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Traditional Stories in Sierra Leone: What role do librarians play?


Stories are as old as language, are old as the earliest societies. Some of the earliest stories are still alive: in Lascaux, France, or in the Lesotho Mpongweni Mountains, they were painted in mural paintings of cave walls. And others came to us in the myths and folklore of the world we now have access to in the printed era. Historiography is older than print, older than writing and the first stories on paper, papyrus or parchment are not the work of the authors, but of the oral traditions of the past centuries. In Sierra Leone, like in most African countries, historiography forms an integral part of the country's life, although oral traditions have largely contributed to the written word.

We are a child of children, young people and adults. Learning is not limited to the classroom: anywhere. Moral values ​​and social norms, beliefs and codes are passed from generation to generation, whether modified or not. Informal learning settings are relevant and can be decisive today when more formalized and specific institutions take part.

While the Sierra Leoneans are protecting their past, both teachers and librarians see a lot in telling stories that can serve as a basis for young people in the school system. There are many indications that the richness of traditional pedagogy has existed and continues to exist in Sierra Leone's principles, content, methods and institutional conventions. Their story tellers, stories and songs, proverbs and mysteries are still important tools and themes for indigenous learning and education. Oral traditions not only pass on the customs and norms of society. They explain the worlds and behaviors of people living there. Oral traditions tell us how the world began, and these created myths form part of the world's longstanding religions, such as Christianity and Islam, as part of the Holy Books. Explaining in the allegorical sense all human behavior in which good does not always overcome evil.

Non-literary stories do not depend on literacy. They can reach the whole community, and interactive quality alone is power, as it promotes the functions of social teaching history, which Leeson (1985) called "sharing the shared wisdom and values ​​of the country as the next generation". Unfortunately, there is a missing link in Sierra Leone, as school children are well acquainted with the history of Great Britain, the United States, Canada and Italy by quoting some examples, but they have little to say about their traditional stories.


Sierra Leone includes sixteen (16) ethnic groups. The largest of these is Mende in the southern and eastern provinces. For them Temne is in the north. The third largest group is Limba, also in the northern province, then Kono in the eastern province. There are North Koreans as well as Yalunka, Loko, Soso, Madingo and Fula. On the shore north and south are Bullom and Sherbro followed by much smaller groups of Krim, Vai and Gola, and Kissi within the eastern province. The western area, including Freetown, is mixed in the population, but is basically the home of the Creole group. In all these ethnic groups, historiography is common among their cultures

. Ogutu and Roscoe (1974) have said about storytelling in Africa: "The continent has its own fictional traditions, the tradition of storytelling, orally … the medium through which the soul that has been liberated in Africa over the centuries has taught people and entertained themselves" (43 -44.)

Traditional stories of Sierra Leone are the embodiment of beliefs, customs, rituals and the preservation of the structure of society. Stories work in society to ensure that the accepted cultural norms of continuity from generation to generation are met between their role in education and the degree of reflection of culture. Most traditional storytellers claim that their art is acquired from dreams, spirits and professional disciples; others claim that art comes directly from God, while some say it is paid. The storytellers have the following characteristics:

• Fluency in local languages ​​and mastering a wide range of vocabulary at all levels of the audience;

• Creativity and ability to establish relationships with their audience;

• Knowledge of the public and their needs;

• Knowing their culture and environment and being able to live and revive their stories;

• Good memory for the accurate preservation and narrative of the great material corpus; and

The content of traditional stories can be grouped as follows: • myth stories full of religious, superstitious and traditional beliefs, especially regarding the origin of humanity and phenomena;

• Stories of historical events and memorable legends, such as war heroes, outstanding doctors and migrants;

These can be further categorized by social function or institution:

• Political Story Stories on Leadership and Leadership and Leadership Relationships

• Fictitious-imaginary tales of allegory, tales, fantasies and parables. things;

• Stories of the tribe – these depict structures, families, and communities, namely marriages and genealogies;

• Religion and Divinity – stories about creation and phenomena such as death and rain;

• The moral virtues – stories that make such guilty of crime, greed, theft, murder, dishonesty, foolishness, and insight;

The characters of typical traditional Sierra Leone stories range from humans to animals, rocks, trees, plants, densities, spirits, and birds. These characters are symbolic: Bra rabbit-trick; turtle wisdom; Elephant nobility; vulture patience; lion-courage and power; vereb, parrot and crow-intelligence; pigeon and error; crafty spider. The stories are clearly entertained by the evening entertainment. Sometimes they can be historical conversations at any time of the day on the private verandas, courtyards or other public places. However, in a traditional environment where twenty or forty people are sitting around a kerosene lamp around or at night after a day's work and eating and eating food. The storytellers are also invited to cultural social functions such as weddings, burials, secret celebrations and coronation ceremonies. Smoking is often not smoked, story storing will not happen.

The stories go with songs; a song begins with a story; an important line in a story is a new story; a proverb ends a story; in the middle of a song a story is used to awaken the students or prepare for the coming peak. Very often, the songs invite the participants, and the students become active supporters of a choir, clap their hands, go to lies and jokes, who often respond to a story with another story. Songs are played with traditional tunes such as kaylain, sira, seigureh and sang. Audience history is generally active. Narratives combine with spontaneous exclamations, narrator questions, echoes of the narrator's voice, and singing chorus. To keep these things, discipline is maintained. To laugh and excite the audience, but without jeopardizing the continuation of narration.


The most important is the socialization. Speaking and listening to stories is a social activity that brings people together in artistic and creative matters. The occasion should entertain people to forget everyday life. People are transposed into the world of conviction. As narration passes through the shades of the reenactment of the fictitious world, the audience will be borne by the travelers. Enjoyment is facilitated by the public social organization. The atmosphere is usually informal, compulsive and harassing; everyone is on an equal footing regardless of gender and age.

Participants have a chance to talk and listen. The situation emphasizes the value of social cooperation. The discipline inherent in narrative will inevitably change into spheres of life. Participants learn to respect others, appreciate personal differences between abilities and temperament, and will be able to engage in a joint activity.

Mental stimulation comes from telling stories. The stories are known and received through the ear. The narrator's request is to remember the story and tell him if it's possible in the future. This is a good workout for memory. We must take into account the essence of a story and make it into a repertoire. Therefore, the elders must be very active in order to be able to acquire new knowledge or the kinds of sciences already known. In addition to memory training, narratives sharply appreciate critical acclaim. One has to examine the narrative messages and evaluate related events.

Stories are not only told for themselves but are an important part of social education. Allegories of events and characters reflect human life and provide a source of learning. In the characters of the stories, the audience mentions laziness, wise men, cowards, agitators, and arrogant, just a few examples. Stories give guidance on how to respond to them. The narratives provide guidance on respect. In other words, they seek to change life.

Stories are cultural records. The culture of the people is the whole life style, which includes religion, beliefs, customs, practices, music, literature, attitudes and philosophy. By making the philosophical essence of society the didactic stories for people. The content of verbal traditions reflects the basics of the group. Religion, creation and supernatural stories give the group's religious foundations. Biographies and historical tales showcase everyday features in today's society. Through traditional heroes, people appreciate what society admires.


Stories have rich traditions and valuable heritage, which are sources of oral literature. Historical writing is like history: it explores the past, educates the scenes and brings lights to the future. Stories touch the soul of society and stick to their state of mind. In Sierra Leone, these treasures of verbal traditions endanger, forget, and bury. By promoting the collection and publication of oral data sources, school librarians not only contribute to renewing the interest of the previously neglected area, but also ensure that posterity benefits from such pursuit.

Sierra Leone, a relatively new state in political speech after a decade of civil war (1991 -2001). Taking stories and taking them into school curricula can provide solutions to the country's non-integration problems. As the country's national dance ensemble has evolved over a number of years into a family national ensemble, traditional reconnaissance is less heterogeneous and truly national and homogenous.

Traditional stories teach Sierra Leone ethical classes typical of all ethnic groups. Sir Winston Wilson once remarked that we will look to the past in the future, the more in the future. Recording traditional stories can help the Sierra Leone to look back on their past, with the aim of seeing their future. In addition, schools beside public libraries are the most popular places for children to tell stories. The type of audience determines what story to tell. For example, children of three to five years can enjoy animal stories and children themselves. While children of school age have long stories. High school students like myths and epic. Heroes fascinate and enjoy adventure and romance.

The right to read our own world is an essential part of learning law. Stories and songs are the media through which Sierra Leone gives their children the traditions, customs, culture and oral history of society. However, indigenous literature is necessary to prevent the scribe from becoming alienated from his own culture and tradition. It strengthens the recognition of its cultural values ​​and cultural identity in a rapidly changing environment. In Sierra Leone, where education for a long time is based on books that are related to other cultures, this is very important. Like the rest of the world, awareness of the cultural heritage of people is also a prerequisite for the continuity, cohesion and development of society. Above all, the rich oral traditions of Sierra Leone in different languages ​​are easily lost by the spread of modern communication tools if they can not be preserved.


Libraries are portals and knowledge of the world of information. Kinnell (1992) noted that Good Libraries are empowered. Using our resources, we can release our imaginative power, discover unrealized worlds; promoting knowledge; pleasure; laugh at us; insight; challenges our misconception; shake the fears; smash our conscience; affect our sensitivity; and provides a professional upgrade. "What we learn from good books and other resources will be part of us" (p. 5).

Libraries on the neutral basis that individual children can grow with independent and unobstructed discovery. These are places where you learn and practice your information skills. Libraries provide information sources for young people, enabling them to discover and use the right of access that information skills can bring to today's and tomorrow's society. Amonoo and Azubuike (2003) believe that libraries are a catalyst for human development as they help to develop and transfer knowledge and culture and promote civic awareness to support democracy. Libraries preserve and promote cultural heritage and diversity, and promote mutual understanding and respect for cultures and peoples. According to Johnson (2013), "good school and college libraries can enhance the educational experience, encourage reading and promoting critical thinking that learners need to keep and develop in an increasingly complex society" (p. 299).

libraries enjoy being centrally located in communities. As such, they are in a good position to play their role as a cultural center. Natural places for popularizing literature, including poetry, drama, prose and mesmerizing. They also provide space for visual arts and music. In addition, cultural centers are the true meaning of the word, highlighting local culture and being able to highlight the culture of children representing different groups of the community.

Le Roux (2005) argued that the school library is nothing but the conscience of the curriculum. School libraries provide relevant and up-to-date materials and services for teachers and students to support the curriculum. Implicitly, this collection should be such that it reflects not only the users' known needs, but also the expected needs of prospective teachers and learners. By presenting users with a representative collection of children's literary libraries, they can encourage teachers and students to pass on the imaginary use of storytelling materials in the coming years, which they can pass on to students in the coming years.

Providing and promoting services is a world where children are global, national, and based. Children can come from libraries for the enjoyment of historical experience, language, and related art. Resources in the library can help the knowledge of the wider world and the understanding of other people about behavior, culture, or situations (Johnson, 2013). Children can get acquainted with situations, events and characters. Libraries provide children's information needs. Good services can help to create vocabulary, speech, and language. Libraries provide opportunities for shared experiences between adults and children. Supporting formal and informal education focusing on the philosophy of library services for young people

School Libraries are Communication Centers. These are the ideal tools of exchange / knowledge. Their aim is to facilitate access to the tools of knowledge to help their cultural and professional development (Wehmeyer, 2005). Finally, this function is linked to the mental development and attitudes of students to all kinds of situations, moral, spiritual, social, practical and recreational purposes.


Traditional stories of the indigenous knowledge system of peoples and their social role in society are all needed to preserve them. The main fact is that most of the art of storytelling is owned by adults whose majority is aging and dying. And, for example, in Africa, when an old man dies, they think a library was burning. Here, school librarians need to get involved in playing a key role. Traditional storytelling is an inexplicable phenomenon in Sierra Leone's life and is indispensable for future development. Some organizations such as Adult Education Partners (PEA), the Department of History and African Studies, and the Fourah Bay College's External Muralis Studies (DEMS) specialize in capturing traditional stories, songs, proverbs and puzzles for later use. School librarians should be part of these efforts to capture traditional knowledge and communication technologies such as telecommunications (mobile phones), computers, microphones and audiovisual technologies (eg Cassette Recorders, Slides, Video Cassettes, Tape Recorders and CD-ROMs) repackage and submit stories to the intended audience. In view of the importance of web technologies in collecting and disseminating information, librarians can record stories in web OPACs so that teachers, students and researchers can read different stories and the biography of famous country historians (Kochtanek and Mathews, 2002).

Further school librarians have to write and publish stories to booklets and anthologies in schools. Such efforts will contribute to the availability of written materials available in schools, in the youth and in adults in the country. Translating traditional stories into multiple languages ​​contributes to intercultural understanding of the country. Through these efforts, the cultures of the country become the content of learning, and even the form of their roots.

As traditional stories and songs live in certain contexts, they depict the fundamentals of village life, art and craftsmen, landscapes, peoples and travel routes. All of these efforts will focus on the images of historians and audiences, dancers and artists. The visual impressions created by the photographs further enhance the understanding and interest of children in the school. Historical conversations should not only be filmed / videotaped but librarians have to compile biographies of narratives for school use. These steps enrich the children's knowledge of the different ethnic groups in the country and have a long way to reduce illiteracy.

At school, librarians should support increased slots for storytelling of the time traveler. It should also promote the introduction of traditional storytelling to the junior high school level as an aspect of literature. Children should be taken to the library for the purpose of storing stories in order not to forget their culture. Parents and tellers should be invited to tell stories at school for children. Such efforts are needed to cooperate with teachers who are better able to understand the needs of students and curriculum. School librarians should maintain their contacts with their public libraries and nearby schools. Children should be visited at public libraries within the premises where storytelling can be held. Throughout these steps, school librarians should have extensive knowledge of telling stories that correspond to the different needs and levels of different school pupils. Links should be made to higher education institutions and adult education organizations that, as part of their curriculum, are already involved in traditional storytelling activities. Instructors and animators can be invited to school to talk to the children about the importance of traditional storytelling and even talk to students and teachers. There are community radio stations in the country, and schools can buy the air to talk about stories. If possible, tellers should be invited to such conversations to interview or tell them. In fact, the national broadcaster, Sierra Leone Broadcasting Collaboration (SLBC), can play a leading role in this direction, at least by creating a weekly program for storytelling.

School librarians should be effective in "selling" the art of "a" historiography as "other" competitors of children "sell" their goods. The Weekly Books should be organized with telling professions in the weeks to be done. During such meetings you can call tellers and parents to tell the kids. Teachers, parents, and older students should be encouraged to write and read stories about younger people. They also have to show video clips or students of famous traditional stories.


A well-used school library promotes learning, enhances performance, and enhances students' personal and social development. For the school, both the material resources and the wider resources are a useful tool for the benefit of the users (The Library Association (1998).) Traditional stories differed from ancient times to generations from mouth to mouth and survive the test of time , thanks to the temporal and cross-border universality of messages, so that the Sierra Leonees continue to find traditional and acceptable traditional stories of their own today. and the latter must not only be the oral word, but reading and the other aspects of modern life also contribute to the preservation and transmission of traditional stories, and here the school librarians need to get in. adding anthologies, stories to audio tapes, CD-ROMs and movie films, and creating networks, but some examples, the school librarian will be able to create more permanent records for this valuable material for later use.

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