Library aims to build and maintain any organised collection of published books, periodicals, and other reading and audio-visual materials. It further aims to facilitate the use of these information resources to meet the informational, research, educational or recreational needs of the users.
The library of a school is an integral part of the academic set-up which serves and supports the educational activities of the school. It has been recommended by various commissions and committees over the years that school education can be considerably enhanced by providing the school with the full complement of library resources, personnel, and necessary infrastructure. The major functions served by the school library include providing information, developing knowledge, inculcating ideas, developing creative thinking and imagination, and equipping students with life-long learning skills, all of which are essential for them to function successfully as responsible citizens in today’s information and knowledge-based society. Hence, a school library should be made the hub of all activities and serve as a resource centre.
Despite the recognition accorded to the library as an essential component of a good school, many schools in our country lack this facility. There is a scarcity of well-organised libraries, particularly in remote rural schools. Millions of our students are being deprived of the full benefits of library resources and services, which they require and are entitled to. It has been observed that despite having libraries as per the educational board requirements, many affiliated schools have made them function as repositories for storing the required number of books wherein the students just come weekly to take or to return books. This defeats the major purpose of its existence as a real ‘Resource Centre for Learning’.
To fulfil the above-mentioned functions effectively, the following considerations are necessary for a school library:
Allocation of appropriate budget for the library set-up at the inception of school along with yearly disbursement of funds for its upkeep, upgradation, etc. Timely release of funds by the principal should be ensured for purchase of reading material and other resources
Appropriate location in a quiet area, good ventilation and light, sufficient floor area and designated spaces for group activities and discussions, comfortable seating, and ambience of peace and serenity
Appointment of a qualified librarian along with support staff with clearly defined roles and responsibilities
Adequate collection of all materials – books of appropriate genres, periodicals, reference books, newspapers, journals, magazines, audio-visual materials, subject books, encyclopaedias, dictionaries, films, recordings, and other latest media developed to aid learning
Application of standard and scientific classification and catalogue techniques to provide an organised set-up, ensuring easy and timely accessibility to the materials and information for students and teachers
Drafting of student-friendly library rules
Framing of Readers Services, which includes coverage of areas like circulation (issue and return), late fine, recall of overdue books, reservation of books, and loss of books
text-align:justify;Planning for professional development of the librarian and their support staff through workshops, seminars, in-service training courses, refresher programmes, etc., similar to the training given to teaching staff
Formation of a library committee
Application of library-automation, which means using a computer to perform some traditional library activities such as acquisition, cataloguing, circulation, stock verification, etc., resulting in benefits like efficiency in speed, proficiency and precision in data handling, promptness in operation, and avoidance of duplication, to name a few.
The most important task of a library is to inculcate and encourage reading habits among the students. To achieve this, a close coordination between classroom teaching and library-use is required. A student needs to be:
Provided regular and continuous service by the librarian in library-use,
Taught about the availability of the variety of books in the library, how to select books, how to handle and maintain these books, how to make notes, etc.,
Acquainted with the use of card catalogue, reference books, and audio-visual materials,
Given assignments by teachers which requires use of library resources, e.g., writing a book-review, dictionary creation, etc.,
Involved in various library projects and programmes, viz. book fairs, book week, readers’ club, book seminars, etc.
Till now, the focus has been on the physical library of a school. With the advancement in technology, digital upskilling and education tools, digital libraries have come into existence and have proven to be a boon today- when schools and libraries are shut due to the covid pandemic.
What is a digital library? It is a library in digital form which has a focused collection of materials- for example, textual, visual, audio- and these are stored in electronic media formats. The digital content in the form of e-books, audio books, videos, etc., can be accessed from anywhere. It can be affiliated with educational institutions, thereby enabling the students to reap the benefits of a library in a virtual environment. Parents need to be made aware of digital libraries.
Some well-known global digital libraries include the World Digital LibraryProject Gutenberg, and Open LibraryNational Digital Library of India, developed by IIT, Kharagpur, is described as a “virtual repository of learning resources”.
Founder & Consultant - School Serv
Vinod Kakumanu heads a team of school services professionals and is an independent commentator on Indian school education scenario. Vinod has assisted school promoters establish 35+ schools besides providing ancillary services to over 1000 schools across India. He envisions a future where quality education is made available to every child of the country. The focus he places on the quality of the deliverables and customer satisfaction has made him renowned in the field of K-12 school education.