In this chapter, the researcher presented a general overview of the study with the following sub-headings: background of the study, statement of the problem, scope of the study, purpose of the study, significance of the study, research questions and hypotheses.
Background to the Study
The function of reading in the development of human life and his society cannot be overemphasized as it adds quality to life and is a pathway to the future. Simply put, reading is a basic building block for learning. It is a necessity for full participation in contemporary society. In effect, reading in its entirety and variety is necessary for being better informed. It stimulates imagination, widens views, expands horizons, encourages quick learning and helps in learning about different people and places. Generally, reading invokes curiosity and imagination that leads to skills for handling complex ideas and issues.
In an age when browsing the net, playing with funky handsets and passing non-stop short message service (SMSs) seem to be the order of the day, reading a book in a peaceful corner of a library has become an archaic idea for most people. While technology is slowly taking a steady control over individual lives, the reading habit is fast vanishing into thin air. The achievement of quality basic education in all countries in Africa call for development of good reading habits of both children and adult. This will change the stigma already associated with Africa as a continent with a “Poor Reading Culture” (Tella and Akande, 2007).
The art of reading can be an interesting experience for children and adolescents if they are properly guided. It is a common saying that students are the future leaders, invariably, every child is a potential leader. To this effect, it is noted that leaders are made and not just born. Ilogho (2015) argued that though most people may have the potentials to become effective leaders, it takes time to discover and develop these potentials. Until these potentials are discovered, the teachers must ensure that the students have good reading culture. Students training include teaching and helping them cultivate a good reading habit.
Reading habit refers to the frequency of reading, and the average time spent on reading materials. It is also the culture or habit that enables one to imbibe reading and studying as a basis of growth and development. For the purpose of this study, the two terms “reading culture” and “reading habit” will be used interchangeably as they are mutually exclusive or inseparable. Nssien (2007) states that, reading culture is a process of building up positive reading attitude among students and children over time. Although, when an individual habitually and regularly read books and other information materials that are not necessarily required of him to advance in his/her profession or career, he or she is also said to have a reading culture. One interesting legacy to hand down to students is teaching them to become life-long learners through reading and love of books. Once this culture is inculcated in them, their ability to study independently and excel academically will increase. Also, they can surmount future challenges in life when they have good reading culture. To promote reading culture among students, a library is needed in secondary schools.
A library is a place of information or a place of lending information resources that leads to acquisition of knowledge. It is essential for promotion of reading culture in students. The information resources (reading materials) available in the library unveils an opportunity for the students to find information or reading materials and read by themselves. For the purpose of this study, the library to be discussed is the school library.
School libraries are those libraries in nursery, primary and secondary schools, and they are located in the school premises. Their primary aim is to support the learning activities of the school, and inculcate good reading habit in the students. No wonder why it is stipulated in the functions of school libraries that part of its role is to promote the development of reading skills and encourage long-term learning habits. Learning habits form the key to continuous success in school, as well as personal enrichment of the students/pupils. To enable the school library fulfill its role of promoting reading culture, it provides not only books but items such as motion pictures, video tapes, slides, educational materials, etc as library collections. The books in this library include; fiction and non-fiction books and books on other subject matters. Books on current affairs keep them abreast of current happenings. The school library is the child’s first exposure to library use.
The functions of the school library according to Ahiauzu (2009) include:
- to support teaching and learning within the school system;
- to enrich the school curriculum;
- to promote the development of reading skills and encourage long-term learning habits.
- to stimulate research and independent learning with materials that not only supplies information in printed form but also in pictures, films tapes etc. This makes learning more exciting;
- to provide opportunities for further reading and use of materials other than prescribed classroom textbooks;
- to provide materials for recreation and encourage students/pupils to read for pleasure;
- to encourage students/pupils to develop their power of analytical appraisal by exposing them to varied collection of printed and non-printed materials in the library;
- to provide students/pupils with vocational information that will aid them in the choice of a suitable career; and
- to provide updated information to keep staff and students abreast of new developments.
The reason for establishing school libraries is for them to serve as a pivot for reading and promoting reading habit among school children. The school library brings together books and other formats of literacy materials and the readers under the expert guidance of a certified or professional librarian for the promotion of a sustainable reading culture. Apart from provision of reading materials, school libraries provide reading programmes that motivate students to read for pleasure. Reading programmes are reading activities school libraries provide to create awareness of the collections and motivate students to read for pleasure. It is on this basis that the researcher wishes to investigate the influence of use of school libraries in promoting reading culture among students in secondary schools in Rivers State.
Statement of the Problem
Reading is very strategic in the daily lives of students and their academic progression. There is no way any student can withstand academic rigours and the demands if such a student cannot read very well or read at all. To this effect, school libraries are keys to the promotion of reading culture in secondary schools. Inspite of the importance of reading as a culture, it has become obvious that many secondary school students in Rivers State no longer read rather they are pre-occupied with telling stories of how many home video collections they have or have watched, or fun-oriented television programmes in vogue. The various football club stations, match results, games analysis and even games betting are what they take pleasure in. Most students are even pre-occupied with mobile phone related activities such as music, pinging, browsing for non-educative programmes among others. These and many activities have deprived many of the students quality time to access relevant educative books and materials that can promote reading. Could these problems be associated with inadequate library resources or lack of interest in reading among the students? These are the facts the researcher intends to ascertain in the course of this study.
Scope of the Study
This study focused on the influence of the use of school libraries in promoting reading culture among secondary school students in Rivers state. It also examined the relationship between the availability of information resources and students’ reading habits, extent of students’ utilization of the school libraries, relationship between the utilization of the library and students’ reading habit, challenges faced by school libraries in promoting reading culture, and measures needed to encourage reading among students in secondary schools. There are three(3) senatorial districts in Rivers state, the researcher will focus on six(6) notable schools from the three(3) senatorial districts (i.e two(2) schools from each senatorial district). In order to manage the study effectively, students and teacher librarians in these selected samples were used. In other words, the results obtained will be generalized on the entire population of secondary schools in Rivers State.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to examine the influence of use of school libraries in promoting reading culture among secondary school students in Rivers State. Specifically, the study aimed at:
- examining the relationship between the availability of information resources and students’ reading habits.
- determining the extent of utilization of school libraries in secondary schools in Rivers state.
- examining the relationship between the utilization of the library and students’ reading habit.
- identifying the challenges faced by school libraries in promoting reading culture in secondary schools.
- identifying measures needed to encourage reading among secondary school students in Rivers state.
Significance of the Study
The result of the study will be useful in many ways to the following stakeholders: students, principals/teachers, administrators, philanthropist, donor agencies, government etc.
For the students, it will create awareness on the effective use of school libraries by students as well as expose and sensitize children on the use of school library resources available. This will in turn enable them have a correct and right perception of libraries in the educational system.
The findings will also help various school authorities and administrators of secondary schools to appreciate the place and position of school libraries in the school and its role in encouraging or promoting reading culture in students.
The study will also attempt to enlighten the government on the need of employing skilled personnel in the process of promoting reading culture among students in secondary schools. It will also be of great value to the government at all levels as it will expose them to the significance of school libraries in the educational system.
This study will help organizations, companies and donor agencies to prioritize on areas to render support or channel their interventionist funds to curb the menace of poor reading culture and illiteracy.
The use of school libraries in inculcating reading culture among secondary school children cannot be overstretched. Nonetheless, conducting a research in this area will enhance reading, teaching and the learning process of our secondary school children, especially if those concerned will implement the findings of the research work. Finally, this study will add to the existing literature in library and information science.
- What is the relationship between the availability of information resources and students’ reading habits?
- To what extent do the students utilize school libraries in these secondary schools?
- What is the relationship between the utilization of the library and students reading habit?
- What are the challenges faced by school libraries in promoting reading culture in the secondary schools under study?
- What measures should be taken to encourage reading among students in secondary schools in Rivers state?
The following Null hypotheses are formulated and tested at 0.05 of significant level.
HO1: There is no significant relationship between the level of availability of library resources and the students reading habit.
HO2: The relationship between students’ utilization of library resources do not differ significantly from their reading habit.
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