Factors inhibiting promotion of a reading culture: a study of basic school libraries in lusaka
Nabuyanda, Mutinta Mweemba
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This study investigates the factors that inhibit the promotion of a culture of reading in students. The study surveyed availability of libraries in basic schools, the current state of these libraries and perceptions of students towards the provision of services and facilities. The study analysed the implications of library services to supplement the provision of quality basic education in order to foster literacy.The study population was government and private school libraries in Lusaka urban. Data was collected by means of questionnaires and observation schedule. A total of 15 schools were sampled. Fifteen teacher librarians (one from each school) were given questionnaires to find out the state of library facilities. A total of 225 students with ages ranging between 8 and 12 years were randomly selected. Five students per grade were selected from grades 5 to 7. The major findings were that school libraries were poorly stocked with no qualified librarians to manage them. Although the majority of libraries had timetabled library periods, these were not being fully utilized as reading programmes were not established and programmed for the students to encourage them to read. Furthermore, the majority of students spent less than 2 hours reading on a daily basis. The findings further revealed that the home environment did not encourage students to read as the atmosphere was generally not conducive. Watching television was the highest factor that hindered the students from reading as much as they would have loved to. Students were spending their leisure time mainly watching television, playing on the computer and doing housework. These, together with not having free access to the library and lack of interesting books to read, were considered a big hindrance to the promotion of the culture of reading. Although it has been established that libraries are an indispensable part of the school, results of this study revealed that basic school libraries in Zambia were not meeting the students’ reading needs and may not be adequately promoting a culture of reading. Suggestions to improve reading by the students included provision of new and interesting books in the library, the librarian assisting the students during their searched for reading materials, provision of big and spacious libraries with adequate furniture. The majority of these libraries have insufficient library materials, inadequate infrastructure and furniture, and unqualified staff. Finally, the following recommendations have been made to help improve libraries in schools and find ways for the cultivation of reading interests by supplementing school reading schemes with efficient and effective modern library services; all basic schools being constructed should include libraries furnished with adequate facilities; Government’s library standards and guidelines should be implemented and monitored by the Ministry of Education; qualified librarians should be employed in all schools to help implement reading programmes through timetabled library periods and other reading promotions like read-a-thon week; Government should consent the National library policy.
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