School libraries and their role in promoting a reading culture: Case study of Caprivi, Omusati, Omaheke, Karas and Khomas regions of Namibia

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University of Namibia
The importance of school libraries cannot be overemphasized. This paper is based on a study on school libraries in Namibia which was conducted by the University of Namibia, Department of Information and Communication Studies from July 2009 to February 2010. The study covered five of Namibia's thirteen regions, namely Caprivi, Omusati, Omaheke, Karas and Khomas. The study employed a qualitative and quantitative research design using a triangulation of data collection methods including surveys, interviews, focus group discussions, and observation. Some of the questions the study aimed to answer were, "What is the state of school libraries?" and "What is their role in promoting a reading culture in Namibia?" The World Bank (2008, p. xxi) describes how effective school libraries can be as "they provide additional reading opportunities for students, which in turn improve reading skills, comprehension and writing clarity of expressions, which in turn support student performance in all other curriculum subjects. Although the study showed the existence of libraries in all the schools; more than Bo per cent of these were not adequately resourced in terms of reading materials, equipment, and stafj1ng. The study also established that although learners said that they liked reading there was no strong library programme to inculcate a reading culture in the learners. A number of other factors can contribute to a good or bad reading culture. These include the language of instruction and home/family environment. In Namibia, a 2011 report of the education system audit notes that proficiency in English, the language of instruction is below basic. The study concluded that the majority of school libraries in Namibia are not in a position to provide the benefits described by the Word Bank above. This is evidenced by the fact that there is a high failure rate in Namibian schools. The small percentage of schools with libraries that were well run happened to have a good pass rate but in these cases the libraries were also adequately resourced, equipped and staffed.
School, Libraries, Promoting, Khomas, Reading, Karas, Namibia
Nengomasha, C. T., and others. 2012. School libraries and their ro)e iri pro moting a reading culture. Journal for Studies in Humanities and Social Sciences 1(1):159-171.