Challenges and Issues That Are Faced by the Sri Lankan School Library Staff (2000-2016 period)
Keywords:teacher librarians, school library, general education, Sri Lanka
This study focuses on challenges and issues faced by the Sri Lankan School Library staff recruited under the General Education Project 2 (GEP 2). The study was conducted in order to identify the pros and cons of the GEP 2 Library staff training project. 4000 teacher librarians were recruited to the school libraries under the GEP 2 Project. The National Institute of Library and Information Science (NILIS), University of Colombo, was established under this project. In 2003 NILIS introduced Masters, Post-graduate Diplomas, Diploma and Certificate courses in Library Sciences, in order to train the newly recruited teacher librarians and support staff. This study proposes to reveal the main factors which contributed towards the inadequate number of students for the NILIS courses, which were mainly due to the policies of the government regarding staff training, and the school libraries in Sri Lanka. This study was carried out with the available written documents, communications, and face to face interviews, with the relevant parties. NILIS is struggling to improve the training of school library staff throughout the island in numerous ways, in spite of the red notice by the authorities to close down the Institute. Subsequently due to the best practice of NILIS it was possible to convince the officials of the Ministry of Education regarding the importance of School libraries, and staff training, which resulted in the increase of the number of students from 26 in 2013, to 250 in 2016.