Professional Volunteerism in Children and School Libraries in Africa: An Imperative for Children’s Information Literacy and Education

CHIMAH, Jonathan Ndubuisi and NWOKOCHA, Udo (2019) Professional Volunteerism in Children and School Libraries in Africa: An Imperative for Children’s Information Literacy and Education. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2019 - Athens, Greece - Libraries: dialogue for change in Session 233 - Africa Section.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/2433
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

Professional Volunteerism in Children and School Libraries in Africa: An Imperative for Children’s Information Literacy and Education

Generally, volunteerism is recognized as a powerful means of engaging people in tackling development challenges, and it can transform the pace and nature of development within a community. Volunteerism benefits both society at large and the individual volunteer by strengthening trust, solidarity and reciprocity among citizens, and by purposefully creating opportunities for participation. Public libraries provide safe, welcoming, inclusive spaces and resources to support early literacy, lifelong learning and resources for formal and informal education. For instance, organizing children’s story hour, reading and comprehensive competitions could make children develop their love for books. The use of library and information resources enables learners to become effective information seekers. However, only a small percentage of schools in Africa have functional school libraries with trained librarians. Schools in rural areas are located in communities that are characterized by high levels of illiteracy, poor academic performance and a lack of established reading habits. Most secondary schools do not have standard libraries with professional librarians and most homes in rural communities do not have facilities for children to do any meaningful revision. It is based on this backdrop that the paper delves into identifying the need for professional volunteerism in libraries with particular reference to school and children libraries in Africa. The paper examines types of volunteering services, skills and experiences required, the incentives expected by prospective volunteers, challenges, as well as management and support standards by libraries. It is suggestive that, in order to reduce the level of illiteracy among the children in Africa, librarians should develop evolving strategies to promote volunteerism for school/children libraries.

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