School library is a vital place for students to find information. As the main source of information, school libraries must have a strategy in maximizing their services. For this reason, libraries need to know what motivates students to use the library.
Therefore, a study was conducted on students in high schools in Surabaya as it is one of the largest cities in Indonesia. Middle school students are chosen because they are in their teens; the transition from childhood to adulthood is characterized by changes in physical, psychological, and psychosocial aspects.
Based on the results of previous studies, high school students in Surabaya tend to look for information in sources other than libraries. For example, the majority of high school students in Surabaya use television to meet the needs related to current entertainment and events.
The survey results showed that the primary motivation of high school students in utilizing the library is because of its comfortable space. Respondents stated that the library space was comfortable because there was air conditioning, the location of the school library was strategic so that it was easily accessible, the library provided a comfortable sitting and reading room for groups and independent study, as well as good lighting.
Even so, the comfort factor in the library is also supported by librarian services. Based on the concept of personality, librarians must be friendly, willing to help users, respect and value users, responsible, good looking, quick to respond, and good at communicating. Thus, school librarians are considered by most high school students in Surabaya to have good personalities.
Furthermore, sequentially, other factors such as invitations from friends; completing school work; love of reading; recommendations from the teacher; prestige; and free time also influences middle school students in visiting the libraries.
Another external motivation that influenced middle school students to use the school library was the invitation of friends. This factor is ranked second after the comfort factor with a percentage of 37%.
In accordance with the objectives of the school libraries, motivation to complete school work is ranked third with a percentage of 32%. Thus, the collection in the library must support the school curriculum.
The students’ love to read is in fourth position with a percentage of 18%. This is in accordance with the function of the school library which, besides being informative, is also as recreation. Therefore, the school library must provide a curriculum-based book collection; general collection of fiction; mandatory books, supporting books, and other general knowledge books.
Besides friends, another motivation that can maximize the use of the library is from the teacher. This factor ranks fifth with a percentage of 9.5%.
Therefore, the role of the teacher in giving assignments to students to browse information and make use of the school library collection is very important. Thus, the use of school libraries to support the education process in schools can be maximized.
Another motivation of high school students in utilizing the school library is due to their prestige with a percentage of 6% from the survey conducted. The library is still considered a prestigious place. Library users are identical to those who are diligent.
Some respondents, about 1% of them use the school library just to fill their free time. Based on these findings, library opening hours must be in accordance with students’ free time so they can visit the library more often.
Author: Dessy Harisanty, S. Sos., MA
Reference: Harisanty, Dessy, “How to Motivate Students in Using School Library” (2019). Library of Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). 2698. Link: https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/2698/