The training of teacher librarians and the development of school libraries in KwaZulu-Natal.
Kheswa, Siyanda Edison.
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Libraries are the important resources that knowledge production institutions such as schools must have in order to effectively realise their objectives. It is important to note that libraries are hubs of the learning environment; hence they need to be managed by skilled people who are well aware of their functions, purpose and role in terms of meeting the school’s vision, mission and goals. It was for this reason that institutions of higher learning such as the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) offered the Advanced Certificate in Education in School Library Development and Management (ACESLD) as a specialist qualification for educators to enable them to acquire the necessary skills to develop and manage libraries in their respective schools. The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Education (KZNDoE) provided funding to support the training of qualified teacher librarians. However, there has been no comprehensive report on the success and failures of this initiative since its inception in 2004. Hence, the purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the ACESLD Programme through tracing the educators that have graduated from the Programme and determining the impact it has had on their work as teacher librarians as well as on the development and management of their school libraries. The objective of the study was to determine the influence that the ACESLD Programme has had on the development and management of school libraries in the KwaZulu- Natal (KZN) Province. The study adopted the postpositivist paradigm. Both qualitative and quantitative methods were used to investigate the problem, although the overall approach was more qualitative in nature. The postpositivist paradigm allows both methods to be used to collect data. Data was collected from teacher librarians, the Education Library Information Technology Services (ELITS) Director and the UKZN ACESLD Programme Coordinator. The study found that the ACESLD Programme had a major influence on the teacher librarians’ contribution to the development and maintenance of school libraries in the Province. Most of the teacher librarians contributed to the development of their school libraries and used the knowledge and skills gained from the ACESLD Programme. It was also found that ELITS had a much broader role to play given that their focus is not only the provision of access to functional school libraries but also necessitates that they provide library-related professional development and support for targeted schools within the Province. The study recommends that the Directorate must compile a report on the progress ELITS has made regarding the school library development in the Province. It was further recommended that ELITS conduct extensive monitoring and evaluation to determine if the teacher librarians are maintaining the school libraries, given that they were provided with the initial resources to develop school libraries.