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THE USE OF LIBRARY AND STUDENTS ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE IN UNIVERSITIES
This study examined the use of the library and students’ academic performance at University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba. Relevant and extensive literatures were reviewed in sub-titles. The literature surveyed and explored the works of scholars and researchers that are in line with the topic of this research. The descriptive research survey was adopted in order to assess the opinions of respondents, with the application of the research questionnaire which was used to collect necessary information from the samples and the sampling technique, which was a tool used in selecting the appropriate samples of this study. A total of 120 (one hundred and twenty) respondents, made up of 60 males and 60 females were selected from the University of Lagos and Lagos State University respectively. Also, 4 (four) null hypotheses were generated and tested accordingly, with the application of Chi-square statistical in testing hypothesis one, while the independent t-test statistical tool, was used in testing hypotheses two, three and four respectively, at the alpha level of 0.05. At the end of the data analysis, the results that were obtained showed that: there is a significant effect of school libraries on students’ academic achievement in the school, there is a significant influence of counselling on students’ use of the school libraries, there is a significant difference between the academic performance of students who used the libraries and those who did not use the school libraries and there is no significant gender difference in the academic performance of students due to the use of the school libraries. Also, it was recommended that school counselors should be up and doing in tackling the issue of non-use of the school libraries by many students in the tertiary institutions. This is because, counseling is found to be a tool for helping students to achieve their set goals in their academics. Counsellors in the University of Lagos, should ensure that they assist the students who lack the interest and ability to use the libraries to augment their personal reading/studies at home or in the hostels. Through counseling, these students would be able to know the importance of using the libraries to achieve high academic performance in the school.
1.1BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Libraries are collections of books, manuscripts, journals, and other sources of recorded information. They commonly include reference works, such as encyclopedias that provide factual information and indexes that help users find information in other sources; creative works including poetry, novels, short stories, music scores, and photographs; non-fiction, such as biographies, histories and other factual reports; and periodical publications, including magazines, scholarly journals, and books published as part of a series. As home use of records, CD-ROMs and audiotapes and video tapes have increased, library collections have begun to include them and other forms of media, too (Mohammed and Makki, 1997).
Onuoah (2000), states that there is a positive relationship between school libraries and students’ learning outcomes. According to him, the test scores of students who used the libraries frequently are higher than those who did not use the libraries frequently. Most students do not use the libraries these days because of many factors which include lack of knowledge of the use of the catalogue which helps the library users to locate or identify the materials needed; lack of orientations or seminars for students on the use of libraries. Therefore, Adeoye (1999) in his study on the impact of the school libraries on students’ academic achievement; found that, in most cases, learning achievement is dependent on the students’ use of the libraries and positive study habits.
Majority of Nigerian students do not have the habits of regular use of the school libraries. According to Ayo (1997), the advent of the Information Communication Technology (ICT), has caused many students to get whatever materials they need from the internet instead of using the libraries often.
Also, most of the information materials in most Nigeria school libraries are regarded as out-dated. So, students prefer to use internet materials which they think are more current in information outflow than the school libraries. As Adeleke (2001) puts it, many factors contribute to the low-use of the libraries by many Nigerian students. The factors are: short supply of experiences library specialists; lack of funds to provide adequate and up-to-date books, encydopedia and other materials in the school libraries, none organization of orientation course for students and so on (Adeleke, 1990). According to Adeleke, these factors have led to the low standards of education and poor academic performance of students in Nigeria.
Research findings carried out by Perkins (2001) and Atkins (2002), consistently showed that there is a strong relationship between library use and students’ academic success, at all ages, from the primary school right through the university level. Students who read a lot, using the libraries, and who understand what they read, usually attain good grades. According to Ninio (2000), the relationship between reading and learning begins even earlier in the pre-primary school years, children who are exposed to story book reading before they go to school, tend to have larger vocabularies, greater general knowledge and better conceptual development than their peers who do not read. In addition, they learn to read and write more easily and quickly than their counterparts who do not read often.
Reading habit is formed right from childhood (Mbise, 1995). Therefore, students, who do not form the habit of reading, would not read in the school libraries, even if they are forced to go there and read, hence the low performance of students who do not use the libraries regularly. Smith (2001), carried out a study, in which the academic achievement of students who frequently use the libraries is compared with those who do not use the libraries. According to the outcome, the students who frequently read in the libraries and carry out researches, performed better than those who do not or who use the libraries sparingly. Hunter (1999), opines that adequate and frequent use of the libraries has yielded a high academic success amongst students. For instance, in the school libraries, students discover more recent information and gain a lot of knowledge through current and good materials that they find in the libraries.
According to Anyadike (2000), in a related study on the relationship between the use of library facilities and students’ academic performance, found out that students perform better when they frequently use the school libraries than when they do not. With these finding, Anyadike recommended that students should constantly use the library facilities in order to maximize high academic achievement or excellence in their academic endeavours.
The studies of library system in the United States by (Allport, 2000), Alban and Lance (2005), revealed that professionally trained school library media specialists have positive effect on students’ academic performance; and that library media specialists need teachers’ and principals’ support in order to be most effective; and that support staff is essential if library media specialists are to fully affect students’ academic achievement in at school. Other findings showed that library media specialists serve as both teachers and students, and in-service providers for teachers and effective library specialists play a key role in expanding access to information technology beyond the library and in the classroom (Lance, 2002).
The functions of the schools counselors are paramount, if the use of the libraries should have any significant effects of their academic performance in schools. For instance, the school counselors are regarded as experts who are deep rooted in changing the negative characters or attitudes of individuals or group of individuals and lead them to the correct ways of behaviours for positive results through the application of guidance and counselling technique. In this regard the school counselors play the role of advising and instructing the students on the proper ways of effective initialization of the library materials for high academic achievement in the school (Anyanwu, 2004).
Furthermore, counselors need to organize orientation courses, seminars and workshops in order to properly apply their counselling strategies in changing the negative attitude of students toward the use of the libraries in our tertiary institutions.
1.2STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The use or non-use of the school libraries by students is a factor affecting the educational attainment of students. For instance, the library is meant to help students maximize their academic performance so that they would be successful individuals in the society. Unfortunately, most students do not see the need to sit down in the library to read or to carry out research that would be beneficial to their academic career. This is because, most students do not know how to make use of the library materials or how to locate or identify the kind of books they want to read, while many more hate sitting down for hours reading or studying in the library; yet others prefer ‘jisting’ away their times outside the libraries than keeping quiet and studying in the library.
These perceived factors, are responsible for the negative or poor academic performance and general low educational standards and the attendant massive and persistent examination malpractices in Nigerian schools these day (Anyanwu, 2003). The poorly or inadequate or non-use of the libraries and their facilities by most students is also, part of the problem of mass failure of students in both internal and external organized examinations in the country.
Also, another important factor in the none or inadequate use of the libraries by many students is caused by the negative treatment they receive from most library staff who are seemingly untrained, and therefore lack the knowledge and experience in library attendance and the use of it. These inadequacies on the part of the library attendants or staff, often translate in the students’ phobia in even entering the library not to talk of sitting and reading in it.
This study is therefore, set to examine the effects of school libraries on the academic performance of students and its implication for counselling.
Most tertiary institutions, especially, the University of Lagos, do not have library counselors who know how to help students and library staff develop positive attitudes towards the use of the libraries and its attendant benefits. Due to the non-employment of the school library counselors, students who have negative attitude towards the use of the libraries, are not helped out 0f their academic predicaments, and this has continuously affected the academic achievement of many students at University of Lagos and other Universities in Nigeria.
1.3PURPOSE OF THE STUDY
The following were the specific objectives of the study:
a. To find out whether counselling influences students’ use of libraries.
b. To find out whether the use of the library(ies) affects the students’ academic performance of students’ who use the libraries and those who do not.
c. To assess whether there is any difference between the academic performance of students’ who use the libraries and those who do not.
d. To investigate whether there is gender difference in the academic performance of students due to the use of libraries.
The following research questions were raised in this study:
a. Will the use of libraries affect the academic performance of students?
b. To what extent will counselling affect the students’ use of the libraries?
c. Is there any difference in the academic performance of students who use the library and those who do not?
d. Will there be any gender difference in the academic performance of students due to the use of library(ies)?
1.5HYPOTHESES OF THE STUDY
The following research hypotheses were tested in the study:
a. There will be no significant effect of school libraries on students’ academic achievement.
b. There will be no significance influence of counselling on students’ use of the libraries.
c. There will be no significant difference between academic performance of students’ who used the libraries and those who did not.
d. There will be no significant gender difference in the academic performance of students’ due to the use of the libraries.
1.6SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
The following individuals would benefit from this study:
Students: One of the major significance of the study is to bring to light the importance of school libraries in enhancing students’ academic performance thus achieving high academic success in their educational career. This is because, if students generally imbibe the culture of reading and making use of the library facilities in the school, their academic achievement would be improved and the seemingly low academic standards in the school system will be remedied. The findings and recommendations of this Study would help students to be enlightened on the issue of using the library facilities in order to maximize their academic success in their academic pursuit in the schools
Teachers: Not only the students will be benefiting from the recommendations and finding of this study, teachers would also find this study very informative, as they would be better informed and exposed to the issue of students’ use and or non-use of the libraries as determinants of their academic performance in the school. This study will help teacher greatly because, if students, through this study, learn how to make proper use of the libraries and the maximization of their educational standards are assured, teachers’ work will be easier and the glory will also go to them.
Parents: Parents would benefit from the study because they would be able to understand the benefits inherent in the use of the libraries and the consequence in the none or inadequate use of it by their children in the school. This study will be educative and informative to the parents because the knowledge they would gain from this study will assist them to measure their children’s performance in line with use of the libraries.
The Public: Also, this study will be beneficial to the general public, who would be generally informed on the attitudes of students towards the use the libraries in the schools. This study will also serve as a reference material to both new and old researchers and scholars on the issue of libraries. Library staff, the school library attendants would benefit from the finding and recommendations of this study, because, it will help them to carry out their duties effectively in a way that students will be encouraged and drawn to the libraries more frequently.
The Library Attendants: With the study and its recommendations, the library attendants would be able to get necessary information that would assist them in changing some of their negative attitudes and unfriendly dispositions that do not give students the zeal to come to the library to read or study. The recommendations of study will urge the library authorities to put in place a training and development programme that would help the library attendants to sit up and do their work diligently, for the benefit of the library users, especially, the students.
The School Authorities: The content, the finding and the recommendations of this study would be very expository and important to the school management, especially at the University of Lagos. This is because, the recommendations of this study if heeded and implemented by the managers of the institution, most especially, the school authorities at the Faculty of Education, it will go a long way in helping the authorities to look into the issue of low use of the library facilities by the students and its attendant negative effects on the general standards of University of Education and more importantly, on students’ academic achievement. Will be able to device means of organizing orientation courses, seminars and workshops on the essence of using the libraries and the improvement students’ academic performance in school.
1.7SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The study attempts to examine the effects of school libraries on students’ academic performance and the implication for counselling. The study will involve the undergraduate students at the Faulty of Education of the University of Lagos, Akoka, Yaba Lagos. It will cover the students at 300 and 400 levels in the faculty.
Several recent trends suggest that a review of the literature on the impact of school libraries on student achievement in a Nigeria context is urgently needed. The context in which school librarians and teacher librarians operate today has changed significantly over the past couple of decades, with consequent implications for student learning. In particular, there has been an apparent decline in the numbers of qualified teacher librarians employed in school libraries in public schools in Nigeria; an explosion in information production and the development of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs); changes in educational philosophy and practice, including a greater focus on learning outcomes, inquiry- based learning, evidence-based practice and school accountability; and changes in the nature and role of the teacher librarian as a result of these developments (Alozie, 1990).
Although a substantial body of research since 1990 shows a positive relationship between school libraries and student achievement, many of these studies are based on oversea data practitioners. In Nigeria, a strong case for recognizing the positive impact of school libraries on students learning. However, it is important to know how applicable the existing research is to Nigeria context and what kind of additional research might be needed to demonstrate the positive relationship between school libraries and student achievement (Munde, 2000).
The review focuses on studies conducted since 1990, which show that school libraries can have a positive impact on student achievement whether such achievement is measured in terms of reading scores, literacy or learning more generally in the following key ways:
· A strong library programme that is adequately staffed, resourced and funded can lead to higher student achievement regardless of the socioeconomic or educational levels of the adults in the community.
· A strong computer network connecting the library’s resources to the classroom and laboratories has an impact on student achievement.
· The quality of the collections has an impact on student learning.
· Collaborative relationships between classroom teachers and school librarians have a significant impact on learning, particularly in relation to the planning of instructional units, resource collection development, and the provision of professional development for teachers.
· A print-rich environment leads to more reading, and free voluntary reading is the best predictor of comprehension, vocabulary growth, spelling and grammatical ability, and writing style.
· Integrating information literacy into the curriculum can improve students’ mastery of both content and information seeking skills, and that
· Libraries can make a positive difference to students’ self-esteem, confidence, independence and sense of responsibility in regard to their own learning.
Ayo (2002) theorized that, literature search has also revealed several gaps in the research. A lack of systematically aggregated national data makes it difficult to gain an accurate picture of national trends in Australia in relation to the staffing of school libraries. Much of the research that has been done so far has focused on the primary, rather than the secondary school setting, and yet there is some evidence to suggest that the impact of the school library diminishes as students move through high school. It would be useful to investigate student usage patterns in relation to school libraries in Nigeria. Knowing why students come to the library for example, to what extent they are motivated by a need to uses information for a project, a desire for leisure reading material, a desire to use computer games or gain access to the internet, a desire to gain work related skills by assisting staff, a need for a sanctuary from the rigors of the schoolyard could help school library staff to cater better for student needs and, as existing research suggests, potentially make a difference in terms of information skills acquisition, reading literacy skills computer literacy or improved self-esteem.
In terms of professional expertise, more research is needed to determine the extent to which the success of a school library program is due to the librarian’s personal attributes or training and experience. Also missing from the research is evidence about the relative roles of teachers and school librarians and their effectiveness in providing information literacy.
A significant gap in the research is the lack of specific evidence linking the role of school librarians to student acquisition of information literacy skills. A substantial body of literature urges the importance of the librarian’s role in this regard, which offers information skills models and instructional strategies for the development of information literacy skills, and provides information literacy standards. More evidence is needed to determine precisely how the school librarian contributes to the information skills acquisition of students and the relationship between information literacy and learning.
1.9DEFINITION OF TERMS
Operational terms and ambiguous words were accordingly defined in this study in the following dimensions:
1. School Library:School library is room or building for a collection of books kept there for reading;. It is also writing and reading room in an institution or school.
2. Academic Performance: This is the overall outcome of learning activities of students over a period of learning in a formal school environment.
3. Counsellor: This is a professional adviser; an expert in solving people problems through counselling techniques.
4. Manuscripts: this refers to book and so on, as first written out or typed.
5. Journals: This means daily newspaper; other periodicals. It also means daily record of news, events, business accounts e.t.c.
6. Biography: This means person’s life-history written by another person; it is also a branch of literature dealing with the lives of persons.
7. Librarian: A worker or personnel that stay in the library room to lend books and other library materials to individuals for reading and writing. A librarian is a staff employed by the school authorities to oversee activities in the library.
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