Promoting Literacy in School Libraries in Sierra Leone


The middle of information literacy is contained inside definitions used to make clear it. Historically librarians have given ‘library induction’ or ‘library abilities educating’ in a restricted carry out. Library purchasers have to know the place {{{the catalogue}}} is, what the companies are, and most significantly the place the enquiry desk is. This isn’t to chop again the worth of ordinary library induction, nonetheless libraries and knowledge are furthermore altering. The provision of information by way of a library in a standard form has gone by way of radical alterations. Already in most library and knowledge organisations staffs are adjusting their companies with the availability of latest media and entry to info provision inside these organisations. Thus librarians are speaking about social inclusion, totally different, life-long studying, info society and self enchancment.

A plethora of definitions for info literacy abound in books, journal papers and the web. A few of these definitions centre on the actions of information literacy i.e. figuring out the abilities wanted for worthwhile literate functioning. Fully totally different definitions are primarily based completely on the attitude of an info literate particular particular person i.e. trying to stipulate the idea of information literacy. Deriving subsequently a single definition is a flowery technique of amassing collectively a set of concepts as to what’s perhaps, have to be, or could also be thought-about part of info literacy. As an illustration Weber and Johnson (2002) outlined info literacy on account of the adoption of related info behaviour to build up, by way of no matter channel or medium, info accurately fitted to info needs, along with necessary consciousness of the significance of clever and moral use of information in society. The American Library Affiliation (2003) outlined info literacy as a set of abilities wanted to hunt out, retrieve, analyze, and use info. Whereas CLIP (2004) outlined info literacy as figuring out when and why one needs info, the place to hunt out it, and the best manner to consider, use and focus on it in an moral approach. Succinctly these definitions level out that info literacy requires not solely knowledge nonetheless furthermore abilities in:

• recognising when info is required;

• property in the marketplace

• discovering info;

• evaluating info;

• utilizing info;

• ethics and accountability of use of information;

• the best method to communicate or share info;

• the best method to cope with info

Given subsequently the number of definitions and implied clarification info literacy is a cluster of abilities that a person might make use of to deal with, and to reap some great benefits of the unprecedented quantity of information which surrounds us in our day-to-day life and work.


Sierra Leone’s present tutorial system consists of six years of formal main training, three years of Junior Secondary School (JSS), three years Senior Secondary School (SSS) and 4 years of tertiary education-6-3-3-4. (The Professor Gbamanja Fee’s Report of 2010 helpful an extra 12 months for SSS to develop to be 6-3-4-4). The official age for main school pupils is between six and eleven years. All pupils on the tip of sophistication six are required to take and switch the Nationwide Foremost School Examinations designed by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to allow them proceed to the secondary school divided into Junior Secondary School(JSS) and Senior Secondary School (SSS). Every half has a remaining examination: the Foremost Schooling Certificates Examinations (BECE) for the JSS, and the West African Senior Secondary School Certificates Examinations (WASSCE) for SSS, each carried out by WAEC. Worthwhile candidates of WASSCE are admitted to tertiary establishments primarily based completely on numerous topics handed (GoSL,1995)

The curriculum of main faculties emphasizes communication competence and the pliability to know and manipulate numbers. On the JSS stage, the curriculum is common and full, encompassing the entire fluctuate of information, attitudes and abilities in cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. The core topics of English, Arithmetic, Science and Social evaluation are obligatory for all pupils. On the SSS stage, the curriculum is about by its nature (common or specialist), or its specific goals. Pupils are supplied a set of core (obligatory) topics with elective topics primarily based completely on their specialization. Instructing is guided by the instructing syllabuses and influenced by the surface examinations that pupils are required to deal with the three/ 4-year course. English is the language of instruction (GoSL,1995).

The worldwide areas two universities, three polytechnics, and two trainer educating faculties are answerable for the educating of lecturers in Sierra Leone. The Universities Act of 2004 affords for personal universities in order that these establishments too might assist throughout the educating of lecturers. Packages fluctuate from the Coach Certificates supplied by the coach educating faculties to the Masters in Schooling supplied by universities. Pre-service certification of lecturers is the accountability of the Nationwide Council for Technical, Vocational and Fully totally different Tutorial Awards (NCTVA). There may be furthermore an In-service Coach Instructing program (Distance Schooling Program) carried out for lecturers partially to chop again the variety of untrained and unqualified lecturers considerably all through the agricultural areas.


In Sierra Leone as a result of it is in most components of the creating world literacy entails one’s expertise to check, write and numeracy. It’s the expertise to hold out effectively in life contexts. A literate particular particular person is alleged to the possession of abilities and knowledge and one of the simplest ways these may most likely be utilized inside his native setting. As an illustration a literate particular particular person is believed to have the ability to make use of chemical fertilizer to his crops, fill in a loans form, decide proper dosage of treatment, calculate money cropping price and earnings, glean info from a newspaper, make out a financial institution deposit slip and understanding directions and first human rights.

Literacy is on the coronary coronary coronary heart of the nation’s enchancment targets and human rights (World Financial institution, 2007). Wherever practised literacy actions are a part of nationwide and worldwide methods for improved training, human enchancment and well-being. In line with the 2013 United Nations Human Progress Index Sierra Leone has a literacy value of 34 %.Implicitly Sierra Leone is an oral society. And oral societies rely rigorously on reminiscence to transmit their values, approved ideas, historic earlier, music, and customized whereas the written phrase permits infinite potentialities for transmission and subsequently of energetic participation in communication. These potentialities are what make the intention of literacy necessary in society.

In tutorial parlance literacy hinges on the printed phrase. Most pupils are formally launched to print after they encounter schoolbook. School lecturers in Sierra Leone proceed to make the most of textbooks of their instructing actions to convey content material materials supplies home info to pupils. It’s no gainsaying that pupils neither maximise their studying potential nor research at ranges obligatory for understanding the type of supplies lecturers would really like them to make the most of. Thus the effectivity of pupils at inside and public examinations is disappointing. Additional pupils’ continued queries all through the library reveal that they don’t solely lack foremost consciousness of property in the marketplace of their fully completely totally different school libraries nonetheless furthermore don’t perceive foremost rudiments of the best manner to offer info and supplies from these establishments. What’s further worrisome is that pupils don’t use related studying abilities and evaluation methods in studying. There’s a dearth of studying customized in faculties and this case cuts all by way of the material of society. In view of the present assist the Ministry of Schooling, Science and Expertise (MEST) to seek out out literacy requirements in school this case has proved irritating as lecturers do not know the best method to elevated assist pupils to understand this perform. Thus they supply the impression of being as quite a bit as the school librarians to play a further proactive carry out.


In repeatedly conditions school pupils are anticipated to have the ability to determine and search info they want. Offering numerous studying and writing experiences utilizing quite a few supplies all through the school library will help develop pupils’ literacy expertise (Roe, Stoodt-Hill and Burns, 2004). The mode of study in faculties in Sierra Leone accommodates class train routines, assessments, written and clever assignments, together with written examinations to see pupils by way of to their subsequent ranges. These pupils, for instance, want to check content material materials supplies books and supplementary supplies in school for homework. Pupils have reasonably extra literacy needs of their actions exterior school. They should research indicators discovered of their communities, job options, street maps and indicators, labels on meals and medicines, newspapers, public notices, financial institution statements, funds and a great deal of completely totally different smart supplies. Failure to check and perceive these supplies might end up of their committing site visitors violations, having disagreeable reactions to meals or drugs, turning into misplaced, dropping employment alternate choices and lacking fascinating capabilities. Equally so pupils have to jot all the best way right down to their kinfolk and relations, directions to people who uncover themselves doing factors for them, notes to themselves about duties to be achieved, cellphone messages for colleagues and a great deal of completely totally different objects. Errors in these actions can have unfavorable outcomes on them. Good literacy abilities are considerably necessary to pupils who plan to pursue greater training evaluation. The job market all through the nation requires pupils to be literate. As an illustration most jobs marketed at present require individuals who’ve achieved their JSS. The exact fact is that employees have to have the ability to grasp graphic aids, categorized info and skim and scan to hunt out info. Furthermore the character of studying all through the office usually entails discovering info for fast use and inferring info for drawback fixing. The educational and writing of assorted paperwork like memos, manuals, letters, critiques and directions are obligatory literacy abilities all through the office.


School libraries in Sierra Leone are perceived as integral facet of the county’s tutorial system. These establishments convey collectively 4 main components of the school group: the supplies, pupils, trainer and library employees. The primary purpose for the institution of those establishments in faculties is to spice up the instructing/studying course of, if to not assist the curriculum. This purpose is achieved in two methods: by offering pupils with the technique of discovering no matter info they want; and by creating in pupils the habits of utilizing books each for info and for pleasure. Pupils want info to assist them with the topics they study in school. The textbooks they use and the notes they soak up class will most likely be an impressive basis. They may even be ample for revision options. Nonetheless these couldn’t be sufficient to allow pupils to jot down good essays of their very private or to hold out group initiatives. School libraries then are anticipated to spice up this effort and subsequently are perceived as studying centres.

Pupils want info on topics not taught in school. School libraries are regarded upon as areas pupils uncover info to assist them of their school evaluation and private enchancment. By way of these establishments pupils’ habits of utilizing libraries for life-long training is solely not solely developed nonetheless furthermore school libraries may most likely be used to spice up pupils’ studying abilities. All through the school group each pupils and lecturers use school libraries for leisure and leisure purpose and for profession development. The customized of society will even be transmitted by way of use of college libraries. Due to the necessary carry out school libraries play all through the nation’s tutorial system they’re organised in such signifies that pupils together with lecturers can depend upon them for assist all through the instructing/studying course of. Most of those establishments are managed by every a full-time employees generally supervised by a senior trainer. Staffs use quite a few strategies to advertise their use together with consumer training.


A pre-requisite for the event of autonomous pupils by way of versatile resource-based studying approaches is that pupils grasp a set of abilities which recurrently allow them to take administration of their very private studying. Present emphasis in instructing in faculties in Sierra Leone has shifted from “teacher-centred” to “pupil-centred” approach thereby making pupils to “uncover strategies to evaluation” for themselves in order that the combo in truth of abilities into the design of the school curriculum turns into necessary (GoSL,1995). It’s on this home of “studying” or “info literacy” abilities that one can most clearly see the inter-relationship between the school curriculum and the school library. For pupils to develop to be unbiased purchasers of information and for this to happen it is necessary that they’re given the abilities to seek out strategies to seek out info, the best method to determine on what’s related, and the best method to make use of it in among the many best strategies attainable for his or her very private specific needs and take accountability for his or her very private studying. As info literate, pupils might have the ability to cope with info skilfully and efficiently in numerous contexts. They’ll have the power to weighing info fastidiously and appropriately to hunt out out its high-quality (Marcum2002). Pupils do recognise that having good info is central to assembly the likelihood and challenges of day-to-day residing. They’re furthermore conscious about the significance of how researching all by way of numerous sources and codecs to hunt out among the many best info to satisfy specific needs.

Literacy actions in faculties in Sierra Leone are the accountability of content material materials supplies home lecturers, studying consultants and college librarians. Of those the carry out of the school librarian is paramount. As specialist the school librarian is predicted to offer help to pupils and lecturers alike by discovering supplies in numerous topics, and at fully completely totally different studying ranges by making in the marketplace supplies that could be utilized for motivation and background studying. The college librarian will even be anticipated to offer pupils with directions to seek out methods associated to the library resembling doing on-line searches and skimming by way of printed reference supplies. The librarian is predicted to point printed supplies inside his purview, write specialised bibliographies and lists of addresses on particular topics on the request of lecturers. He ought to have the ability to present pupils with direct help uncover and utilizing related supplies; leisure studying will most likely be fostered by the librarian’s info talks or engaging info displays on high-interest points like HIV/AIDS, teen abuse, teen rights, human rights and poverty alleviation. In view of this the basic qualities anticipated of the good school librarian embrace knowledge of his assortment and the best method to entry it; expertise to know the needs of his purchasers further so these of pupils; expertise to speak with pupils and grownup purchasers; and knowledge of information abilities and the best method to make use of knowledge.


Pupils’ success in school relies upon upon to an infinite extent upon their expertise to entry, take into consideration and use info. Offering entry to info and property is a long-standing accountability of the school librarian. The college librarian ought to present the administration and experience obligatory to make sure that the library turns into integral all through the tutorial program of the school. At school the librarian is the data specialist, trainer and tutorial advisor. He’s the interface answerable for guiding pupils and lecturers by way of the troublesome info property housed in his library (Lenox and Walker, 1993). He’s regarded as quite a bit as help and knowledge pretty only a few purchasers in looking out for to make the most of and perceive the property and companies of the library. On this respect the school librarian ought to inculcate in these purchasers such abilities as info and on-line looking out of information; use of apparatus; creating necessary abilities for the group, analysis and use of information and concepts as integral a part of the curriculum (Lonsdale, 2003). The college librarian should concentrate on the fluctuate of accessible info retrieval strategies, arrange that the majority acceptable to the needs of pupils and supply experience in serving to them develop to be educated, if not comfy, of their use. Since no library is self-sufficient the school librarian can neighborhood with info firms, lending/renting supplies and/or utilizing digital devises to transmit info (Tilke, 1998; 2002).

As info specialist the school librarian ought to have the ability to share his experience with individuals who might have to know what info sources and/or studying supplies may be found to assist a program of labor. Such session have to be supplied to the entire school by way of the curriculum enchancment committee or to particular particular person topic lecturers. The college librarian ought to take the lead in creating pupils’ info literacy abilities by caring with the school curriculum planning and offering a base of property to satisfy its needs. He should concentrate on key tutorial initiatives and their have an effect on in instructing and studying; he have to be acquainted with instructing strategies and studying types in school; over all he ought to defend an summary of information literacy programmes inside the school (Herring, 1996; Kuhlthau, 2004).

Kuhlthau (2004) opined that info looking out for is a significant practice of life and that pupils search info to deepen and broaden their understanding of the world spherical them. When subsequently, info in school libraries is positioned in an excellent greater context of studying, pupils’ perspective turns into a big half in info provision. The college librarian should make sure that abilities, knowledge and perspective regarding info entry, use and communication, are integral a part of the school curriculum. Knowledge abilities are necessary all through the life-long studying technique of pupils. As quick time interval goal the school librarian ought to present a way of undertaking studying goals contained within the curriculum; as future info abilities have a direct have an effect on on particular particular person pupils’ expertise to deal effectively with a altering setting. Subsequently the school librarian ought to work in dwell effectivity with lecturers and directors to stipulate the scope and sequence of the data related to the school curriculum and guarantee its integration all via the tutorial capabilities (Tilke, 2002; Birks and Hunt, 2003). Pupils have to be impressed to know their potential as educated residents who critically suppose and clear up factors. In view of the connection between the curriculum and college library, the librarian ought to serve on the curriculum committee making certain that info entry abilities are built-in into topic areas. The college librarian’s involvement all through the curriculum enchancment will allow him to offer recommendation on the utilization of assorted tutorial methods resembling studying centres and problem-solving software program program program, atmosphere pleasant in speaking content material materials supplies to pupils (Herring, 1996; Birks and Hunt, 2003).

Literacy may most likely be actively developed as pupils want entry to particular property, reveal understanding of their effectivity and atmosphere pleasant looking out abilities. On this regard pupils have to be given foremost instruction to the library, its suppliers and companies and subsequent use. Interactive instructing strategies aimed in the direction of info literacy training have to be carried out for the advantage of pupils. Instructing strategies might embrace an abstract of assorted aides like quizzes and worksheets of differing complexity stage to actively work collectively pupils in studying library abilities and enhancing their info literacy. Lessons have to be divided into small teams in order that pupils might have hands-on-experience utilizing library property. The place Web companies may be found all through the library on-line tutorials have to be supplied. Put up session follow-up motion will most likely make sure that pupils obtain hands-on-experience utilizing library property. Instructing strategies have to be always evaluated to determine flaws and enhance on them.

Additional the school librarian ought to reveal willingness to assist and worth pupils of their use of the library by way of: provision of readers’ guides; brochures; info marks; library handbooks/guides; computerization of assortment; useful guiding all via the library; and customary holding of knowledge exhibitions and knowledge gala’s. Since there are group radio stations all through the nation the school librarian might purchase air time to report library actions, property and companies. He can even focus on to pupils by way of substitute newspapers. Pupils may most likely be impressed to contribute articles on library enchancment, info evaluations and particulars about opening conditions and companies. The college librarian might assist pupils to form info and studying golf instruments, organize info weeks and knowledge talks utilizing visiting audio system and famend writers to deal with pupils. Lessons may also be allowed to go to the library to facilitate use. Extra importantly the school librarian ought to present help to pupils throughout the utilization of expertise to entry info exterior the library. He ought to offer pupils alternate choices associated to new expertise, use and manufacturing of various media codecs, and approved ideas and polices concerning info. In an effort to assemble a related useful helpful useful resource base for the school group the librarian ought to always perform needs evaluation, evaluating altering requires to in the marketplace property.

The Web is a crucial present for selling literacy all through the school library. The college librarian should make sure that the library has an net site which can carry out knowledge to related and authoritative sources and as a instrument for studying whereby pupils and lecturers are given totally different to share concepts and decisions (Herring, 2003). By way of the Web pupils can browse the library net web page to seek out strategies to look and develop info literacy abilities. To guarantee that pupils to faucet up-to-date sources from the Internet the school librarian ought to always substitute the house internet net web page, say every single day, if obligatory. Concurrently the school librarian ought to avail to pupils and lecturers sheets/guides to help them in ending up their very private unbiased researches. He ought to offer hands-on-experience educating to purchasers to share concepts with others by way of the formation of “lunch time” or “after school assist teams”. Such actions might assist pupils to develop concepts and looking out info for a category matter and exercise.

Even the state of affairs of the library has an have an effect on in selling literacy in school. The library have to be centrally situated, near the utmost variety of instructing areas. It ought to have the ability to seat a minimal of ten per cent of college pupils at any given time, having numerous property essential for instructing and studying capabilities supplied in school. The library have to be characterised by good signage for the advantage of pupil and trainer purchasers with up-to-date displays to boost the literacy abilities of pupils and stimulating their psychological curiosity.


Positively the promotion of literacy have to be integral all through the school curriculum and that the librarian ought to have the ability to play a main carry out to make sure that the abilities, knowledge and attitudes associated to info entry are inculcated in pupils and lecturers alike as paramount purchasers of the school library. Nonetheless the attainment of this perform will depend on a supportive school administration, all the time keen and ready to help the library and its capabilities financially. To make the librarian further smart he have to be given performance creating to assembly the challenges of fixing conditions.


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Source by John A Kargbo

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