A mobile library refers to an appropriately equipped and reinforced vehicle or bus that visits schools on a regular schedule, with a collection of resources available for loan by learners and teachers. It can also be used to boost a school’s resource collection by issuing block loans. This library model is operated by a central library/resource repository, such as B. A regional or regional educational resource center. The mobile library service was introduced primarily to alleviate the demand for library services in the main libraries by reaching out to the general population with the sole aim of providing accurate and up-to-date information to meet the needs in rural schools.
Butdisuwan (2000) defined a mobile library as a library that serves communities and locations that are remote from a local library. They are mostly operated from Monday to Friday and sometimes also on Saturdays.
Knight (2006) defined the mobile library as a large vehicle for use as a library. It is designed to hold books on shelves so that the books are easily accessible from readers when the vehicle is parked. The vehicle used usually offers enough space to read the book it contains. They are often used to provide library services to villages and suburbs of cities that do not have library buildings. They can also mentor groups of people who have difficulty accessing library services.
Nobody (2004) defined a mobile library as a library housed in a large van providing a live service to those unable to visit the nearest local library.
Requirements for operating a mobile library
Some of the requirements needed to run such a service are highlighted here:
• A teacher-librarian to manage the entire service;
• Library Assistant and Driver;
• Financing of fuel, maintenance and licensing;
• Optional online information and lending services, connected to the parenting library management system, using laptops and scanners;
• A performance agreement with the schools involved that clearly articulates the role and responsibilities between the schools and the service providers;
• A schedule of regular visits based on school hours;
• A dedicated budget for collection development and running costs;
• Ongoing training for teachers who have access to the collection; and a
• Monitoring and reporting mechanism (Knight, 2006).
The role of mobile libraries in supporting education
Libraries and information centers do not exist in a vacuum. There is always a reasonable justification for their operations. Therefore, the following reasons express the importance of mobile libraries:
• Continue to mentor other schools as schools make progress in developing their own school library and information service;
• The school’s library resources are regularly updated through the mobile library service, as the selection is based on the needs of the schools visited;
• This service is particularly useful in the rural schools, when there is a lack of large organizational capacity and space to set up a proper library;
• Participate in resource sharing that allows learners and teachers to access a wide range of resources;
• Support teachers in training learners to become information literate and develop reading habits;
• Host other learning interventions such as music, arts, science and technology learning programs as part of the school library and information services program that will benefit all learners.
• Address audiences and their information needs in remote communities or other regions where library services are currently unable to stimulate or meet information demands;
• expand their services to reach the physically challenged;
• Mobile libraries provide reading materials to different schools based on their different learning needs. Picture books with less complex illustrations, vocabulary and reference books with many photographs are selected for a prep class;
• They play an important role in times of crisis by providing guidance to many stakeholders such as citizens, experts and policy makers by providing trusted sources of information;
• Building lasting bonds with the school community by building lasting partnerships by helping to inculcate reading habits and cultures in the communities;
• Provision of read-aloud sessions and user training programs, particularly when introducing new users to your services; and
• Providing reference materials such as encyclopedias, dictionaries, maps, atlases and globes as a comprehensive source of information and reference for their patrons (Beenham and Harrison, 1990).
Challenges in operating mobile library services
Operating mobile libraries is not without its challenges. These range from many problems as given below:
• Resources are limited and there is a possibility that the appropriate resources will be selected first by another school. The mobile library is medium in size and reference in nature, and in most cases can accommodate fewer than fifty (50) concurrent users. Certain facilities are also missing, such as the bibliographical instructions and the library catalogue, which are the keys to the library’s holdings;
• The lack of space to read and the time to explore the mobile library are not enough. Depending on the size of the school population and length of visit, each class is typically given thirty (30) minutes to use the library. As the number of children and classes in schools increases, the time and space required to accommodate everyone decreases;
• In addition, the lack of adequately trained and qualified staff is another challenge in mobile library operations. Mobile library staff often lack the necessary librarianship qualifications;
• Financial constraints also pose a challenge to running a mobile library. A mobile library needs a budget for recurring income and expenses to supplement its depleted resources over a period of time based on its consistent usage by users;
• Management of the service could be problematic as schools have to be held liable for media borrowed;
• Distance and terrain present their own challenges, particularly as service is limited by the number of buses serving rural areas;
• Buses can also be a target for thieves, especially if they carry computers; and
• Donated buses already customized from other countries must be serviced locally while adding the additional cost of import clearance.
In fact, a mobile library service is one of the most important services that library and information services use to achieve their goals and objectives. There is considerable potential in using mobile library services to support local or stationary library services, but there are also many challenges. There should therefore be commitment on the part of nations’ governments, educational administrators, librarians and national library managers to achieve quality and sustainability in the development and improvement of mobile library services. Only through their active participation will mobile library services transform the teaching and learning process in education.
Thanks to Solomon Sellu | #Role #Mobile #Libraries #Supporting #Education