round development of the students. Adefarati (2002) stated that the performance of students could be improved considerably if they use the library regularly. Oyediran (2004) believes that the goal of the school library is to ensure that all members of the school community have equitable access ‘to books and reading, to information, and to information technology irrespective of their age.’ He further states that ‘school libraries are distinct from public libraries because they serve as learner-oriented laboratories which support, extend, and individualize the school’s ‘curriculum’ It can therefore be said that a school library serves as the center and coordinating agency for all material used in the school.
Students make use of the school library for different purposes. These include using the library resources such as textbooks, story books, novels, etc as well as taking advantage of the serenity of the library space to read and be able to concentrate. Users may also find the library space a useful place to relax during free periods as well as to catch up with lessons that may have previously been missed. Moreover, teachers find the school library a useful place to search for teaching resources in line with the curriculum for teaching their students. As true as this seems, the usefulness of the library for both students and teachers, is mostly dependent on the availability of library resources. The concept “library resources” is used to mean anything that can provide intellectual stimulation to the reader/learner and it includes books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets and ephemera, audio materials, film materials, graphic computers etc. as well as individuals and objects in the community (Adesoji, 2007). Library resources, according to Alegbeleye (2008), include everything that is used in providing the required services to the clientele. Fayose (2005) identifies a library resource as those materials which enable libraries to carry their function out effectively. According to him, they are made up of books and other information bearing media.
Library resources can be divided into groups according to their functions and level of usefulness or according to their different formats. Study and teaching materials are the resources required by students for their study as well as by their teachers. They consist of recommended textbooks, books to support class texts, past examination papers, reference books like dictionaries, encyclopedia, world records, etc. Students and their teachers need library resources and the expertise of a school librarian to succeed. School libraries help teachers teach children (Keith 2004). A school library is one that supports school programs as well as the teaching and learning process. School libraries resources serve students and teachers by providing materials to meet their various information needs, encouraging reading and the use of libraries (Popoola and Haliso, 2009). Adam (2003) notes that “research shows that the reading scores for students in schools that focus on improving their library programs are, on average of eight to twenty one percent, higher than similar schools with no such development”. Ezenwa (2003) states that in each society there are facilities such as the library other than classrooms that can contribute in no small measure to teaching and learning process and for effective learning to take place, learners must have access to necessary information materials and resources.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Secondary school education is supposed to be the bedrock and foundation toward higher knowledge in tertiary institutions, as well as an instrument for national development that fosters the worth and development of the individual for further education and development, general development of the society and equality of educational opportunities to all Nigerian children, irrespective of any real or marginal disability. However, the above mentioned aim of secondary school education is being threatened by students’ poor academic performance which is as a result of ineffective teaching methods, inadequate teaching resources and poor study habits.
Asikhia (2010) contended that students’ failure to use the school library and its’ resources to expand their study habits has a negative effect on their academic performance. Popoola (2009) reported that teachers share the blame as they have a responsibility to incorporate library resources to support the curriculum and to ensure that students make use of the library very often. As evidenced in some studies, school libraries as an aspect of education which provides learning resources and good environment that are flexible, dynamic and also being capable of responding to a wide variety of needs and learning styles, have not created the desired impacts in many secondary schools in Nigeria.
Universities all over the world place much emphasis on the use of library resources to for enhancing students’ academic performances. In Nigeria, most government owned universities have secondary schools funded by them. There are also secondary schools that are operated/managed by owners of private universities.
Over the years, numerous studies have examined the availability of library resources and the librarian’s important role of maintaining school library collection, providing ease of access to them as well as providing user assistance to students and inspiring literacy. Little emphasis has been placed on teacher’s use of school library resources, the role the teachers play in ensuring that their students make judicious use of the library in line with the curriculum and the impact school libraries have on student achievement and behavior. The university emphasizes the use of the library by its students, hence a functional library is a compulsory component of the university system. Is this same emphasis extended to secondary schools being floated by them. This is the gap in knowledge that inspired the present research.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The primary objective of this research is to determine the influence of the use of library resources on the effective teaching and learning in university secondary schools. The specific objectives are:
- to determine the availability of library resources in the university secondary schools
- to determine the extent of use of library resources for teaching by university secondary school teachers
- to determine the extent of use of library resources for learning by university secondary school students
- to identify the influence of use of library resources on effective teaching and learning
- to identify the problems militating against the availability and use of school library resources
1.4 Research Questions
- To what extent is the availability of library resources in the secondary schools?
- To what extent are library resources used for teaching by university secondary school teachers?
- To what extent are library resources used for learning by university secondary school students?
- What influence does the use of library resources have on effective teaching and learning in secondary schools?
- What are the problems militating against the availability and use of school? library resources by students and teachers of university secondary schools?
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study focuses on how the use of library resources influence effective teaching and learning in university secondary schools. The study uses teachers and students of the university secondary schools in Edo State. The choice of the selected schools was based simply on the fact that they have functional libraries and they are the only known secondary schools that are being managed by universities in Edo State.
1.6 Significance of the Study
It is hoped that this study will be of immense benefits to all stakeholders as regards secondary school education namely, education policy makers, teachers, parents, school librarians as well as researchers carrying out studies on similar or related topics. For all stakeholders, the study aims to present a clear picture of the level of availability of library resources as this will form a basis for ensuring that the status quo is maintained or advocating increase in the availability of resources in school libraries. For education policy makers, this study will help to guide the curriculum formulation process as regards the need for incorporating the use of library resources in students’ school work. Governments, their education-focused agencies and proprietors of private secondary schools will be encouraged by the findings from this study to develop and equip libraries in secondary schools having seen its effects on teaching and learning.
For teachers, parents and school librarians, it is expected that findings from this study will help serve as a link between students’ academic performance and the use of library resources for teaching and learning. This study will propel teachers to demand for the establishment and improvement of the school libraries so that they and their students can benefit from the resources the libraries have. It will also enhance teachers’ attitude towards utilization of school library resources as the study seeks to make the teachers understand that their job will be made much easier if they consult and use the resources in the library. Finally, researchers carrying out similar or related studies will find this study useful for literature review.
1.7 Limitations of the Study
The major limitation to this study was the fact that the researcher was denied access into the libraries of those secondary schools floated by private universities, making it impossible to include personal observations from these libraries. Information regarding materials and their arrangement of these libraries could only be obtained through personal interviews with the management of these schools. Therefore, due to this limitation, the study may not reflect the exact situation of the influence and availability of library resources on effective teaching and learning in these secondary schools. Also, conclusions were derived from feedback given by respondents based on the questionnaires and as such the study is limited by the interpretation made by the individuals towards the items in the questionnaire.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
Influence: To have an effect on someone or a thing in an important way.
School library: Libraries in educational institutions such as pre-primary, primary and secondary schools.
Library resources: Materials such as books, periodicals, newspapers, pamphlets and ephemera, audio materials in the library which provide intellectual stimulation to the reader/learner.
Effective teaching: The kind of teaching that leads to improved student achievement.
improvement in students’ achievement.
University Secondary Schools: Those secondary schools that are either funded and managed by government owned universities or managed by owners of private universities.