Back-to-school Tips for Parents

Middle school research by Mary Woodard

It’s back-to-school time, and students, equipped with the necessary supplies, are ready to tackle another school year.
School supplies aren’t limited to what the student carries in their backpack. The school library furnishes ready-made “school supplies” – resources designed to maximize a child’s educational experience.

Beyond a place where students can visit to check out books, the school library is a place where students can
work on their homework assignments, explore new technology, and share new thoughts and ideas. The presence of the school librarian ensures that they can gather and learn in a safe environment.

As educators, school librarians strive to teach students to be independent users of information and it is in the best
interest of parents to assist in this process. School librarians prepare students for life-long learning, informed
decision-making, a love of reading, and the use of information technologies. They empower students to be critical thinkers, enthusiastic readers, skillful researchers and ethical users of inforToday, our meaning of literacy
exceeds that of books and encompasses all information.

Technology has changed the landscape of education and schools are attempting to keep up with these changes. According to A Global Imperative: The Report of the 21st
Century Literacy Summit, “A profound shift is taking place in the way people communicate and express themselves…a new concept of language – and what it means to be literate
– is evolving…incorporating visual and aural elements with textual elements, and an immediacy which itself is a
dimension of the new language”. With so much misinformation in our data-driven society, school librarians must help the entire educational community to obtain the necessary skills to survive and thrive in the 21st century.”

Learning today means more than memorizing facts. It means learning to learn for a lifetime. Savvy parents and
educators know that the school library is key to teaching students not just to read but to practice the skills they need
to seek, evaluate and use information throughout their lives. In fact, research shows those students from schools with professionally staffed, fully equipped libraries score higher
on achievement tests.

The best way to find out about your school library is to pay a visit and ask the following questions suggested by the American Association of School Librarians, a division of the American Library Association:
** Is there a state-certified full-time school librarian?
** Does your child have access to the school library anytime during the day that he/she needs to use its resources?
** Does the library offer remote access from home via computer?
** Does your child visit the school library frequently with his/her class? Individually? In small groups?
** Is the school library an attractive and convenient space where children can work individually and in small groups?
** Does the school library have a wide range of resources in a variety of formats–books, computers, audio and
videotapes–that appeal to different learning styles?
** Does the library have the hardware and software to provide access to the Internet and other electronic resources?
** Are the resource materials in the school library current? Are
the encyclopedias less than three years old?
** Is the school library budget adequate to provide a full range of both print and electronic resources?
** Are children encouraged to read, view and listen both for understanding and enjoyment?
** Are school administrators knowledgeable and supportive of
the school library?
** Does the school provide ongoing training to support teachers and staff in learning about new technologies?
** Are teachers encouraged to work with the school librarian to extend learning opportunities beyond the textbook and classroom?
** Is there a process for ongoing evaluation of the school


Now these are some salient questions that needs to be answered as your children go back to school. Endeavour to appreciate the critical role of school libraries and Certified Librarians in ensuring student success.


Libraries can Digitize Books


The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has ruled that libraries have the right to digitize books and distribute them to dedicated reading terminals without first obtaining the publisher’s permission. The decision
rests on exceptions built into the EU Copyright Directive for reproducing and communicating intellectual property.

Specifically it says that publicly accessible libraries may make works available at “dedicated terminals… for the purpose of research or private study.” German publisher Eugen Ulmer, which filed the suit in question against the Technical University of Darmstadt, can’t be happy with the result. But, the court didn’t hand libraries a blank check to freely pass around digitized content either. The law still prevents these digitized copies from being stored
on USB keys or printed out. Under the Copyright Directive, the act of printing or storing the files would mean the
individual, not the library, was making the copy — which would violate the law.

The decision is sure to generate plenty of controversy. In fact, the issue of digitizing books has had a long history
of stirring up trouble. In the US, Google ran afoul of publishers and authors when it attempted to put digitally
scanned versions of books online and make them searchable. And publishers have been trying to milk every dollar they can out of libraries that ” lend ” e-books. This is probably not the last time that a publishing company is going to drag a library or educational organization in front of a judge, either. But at least in Europe, there’s now a
slightly clearer precedent for dealing with such conflicts.


The Tenets of Education



Ebhonu S.I
NNEC Librarian

I was in a vehicle to Sapele on my way from Benin and I entered into a conversation with the driver. He proudly announced to me that he dropped out of school in primary three (3). According to him, he is not ashamed of his illiteracy status because he has gained more experience than the ‘so called’ literate persons around. He had wined with the Libyans and dined with the Italians. From these experiences, he concluded that education would not have made him know as much as he did. It got me wondering on how myopic many persons’ perception of education really is.

Education in the proper sense of the word is not limited to the four walls of a classroom or any building at that. It is the imparting and acquiring of knowledge through teaching and learning. It also includes the knowledge or abilities gained through being educated. In a broader sense, education entails an informative experience.

The problem with the youths of this generation and the adults of the previous is that they are so preoccupied with the prospect of making money first, with the intention that education can always come later. Attempt to have a conversation with the young man next door on this issue and you will probably hear something like: “I wan hammer,” “Guy na money first o!,” “Even graduates nor get work,” “Wen I make my dough,  I go employ graduates to serve me,” etc. These comments stem from a disillusioned mindset, totally lacking in proper understanding of the concept of education. Without trying to be judgmental, I will attempt a plenary explanation of what education actually entails.

The Greek philosopher, Socrates is credited with these words- that the mind at birth is a tabular raza (a clean slate) upon which experiences are etched. Thus a baby at birth is ignorant of a lot of things and the parents, family  as well as society is saddled with the responsibility of inculcating knowledge into that mind. As he grows older, it becomes pertinent for him to learn the basic things and acquire knowledge in different forms. Some are privileged to formal education while others have access to informal ones.

In formal education, the child learns the basic rudiments of language as well as subjects that help in their own little way to steer the child to major disciplines like medicine, astronomy, law, engineering etc. The others who do not have access to such are informally taught things, the most common of which is a trade. Many learn fashion, plumbing, construction, wiring, electrical and electronic repairs etc, depending on where their passion lies.

Problems arise when society treats the ones who were formally taught as superiors. No one is higher than the other. The mechanic is as good as and sometimes even better than the mechanical engineering graduate. The only difference is that the latter was taught in many verbose words with less action. Not everybody is privileged to be formally educated and everyone including the society must respect that.

Whether you were educated in a classroom or a workshop, what matters is the stuff you have in your head. This is what sets you apart and distinguishes you from an ignorant person. Every human must strive to be educated, it is as essential as the clothes they wear and the food they eat. Don’t just relax because there is no money and you assume that the possibility of education for you has dwindled to a vanishing point. Do not leave your brain idle, learn a trade, learn how to drive, learn catering, learn decorations, learn languages, the key thing is to LEARN something and learn it WELL. What makes a man sought after is not  necessarily the excellence of speech at his command BUT because he is good at what he does(no matter what it is). Sometimes we think some things are too debasing to learn, but someone out there does not know it and he will need you someday. No one can blame himself for being born ignorant, however, your brain and indeed the whole world will blame you for remaining so.

My parents were not privileged to finish their schooling due to financial constraints but they are one of the most educated persons I know. To be educated means to be well taught (it does not matter in what). It also means to have the benefit of experience or knowledge. No matter your stature or station in life, be educated because in it you have something that nobody can take away from you. This is what education really is all about.