Monthly Archives: May 2020

Bloodborne Pathogens – Preventing Disease Transmission

Imagine receiving a call that an employee has been injured from a fall down a flight of steps at your facility. The caller tells you that 911 has been called and some of your fellow employees are tending to the victim. As a supervisor, you decide to respond to the scene.

You arrive just as firefighters and paramedics take over caring for the victim. These rescuers do their job well – the victim is stabilized, wrapped up for transport to the hospital and gently placed on the stretcher.

As you watch, you can’t help but notice that the firefighters and paramedics are wearing medical gloves and goggles. As EMS (emergency medical services) personnel leave the area, you approach the employees who helped to thank them for their efforts. Almost immediately you become aware of a very frightening sight – both of the rescuers have fairly large spots of blood on their clothing and, even more upsetting, both are using paper towels to wipe the blood off of their hands. It is obvious that these employees did nothing to protect themselves from disease transmission and both have been contaminated with the victim’s blood.

Wearing PPE (personal protective equipment) is an important part of professional rescuers’ equipment. They know that protecting themselves from bloodborne pathogens is, in some ways, just as important as caring for the victim. But what about your people – do they know the risks associated with not wearing protective equipment?

If your company provides first aid kits for employee use or if your employees are required to respond to a medical emergency, they should have access to protective equipment and receive training on bloodborne pathogens.

ASSESS YOUR OPERATION’S RISK FOR EXPOSURE – I was recently asked to evaluate exposure risks for an association of tow truck operators, body shop technicians and auto mechanics. These people lacked training on bloodborne pathogens.

Tow truck operators wear thick, leather work gloves and routinely pick up bloodstained windshields or wrap contaminated airbags around steering columns. Body shop technicians pull contaminated seats from wrecked vehicles and then sit on them during their breaks or at lunchtime. Mechanics have a tendency to cut their knuckles or foreheads while repairing vehicles. They also share tools with fellow employees – tools that are contaminated with blood from their last injury.

I know you’re not in the automobile repair business. The examples above are intended to get you thinking about your own operation’s risks of exposure to potentially dangerous body fluids. Do you have a first responder team or people assigned to respond to an emergency? Are first aid kits available to employees? Do employees share equipment or tools that could become contaminated? Who is responsible for cleaning up body fluids after an accident or injury?

Without proper communication policies and training in preventing disease transmission, your employees could find themselves exposed to the same dangers paramedics and firefighters face while coming to their aid.

So what can you do to reduce the risk of exposure? Let’s start with defining bloodborne pathogens and the impact that exposure to them can have on employees and employers.

CONTAMINATION PREVENTION GUIDELINES – Bloodborne pathogens are pathogenic microorganisms that are transmitted via human blood and cause disease in humans. They include – but are not limited to – hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

I know for many people (myself included) words like microorganisms, immunodeficiency and pathogens bring back thoughts of high school and health classes – the last places in the world most of us want to revisit. So before we go any further, let me put it in my terms: There’s a lot of junk out there that can make us very sick, or even kill us if we become contaminated.

We need to constantly be on guard and be very careful so that we don’t become contaminated. I’ve been teaching CPR and first aid training for over 25 years, and I’m often asked if I would do rescue breathing without a barrier on someone I do not know. I respond without hesitation: If I found someone unresponsive and not breathing, I would immediately call for help and begin chest compressions on the victim, but there is no way I would do mouth-to-mouth on the individual without a breathing barrier.

Emergency responders know the risks associated with coming in contact with bloodborne pathogens, and they know how to protect themselves. Unfortunately, far too many people in the workplace or good Samaritans on the street do little, if anything, to take the necessary precautions. Too often they realize they’ve been exposed to body fluids after the emergency, when it’s too late to do anything about it.

EMPLOYEES – Here are a few simple rules to follow when faced with the possibility of exposure to bloodborne pathogens, or any body fluids for that matter. This information is presented as guidelines for both employees and employers. The American Heart Association calls it “Making a PACT, Know How to Act.”

PROTECT – Protect yourself from blood or blood-containing materials. This includes wearing protective equipment such as gloves and goggles and using a breathing barrier if you are performing CPR. Consider your options if you find yourself with no protective equipment.

ACT – If you find you have come into contact with another person’s blood or other body fluids, act quickly and safely. Wash the area immediately with hot, soapy water for up to a minute before rinsing. If your eyes have been contaminated, flush them with clean water for up to five minutes. If a flushing agent is not available at the scene, have someone get water for you. Firefighters or paramedics can assist you if they are still at the scene.

CLEAN – After an emergency, especially in the shop area or office, clean any areas contaminated with blood or body fluids. Wear protective equipment. Clean the area with a solution of one part Clorox and eight parts water. Completely flush the area and let the solution stand for at least three minutes. Be careful when wiping up the area, especially if you are dealing with broken glass or wood or metal splinters. Put all soiled items, including soiled cleaning materials, in a plastic bag and take it to the dumpster as soon as you are finished. If there is an injection device (such as a needle) involved, try to give it to the medics or firefighters before they leave; otherwise, get it in the dumpster and use extreme caution while doing so.

TELL – Report the incident immediately to your supervisor or human resources department. Ask for a dated copy of the report (even if it is only handwritten).

EMPLOYERS’ RESPONSIBILITIES – Employers have a responsibility to protect their employees from exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Here are the specifics of this responsibility.

PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT – Any employee at risk of being exposed to bloodborne pathogens must be provided with the protective equipment necessary to keep them safe from exposure. This equipment includes gloves, goggles and, if required, breathing masks or barriers for CPR.

EDUCATION – Not all professions require bloodborne pathogen education and prevention training.

A call to OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) may or may not give you the answer you are looking for. It appears as though OSHA looks at a number of factors when determining whether an employer does or does not have to comply. For example, if you offer voluntary CPR/first aid training to your employees, they may not be required to take bloodborne pathogen training. If you have designated first aid responders within your organization, you probably fall under the training requirements.

Many of you know your employees’ occupational exposure risk. If you have personnel who are routinely or even occasionally exposed to blood or body fluids in the execution of their duties, you may want to consider offering protective equipment and training to these employees.

ENGINEERING CONTROLS – Engineering controls help to protect employees from bloodborne pathogen contamination and prevent the spread of pathogens in the workplace. Here’s an example of engineering controls: An employee using his leather work gloves realizes he has come in contact with body fluids and the gloves are contaminated. Two controls should be in place to protect the employee. First, knowing his exposure risk, the employer should have a spare set of gloves on hand so that the operator can complete his job. Second, the company should have a procedure for disposing of or cleaning the soiled gloves.

WORK PRACTICES – Setting standard practices for preventing disease transmission is a very important part of an employer’s responsibility in protecting employees.

In the case of the body shop previously mentioned, good work practices would include establishing a policy requiring workers to wrap plastic around seats pulled from a wrecked vehicle and prohibiting them from sitting on the seats, even with the plastic cover in place.

Providing employees with their own toolboxes is another good practice. If they share tools, have a policy in place for cleaning and decontaminating tools, especially after an accident or injury. Moreover, make sure employees know the importance of disposing of or cleaning contaminated personal protective equipment.

Finally, offer a course in bloodborne pathogen training. It is an excellent way to communicate the importance of preventing disease transmission and protecting your company from a huge liability/workers compensation claim.

HAVE A WRITTEN POLICY AND REPORTING PROCEDURES IN PLACE – As I previously mentioned, implement policies related to bloodborne pathogens at your operation. Start small, then expand on the policies as new issues surface. Communicate with your people. Make sure they know the reporting procedures and the importance of reporting any possible contamination.

OSHA has templates for creating your own company bloodborne pathogens policy and/or procedure. Simply download the forms, fill in the blanks with your company name, etc., print them out and you’re good to go. Additional information can be obtained by calling your regional OSHA office.

TRAINING, POLICIES ARE WORTHWHILE INVESTMENTS – I am a business of one, but if I did have employees, I can assure you – they would be trained on bloodborne pathogen risks and contamination prevention, and my company would have a policy in place. It’s the right thing to do for a business, its employees and the employer. And just imagine how good it would feel to know that your operation is in compliance should OSHA officials decide to visit.

Invest an hour for setting up your program, distribute the information to your employees and arrange for a 30-minute bloodborne pathogen education and prevention class. The investment is small, but the dividends to you and your employees will be huge.

Pit Bikes – How to Decide Which One to Buy

A pit bike differs from the dirt bikes and the mini motos in the size of their engines and the power packed in their engines. A pit bike usually has a larger engine and comes fitted with a manual gearbox and gears whereas minimotos come packed with automatic   transmission  and a centrifugal clutch.

The average maximum speed for most of the Pit bikes available readily in the market is anywhere between 40-50mph, but if you add a few accessories to your bike, you can surely get a lot more fire and power from your engine.

It is because of these performance enhancing parts, which are now becoming readily available and the otherwise constant improvement in the performance of the bikes that people have started taking a lot more interest in these bikes. It has also resulted in the setting up of various Pit Bike races and shows on international level. The popularity of this bike is going the dirt bike way. Leagues and international venues are being setup in a fashion similar to the way in which dirt biking was promoted.

Dirt bikes and dirt biking became a fashion and a sport for the adventure lovers in the 90s. There appeared a lot of leagues and similarly sponsors around that time. Dirtbiking stars suddenly became famous overnight and names like Destry Abbot, Jeremy McGrath, Derek Costella and Ryan Ambrigo became idols of dirtbiking enthusiasts.

These pro dirtbikers are a regular appearance at the famous races and shows at Las Vegas each year. These people are now also promoting pit bikes and have been spotted at various pit biking events.

Pit bikes of late have found a lot of manufacturers, both those manufacturing out of their own garage and the large companies involved in the manufacturing of other bikes as well.

Pit bikes are available in the market upwards of $500 and the price increases with the engine power, and the make. For a Pit biking enthusiast a good choice would be MonsterMoto’s 125CC bike. This bike has a 4 stroke air cooled engine and the maximum power that it can generate is roughly 9HP @ 8500 rpm. The compression ratio is about 9.6:1.

This is a good value buy because the engine is made by a company that also supplies engines to Honda, which manufactures sports bikes for events like Moto Grand Prix (Moto GP)

You can also customize your Pit bike like people do to their dirt bikes. While you can add a few parts to enhance the look of your bike, you can add a few to increase the bike’s performance. You can buy a coloured muffler to enhance you bike’s look for about $90 and you can also buy a BBR style exhaust, a stainless steel exhaust for increasing the performance of the bike.

You can similarly buy different fuel systems, carburetors etc. to improve the efficiency of the bike and also buy various accessories like alloy wheels to enhance the bikes looks.

Truly speaking, Dirt bikes and pit bikes are here to stay and will continue to rush adrenaline through the blood of all those who love adventure sitting on two wheels.

Top 7 Best MPG Mopeds

Are you looking to find the best mpg mopeds on the market? Are you wondering which are the best gas powered scooters? Would you like to conduct a gas scooter USA comparison, between available models – in order to know, which are the best mpg mopeds that might fit your needs perfectly?

Are you looking at purchasing a moped with a specific number of cc’s, for example the best scooter 150cc gas moped that you can find? Here we hope to provide you with the Top 7 best mpg mopeds available right now on the market today, in order to help you come to making a more informed purchase.

We provide specific details on the best mpg mopeds and the best gas powered scooters, your very own gas scooter USA comparison between models, exploring their individual strengths and further details about each moped in a very easy to read and perfectly clear, understandable format!

Right, let’s get started!

1/ First off the block for your best mpg mopeds is the:

Retro Scooter 150cc RR150RT RoadRunner i-Scooter.

The 2007 150cc Retro vespa style Scooter is an awesome looking gas powered moped, it’s fast, reliable and has plenty of legroom for those of you who are somewhat taller.

This retro scooter is an i-Scooter; it comes with a good sized rear trunk to put whatever you need to into it, an alarm system with remote, disk lock anti-theft and comes with a scooter cover. This scooter is low maintenance. Returning 73 miles to the gallon, it has a 1.4 gallon gas tank which will give you a good range. It’s air cooled, 1 cylinder, 4 stroke, 2 valves and maximum speed is 60mph.   Transmission  is continuously variable and is fully automatic. Fuel is Premium 89 + octane only. Oil capacity and type: 0.9 liters / 15W/40 motorcycle grade. The oil change is done after the first 300km and thereafter every 1000km.

The weight of this i-Scooter is 89kg or 196lbs. It’s maximum load is 145kg or 320 lbs. The total length is 191cm or 75″. Seat height is 73cm or 29″. Handlebar height is 93cm or 36″. Comes in a range of colors. A great one for the category of best mpg mopeds returning as mentioned above an economical 73 miles to the gallon. This scooter is street legal in every state except California, be sure to check out local laws. If bought new, it comes with 24 months (2 years) power train parts only guarantee. New prices start around $1100 or thereabouts.

2/ Second up in the best mpg mopeds and best gas powered scooters top 7 is the:

50cc Speedster Scooter.

Returning a whopping 100 miles to the gallon plus, this is an ideal scooter for all your home errands around town. Achieving a respectable 40+ mph, this is the perfect city commuters bike. This is a reliable scooter. This is a reliable, quality scooter; it’s fun to ride and road handling is superb, a very easy scooter to get used to surprisingly quickly. Saves a lot on gas this one! – This is a very, very economical method of transportation!

It’s power comes from a 49.5cc air cooled, 1 cylinder, 4 stroke, 2 valves engine which is pretty quiet too.  Transmission  is continuously variable and is fully automatic. A touch over a 200 mile range on one tank of fuel (2 gallons capacity). Gas – Premium 89 + octane only. Brakes front and rear. The maximum load of the 50cc Speedster Scooter is 145kg / 320lbs. The toal length is 167cm / 69″. Seat height is 75cm / 30″ and the handlebar height is 105cm or 41 inches. An excellent nippy little scooter which qualifies for our top 7 best mpg mopeds of choice. It is street legal in all states except California, check local laws first and comes with a power trains guarantee of 12 months (1 year).

This model will cost you brand new about $900. How long before these best gas powered scooters pay for themselves and start earning You money?!

3/ Next up in the Third pole position is the:

Road Queen 250cc iScooter by RoadRunner

This is truly one of the best mpg mopeds that you can buy, another qualifier for our top 7 ratings of best gas powered scooters. If a gas scooter USA comparison needs to be made, this choice could be high up on your list!

The manufacturer is: RoadRunner.

Boasting a top speed of 75-80mph and returning around 60 miles to the gallon this is a great fun scooter / moped to ride! Comes in a range of awesome eye catching colors, it is very stylish too with it’s sleek, aerodynamic design. These best mpg mopeds are perfect for so many uses, whether commuting to work on a daily basis or even for those slightly longer trips on the road. It will give you a smooth ride with good acceleration.

The engine type is water cooled, 1 cylinder, 4 stroke, 2 valves.  Transmission  is continuously variable and fully automatic. Fuel type is Premium 89 + octane only. The maximum load is 180kg or 400lbs. It’s total length 222cm or 87 inches. Seat height is 73cm or 29 inches. The handlebar height is 103cm or 40 inches.

This is one of the best mpg mopeds that you can get for the money, saving you not only lots of money on gas but giving you a great stable and fully enjoyable ride experience also. Perfect for most adults. It comes with an alarm too. 24 months power train parts only guarantee and street legal for every state except CA, check local laws first.

Prices from close to $2000.

4/ Mid way through the range of best mpg mopeds and best gas powered scooters is the moped / scooter taking our 4th position on the starting grid of mopeds or scooters seriously worth looking at with a view to making a purchase and it is the:

Race Scooter 250cc 19HP – RR i-Scooter, manufactured by RoadRunner Scooters.

Prices for this lean, mean racing machine also start at an amazingly low $2000. With a top speed of 85mph this scooter really does take some beating supplied from it’s 19HP engine. With this supremely quick scooter you need not balk at the idea of wasting money on gas, for it still will return for you, a very cool and surprisingly very high number of miles to the gallon.

This scooter is the epitome of stylish good looks and comes in a range of great awesome colors, something to suit everyone’s individual tastes. Acceleration is smooth and very quick at picking up speed.  Transmission  is continuously variable and once again, fully automatic. The engine type is water cooled, 1 cylinder, 4 stroke, 2 valves. Very, very little vibration even at higher speeds. Great specification package. If you are wanting to know which moped is right for you, these best mpg mopeds are certainly worth your very serious consideration. Perfect for near everyone!

Prices start at an amazingly low price under $2000!

Well able to covey most adults in comfort and with ease even upon winding roads or hilly terrain. Loaded with features also which include:

MP3 player, Speakers, Over-Sized Trunk, Pre-Installed Alarm with Remote, Disk Lock and Waterproof Cover. What a great package!

Maximum load is 400lbs. Length is 77 inches total. Seat height 31 inches. Handlebar height 40 inches. Street legal in every state other than CA, check your local laws first and comes with a 24 months, 2 years guarantee for the power train parts only.

An awesome scooter – perfect for someone like you!

Heading towards the back of the grid now, but certainly not least are our final 3 best mpg mopeds and best gas powered scooters. These final three choices will complete our first part gas scooter USA comparison review and best advice, buying tips guide.

In fifth place then, number:

5/ Engine rip roaring to go in the line up of the top 7 best mpg mopeds in fifth position (remember, these are presented to you in no particular order), is the:

150cc Racer Scooter by TANK.

A well balanced and perfectly well behaved scooter returning a good top end speed of 65mph and returning just for you, a quite awesome and astonishing 90 miles to the gallon. Just three dollars of gas in this scooter will take you far. Perfect for light shopping trips or quick errands around your city. Never get stuck in traffic again! Not only will you save money on gas but you will save time too, which means that you can either make even more money from each day or spend the valuable time saved with your family and friends, doing what is more important to you, rather than sitting in a traffic jam wasting gas and time getting frustrated.

These best mpg mopeds, the 150cc Racer Scooter by TANK is a great all round model to choose for the average user. Acceleration is smooth, the road handling is very good, the ride stable, very little vibration, great rider comfort, just perfect for breezing around on these hot summer days and nights. This scooter is not only very well balanced and designed, it is very low maintenance and comes at a very economical best deal price new at around $1,250 – now that’s what I call a bargain!

Capable of carrying most adults in comfort, the bike comes with extra accessories too.

Engine is Single Cylinder, 4 Stroke, 149.7CC 8.84 HP. Air cooled. Electric or ignition start.  Transmission  is automatic clutchless centrifugal belt drive. Front brake is hydraulic disc brake with ABS and the rear braking system is a hydraulic disc brake. Wheel base 53″. Seat height 30″. Ground clearance 6″. Warranty is 1 year engine and drive train parts only. Alarm and remote control are included.

At around $1,250 this moped / scooter is a steal and will pay for itself in no time at all!

Highway legal in CA and most other states – Check local law. Motorcycle license required in most states.

6/ Second to last in our recommendations in sixth place for the best mpg mopeds and best gas powered scooters is the:

Honda CT70 Replica – Street Legal Mini Bike 110cc

Not intended for highway use (although can be used on highways if you wish), check local laws (see below). This one is ideal for private estates, gated communities, RV and camping grounds, light trail use etc and returns a whopping and incredible 108 miles to the gallon! Certainly it’s not going to set the world alight with any blisteringly hot world records for speed, nevertheless it will return for you 55 miles per hour and can easily convey all you big guys around with a degree of comfort.

Looks wise, it’s not bad, in fact, some might call it pretty stylish in it’s own inimitable way. With a 110cc 7.1hp engine, 4 stroke and manufactured by Lifan, reliability itself is assured for you.

Electric and kick start, 4 speed manual clutch, drum brakes, 7″ ground clearance, it comes with a warranty of 1 year parts only engine & drive train – 30 days limited labor.

Street and highway legal in all States – Check local law. Not legal in California. A motorcycle license required in most States. A great little machine guaranteed to give you years of pleasure and use.

Cost just under $1000!!

Last but not least in our top 7 best mpg mopeds and best gas powered scooters is finally our number:

7/ And what a beautiful looking and totally awesome best mpg moped we have here, the one and only:

Lifan motorcycle Enduro Trail Bike 200cc.

Yours for just under $1,450. This is a proper full size dual purpose Enduro dirt bike. If you have been looking for a wickedly cool dual purpose bike to cruise around and go off road, then you need look no further, we’ve got your ultimate motor bike right here. This is an awesome, supreme, top quality motorcycle by Lifan. It has style, speed and complete and utter reliability. The Lifan 200 cubic centimeters 163FML-2 mono cylinder 16.1 HP motorcycle engine punches out plenty of power to the rear wheel making it not only quick but lots of fun too, to ride on or upon off road conditions. Top speed is a little over 65mph. And if you want to save on gas, this motorcycle is very fuel efficient, deliverly an astonishing 102MPG. Can you better that?! That’s fantastic!

Engine is Single cylinder 4 Stroke, 196.9CC model 163FML-2. Maximum power is 16.1 HP at 8000 RPM. Max Torque 14.5 N.m at 6500 RPM. Electric and kick start. 5 speed manual clutch on the  transmission . Chain drive. Steel frame. Hydraulic disc brake on the front, on the rear, drum brake. Seat height 29 inches. Ground clearance 8 inches minimum. A standard warranty: 6 months parts only engine & drive train – 30 days limited labor. Speed 60-70mph. Over 100 MPG. Highway legal in most states – Check local law. Motorcycle license required in most US states. Color choice is red or blue.

This concludes out top 7 best mpg mopeds article, which we hope has been useful to a good degree for you.

Remember, before taking to the highway, it is highly advised that you undertake some level of training first by fully qualified instructors, this will ensure your safety to a better degree and the safety of other road users too. Also remember that protective clothing is there to do just that, protect you – a safety motorcycle helmet is recommended at all times.

We hope that you have enjoyed our top 7 best mpg mopeds review guide to the best gas powered scooters, so that you can now make a more informed decision upon the gas scooter that will fit your needs perfectly.

Buying a gas powered scooter potentially will save you shed loads of cash and the savings made, particularly with today’s very high gas prices, given time will be quite considerable.

When out on the road, whatever your mode of transport do please ride with care, concentration and consideration for others at all times!

Have You Ever Heard of Viral Marketing?

Viral Marketing is the spread of a word from one person to many others on a quick basis similar to a virus by an infected patient to other people surrounding him/her. It’s a new form of informal advertising by passing along a message or making other people aware about a product or a service just by talking about it.

The name viral is derived from the image of a person being infected with the marketing message, then spreading it to friends like a virus. The major difference, however, is that the customer voluntarily sends the message to others.

Viral Marketing messages include ads for goods and services, hyperlinked promotions that take someone immediately to a website, online newsletters and various games. Statistics indicate that 81 percent of recipients who receive a viral marketing message pass it along to another person. Almost 50 percent pass it along to two or more people.

The marketing message can be more deliberate such as when an individual recommends something to a friend. It can also be transmitted passively, when the message is simply attached to an email. Viral Marketing allows a firm to gain rapid product awareness at a low cost.

The main advantage of implementing viral marketing technique is getting fast and effective results by using this technique widely on the Internet. This gives a better exposure to the website as well as its owner and make other people aware of its existence. It also helps in conveying the desired message to a larger audience therefore building a good reputation for both the company/website and the owner.

Another benefit is that the more popularity the website gain, the bigger number of webmasters it will attract who will be willing either in exchanging links or just placing inbound links. This will definitely increase the value of the website by having external links which will ultimately result in improving its page rank with search engines.

The number of visitors to the website will also rise on a regular basis as it gains popularity and search engine ranking. The website owner will really benefit from the high volume targeted traffic that is going to blow his or her website fame and shoot up his or her revenue. Therefore, I can not emphasize more on the importance of viral marketing in boosting the Internet Marketing industry these days.

Blue Marble, a viral marketing company, created a program for Scope mouth wash. Consumers were able to send a customized, animated e-mail – kiss – to their friends. The attached marketing message reinforced the brand message that Scope brings people – kissably close. People who received the e-mail kiss could then forward the message to someone else. Scope’s tracking technology indicated most did forward the message.

The term – viral – may connote the negative image of a computer virus. Consequently, More concern should be shown when offering this program to a certain company. Company leaders may want to find some other term to describe the technique to the general public so that no undue suspicion or fear arises.

Questions First Time Investors Should Ask Before Investing

It is easy to find people’s opinion on how to invest in the stock market as everyone has a different angle on what to expect in the stock market at every point in time, but most of the time people’s opinion may be very confusing. The most common problem that new investors do have is how to determine good investments from the bad ones, what to invest on, what time to invest among others. Some of the questions that you need to answer so as to make a good decision when you want to invest are highlighted below.

Is This a Good Time to Invest in Stocks?

On the off chance that you are taking a gander at money markets amid a lofty decrease, you may think it is a terrible time to begin investing. On the off chance that you are taking a gander at it when stocks are reviving, you may think it is a decent time.

Neither one of the times is fundamentally great or terrible in the event that you are investing for the long haul (10 years or more). Nobody can anticipate with any level of assurance which way the share trading system will move at any given time; yet over the long haul, stock markets has constantly moved higher. Each bear advertises is trailed by a buyer market (when stock costs rise). Verifiably, positively trending markets have endured any longer than bear markets, and the additions of buyer markets have more than counterbalance the misfortunes in bear markets

How Much Risk Should I Take?

A standout amongst the most essential fundamentals of investing is the cozy relationship amongst risk and returns. Without risk, there can be no profits. You ought to will to accept more risk on the off chance that you are looking for more noteworthy returns. In that regard, risk can be something to be thankful for, yet just in the event that you take into consideration adequate time to let the inescapable market cycles happen. By and large, in the event that you have a more drawn out venture time skyline, you ought to will to expect a more noteworthy measure of risk, on the grounds that there will be more opportunity for the market to work through the here and there cycles. Generally, understanding financial specialists have been compensated with positive long haul returns.

New investors are regularly encouraged to put fundamentally in common money, which can give moment enhancement, offering the most ideal approach to lessen risk. By putting resources into a couple of various shared assets speaking to various resource classes, (for example, expansive development stocks, global stocks or bonds), you can lessen unpredictability significantly promote without yielding long haul returns.

On the off chance that you are beginning an investment program by investing incremental measures of cash on a month to month basis, you will profit by dollar cost averaging. When you invest an altered measure of cash on a month to month premise, you get some share costs at a higher cost and some at a lower cost because of market changes. At the point when the market decreases, your settled dollar sum will purchase more shares. After some time, the normal cost of your shares ought to be lower than the present market cost. By utilizing dollar cost averaging, your drawback risk will be alleviated after some time.

What Is My Investment Goal?

The most vital question to consider before making any invest is, “What Is My Investment Goal?” Your ventures will contrast boundlessly if, for instance, you are attempting to spare cash for retirement as opposed to attempting to spare cash for an up front installment on the house. Things being what they are, ask yourself, “Is this venture prone to help me meet my objective?”

What Is My Risk Tolerance?

If your investment objective is to profit as would be prudent and you can endure any hazard, then you ought to invest in the National Lottery. Putting resources into lotteries, be that as it may, practically promises you won’t achieve your venture objective. There are speculations for each level of risk resilience. But if you are not a high-risk taker, investing in long-term investment is the key.

What Happens if This Investment Goes to Zero?

Among the 12 stocks in 1896 stock list, only General Electric is still in operation, the other eleven firms in the first record have either gone bankrupt or have been gobbled up. There is a genuine plausibility that any investment you make could go to zero while you claim it. Ask yourself, “Will I be monetarily crushed if this speculation goes to zero?” If the answer is yes, don’t make that venture.

What Is My Investment Time Frame?

As a rule, the more extended your investment time allotment, the more risk you can take in your investment portfolio since you have more opportunity to recuperate from a mix-up. Likewise, in case you’re putting something aside for retirement, and you’re decades from resigning, putting resources into something illiquid (like an investment property) may bode well. “Does this venture bode well from a planning perspective?”

When and Why Will I Sell This Investment?

If you know why you are putting resources into something, you ought to have an entirely smart thought of when to sell it. On the off chance that you purchased a stock since you were expecting 20 percent income development for each year, you ought to anticipate offering the stock if income development doesn’t live up to your desires. On the off chance that you purchased a stock since you enjoyed the dividend yield, offer the stock if the profit yield falls.

Who Am I Investing With?

It is extremely hard to judge the character and capacity of anybody in light of a two-passage portrayal accessible in an organization’s yearly report or a common store outline. However, you ought to at any rate know with whom you are entrusting your money. What is their past record? Things to hope for are long fruitful track records and good dividend and turnover.

Do I Have Special Knowledge?

A celebrated investment expert feels that normal individuals have a tremendous favorable position over investment experts in fields where they work in light of the fact that no investment professional will ever know more around an industry than somebody who works in it. Ask yourself, “Am I putting resources into something I know something about, or am I putting resources into something that some specialist know something about?”

I couldn’t care less how great something sounds. In the event that I don’t totally see how it functions, I won’t put resources into it.

In the event that an investment can’t be clarified obviously, it implies one of two things:

The individual clarifying it doesn’t comprehend it either, or there’s something about the investment that the individual is attempting to stow away.

On top of that, one of the greatest keys to investing admirably is adhering to your arrangement through the good and bad times.

That is difficult. Indeed, even the best investment methodologies have enormous down periods that make you reconsider. Adhering to your arrangement in those extreme times requires a practically religious-like conviction that things will pivot.

Furthermore, the best way to have that sort of conviction is to comprehend why you’re investing the way you are and what every bit of your arrangement is accomplishing for you. Without a solid comprehension, you’ll more likely than not safeguard at the main indication of inconvenience.

Why Do I Still Own That Investment?

It is a smart thought to intermittently look through your investment portfolio to ensure regardless you need to claim your stock. Offering an investment for a misfortune or offering a major champ is exceptionally troublesome. Be that as it may, the greatest distinction amongst beginner and professional investors is that professional investors don’t have passionate ensnarement with their investment and can strip themselves of their investment without kicking themselves if the investment keeps on picking up esteem.

Should I Be Managing My Own Investments?

It is extremely difficult for beginner investor to perform well than a professional investment expert. If you don’t have sufficient energy or slant to deal with your investment, you ought to think about paying an expert to do it for you. Every investor wants to make profit, so there is no harm in trusting your investment in good hand.

The Advantages of Booking YMCA Classes Online

Several times a year I spend time trying to figure out which activities I am going to sign my kids up for at the YMCA. I spend hours poring over their booklet trying to match available activity times with the kids’ home and school schedule.

My first step is to try to remember the name of the last Ballet, gymnastics, basketball or swim class that they had finished so that I don’t mistakenly schedule them for a class they had previously taken. When I finally feel confident that I have figured that out I highlight the classes I need to sign the kids up for in the YMCA booklet and head for the YMCA, with kids in tow, to schedule their appointments. I had tried doing this over the phone in the past but was disappointed when they had scheduled my daughter for the wrong swimming class and the one I wanted her in was filled up by the time I noticed the error. So I opt for reserving the classes in person to avoid these types of mistakes, even though it is a hassle having to make this extra trip.

On the first day of my sons swimming class I noticed that the class my son was in had 12 children and one swimming instructor. This was okay, but a class at the other end of the pool had only 4 children with one instructor so they were receiving a more individualized instruction. I mentioned this observation to the woman next to me and she said that the YMCA provides a way to view the class sizes online. She went on to tell me that she views each class she is interested in and chooses the one that is least filled. It turns out that her daughter does not do well in large group settings and the online service allows her to choose a class that is better suited for her child.

I was very much intrigued by this and inquired at the front desk about viewing the YMCA class availability online. The YMCA gave me all the information I needed to log on from home and view all the classes and class sizes from home. I also found out that I could utilize the online service to view the history of which classes each of my children had completed, schedule the classes and pay for them all from home. This turned out to be a huge time saver for me and also gave me the peace of mind that the correct classes were scheduled.

I can say without a doubt that the best way to find and reserve the correct classes at the YMCA is to book them online.

Investing – How To Choose The Best Option

Investors are increasingly forced to choose from a proliferation of investment options. They also have to deal with contradictory advice on how to achieve their financial goals and how to invest the savings they have accumulated during their lifetime. If you consider that there are more than 7000 mutual funds available in the United States alone, and thousands of insurance products worldwide, making the choice that will satisfy them ever after is daunting, to say the least.

No wonder people so often ask the rather general question: Which investment is best? The first part of the answer is easy: No single investment is ‘the best’ under all circumstances for all investors. Personal circumstances, goals and different people’s needs differ, as do the characteristics of different investments. Secondly, one asset class’s strength in certain circumstances could be another’s weakness. It is therefore important to compare investments according to relevant criteria. The art is to find the appropriate investment for each objective and need.

The following are the most important criteria:

  • the goal of the investment
  • the risk the investor can handle
  • liquidity required
  • taxability of the investment
  • the period until the financial goal is reached
  • last but not least, the cost of the investment.

THE GOAL

Goals determine the characteristics sought in an investment. You will be in a position to choose the most appropriate investment only when you have decided on your short-, medium- and long-term goals. The following generic goals are normally involved:

Emergency fund

Emergency fund money should be readily available when needed, and the value of the fund should be equal to about six months’ income. Money market funds are excellent for this purpose. While these funds do not perform much higher than inflation, their benefit is that capital is saved and is easily accessible.

If you already have a ready emergency fund covering more than six months’ income, you could consider a more aggressive mutual fund

Capital protection

If your primary aim is capital protection, you will have to be satisfied with a lower growth rate on the investment. Those above 50 are normally advised to be conservative in their investment approach. While this may for the most part be sound advice, you should also keep an eye on the risk of inflation, so that the purchasing power of your money does not depreciate. It is not the nominal value of the capital that should be protected, but the inflation-adjusted one. At an annual inflation rate of 6%, $1 million today will buy the same as $174 110 in 30 years’ time. A 50 year-old with $1 million would therefore have to lower his living standard substantially if he only retains the $1 million until he was 80.

Conservative investments like those listed above should form the normal basis for providing an income. Because of inflation risk, investments should be structured so that they can at least keep up with inflation. This means that at least a percentage of the investment source providing the income should be made up of other asset classes like property and equity mutual funds. The percentage would differ according to individual and economic circumstances.

Investors fortunate enough to have their basic budget provided for by a conservative fund could consider increasing their income with commercial property funds and tax-free income from dividends paid out by listed shares.

Capital growth

If an investor’s primary goal is to achieve capital growth, the real rate of return should be higher than inflation. This implies greater risk to capital in the short term. Investors aiming at capital growth should not be apprehensive, as they will reap the rewards in the long term.

The history of equity prices over the past 100 years proves equity investments to be the best performer, followed by property. This does not mean you should buy either of these investments blindfolded. Wait until the quality shares in which you are interested are trading at inexpensive price levels.

RISK

The investment with a history of the highest growth is not necessarily the one to choose. The Standard Bank’s Gold Fund increased by 178% during the period 13 August 2001 – 24 May 2002 (284 days). Judging only on the growth of the fund during this period, it performed exceptionally well. But would it be the right investment for a retiree? During the 805 days following this, the same fund experienced a negative growth rate of 44%! The problem with an investment that decreases by this percentage is that it will not reach its previous peak by increasing again by 44%. This is because the growth this time will take place from a lower base, so in fact the investment would have to increase by approximately 80%.

LIQUIDITY

Hard assets like Persian carpets, works of art and antique furniture may be good investments in the long term, but unfortunately they are not very liquid. The same is true of certain shares in smaller companies. Money market funds, on the other hand, are very liquid, but the returns may not always be as good as those from other investments. The need to liquidise the investment quickly is therefore also a criterion to consider when evaluating investments.

TAXABILITY

The taxability of an investment has a considerable impact on its value to the investor. When comparing the returns on different investments, the return after tax has been deducted should be used. The investor should always ask what will be left in his pocket after tax deduction.

PERIOD

Conservative investments with no potential for high returns are suitable for shorter periods, while investment-objectives with longer time horizons aspire to achieving higher returns. Money market funds are suitable for periods of one or two years. Income and conservative asset allocation funds for three or four years and flexible asset allocation funds, commercial property funds and value equity funds may be chosen for longer periods, dependent on the economic and interest cycle and the propensity of the investor to accept risk.

COSTS

The costs involved in an investment are normally things like administrative cost and commission. The percentage of the costs to the investment amount directly affects the value of the investment. Many of the currently available investment products are structured in such a way that investors can negotiate commission.

CONCLUSION

No investment strategy blueprint is going to be perfect for everyone’s circumstances. Investment opportunities should therefore be examined critically before any decision is made. It should also be kept in mind that there are different companies managing specific funds under the investment categories referred to above. Some are more effectively managed than others. Investors should therefore research investments as well as the managers thoroughly before investing. Otherwise, they could appoint professional asset managers to do so on their behalf. Time spent determining the type of investment you really need is time invested in your future financial well-being.

Promoting Literacy in School Libraries in Sierra Leone

INTRODUCTION

The heart of information literacy is contained within definitions used to describe it. Traditionally librarians have given ‘library induction’ or ‘library skills training’ in a limited role. Library users need to know where the catalogue is, what the services are, and most importantly where the enquiry desk is. This is not to reduce the value of traditional library induction, but libraries and information are also changing. The provision of information through a library in a traditional form has gone through radical alterations. Already in most library and information organisations staffs are adjusting their services with the provision of new media and access to information provision within these organisations. Thus librarians are talking about social inclusion, opportunity, life-long learning, information society and self development.

A plethora of definitions for information literacy abound in books, journal papers and the web. Some of these definitions centre on the activities of information literacy i.e. identifying the skills needed for successful literate functioning. Other definitions are based on the perspective of an information literate person i.e. trying to outline the concept of information literacy. Deriving therefore a single definition is a complex process of collecting together a set of ideas as to what might be, should be, or may be considered a part of information literacy. For example Weber and Johnson (2002) defined information literacy as the adoption of appropriate information behaviour to obtain, through whatever channel or medium, information well fitted to information needs, together with critical awareness of the importance of wise and ethical use of information in society. The American Library Association (2003) defined information literacy as a set of skills needed to find, retrieve, analyze, and use information. While CLIP (2004) defined information literacy as knowing when and why one needs information, where to find it, and how to evaluate, use and communicate it in an ethical manner. Succinctly these definitions imply that information literacy requires not only knowledge but also skills in:

• recognising when information is needed;

• resources available

• locating information;

• evaluating information;

• using information;

• ethics and responsibility of use of information;

• how to communicate or share information;

• how to manage information

Given therefore the variety of definitions and implied explanation information literacy is a cluster of abilities that an individual can employ to cope with, and to take advantage of the unprecedented amount of information which surrounds us in our daily life and work.

STRUCTURE OF THE EDUCATION SYSTEM

Sierra Leone’s current educational system is composed of six years of formal primary education, three years of Junior Secondary School (JSS), three years Senior Secondary School (SSS) and four years of tertiary education-6-3-3-4. (The Professor Gbamanja Commission’s Report of 2010 recommended an additional year for SSS to become 6-3-4-4). The official age for primary school pupils is between six and eleven years. All pupils at the end of class six are required to take and pass the National Primary School Examinations designed by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) to enable them proceed to the secondary school divided into Junior Secondary School(JSS) and Senior Secondary School (SSS). Each part has a final examination: the Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE) for the JSS, and the West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations (WASSCE) for SSS, both conducted by WAEC. Successful candidates of WASSCE are admitted to tertiary institutions based on a number of subjects passed (GoSL,1995)

The curriculum of primary schools emphasizes communication competence and the ability to understand and manipulate numbers. At the JSS level, the curriculum is general and comprehensive, encompassing the whole range of knowledge, attitudes and skills in cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. The core subjects of English, Mathematics, Science and Social studies are compulsory for all pupils. At the SSS level, the curriculum is determined by its nature (general or specialist), or its particular objectives. Pupils are offered a set of core (compulsory) subjects with optional subjects based on their specialization. Teaching is guided by the teaching syllabuses and influenced by the external examinations that pupils are required to take at the 3/ 4-year course. English is the language of instruction (GoSL,1995).

The countries two universities, three polytechnics, and two teacher training colleges are responsible for the training of teachers in Sierra Leone. The Universities Act of 2004 provides for private universities so that these institutions too could help in the training of teachers. Programs range from the Teacher Certificate offered by the teacher training colleges to the Masters in Education offered by universities. Pre-service certification of teachers is the responsibility of the National Council for Technical, Vocational and Other Academic Awards (NCTVA). There is also an In-service Teacher Training program (Distance Education Program) conducted for teachers in part to reduce the number of untrained and unqualified teachers especially in the rural areas.

LITERACY IN SIERRA LEONE

In Sierra Leone as it is in most parts of the developing world literacy involves one’s ability to read, write and numeracy. It is the ability to function effectively in life contexts. A literate person is associated with the possession of skills and knowledge and how these could be applied within his local environment. For instance a literate person is believed to be able to apply chemical fertilizer to his crops, fill in a loans form, determine proper dosage of medicine, calculate cash cropping cost and profits, glean information from a newspaper, make out a bank deposit slip and understanding instructions and basic human rights.

Literacy is at the heart of the country’s development goals and human rights (World Bank, 2007). Wherever practised literacy activities are part of national and international strategies for improved education, human development and well-being. According to the 2013 United Nations Human Development Index Sierra Leone has a literacy rate of 34 %.Implicitly Sierra Leone is an oral society. And oral societies rely heavily on memory to transmit their values, laws, history, music, and culture whereas the written word allows infinite possibilities for transmission and therefore of active participation in communication. These possibilities are what make the goal of literacy crucial in society.

In academic parlance literacy hinges on the printed word. Most pupils are formally introduced to print when they encounter schoolbook. School teachers in Sierra Leone continue to use textbooks in their teaching activities to convey content area information to pupils. It is no gainsaying that pupils neither maximise their learning potential nor read at levels necessary for understanding the type of materials teachers would like them to use. Thus the performance of pupils at internal and public examinations is disappointing. Further pupils’ continued queries in the library demonstrate that they do not only lack basic awareness of resources available in their different school libraries but also do not understand basic rudiments of how to source information and materials from these institutions. What is more worrisome is that pupils do not use appropriate reading skills and study strategies in learning. There is a dearth of reading culture in schools and this situation cuts across the fabric of society. In view of the current support the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MEST) to establish literacy standards in school this situation has proved frustrating as teachers do not know how to better help pupils to achieve this goal. Thus they look up to the school librarians to play a more proactive role.

LITERACY DEMANDS ON SECONDARY SCHOOL PUPILS

In everyday situations school pupils are expected to be able to identify and seek information they need. Providing a variety of reading and writing experiences using varied materials in the school library can help develop pupils’ literacy ability (Roe, Stoodt-Hill and Burns, 2004). The mode of assessment in schools in Sierra Leone includes class exercises, tests, written and practical assignments, as well as written examinations to see pupils through to their next levels. These pupils, for example, need to read content books and supplementary materials in school for homework. Pupils have even more literacy needs in their activities outside school. They need to read signs found in their communities, job applications, road maps and signs, labels on food and medicine, newspapers, public notices, bank statements, bills and many other functional materials. Failure to read and understand these materials can result in their committing traffic violations, having unpleasant reactions to food or medicine, becoming lost, losing employment opportunities and missing desirable programs. Equally so pupils need to write to their relatives and loved ones, instructions to people who are doing things for them, notes to themselves about tasks to be completed, phone messages for colleagues and many other items. Mistakes in these activities can have negative effects on them. Good literacy skills are especially important to pupils who plan to pursue higher education studies. The job market in the country calls for pupils to be literate. For instance most jobs advertised these days require people who have completed their JSS. The fact is that workers need to be able to understand graphic aids, categorized information and skim and scan to locate information. Also the nature of reading in the workplace generally involves locating information for immediate use and inferring information for problem solving. The reading and writing of a variety of documents like memos, manuals, letters, reports and instructions are necessary literacy skills in the workplace.

SCHOOL LIBRARIES IN SIERRA LEONE

School libraries in Sierra Leone are perceived as integral aspect of the county’s educational system. These institutions bring together four major components of the school community: the materials, pupils, teacher and library staff. The main purpose for the establishment of these institutions in schools is to complement the teaching/learning process, if not to support the curriculum. This purpose is achieved in two ways: by providing pupils with the means of finding whatever information they need; and by developing in pupils the habit of using books both for information and for pleasure. Pupils need information to help them with the subjects they learn in school. The textbooks they use and the notes they take in class can be an excellent foundation. They may also be sufficient for revision purposes. But these could not be enough to enable pupils to write good essays of their own or to carry out group projects. School libraries then are expected to complement this effort and therefore are perceived as learning centres.

Pupils need information on subjects not taught in school. School libraries are looked upon as places pupils find information to help them in their school studies and personal development. Through these institutions pupils’ habit of using libraries for life-long education is not only developed but also school libraries could be used to improve pupils’ reading skills. In the school community both pupils and teachers use school libraries for leisure and recreational purpose and for career advancement. The culture of society is also transmitted through use of school libraries. Because of the important role school libraries play in the country’s educational system they are organised in such way that pupils as well as teachers can rely upon them for support in the teaching/learning process. Most of these institutions are managed by either a full-time staff often supervised by a senior teacher. Staffs use varied methods to promote their use including user education.

JUSTIFYING THE LIBRARIAN’S INVOLVEMENT IN PROMOTING LITERACY IN SCHOOL

A pre-requisite for the development of autonomous pupils through flexible resource-based learning approaches is that pupils master a set of skills which gradually enable them to take control of their own learning. Current emphasis in teaching in schools in Sierra Leone has shifted from “teacher-centred” to “pupil-centred” approach thereby making pupils to “learn how to learn” for themselves so that the integration of process skills into the design of the school curriculum becomes crucial (GoSL,1995). It is in this area of “learning” or “information literacy” skills that one can most clearly see the inter-relationship between the school curriculum and the school library. For pupils to become independent users of information and for this to occur it is vital that they are given the skills to learn how to find information, how to select what is relevant, and how to use it in the best way possible for their own particular needs and take responsibility for their own learning. As information literate, pupils will be able to manage information skilfully and efficiently in a variety of contexts. They will be capable of weighing information carefully and wisely to determine its quality (Marcum2002). Pupils do recognise that having good information is central to meeting the opportunity and challenges of day-to-day living. They are also aware of the importance of how researching across a variety of sources and formats to locate the best information to meet particular needs.

Literacy activities in schools in Sierra Leone are the responsibility of content area teachers, reading consultants and school librarians. Of these the role of the school librarian is paramount. As specialist the school librarian is expected to provide assistance to pupils and teachers alike by locating materials in different subjects, and at different reading levels by making available materials that can be used for motivation and background reading. The school librarian is also expected to provide pupils with instructions in locating strategies related to the library such as doing online searches and skimming through printed reference materials. The librarian is expected to display printed materials within his purview, write specialised bibliographies and lists of addresses on specific subjects at the request of teachers. He should be able to provide pupils with direct assistance in finding and using appropriate materials; recreational reading can be fostered by the librarian’s book talks or attractive book displays on high-interest topics like HIV/AIDS, child abuse, child rights, human rights and poverty alleviation. In view of this the fundamental qualities expected of the good school librarian include knowledge of his collection and how to access it; ability to understand the needs of his users more so those of pupils; ability to communicate with pupils and adult users; and knowledge of information skills and how to use information.

ROLE OF THE SCHOOL LIBRARIAN

Pupils’ success in school depends to a large extent upon their ability to access, evaluate and use information. Providing access to information and resources is a long-standing responsibility of the school librarian. The school librarian should provide the leadership and expertise necessary to ensure that the library becomes integral in the instructional program of the school. In school the librarian is the information specialist, teacher and instructional consultant. He is the interface responsible for guiding pupils and teachers through the complex information resources housed in his library (Lenox and Walker, 1993). He is looked up to assist and guide numerous users in seeking to use and understand the resources and services of the library. In this respect the school librarian should inculcate in these users such skills as manual and online searching of information; use of equipment; developing critical skills for the organization, evaluation and use of information and ideas as integral part of the curriculum (Lonsdale, 2003). The school librarian should be aware of the range of available information retrieval systems, identify that most suitable to the needs of pupils and provide expertise in helping them become knowledgeable, if not comfortable, in their use. Since no library is self-sufficient the school librarian can network with information agencies, lending/renting materials and/or using electronic devises to transmit information (Tilke, 1998; 2002).

As information specialist the school librarian should be able to share his expertise with those who may wish to know what information sources and/or learning materials are available to support a program of work. Such consultation should be offered to the whole school through the curriculum development committee or to individual subject teachers. The school librarian should take the lead in developing pupils’ information literacy skills by being involved with the school curriculum planning and providing a base of resources to meet its needs. He should be aware of key educational initiatives and their impact in teaching and learning; he should be familiar with teaching methods and learning styles in school; over all he should maintain an overview of information literacy programmes within the school (Herring, 1996; Kuhlthau, 2004).

Kuhlthau (2004) opined that information seeking is a primary activity of life and that pupils seek information to deepen and broaden their understanding of the world around them. When therefore, information in school libraries is placed in a larger context of learning, pupils’ perspective becomes an essential component in information provision. The school librarian should ensure that skills, knowledge and attitude concerning information access, use and communication, are integral part of the school curriculum. Information skills are crucial in the life-long learning process of pupils. As short term objective the school librarian should provide a means of achieving learning objectives within the curriculum; as long term information skills have a direct impact on individual pupils’ ability to deal effectively with a changing environment. Therefore the school librarian should work in concert with teachers and administrators to define the scope and sequence of the information relevant to the school curriculum and ensure its integration throughout the instructional programs (Tilke, 2002; Birks and Hunt, 2003). Pupils should be encouraged to realise their potential as informed citizens who critically think and solve problems. In view of the relationship between the curriculum and school library, the librarian should serve on the curriculum committee ensuring that information access skills are incorporated into subject areas. The school librarian’s involvement in the curriculum development will permit him to provide advice on the use of a variety of instructional strategies such as learning centres and problem-solving software, effective in communicating content to pupils (Herring, 1996; Birks and Hunt, 2003).

Literacy could be actively developed as pupils need access to specific resources, demonstrate understanding of their functionality and effective searching skills. In this regard pupils should be given basic instruction to the library, its facilities and services and subsequent use. Interactive teaching methods aimed at information literacy education should be conducted for the benefit of pupils. Teaching methods could include an outline of a variety of aides like quizzes and worksheets of differing complexity level to actively engage pupils in learning library skills and improving their information literacy. Classes should be divided into small groups so that pupils could have hands-on-experience using library resources. Where Internet services are available in the library online tutorials should be provided. Post session follow-up action will ensure that pupils receive hands-on-experience using library resources. Teaching methods should be constantly evaluated to identify flaws and improve on them.

Further the school librarian should demonstrate willingness to support and value pupils in their use of the library through: provision of readers’ guides; brochures; book marks; library handbooks/guides; computerization of collection; helpful guiding throughout the library; and regular holding of book exhibitions and book fairs. Since there are community radio stations in the country the school librarian could buy air time to report library activities, resources and services. He can also communicate to pupils through update newspapers. Pupils could be encouraged to contribute articles on library development, book reviews and information about opening times and services. The school librarian could help pupils to form book and reading clubs, organize book weeks and book talks using visiting speakers and renowned writers to address pupils. Classes could also be allowed to visit the library to facilitate use. More importantly the school librarian should provide assistance to pupils in the use of technology to access information outside the library. He should offer pupils opportunities related to new technology, use and production of varied media formats, and laws and polices regarding information. In order to build a relevant resource base for the school community the librarian should constantly carry out needs assessment, comparing changing demands to available resources.

The Internet is a vital source for promoting literacy in the school library. The school librarian should ensure that the library has a website that will serve as guide to relevant and authoritative sources and as a tool for learning whereby pupils and teachers are given opportunity to share ideas and solutions (Herring, 2003). Through the Internet pupils can browse the library website to learn how to search and develop information literacy skills. In order for pupils to tap up-to-date sources from the Net the school librarian should constantly update the home page, say on a daily basis, if necessary. Simultaneously the school librarian should avail to pupils and teachers sheets/guides to assist them in carrying out their own independent researches. He should give hands-on-experience training to users to share ideas with others through the formation of “lunch time” or “after school support groups”. Such activities could help pupils to develop ideas and searching information for a class topic and assignment.

Even the location of the library has an impact in promoting literacy in school. The library should be centrally located, close to the maximum number of teaching areas. It should be able to seat at least ten per cent of school pupils at any given time, having a wide range of resources vital for teaching and learning programs offered in school. The library should be characterised by good signage for the benefit of pupil and teacher users with up-to-date displays to enhance the literacy skills of pupils and stimulating their intellectual curiosity.

CONCLUSION

Indeed the promotion of literacy should be integral in the school curriculum and that the librarian should be able to play a leading role to ensure that the skills, knowledge and attitudes related to information access are inculcated in pupils and teachers alike as paramount users of the school library. But the attainment of this goal is dependent on a supportive school administration, always willing and ready to assist the library and its programs financially. To make the librarian more effective he should be given capacity building to meeting the challenges of changing times.

REFERENCES

American Library Association (2003). ‘Introduction to information literacy.’

Birks, J. & Hunt, F. (2003). Hands-on information literacy activities. London: Neal-Schumann.

CLIP (2004).’Information Literacy: definition.’

GoSL (2010). Report of the Professor Gbamanja Commission of Inquiry into the Poor Performance of Pupils in the 2008 BECE and WASSCE Examinations (Unpublished).

___________(1995). New Education policy for Sierra Leone. Freetown: Department of Education.

Herring, James E. (1996). Teaching information skills in schools. London: Library Association Publishing.

__________________ (2003).The Internet and information skills: a guide for teachers and librarians. London: Facet Publishing.

Kahlthau, C. C. (2004). Seeking meaning: a process approach to library and information services. 2nd. ed. London: Libraries Unlimited.

Lenox, M. F. & Walker, M. L.(1993). ‘Information Literacy in the education process.’ The Educational Forum, 52 (2): 312-324.

Lonsdale, Michael (2003). Impact of school libraries on student achievement: a review of research. Camberwell: Australian Council of Educational Research.

Marcum, J. W. (2002). ‘ Rethinking Information Literacy,’ Library Quarterly, 72:1-26.

Roe, Betty D., Stoodt-Hill & Burns, Paul C. (2004).Secondary School Literacy instruction: the content areas. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Tilke, A. (1998). On-the-job sourcebook for school librarians. London: Library Association.

_________ (2002). Managing your school library and information service: a practical handbook. London: Facet Publishing.

Weber, S. & Johnston, B. ( 2002). ‘Assessment in the Information Literate University.’ Conference: Workshop 1st International Conference on IT and Information Literacy, 20th- 22nd. March 2002, Glasgow, Scotland. Parallel Session 3, Thursday 21st March,2002.

World Bank (2007). Education in Sierra Leone; present challenges, future opportunities. Washington,DC: World Bank.