School library media centres : developing boys' secondary school libraries in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
This descriptive study concerns the development of boys' secondary school libraries in Saudi Arabia into centres for learning in the light of school library media centres in developed countries. Saudi Arabia recognises the importance of developing the learning environment and adopting modern concepts of learning. Teaching the `Library and Research' instruction, the Schools' Net Project and the Learning Resource Centres Project are evidence of concern with facilitating learning through resource-based school libraries. In order to obtain information about the current situation of school libraries, questionnaires were distributed to schools and to administrative area managers. The overall response rate was 41.6 and 69.2% respectively. The survey results showed that school libraries generally are poor and school librarians neither skilled nor trained. School libraries generally have poor collections, an absence of full-time qualified librarians, a lack of IT, inadequate educational activities and insufficient funding. They therefore cannot be expected to play a significant role in the educational process. In contrast, the majority of school librarians, school managers and administrative area managers reported encouraging attitudes towards modern concepts of learning and school library media centres. Recommendations for development focus on three areas: the learning environment; the physical infrastructure of the school library and its resources; and the status and position of school librarians. The necessity of changing the traditional learning approach into a student-centred approach is stressed. To support such an approach, information skills should be introduced and IT should be considered an important method of accessing information. The role of the school library in the learning process also needs to be recognised and school librarians should be seen as an important part of the educational team. They should have appropriate qualifications in Library and Information Science and be able to access in-service training. Finally, school librarians should be involved in formal collaboration with teachers to develop an effective learning environment.