Library is one of the most important parts of the school system. In the library, students continue to undertake learning and self-instruction during their free time. They also use library facilities, books, online and offline collections to do their assignments, reports, researches and other activities. However, with the advent of Internet resources, students now tend to use the Internet rather than library resources.
Hence, there is a need to improve the college library based on the needs, preferences, and convenience of the students. This paper aimed to gather opinions and suggestions of the students to improve the college library. The objectives of the study were:
To identify what do the students more frequently use for searching information;
To determine how often do the students visit or use the library facilities;
To check if students get the information they need from the college library;
To find out if students believe that the college library needs improvement; and
To gather students' opinions and suggestion on the improvement of the school library?
The opinions and suggestions of the students were very useful for updating the contents and improving the system of the library. The results of this research also served as an appeal to the school administration to improve the college library.
Specifically, this study answered the following questions:
What do the students more frequently use for searching information: Internet or Library?
How often do the students visit or use the library facilities?
Do they get the information they need from the college library?
Do they believe that the college library needs improvement?
What are their opinions and suggestion on the improvement of the school library?
Libraries play important roles in the learning experience of students. It is the library where students obtain continuous learning and self-instruction. The library is expected to give extensive learning experience to the students. This section provides argument for the importance of traditional libraries.
Traditional library can be defined as a confined place with a finite collection of tangible information bearing primary and resources such as books, journals, and alternative forms such as images, films, and tapes. It also contains secondary or meta-information like card catalog, various thesauri and references, and other searching tools which reference the library's primary content (Low, 1996).There are the material resources of the library. These are the available sources of information for the students, faculty and staff.
The main roles of libraries include teaching, learning, and research responsibilities. In terms of teaching, library staff has the responsibility to improve and facilitate teaching and instructions of the teaching staff. Libraries also facilitate learning and self-instruction of students. Likewise, this is also true in terms of researching needs of the students and the teaching staff as well (Stover, 2001).
Libraries can fulfill teaching, learning, and research responsibilities through reference service, developing an extensive collection, and updating and maintaining this collection. Moreover, the libraries may also seek collaboration with the teaching faculty and other parts of campus community in the process of curriculum development. The library staff also has the responsibility to anticipate and be prepared with intellectual and technological developments that may affect the library in the future (Stover, 2001). Because of these important roles, libraries should be continuously improved.
This study utilized a qualitative research design to determine the opinions and suggestions of the students concerning the improvement of the college library. The method was survey and suggestion box. Survey method is the appropriate method to be used when gathering opinions of the subjects when high response rate is needed at a short research time. This was necessary for the conduct of this research.
The participants of this study were the college students of Bluefiled State College. They were asked to participate in the survey while they were in the library, canteen, or school grounds during their free time. On the other hand, a separate suggestion box especially designed for this study was placed in each section of the library. There was no sampling method implemented and multiple responses were not restricted because this study focused on the content of responses and not on the number of responses.
In terms of data analysis and presentation, complete enumeration of responses was done. The scope of the responses covered library use, belief or non-belief of the need to improve the college library, and others based on solely on the perception of the students. The limitation of this study was that the population of the school was not appropriately represented because no sampling was done. However, the study assured voluntary participation which resulted high response rate.
The instruments used in this study were suggestion box and self-administered questionnaire. The answer sheet for the suggestion box and the questionnaire were attached as appendix A and appendix B respectively.
A total of 300 responses were gathered from the survey. The participants were gathered from the library, school grounds and other areas within the school where students gather during their free time. In terms of the school level, the breaks down of the respondents were the following: 1st year- 70; 2nd year- 50; 3rd year- 70; 4th year- 80; 5th year- 30.
Majority of the respondents expressed more use of Internet rather than library resources in making their assignments and searching for information. Figure 1 shows the break down of responses. Hence, there is a need to improve library resources to encourage them to rely on the college library for their information needs.
In spite of using the Internet more often to search for information, many of the respondents still go to the library everyday. Hence, there is still willingness on the part of the students to visit the library and search for information. Figure 2 shows the break down of the responses.
However, when asked if they get the information that they need, majority of the respondents answered no. Out of 300 respondents, 170 said that they frequently do not get the information they need from the college library and only 130 said they get useful information from the library. Figure 3 shows the break down of responses.
Therefore, failure the undertake the number one role of the college library- to deliver relevant information to the students means that this is a very significant reason to improve the facilities and service of the college library.
In accordance to this, almost all of the respondents said that they believe that their college library needs to be improved. Only 40 expressed confidence to their college library and did not believe that rehabilitation of the college library should be done. On the other hand, 260 respondents said that the college library should be rehabilitated to improve performance of the college library.
Table 1 shows the suggestions of the respondents for college library improvement from suggestion box and survey questionnaires. The suggestions of the respondents can be classified into four groups: human resources, facilities/services, books, and management.
Table 1 Suggestion for College Library Improvement
(From Suggestion box and Survey Questionnaire)
more tables and chairs to accommodate more students
library tour for those who need assistance
subscription of online and offline journals
better library management
better borrowing and return system
More on fiction section
Human Resources. Many of the respondents suggested that they need more and trained librarians and guides to assist them in their library experience. They also suggested having guards within the vicinity of the library to provide security.
Facilities/services. The students also suggested that they need more tables and chair for increased accommodation facilities of the libraries. They also requested for library tours for those who need it, especially for the freshmen students and subscription of online and offline journals which can be very useful for graduating students for their final research.
Books. The students requested for more books of more recent editions on diverse range of topics. Moreover, they also suggested more recent collection for the fictions sections. This suggests that the students still need and are still willing to read books.
Library Management. Aside from the material resources and human resources, students also suggested some improvement of the college library based on library management. This concerned book borrowing and return system, and better over all library management. This is in accordance to their request for more trained librarians.
Conclusion and Recommendations
From the results of the survey, it can be concluded that the students rely more frequently to Internet resources for their information and scholastic needs. The advent of technologies and the rapid development of new ones, especially the Internet have changed the learning and researching behavior of the students- from the traditional library resources to digital or Internet resources.
Nevertheless, the students still visit the library on a daily basis to search for the information that they need for scholastic performance and personal knowledge gain. However, most of them do not get the information that they need. Thus, they believe that the college library should be improved.
These scenarios should be a calling for the administration and the library management to improve the library's facilities and services. The students have also stated in this research their suggestions through the survey and suggestion box.
Accordingly, this research has the following suggestion for the library management, school administration, and the students.
Consider the point of view of students because they are the primary users and intended audience of the library and programs to improve it. The effectives of improvement programs will solely depend on the acceptability of the project to the students.
Implement comprehensive and effective library management procedures. This will trickle down to better library service from library staff and relevant library experience for the students.
Devote significant part of the school budget for improvement of the school library because library has important roles to teaching, learning, and research which are tantamount to the roles of the school as a whole.
Support initiatives of the school library to improve.
Avail and maximize the use of library's resources. This can encourage school authorities to improve the college library facilities.
Be active in giving suggestions for the improvement of scholastic performance of the school and the college library for that matter.