School Library Provision in the Republic of Ireland
Keywords:school libraries, Ireland
The provision of state funded school libraries is a common feature of education systems in developed countries internationally. Despite this, the Irish Department of Education funds demonstration libraries in only 30 out of the 730 post-primary (for students aged 12-18) schools nationally. Outside of these, school library provision in Ireland is under researched and very little is known about library facilities, resources, management, and use of the library by the school community. In order to shed some light on the current situation, this study explores, for the first time, school library provision in one province in the West of Ireland (Connacht) in which there are 102 post-primary schools. Of these, only 55 schools confirmed that they have a library and 29 of these participated in the study. The key research questions are as follows: Are there school libraries in post-primary schools in Connacht? Where school libraries exist in this region, how are these resourced, managed and used by the school community? The findings indicate that despite the commitment of individual teachers and schools, the lack of a national school library policy and the lack of funding is very much in evidence in terms of the resources provided for school libraries and their use by teachers and students. The study argues that current school library provision in the majority of schools surveyed, is more analogous to school library provision in developing countries, and that the findings from this region may reflect the situation in post-primary schools nationally.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Breege O'Brien, Shivaun O'Brien, John O'Hara
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