Making school library an extension of the classroom
By PHARES MUTEMBEI
Lack of well-equipped libraries undermine research, which is a crucial element of education.
Educationists and school administrators identify inadequate libraries as one of the areas that must be upgraded if student academic performance is to improve. It was with this in mind that the Kenya Library of the Year Award (Loya) was launched.
The Loya is project of the Goethe-Insitut, the Kenya Library Association and the Jomo Kenyatta Foundation. The national award recognises excellence in the provision of library and other information services. Winners in the seven categories included the Haller Foundation Library, Mombasa, which scooped the Community Library prize.
The United States International University won the Academic Libraries category and the overall winner of the Library of the Year (Maktaba) Award.
Brookhouse International School topped the School Libraries category. The Communications Commission of Kenya bagged the Special Libraries award with Western province’s Mukumu Boys High School clinching the Special Recognition trophy.
Brookhouse librarian Joyce Gacheru was elated with the win that included cash, medal and a certificate. "My duty is to make book reading and research a fun and enriching activity for the pupils. Our library is an extension of the classroom, but more fun," she says.
The school’s Library and Media Centre, occupying a section of the modern castle building, has a collection of books that appeal to children, aged between two and eight.
To make the visit to the library enticing to the young learners, large sized mushrooms, caves, trees, rocks and hills that form part of the dÈcor lend an aura of adventure and magic. "We have books from different cultures that appeal to various classes of children.
Fiction and non-fiction books from different countries are backed by videos for additional illustration of the themes. Reading is accompanied by activities to make the pupils enjoy the books.
"They do research work about the author which they post on the notice board. They also do book reviews and draw scenes from the book," says Gacheru.
Students are taugh to use a dictionary, including the online edition. "Making the library fun encourages the children to become habitual readers," says Gacheru.
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