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Complementing academics with library work

K S Someswara, Feb 21, 2013 20:05 IST

Knowledge treasure

Goals of a school library is integral to the progress of education. The school library is certainly the temple of knowledge for all. It provides information and ideas that are fundamental to the successful functioning in today’s society.

The school library can equip students with life-skills and develop their imagination, making them responsible citizens of the future. It offers learning services, books and resources that enable all the members of the school community to become critical thinkers and effective users of information in all formats and media.

The school library is an essential partner in the local, regional and national library and information network where it shares facility or resources with other types of libraries, say public libraries. It has been demonstrated that when libraries and teachers work together, students achieve higher levels of literacy, reading, writing, problem solving and also information and communication skills.

The library staff should be well trained in their field to support the use of books and other information sources ranging from fictional to the documentary, from print to electronic media, both on site and remote.

The school library is an invincible part of school academics. If one is to recognize the value and importance of informed system of education, then the library method of self education must be complementary to the system. It should help students prepare themselves for the next class, home assignment, general education, information competition, and also offer recreation and inspiration.

In most of the developed countries the method of teaching includes library. Library support staff of the school provides the students with appropriate books and other information services. Such a process will enthuse the young minds to open up themselves and discover their own potentiality.

Many assignments given to the pupils are dependent on the library work. This method of teaching makes them skillful and more knowledgeable.

In our own education system though, the library is a mere part of the school building. Library-supported academic learning is a never-heard-of phenomenon.

Even the earmarked ‘library period’ in the time table is given up under the guise of “syllabus completion”, and “special classes”! This is quite a tragedy for it obstructs self learning in students and their deeper understanding of the academic subjects. Shunning library will only induce question-paper specific knowledge in students and will hinder any inspirational and experimental ideas they may have.

In an ideal world, school library fulfills certain functions by developing policies and services, and selecting and acquiring resources. This will provide appropriate physical and intellectual access. Ideally, a school library should do the following:

* Compliment textbook learning and study materials.
* Support and enhance educational goals as outlined in the school’s mission and curriculum.
* Develop and sustain in children, the habit and enjoyment of reading and the use of libraries throughout their lives.
* Offer opportunities for creating and using information for knowledge, understanding, imagination, and enjoyment.
* Providing access to local, regional, national and global resources that expose students to diverse ideas, experiences, and opinions.

* Organise activities that encourage cultural and social awareness and sensitivity.
As stated earlier, only an actively invlolved library learning will make school education meaningful. Another sure-shot way of involving the library in school education is to make activities like book seminar, arts day, science day, and other such programmes library oriented.

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