HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE NIGERIAN SCHOOL LIBRARY ASSOCIATION (NSLA)

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ABSTRACT

This research into the history and development of the Nigerian School Library Association, (NSLA), aimed at finding out and analyzing the circumstances and factors that necessitated the founding of the association and to establish its relevance. The Association experienced initial resistance arising from misgivings over its relevance as a professional association separate from the existing Nigeria Library Association (NLA). Though the NSLA has since been officially recognized and been operating as a professional association, the necessity for founding the NSLA has remained a subject of debate in academic and professional circles.

 The research being a historical research involved the collection of data from primary and secondary sources. These included existing documents on the subject of study, conference papers, newsletters, minutes of meetings, and interviews from members of the executives.

 The research revealed that the need to cater for the peculiar interest of the teacher librarians, who are involved in school library development but are not fully recognized by the NLA was a significant factor in the founding of NSLA. It also reviews the objectives, achievements, challenges and set backs of the Association during over thirty years of its existence and operation as a professional Association. The research found that the NSLA has proved to be a rallying point for school librarians and other persons with bias for school librarianship. It has proved to be a formidable and relevant professional Association in the very crucial area of school library development in which it now serves as the NLA’s touch bearer. It pointed out areas of weakness of the association requiring action for better performance and recommends certain remedial actions, among other things, conscious and sustained membership drive and enlightenment, membership review and fund raising projects aimed at improved revenue.

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                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

Title page                                                                                          i

Approval Page                                                                                  ii

Certification                                                                                                iii

Acknowledgement                                                                             iv

Dedication                                                                                         v

Abstract                                                                                            vi

Table of Contents                                                                             vii

CHAPTER ONE:   Introduction                                                          1

Background to Study                                                                        1

Statement of Problem                                                                          5  

Purpose of the Study                                                                           6

Significance of Study                                                                           6  

Scope & Limitation of the Study                                                         7

Research Questions                                                                             7 

CHAPTER TWO:     Literature Review                                              8 

Importance of School Libraries in Education                                               8

International Professional Association and School Libraries

Development

National Professional Associations                                                           

and School Library Development              

Nigerian Professional Association and School Library

Development

Summary of Literature Review                                                                  32

CHAPTER THREE:   Research Method                                                  34

Research Design                                                                               34

Area of Study                                                                                    34

Population of the Study                                                                    35

Sample and Sampling Technique                                                      35

Source / Instrument of Data Collection                                             36

Method of Data Analysis                                                                               37

                                                                                                          viii

CHAPTR FOUR:   Presentation and Analysis of Data             37                                                                   

  CHAPTERFIVE: Discussion of Findings Summary,    50                Implications and Recommendations                                                                                                                                                                         

Discursions of Findings                                                                           50

Summary of Findings                                                                        53

Implication of the Study                                                                             54

Recommendations                                                                                      55

Limitations of the Research                                                              56

Summary                                                                                          57

Suggestions for Further Research                                                     59

References                                                                                         60

Appendices                                                                                       66

CHAPTER ONE:     INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

School libraries are libraries operated in primary, secondary or high schools, technical colleges or trade schools and teacher training colleges. Such libraries and media resource centres are widely acknowledged to be critical to effective teaching and learning in these schools. They not only provide the learning resources for the total educational programme of the school but help pupils and students acquire skills in reading, observing, listening, thinking and communicating ideas (Opeke 1994). The former Universal Primary Education (UPE) and the current Universal Basic Education (UBE) programmes of the Federal Government underscore the vital role of school libraries in the effective implementation of the programmes.

It is pertinent from the foregoing that school librarianship is a very essential component of any sound educational programme and as such, the professional commitments and programmes of librarians must pay considerable attention to school librarianship.

The school librarian is a person who is professionally trained in librarianship and in charge of the school library. Elaturoti (2001) described the school librarian as the professionally and qualified staff member responsible for planning and managing the school library. The designation used for the school librarian varies from one country to another. In countries like Canada, Sri Lanka, Botswana, and Hong Kong they are called teacher librarians while in United States of America they are called school library media specialists and in the Great Britain they are referred to as school librarians. (Hannesdottir, 1998). 

The development of school libraries has been traced to the mid 1800 and early 1900 in countries like Canada, Japan, the Nordic countries, United Kingdom and the United States. During this period, libraries were established to provide supplementary materials to support classroom instruction, encourage reading and the enjoyment of literature.

These early attempts at establishing school libraries however, represented isolated efforts, as systematic development did not occur until the second half of the 20th century.

In the United States, for instance, school library development was first promoted in the 1800s.  Around 1895, some high school principals and directors of public libraries in various communities began to create school libraries. There was steady expansion of high school libraries, but elementary school library developed rather slowly gaining prominence only after the Second World War. Changing ideas in education provided the impetus for school library development. New ideas about children education and reading resulted in the move to introduce elementary school libraries in Sweden around 1900.

Many school libraries were established in Japan as a result of the new educational movement of the 1920s. Elementary school teachers led a movement to set up classroom libraries in the rural areas.

Denmark made important provisions for state support of elementary school libraries in 1931. This was followed up by a 1937 School Act which incorporated library work into the educational plan.

Systematic and widespread development of school libraries took place by many countries after World War II. The development was spurred by the attainment of independence in many Asian and African nations. Educational expansion and re-orientation, leading to school library development took place in countries such as Jordan, Malaysia, Nigeria and Tanzania. In Nigeria, school libraries developed slowly in the early years. Some government schools and a few mission schools had good libraries but other schools had none. This was due to poor financial situation of mission schools and the commercial orientation of privately owned schools. Lack of reading culture or library background also hindered school library development in Nigeria (Dike, 1991).

Professional associations supported the establishment of school libraries. At the international level, two associations are highly prominent in the involvement with school libraries. These are the International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) and the school libraries section of IFLA. The International Association of School Librarianship (IASL) which was founded in 1971 grew out of the World Confederation of Organization of the Teaching Profession (WCOTP). The aims of this association are to provide an international forum for school librarianship and to encourage worldwide school library development.

The school libraries section of IFLA came into being in 1976. It was concerned with integrating effective school library use into teaching and learning. Early projects related to establishing school libraries, promotion of voluntary reading and teaching, information concepts and skills were carried out by the school libraries section of IFLA.

Active national associations for school libraries have also grown in recent years. In the US, School Librarians were first organized as a section in the ALA in 1914.This section later became an autonomous division, American Association of School Librarian (AASL) in 1950. The ALA and AASL were responsible for providing guidelines and standards which defined the direction for school libraries in the U.S

The Japan School Library Association provided awards for distinguished school library activities and research. The association ran concepts for picture books and book reviews prepared by school pupils. It also provided training opportunities for school library staff and published handbooks and textbooks.

The first major project that provided the initial impetus to school libraries in Nigeria was the federal library service which started in 1964. this was part of a UNECSO pilot project on school libraries in Africa that involved the establishment of model school and college library services. Various professional Associations played significant roles in the development of school libraries in the country. First was the West African Library Association (WALA), which championed the smooth running of school libraries, especially through organizing conference on school library development. These conferences paved the way for the rapid development of school libraries such that by 1960, mobile library services were provided in schools as part of the Regional Library Board Services in Eastern Nigeria (Ogunsheye, 1998)

With the break up of WALA, the Nigeria Library Association (NLA) was born. It succeeded the West African Library Association in the course of school library development. The Western division of the Association organized conferences with themes that centered on school libraries at which teachers in charge of libraries, both in primary, secondary and teacher colleges, participated, thereby creating a forum for teachers and librarians to rub minds on issues bordering on school libraries.

The Eastern Nigerian School Library Association (ENSLA) was founded in 1963 under the chairmanship of Geoffrey Cleaver. The Association busied itself with the organization of refresher courses for teacher librarians. The British Council had also been very active in the improvement of school libraries through the sponsorship of occasional training seminars for teacher librarians mainly in the East and also in the other regions of the country. These courses and seminars had played an important role, historically, in arousing interest in school library development. These organisations, though acting independently, had in different ways contributed to the initial establishment and growth of school libraries in Nigeria.

The Nigerian School Library Association (NSLA) was founded as a professional association for people who have special interest in the development and effective operation of school libraries in Nigeria. The idea for its establishment came at the close of the International Association of School Librarians (IASL) conference which was held in Ibadan in 1977. The formation of a national association for school librarians was muted by participants at the conference. A proposal for a national association which will incorporate all the state branches was made by Professor F.A Ogunsheye. The proposal was unanimously adopted by the participants who also initiated action towards its immediate implementation. Nigerian School Library Association (NSLA) had its inaugural conference on October 28, 1977 at the Faculty of Education, University of Ibadan. Officers were elected to run the affairs of the association with Profs. F.A Ogunsheye and D.F. Elaturoti as the president and secretary respectively.

HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE NIGERIAN SCHOOL LIBRARY ASSOCIATION (NSLA)