At the heart of education is student learning. The librarian’s responsibility is to develop knowledge in such a way that learning becomes more enduringly meaningful, enduringly meaningful, and personally satisfying. Perhaps much of what the students learn will wear out or become outdated. But the information skills learned in libraries remain functional indefinitely or for as long as they are needed (Mangay, 2004).
The school/university library is an important partner in knowledge management and should share with the school/university its responsibility to systematically design, implement and evaluate the entire learning and teaching process (Herring, 1982). In this case, the library assumes the role of intermediary between students and resources and between teachers and resources. The library contributes to meaningful, satisfying, and challenging education when directly involved (Mangay, 2004).
The school/college library should be viewed as an integral part of the school/college organization and not as an orphanage. Its development cannot be isolated from the development in education as it is part of the education system. The library is unique in that its users are part of its education, acquiring skills to use information effectively to achieve specific learning goals. The library is not just a support of the curriculum, but an active part of the curriculum.
Education in general is moving away from traditional classroom teaching with limited subjects/modules towards more individual work, group learning, project work, research and increasing use of non-book and book resources. The disappearance of streaming from the school curriculum plays a crucial role in finding methods or sources that cater to the wide variety of learning abilities of students.
The traditional “chalk and talk” approach to teacher-centred education has been modified. Teachers/lecturers now spend their time introducing students to topics and explaining concepts and methods in a lecturer situation. Pupils/students are expected to study for themselves and, if possible, at their own pace. We continue to see the gradual increase in the use of ‘newer media’ alongside the ‘older print’ medium (Mangay, 2004).
School/college libraries provide a learning environment in which the student can learn and practice research and inquiry techniques. Their collections express the expected requirements of all teaching units and special interests of the school/university and also take special account of the personal cultural and leisure interests of the young people themselves, so that reading and research become natural habits of life.
Libraries are now entering a new evolutionary stage of the information age. New educational developments have strengthened the role and importance of schools/librarians. They are tasked with fulfilling the natural role of school/college libraries as centers of learning and utilizing all available means of communication. The library is a communication center. Their commitment and concern for the promotion of reading and the enrichment of individuals’ imaginative and creative lives remain undiminished (Taylor, 1980).
It is the responsibility of librarians to ensure that patrons develop the ability to find, use, evaluate, and retrieve materials according to the patron’s own perceived needs and purposes. He should provide reference and guidance services when the constituency’s skills are not sufficient for the search problem at hand (Grass and Klentz, 1999). Librarians are often viewed as providers of resources rather than co-teachers with common goals. The librarian is an educator, custodian, organizer, and disseminator of knowledge. The library therefore allows the student to explore context beyond the curriculum.
Effective library use will increase library awareness among young people; Turn non-users and avid students into lifelong readers and learners. Library awareness will also change the minds of students who believe their purpose in the library is only to study lecture notes or charge cell phones without the ability to charge for assignments, project writing, or other academic assessments research. The library allows users to develop lifelong literacy skills. It helps increase students’ individual efforts and achievements; creates a new perspective on the use of information and is an impulse for the academic community (lecturers, staff, students, researchers).
Finally, the library should be recognized and used by other colleagues in the learning organization (Lance and Loertsher, 2001). It brings professional clientele through the resources provided, enabling richly enhanced lecture notes fruitful for student learning, project writing, term papers, assignments and of course exams. A better approach is taken to the modules taught and ‘note-taking’. This promotes the partnership between the lecturer and the librarian. The librarian’s work is of high quality and he/she makes valuable contributions to the academic community (Grass and Klentz, 1999).
Grass, J. and Klentz, S. (1999). “Development for authentic learning”. Teacher Librarian, 27(1), pp. 22-25.
Herring, JE (1988). school library. 2nd ed. London: Clive Bingley.
Lance and Loertscher, DV (2001). Powerful Performance: School library media programs, make a difference – the evidence. Sam Josa, California: H. William. research and publication.
Mangay, S. (2004). The need for an effective school library system in Sierra Leone. (unpublished).
Taylor, LJ (1980). A Librarian’s Handbook: Supplemental documents and documentation that include new policies, statements, standards of service and evidence, and a completely revised instructions section. Vol.2. London: The Library Association.
Thanks to Suzannette Glena Mangay