An implementation plan for the development of school libraries in the KwaZulu-Natal region.
The study presents the status of school libraries in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa in the period 1990 to April 1996. The status quo is examined in order to provide a backdrop to the development of an implementation plan for resource provision in the region. This is because access to resources at school level is important for the enrichment of the learning experience and the development of skills needed to access information effectively. It was not easy to obtain data. Several different instruments such as questionnaires, interviews and talks were resorted to, to collect the information required in the study. The study reports on the library and education context in the Province in the period 1990 to April 1996, locating school libraries within both the education arena and the library and information profession. The study reflects on the policy, provision and service of the five former Departments of Education in the KwaZulu-Natal Province. International trends in school libraries and librarianship are also reviewed, particular attention being paid to the provision of school library services in Africa. The international perspective was reviewed to help inform the plan for school library provision in the KwaZulu-Natal region. The study suggests that a school library in each school in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal is not affordable in the near future. It suggests the planning of joint school/public libraries, for resource provision to schools in the region. This joint provision is suggested on the basis of incorporating the school library provisioning section into the Provincial public library system and the removal of the procurement function from the school library advisory service in the Department of Education. An exact plan to enable the above is suggested in the study, prioritising both short-and long-term goals. The study suggests the development of teachers' centres that promote resource-based teaching and learning at school level. It is clear that the exact details of the school/public library partnership have to be clearly mapped out, before the joint project is undertaken, in order to ensure that all stakeholders understand their responsibilities, and that the provision of resources to enhance and optimise the teaching experience needs to interact with the cultural context of the child for the benefits of a library to be fully experienced. The above, will only be possible if a co-ordinated Provincial policy and plan for resource provision are accepted and acted upon; that is, translated into minimum standards for provision. The lack of policy, standards and plan have, in the past, led to ad hoc provision of resources in the Province. The challenge is to convince all stakeholders of the advisability of the above as an interim arrangement in the school sector.