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FACULTY OF EDUCATION AND LANGUAGES
SEMESTER: MAY 2012
ENGLISH FOR WORKPLACE COMMUNICATION
RECOMMENDATIONS IN OVERCOMMING THE PROBLEMS IN THE SCHOOL
LIBRARY OF SEKOLAH EMAS PRAI
Table of Contents
Problems at the School’s Library........................................................................................3-5
Solutions to the Problems of the School Library.............................................................5-8
To: The Committee Members of the Parent Teacher Association of
Sekolah Emas Prai.
From: Sukha Singh, President of Parent Teacher Association, Sekolah
Date: 30 June 2012
Subject: Recommendations in overcoming the problems in the school
library of Sekolah Emas Prai, Pulau Pinang.
This report is written in response to the numerous complaints that I have been receiving
over the past several months from the parents about the poor state of affairs at our school
library. I have made a few visits to the library which caters to both the primary and
secondary schools, and found the conditions as described by the parents are true and they
are deplorable. So we have to make some concrete decisions to rectify it. As the next
meeting of the PTA is due in a month’s time, I hope you will give your full cooperation
to the recommendations I have put forward in this report, in finding solutions to the
existing problems at our school library. This is important because the library plays a vital
role in the students’ intellectual development.
The library’s facilities are in a sad state and not conducive for students to sit and spend
some time for reading as it is uncomfortable due to insufficient fans, unsuitable old
furniture and outdated slow computers. It has been sometime since new books have been
added to the present collections and fair number of old books are torn and tattered.
There is a need for renovation work to be done at this place as floor tiles are missing in
places and the walls need a new coat of paint, book shelves and lighting need urgent
Funding and budgeting problems is another area in which our committee will play a key
role in getting the funds either by having fundraising programmes or getting help from
Management of the library needs to be looked into as overcrowding, operating hours, and
overdue return of books are the other common problems.
PROBLEMS AT THE SCHOOL’S LIBRARY.
Facilities at the library:
The poor conditions of the facilities in the library are due to the following:
i. The condition of the library of Sekolah Emas Prai is not in good condition as
the floor is poorly maintained with missing and cracked tiles. The paintwork
of the walls were faded and peeling in some places. The ceilings appeared
stained and warped especially around the light mountings. There is no toilet
facility near the library.
ii Ceiling fans are inadequate to maintain a comfortable temperature of the
library and students may not want spend enough time reading under this
conditions. The fans are old and make a lot of noise. The lighting is poor and
gives a gloomy atmosphere.
iii The furniture presently used either needs repairs or it is inadequate to
accommodate the students using the library. Broken chairs have not been
replaced and some of the present ones are too big for the students’ use. The
tables and chairs are haphazardly placed and the space usage is not properly
iv The bookshelves are rather old looking and lacking proper labeling and some
are slanting giving an impression the base of the shelves have rotted. The
shelves are tall for the primary school students as they cannot get the books
that are on the top shelves.
v The computer room has some outdated slow computers and their numbers are
small to cater for the students. There is lack of proper lighting and electrical
outlets and no printers available in the computer room.
Books in the Library:
i. No new books have been bought or donated to this library for the past two
years. The unavailability of books like the Harry Porter series has irked
the students and their parents alike. There are also few reference books to
contend with especially the lower secondary students who need reference
material for their class projects.
ii. Students find difficulty in searching for books filed in the shelves due
faded prints on the book covers, wrong filing of books and improper
iii. Many of the books were found in bad condition as they were torn and
tattered with missing pages and some have shown their age in their
iv. There were a few magazines in the magazines’ racks and the children’s
magazines were missing.
Managing the Library:
i. The library is run by a librarian, volunteer teachers who take turns in their
library duties and secondary class students. The librarian is overwhelmed
by administrative work while the teachers come in twice a week after
school. The students help out in the counter where students who borrow
or return the books get their books stamped.
ii. Many of the books that are removed from the shelves because they are old
or need repairs have no proper place to be stored. They are kept at one
end of the library floor to be attended to later. This becomes an eye sore
to the visitors of the library.
iii. Too many students come in at the same time after school is over and the
library becomes congested and noisy. Tendency for the library books to
go missing is high and is one of the library’s problems.
iv. Library’s operating hours are too short and the students are not given
enough time for browsing for the books or for reading. There seems to be
a rush hour type of scene daily coupled by the congestion.
v. There is a rush by the students to use the computer room and too many
students are seen hovering over the few computers waiting for their turn.
vi. There is always a delay in clearing the books to be borrowed by the
students when the new staff comes to help in the library. There is no
training schedule and they pick up as they observe their colleagues work.
vii. Funds to improving the library is most often overlooked by the authorities.
The school’s head had discussed with me that he had put up a report to
the state education office one year ago and had not received any reply
Solutions to the Problems of the School Library:
Overcoming the problems of the facilities at the school’s library:
i. The library needs some renovation work as the floors, walls and ceilings
have to be restored. The walls need to be painted up with light soothing
colour paint to brighten up the room. A reading section need to be created
as the primary school students with the help of their teachers need to
develop the reading habit.
ii. Air conditioning the library should be given serious attention to create a
comfortable environment for reading. This will also prevent the books in
the library from getting discoloured. The electrical wirings need to be
checked by the wiring contractors before the wirings are changed. For
your note the last renovation was done fifteen years ago.
iii. New and suitable chairs and tables need to be purchased to meet the
students’ requirements. Chairs that can be repaired will be looked into in
order to save costs.
iv. At the junior students’ library section book shelves need to be replaced, in
order to meet the height and reach of these students. The shelves with
unstable bases from the other sections of the library also need replacement
with better quality materials. Proper labeling of the bookshelves is
v. The computer room facilities need upgrading. It needs more electrical
points for power supply to the computers and its accessories. It also needs
more broadband ports for the computers. The slow computers need new
computer software to be installed while increasing the total number of
computers from the present three to at least eight computers in the room.
This will give more opportunity for the students in the use of the library
Maintenance of Books at the Library:
Books are an important source of information and it plays a part in the learning
process of a child’s development. Book maintenance at the library should be
routine and on going to ensure the students get the books they want to read.
Therefore we must ensure the following problem solving methods are followed:
i. We need more new books in the library to meet the students’ demands.
We need to look into ways to get funds in order to purchase new books.
a) This can be done by following up the action of the school head
who had appealed for funds for the library before, from the state
b) We need to have a fundraising campaign or drive to collect money
for the library upgrading project. This can be in the form of a
donation campaign appealing for donations from parents,
teachers, corporate sectors and well wishers. The appeal can be
even in the form of a book donation especially from the private
sectors or companies.
c) A book fair, a jumble sale or a concert performed by the students
can be organized for the donation drive.
ii. The shelves require new markers with colour codes to assist the students
in their book search. Cataloging, adding subject headings with the Dewey
Decimal System numbering of the books comes under the management
section of the library where the books are prepared before they are put on
the shelves. We will meet the librarian to discuss this problem and assist
him in any way we can to improve the labels on the books and the
iii. Books that are torn with pages missing will have to be removed from the
shelves together with the old books that are seldom borrowed by the
students. An extra room needed to be found with the help of the school
head to create a storehouse or a workstation where the torn books and old
books can be sent. The torn books can be repaired here by the volunteers
and later be placed back into the appropriate shelves. The workstation
will help in taking in the books that are placed on the floors of library
thus solving the unsightly sights in the library.
iv. It will be good if the library has more children’s magazines as this is one
form to attract the children to read.
Overcoming the Problems of Management:
Management of the library is under the purview of the school head and the
librarian. Teachers are chosen on a voluntary basis to assist in the functioning of
the library together with the students. The library is open daily from 2.00pm to
5.00pm daily from Monday to Friday and from 10.00 am to 1.00pm on Saturdays.
i. The present arrangement of teachers taking turns in helping out twice a
week on a rotation basis is inappropriate as there seems to be not much
positive impact and commitment on their role as advisers and overseeing
book repair job. If some incentives can be provided to these teachers in the
form of payments they may play a bigger role in the library by coaching
primary school students how to read and search and select for books. They
can also play a role in supervising and guiding students in the use of
computers and the internet.
ii. Overcoming overcrowding of the library can be worked out with school
head and the class teachers who will be able to plan certain days in the
week for some classes who can use the library facilities. With this time
table there may be less rush and congestion.
iii. New volunteer students who come to help in the library duties should be
advised to come for orientation before they become helpers. In this way
they will be able to clear the crowd at the counter in good time and cause
less delay in the book clearance.
iv. Library operating hours seem to be appropriate but the overcrowding of
students was the factor that made the problem worse compounded. The
creation of a visiting schedule or a time table according to the class will
hopefully improve the situation and give more time for reading purposes.
The importance of a library in a school is like a life line to knowledge. Students if given
proper guidance to collect materials will help them to develop their minds in information
Sekolah Emas Prai’s Library has to undergo changes in its facilities, book content and
management so that it can function as a store house of knowledge.
Here we are as responsible parents given the task to improve a given facility which needs
immediate attention and appropriate action on our part, let us come together for the sake
of our children, commit ourselves and bring improvement to this school’s library.
Reported By: Sukha Singh
Post: President Parent-Teacher Association
Sekolah Emas Prai, Penang.
Date: 30 June 2012
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