Utilization Of Library Resources And Reading Effectiveness Among Senior Secondary School Students In Nsit Ibom Local Government Area Of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria

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  • Background to the Study

Library and Education are two vital institutions of socialization and perpetuation of human race. The two cannot be separated in an all round development of young people. Education as a result of knowledge imparted develops abilities, attitudes, behaviour and technical know-how and one of the agencies responsible for acquiring, disseminating and imparting this knowledge is the library. The provision of library services is therefore crucial and indispensable to the secondary school education system.

Libraries are established to advance the course of education. Library objectives are interwoven with that of education, they both aim at producing intellectually developed and complete individuals in the society. Thus libraries exist to promote and complement education. The school library has been described as the heart of the school system. It is the school library or learning resource center, the laboratory of laboratories. What vital role does the school library play in education that it warrants such description? First, it must be noted that inspite of the claim that the library is the heart of the school or of the laboratory of laboratories, school libraries are a relatively new concept. Few schools had libraries before the 20thcentury (Okpa-Iroha, 1983). Thus those early school libraries had two (2) principal objectives, both of which are still today to provide materials to support the curriculum and to promote reading.

The school library concept gained momentum as a result of changing ideas about education. In the early years of the 20th century, the progressive education movement in the United States espoused ideas that stimulated the growth of school library in many countries of the world. However, widespread and systematic development of school dates back from the decades following the world war, especially the 1950’s 1960’s and 1970’s. The development coincides with a number of factors including continuity evolution of ideas for 1970’s educational reform. In the early years of the 20thcentury up to the 1970’s in this country, library utilization formed an indispensable arm in the teaching and learning process especially at the secondary school level which is a vital level in the whole educational cadre. Hence in those days, sound, vibrant and well knowledgeable graduates were produced in Nigeria. In this era, students hardly know what a library is all about because it is virtually non-existent in most public and private schools. In any educational set-up, apart from human resources, books and other reading material resources are considered as major material resources that are utilized in the process of attaining educational goals.

Reading is an activity engaged by most people throughout their life time. According to Moyla (1969), reading is the thought of a writer communicated to others through written or printed words. It is an interactive activity (Silleiman and Crossman 1980) as the reader not only gets to share the thoughts of the authors, but is also to interpret the words of the author. Reading is most often associated with literacy as educated persons are expected to have the ability to read and write to a competent level, it is therefore not surprising that reading is an important topic for senior secondary school students.

Okpa-Iroha (1985) said that a school library is a collection of a whole range variety of library materials and resources housed in each school, centrally organized by Staff professionally prepared to offer services to students and teachers that will enrich and support the educational enterprises. This means that a school library assists and supports that educational program of the school by storing instructional materials for use in teaching and learning. Ifidon (1996). In Nigeria, the National library came into effect in the mid-1960s with the enactment of the National Library Act of 1964. The National Library Decree of 1970 provided that the National Library School be depository of any publication emanating from the country, Federal Republic of Nigeria (1983). Precisely, the decree made it mandatory for every commercial publisher to deposit three (3) perfect copies of every title published in the country to the National Library, while the Federal government and all it’s agencies are expected to deposit twenty-five (25) copies and each of the state government to deposit ten (10) copies of their publications to the National Library. Within the immediate past decades, Vicki (2004) and white fish (2004) have shown clearly the importance of developing library services in the high school environment. This was achieved by their in-depth collection of data for the 21st century in high schools. Also Robin (2005) confirmed this assertion that any higher school without efficient and effective library is compared to a car without an engine.

In recent times, however the reading habit of young people have become the concern of educators, researchers and policy makers (Kaur and Thivagarjah, 1999). In Nigeria, Ifedili (2009) came to a grime conclusion that there is high decline rate in the reading culture. The current state of reading could be associated with Gallagher’s (2003) assertion the students, being human seek pleasure of value. As such students may decide to engage in non-reading of not even see the value of reading. It is observed in our society that secondary school students exhibits poor reading habits. Hence, this research is committed to investigate the utilization of library resources and reading effectiveness among senior secondary school students in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

1.2     Statement of the Problem

For Nigeria to excel academically and have her educational sector develop, there is need for the reform of our educational system through adequate provision of functional libraries as well as effective and sophisticated library systems in various secondary schools. History and research have shown that average Nigerians attend schools with the aim of graduating in order to acquire certificates to qualify them as working class individuals earning a living without imbibing the moral and cultural values that will make them a complete individual that can compete in the society through their education. The library is regarded as one of the agencies responsible for inculcating the right moral, educational and cultural values.

Another problem area for carrying out this research which is a major concern among teachers and indeed the general public is the issue of mass failure of students of secondary schools in both internal and external examinations, most especially their senior school certificate examination (SSCE). Also one other major problem area in this study is the lack of provision of school libraries in our elementary institutions especially government owned schools where they are present, they are ill-equipped and not well managed. They are mostly book stores which are seldom opened to students for use. It is observed in our society that secondary students exhibits poor reading habits. Where there are libraries, only few students seem to make good use of the facilities, whereas others are loitering around the school premises during free periods or break time.

It is against these backgrounds that the study investigates the use of school libraries by senior secondary school students and their reading effectiveness in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

1.3     Objectives of the Study

          The study seeks to investigate utilization of library resources and reading effectiveness. The specific objectives are to find out if:

  1. The use of textbooks in the library influences reading effectiveness of secondary school students.
  2. Use of ICT facilities in the library influences reading effectiveness of secondary school students.
  3. Use of journals and newspaper articles in the library influences reading effectiveness of secondary school students.

1.4     Research Questions

  1. To what extent does use of textbooks in the libraries influences reading effectiveness.
  2. How does the use of modern ICT facilities in the library influence reading effectiveness of secondary school students.
  • In what way does the use of journals and newspaper articles in the library influence reading effectiveness of senior secondary school students.

1.5     Hypotheses

Based on the above research questions, the study formulated the following:

  1. There is no significant influence of use of textbooks in library on reading effectiveness of secondary school students.
  2. There is no significant influence of use of ICT facilities in library on reading effectiveness of secondary school students.
  • There is no significant influence of use of journals and newspaper articles in reading effectiveness of secondary school students.

1.6     Significance of the Study

          This study which is aimed at investigating the availability and utilization of school library resources in some selected secondary schools in Nsit Ibom is significant for the following reasons.

Schools and practicing libraries would need this study to execute their library operations and enhance performance. Librarian-in-training and library educators would find this study a worthy companion and it would provide and enrich literature for effective teaching and learning in schools. Secondary school principal, Directors and proprietors of secondary schools would benefit from the study as it will unmask the role of the school library in secondary school system of education. The findings of the study would therefore serve as a valuable working document in the hands of educational Administration in finding a long-lasting solution to the problem of falling standard of education in Nigeria. This study would also be of immense benefit to educational policy makers and implementers as it would serve as a guide in formulating and implementing relevant educational policies through relating to school library services. Students and general readers would find the study useful as it explains the professional practices of school library thereby helping in creating more awareness of the use and usefulness of school library and it’s maximum usage as information resource custodian.

1.7     Scope and Delimitation of Study

          The study covers selected secondary schools in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area including public schools. In order to manage the study effectively, only students in the senior secondary schools (SSS) in each school were used, in other words the result obtained will be used to generalize the whole population of each school visited.

There are twelve (12) public secondary schools in Nsit Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. However, three (3) schools will be chosen for this study, and they are commercial secondary school, Ikot Nya, Nsit Ibom, Nsit People’s Grammar School, Afaha Offiong and Comprehension Secondary School, Afaha Abia, Nsit Ibom.

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