Promoting Literacy in School Libraries in Sierra Leone


Information literacy is at the heart of it. lies in the definitions that define it. In the past, librarians have provided “library induction” or “library skills training’, but in a limited role. Library users must be aware of where the catalog is located as well as what the library’s services are as well as where the enquiry desk is. This isn’t meant to diminish the value of the traditional library induction but libraries and information are changing. The delivery of information by a library in a traditional manner has seen drastic changes. Already in most library and information organisations staffs are altering their services in line with the introduction of new media as well as access to information within these organizations. Thus librarians are talking about opportunities for inclusion, social inclusion to learn, lifelong studying, information society and self development. Visit:-

A plethora of definitions for information literacy can be found in books, journal papers and on the internet. Many of these definitions are based around the activities that constitute information literacy i.e. identifying the skills needed to be able to function effectively as a literate. Others definitions are based on the idea of an information-literate person i.e. trying to describe the idea that information literacy is a concept. Making a definitive definition is a complex process of gathering a variety of thoughts about what should be, or can constitute information literacy. For instance, Weber and Johnson (2002) classified information literacy in terms of the application of appropriate behaviours in the information world in order to access, by any medium or channel, the data that is suitable to meet needs in information, as well as consciousness of the importance of making ethical use of information in society. In 2003, the American Library Association (2003) defined information literacy as the set of capabilities needed to search the information, access, analyze and use information. In contrast, CLIP (2004) identified information literacy in terms of knowing what and why one requires information, where to find it and how to assess its use, and then communicate the information in a professional manner. Succinctly these definitions imply that information literacy is not just knowledge, but also abilities in:

* recognising when information is needed;
* resources available
* Locating information
* evaluating information
* by using information
* ethics and the responsibility for the use of information
* How to communicate or share information;
How to manage information

In light of the numerous definitions and implicit explanations of information literacy is a collection of abilities that an individual is able to use to manage and take advantage of the awe-inspiring quantity of information that surrounds us every day in our lives and at work.


Sierra Leone’s current educational system comprises six years in formal elementary education three years of Junior Secondary School (JSS) as well as three years of senior Secondary School (SSS) and four years of tertiary school-6-3-3-4. (The professor Gbamanja commission’s Report of 2010 recommended an additional year to allow SSS to become 6-3-4-4). The primary school pupils is six and 11 years old. All pupils at the end of class six are required to pass an exam called the National Primary School Examinations designed by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) so that they can go to the secondary school which is split in the Junior Secondary School(JSS) and Senior Secondary School (SSS). Each component has a closing examination, which is the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) for the JSS and the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) for SSS as well, both of which are conducted by WAEC. Successful candidates of WASSCE get admission to tertiary schools based on a number of subjects taken (GoSL,1995)

The primary school curriculum is focused on communication skills and the ability to comprehend as well as manipulate data. At the JSS level, the curriculum is general and broad, covering all knowledge, attitudes and skills in the affective, cognitive, as well as psychomotor areas. The essential subjects of English Mathematics, Science and Social Studies are obligatory for all students. In the SSS level the curriculum is defined by the nature of the subject (general or specialist) or the specific objectives. Students are provided with a selection of basic (compulsory) subjects , along with optional subjects based on their specialization. Teaching is guided by teaching syllabuses and influenced by the exams that students must take during the 3/ 4-year course. English is the medium of teaching (GoSL,1995).

The two universities in the country as well as three polytechnics and two schools for training teachers are accountable for teacher training within Sierra Leone. The Universities Act of 2004 provides for private universities to ensure that they too can help in the training of teachers. They offer programs ranging across the Teacher Certificate offered by the colleges for teacher training to the Masters in Education offered by universities. The pre-service teacher certification program is the job by the National Council for Technical, Vocational and Other Academic Awards (NCTVA). Additionally, there is an in-service teacher Training Program (Distance Education Program) conducted for teachers to cut down on the number of untrained , unqualified teachers especially in rural areas.


in Sierra Leone as it is in the majority of the developing world literacy involves one’s ability to read, write , and numeracy. It is the ability to perform effectively in a variety of environments. Literacy is connected with having skills and knowledge and the way they can be applied within his context. For instance , a person who is educated is thought to be competent to apply chemical fertilizers to their crop, fill out an application for loans, calculate the appropriate dosage of medicine, calculate the cash cropping costs and profits, glean details from a newspaper and fill out a bank deposit slip and understanding instructions and basic human rights.

Literacy is at the heart of the country’s development targets as well as the human rights of all people (World Bank, 2007). Wherever literacy is practiced, it is included in national and international strategies to improve education wellbeing, human development, and overall wellbeing. As per the 2013 United Nations Human Development Index Sierra Leone has a literacy rate of 34 %.Implicitly Sierra Leone is an oral society. Oral societies heavily rely on memories to convey their values, laws music, history and other cultural elements, whereas the written word offers endless possibilities for communication and thus actively participating in the process of communication. These possibilities make the goal of literacy crucial in the world of today.

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