This paper will analyze the process of creating and promoting an effective library program. By establishing a library program, it is possible to help the students to improve their performance as it assists the students in obtaining the books necessary for their reading at the K-12 level. An effective school library program also involves the cooperation between students, teachers, and school administration.
A few school administrators have encouraged the students to develop “after-hours school library program” so that students can use the books available in the school libraries after the teaching hours. (Barringer, 21) This program gives sufficient freedom to the students and the teachers and other volunteers as they are given the freedom to approach government authorities for grants since financial assistance is necessary to develop such a program. (Barringer, 21)
Information regarding school library programs can be disseminated in the form of pamphlets or newsletters since such methods have been used in some schools. (Barringer, 21)
This shows that the school administration gives autonomy to the students in order to interact with the school administration and government authorities with a view to develop the school library.
The student administrators, in after-hours school libraries, are able to request the students to cooperate with them in order to create a library. With the assistance of other school members such as teachers, students, and administrators, it is possible to establish such a program. For example, before establishing such programs, the student leaders can call for a meeting of other school members in order to discuss the specific issues related to building a school library. (Barringer, 21)
The after-hours school library program can involve interaction between parents, teachers and students. (Barringer, 21) For example, in some schools that adopt school library programs, parents are given information concerning various courses. The parents are given information concerning the labs, books, courses, music lessons, and so on. The teachers can give guidance to the student projects. (Barringer, 21)
The informal interaction between the students and the teachers can help the students in obtaining further information pertaining to their lessons and also various practical issues that affect the lives of the students. (Barrigner, 21) Due to their advantages, school library programs should be encouraged by the school authorities. School libraries are required in order to help the administration to evaluate the needs of the students. With the help of the parents and other community members, it is possible to arrange for financial grant that is necessary to build a school library and other facilities in the schools. (Barringer)
An important advantage of school library program is that it encourages teamwork, which also results in innovation. Thus, new techniques of learning are being discovered by the students. (Building) Consequently, the students are able to control the learning process, which is extremely important to improve the creative thinking abilities of the students. Since the students learn the value of team work, they are able to emerge as valuable and enlightened citizens after they finish their education. (Building)
School library programs provide an opportunity both to the students as well as teachers to participate in the academic work. (Building) For example, the teachers and students are encouraged to make use of resources. Based on the curriculum, the teachers can give guidance to the students concerning the use of relevant materials necessary for their courses. (Building)
Another advantage of school library program is that it enhances interaction between community members and the school authorities. Through school library members, the school authorities can give information concerning the programs of schools and the achievements of the students. This improves the relationship between the students, teachers, and the parents. (Barringer, 21)
Another important advantage of such programs is that they can assist in improving the ‘literacy levels’ of the community members. (Barringer, 21) This will encourage the students to increase the collection of books and other resources necessary to improve their knowledge concerning specific area of study. (Barrigner, 21) By managing school libraries, the student and teacher-librarians are able to obtain valuable training in the art of management leading to their personality development.
The work of establishing any school library program should start with ‘a solid plan’. (Barringer, 22) This is because the school authorities need to be clear regarding their goals of initiating such a program. The students need to prepare an outline of the program’s plan and with the help of the Head of the Department and the Principal can initiate the process of building a school library. (Barringer, 22)
The student leaders need to take the help of other students to build the school library. After obtaining necessary permission from the school authorities the students can start the process of building the library. The next stage is obviously maintenance and promotion of the school library. (Barringer, 22)
The librarians need to maintain the records of the library in order to enable the students to borrow books and other materials available in the library. (Barringer, 22) The student leaders need to look for the volunteers who can come forward during their free time to manage the library. There is a need to decide the timings of the library and such timings should be informed to the members of the library. (Barringer, 22)
Periodic meetings should be conducted in order to assess the progress of the library work. In such meetings, the members can also discuss the need for changes in the management system. (Barringer, 22) The students and the parents should be encouraged to visit the library. The library should encourage not only reading but also discussion of the specific readings so as to enable the students to improve their reading and thinking skills. (Barringer, 22)
The government has showed its interest in the education of all students by introducing the No Child Left Behind Act. (NCLB) (Yoke, 34) The provisions of this act can be used to improve the library collection or establish new school libraries. The act gives importance to enhancing students’ reading, mathematics, and comprehension skills. (Yoke, 34)
By convincing the government authorities that the school libraries would consider the provisions of NCLB, it is possible to obtain funding for building the school library. (Yoke, 34) It is important to obtain the financial resources because without financial resources it is not possible to build a great school library. The library that is funded by the government needs to possess books and resources that improve the learning and reading abilities of the students. (Yoke, 34)
Studies have showed that ‘quality school libraries’ have been able to help the students in improving their performance in the standardized tests conducted in order to assess the learning abilities of the students. (Yoke, 34) There are many studies which stress the need for building a quality library in every school so that students are able to obtain access to necessary books and other study materials that helps them in the school to improve their performances. (Yoke 34)
The student leaders or the administrators who decide to establish school libraries need to be aware of the provisions of the NCLB in order to make proper adjustments so as to obtain funding from the government authorities. NCLB act is available in the government websites. (Yoke , 34)
Before creating the plan for the school library, the school authorities need to obtain a copy of the NCLB curriculum that insists on mathematics and reading abilities since such abilities are evaluated in the national level tests. . (Yoke, 35) The school leaders who want to establish a school library also need to obtain information concerning NCLB curriculum from professional bodies of teachers and academicians. (Yoke, 35) After obtaining such information, the administrators can prepare a plan that takes into consideration the provisions of the NCLB act. The school administration needs to discuss the plan with the students and faculty members so as to obtain valuable feedbacks in order to improve the library resources or collection. (Yoke, 35)
After obtaining necessary feedback, the administration should approach the appropriate authorities in order to obtain funding for the school library so as to increase the collection. (Yoke, 35) After obtaining the funding, the librarian should obtain the help of the teachers and students in order to improve the collection. . (Yoke, 35) While purchasing books, care should be taken to spend the amount in a judicious manner so that unnecessary books are removed from the purchase list and only valuable books are included in the collection. . (Yoke, 35)
The school librarians are accountable to the school authorities and the government. . (Yoke, 35) Therefore, sufficient care should be taken to properly utilize the fund. This will create confidence in the mind of the administration regarding the mangers of the school library. (Yoke, 36)
Building a school library involves the process of selection as well as ‘de-selection’ of books and other resources. (Yoke, 35) The irrelevant and outdated books should be promptly replaced by new books that are relevant to the students’ achievement. With the help of the teachers, it is possible to improve the collection of school library. (Yoke, 36)
School library program helps both the teacher and as well as the learner since the students need the help of the teachers in establishing libraries in their schools. (Building) The teachers are expected to advice the librarians pertaining to the curriculum of the schools and the books that need to be procured through the school library program. (Building)
The program also comprises understanding between the librarians and the administrative staff since the librarians or managers of the school library need the support of the administrative staff while processing files and documents. (Building)
School libraries can be created and promoted through cooperation and understanding between the students and the teachers. (Building) The teachers need to encourage the students to do additional reading by referring the books and other resources available in the library. This will reduce the teaching work so that teachers are able to concentrate on other aspects of learning. (Building)
A school library does not necessarily possess only the books. Such libraries can possess exhibits, media collections, and internet-based resources. (Building) The library managers are required to maintain the record of the possession of the library. (Building) Obviously, the school librarians need the assistance of other staff for maintaining records of books borrowed by the members.
The students can utilize technology in the context of the school libraries. (Building)
As has been already mentioned, the students can use internet technology in order to obtain access to major resources required for the study of the courses. A few resources are available in the school websites and other restricted sites. (Building) By managing access to such technologies, the school librarians are able to assist the library members to improve their performance. This will encourage the members to contribute more to the development of the library resources.
School library programs should also assist the members in developing the habit of ‘life long learning’. (Building) This is because education does not end with the school years. Education should continue even after the students leave the schools. The students should be encouraged to use new approaches while participating in the school library program. (Building) Through this strategy, it is possible to maintain and strengthen a school library program.
In order to maintain an efficient school library program, it is important to organize the resources. For example, books and resources belonging to particular subjects can be kept in a specific place creating distinct spaces for different subjects. Mathematics resources can be separated from history resources. (Building) Through such a policy, it is possible to remove confusion while searching for resources including books in the school libraries.
The school librarians are also required to perform the maintenance work of the books and resources of the library. (Building) For example, old and unusable books should be removed from the library shelf and arrangement should be made to either replace them with new ones or repair them so that they could be used by the library members. Attempt should be made to maintain the resources such as audio and video CDs and other equipments of the library. (Building)
The students should be given the orientation program in order to help them in using the resources available in the library. (Building) The teacher-librarian who is appointed to administer the school library with the help of the students is accountable to the principal. (Building) Therefore, the teacher should take care to maintain the resources and give information to the administrators and other stakeholders regarding the resources available in the school library. (Building)
The school libraries at K-12 level need to possess at least one full time staff that is capable of handling the demands of the members of the library. (Quality) This staff needs to maintain contact with the school department of education in order to understand the aims of the institution. (Quality) The staff is required to act as liaison agent between the students, teachers, and administration. (Quality) This coordination can be done by including the library staff in various school committees so that the librarian can express the needs of the library. (Quality)
The librarian also needs the support of the clerical and technological staff. (Quality) The clerical staff is required to maintain the records of the library including cataloguing the resources. Technical staff is required to maintain the equipments that need periodic service. (Quality) For example, in order to use audio and video CDs, there is a need for relevant equipments. By maintaining the equipments, it is possible to reduce unnecessary expenditure.
Librarians and teachers can establish collaborative relationship by discussing the resources that need to be procured for the library. (Quality) For example, the teacher can give information concerning the changes in the curriculum and the need for new materials indispensable for the teaching new courses. (Quality) With such collaborative effort it is possible to maintain the up to date information.
The teachers and the students should be given training in ‘information literacy’ because by using databases available in the library, it is possible to allow the teacher and the learner to utilize all the resources available in the library. (Quality) The librarian and the school administration need to procure the latest equipments including books, computers, internet-related resources, and so on. (Quality)
With the use of new resources, it is possible to minimize the expenditure on printed resources although it is impossible to totally ignore the print materials. (Quality) There is a need for ‘flexible scheduling’ of the library so that the students and teachers are able to use the library during their free time. (Quality)
Without cooperation between teachers, students, and administrators, it is impossible to assure the efficient functioning of school libraries. (Quality) The teacher-librarians or the professional librarians need to provide ‘professional leadership’ to their institutions since they have the ability to improve the efficiency of the school libraries. (Quality) The libraries also need liberal funding in order to buy the books, equipments, and other resources. Therefore, library budget should be used in such as way as to improve the efficiency of the school libraries. (Quality)
School principals, students, and parents can play an important role in the success of school library programs. (Doug, 110) A few principals, being administrators, do not take much interest in school library programs. (Doug, 110) The principals need to have a good understanding of the aims and objectives of the school library so that they can convince the government authorities concerning the need for continued financial support for maintaining high quality school library. (Doug, 110)
The principal of a school needs to have periodic discussion with the school librarians so that needs of the school library could be comprehended by the administrators. (Doug, 110) Divergent needs of the library should be mentioned in the reports that the administrators submit to the higher authorities. (Doug, 110)
The librarians can communicate to the principal concerning the financial and other needs of the library through the parents, teachers, and students. (Doug, 110) The school newsletter should comprise a section describing the achievements of the school library and future goals and plans of the library. (Doug, 110) At the same time, it is the duty of the librarian to convince the principal and other administrators regarding the needs of the library. The librarian should provide inspired leadership so as to obtain cooperation from students, teachers, and community members including the parents. (Doug, 110)
To conclude, student-librarians, teacher-librarians, professional librarians, teachers, students, parents, administration, and community members play an important role in creating and promoting school library programs. Libraries are necessary for each and every school to achieve the aims of the respective institution. The school library programs need to possess plans, vision, and implementation models. With proper coordination between the librarians and school administration, it is possible to create a school library program. Schools need to utilize the government funding in order to obtain the financial resources necessary for building a library. The librarians and library staff need to maintain the books and equipments of the library. By following a specific plan it is possible to promote the school library program.