A SCHOOL LIBRARY COLLECTIONS, PROGRAMMES AND FREE VOLUNTARY READING OF SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN IMO STATE
Free voluntary reading has the potential for increased self concept, reading ability, academic success, social, physical, mental, vocabulary and grammatical growth of secondary school students. The school library with its collections and reading programmes has the responsibility for the inculcation and promotion of free voluntary reading in secondary school students. Despite all these, literature and observation have shown that secondary school students in Nigeria including Imo State are not reading as they should. Students spent more time in viewing television and video programmes rather than on literacy activities. The purpose of this study therefore is to investigate the influence school library collection programmes and free voluntary reading of students in Imo State. The study specifically intended to: determine the level of students free voluntary reading; determine the school library collection available for free voluntary reading; ascertain the reading programmes employed to promote free voluntary reading, establish the influence of school library collection and reading programmes on free voluntary reading; identify constraints to free voluntary reading and identify steps for improving free voluntary reading of students. Seven research questions and two null hypotheses guided the study. The study is based on two theories, the constructionist theory and the reading hypothesis model theory. The study employed descriptive design. The population of the study comprised 36 secondary schools in Imo State that have libraries. Multi stage sampling technique was employed in this study. The first stage was the purposive sampling of the schools that had functional libraries in the state. A total of 29 schools that had functional libraries were selected. The second stage was the proportionate stratified random sampling of students from JSS 1, SS 1 and SS 2. Applying this technique, a total of 1, 473 school students were randomly selected from the 29 schools. All the 29 teacherr librarians in the 29 schools were also selected for this study. Questionnaire, interview and observation were used to collect data from respondents. The data was analyzed using frequency tables, percentage, average, mean, standard deviations pie chart, bar chart and regression analysis. The study revealed that students do not read in great quantity, non-fiction books are more in the collection (93.43%), fiction books and periodicals are grossly inadequate, access to reading materials, debate, lending of books and assistance in book selection were the major programmes employed (2.65). There is positive relationship between school library collections and free voluntary reading; there is strong relationship between school library reading programmes and free voluntary reading. There is significant relationship (p < 0.5) between fiction books and free voluntary reading. These are significant relationship (p < 0.05) between reading programmes and free voluntary reading of students. Also distraction from television programmes (2.85 ± 0.89) and none teaching of reading in the schools (2.73 ± 0.90) were major factors affecting free voluntary reading. Lending of books (3.32 ± 0.67) and provision of newspaper and magazines (3.32 ± 0.68) were steps for improving free voluntary reading.