Issues and challenges facing school libraries in selected primary schools in Gauteng Province, South Africa
There is no national policy for school libraries which compels school governing bodies and principals to have a library in their schools. It is thus not surprising that in 2011, only 21% of state schools had libraries, only 7% had stocked libraries and 79% of schools had no library at all (Department of Basic Education (DBE) Republic of South Africa, 2011a:23). This article forms part of a broader qualitative study which investigated 10 primary schools in Gauteng Province, South Africa that had libraries, or were in the process of setting up a library, with the intention of providing a rich description of the issues and challenges facing these schools. The 10 schools used in this study were chosen on the basis of their location and fee structures. They represented the full continuum of fees within the state structure. In this article, we discuss three core categories of predicaments faced by primary school libraries. These were resourcing the library, operating the library and the role of the library. Our main contention is that school libraries are not playing an effective role in supporting and enabling quality education for all South African children. This needs to be addressed by government as a matter of urgency.
Keywords: academic achievement; books; information and communication technologies; information literacy; literacy; national school library policy; quality education; reading; school librarians; school libraries