Under-resourced, inadequately staffed, and little used: some issues facing many school libraries, seen through the lens of an exploration of the situation in Iraq.
Johnson, Ian M.
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JOHNSON, I.M. 2016. Under-resourced, inadequately staffed, and little used: some issues facing many school libraries, seen through the lens of an exploration of the situation in Iraq. Library trends [online], 65(2), pages 217-250. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1353/lib.2016.0032.
This paper discusses why many school libraries may not have been seen as an essential element of education, and supported and used accordingly. It reviews the international agencies' advice and encouragement for the development of literacy, education, and school libraries, particularly that focused on the Arab world, and considers the provision of school libraries within the context of a country's economic, political, and social circumstances, with Iraq as a particular focus. From this evidence, it discusses the reasons why school libraries remained underfunded, inadequately staffed, and little used, and what appears to be needed to transform the perception of their contribution to a country's development, briefly reexamining the interactions between the education system and the training required by all the personnel involved in the development of a reading culture, the role of book publishing and new information media, and the place of information literacy within the curriculum. Finally, it draws some conclusions about issues in mobilizing support for development, and points to the lack of a focused and coordinated effort by the relevant international agencies. The paper draws on a wider case study of the development of librarianship and information management in Iraq, which is expected to be published shortly.