The Library’s Role in Transforming our World Sustainably

We often don’t think about the things we implicitly teach. Over the weekend I completed a survey for The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) on our contribution to the United Nations Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

It is interesting to stop and think about what we might be modelling to our students beyond actual subject teaching – something the school library needs to consider on a regular basis.

These are the targets that I believe we are working towards:

These three are probably the most obvious.

We are so lucky to belong to our College Community – with a long and proud tradition, a strong focus on health and well-being, dedicated and passionate teachers, and a well-established curriculum and pastoral care system based on Justice. We expose students to a number of world issues where these targets are far from being fully implemented and our opportunities to work towards these goals are provided through fund and consciousness raising.

Next, these two are related to each other:

Last year we had a display based on LGBTI (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex) Rights. The concept resulted from a member of staff attending a professional learning event at our local hospital. Up to date and relevant material was purchased, and a display space near the public phone, located in the Tower building, has been set up with relevant and medically approved brochures. We also focus displays at New Internationalist topics of note, and refer students regularly to issues relating to refuges and people fleeing war and or natural disasters.

Another set of connected goals which we model as well as teach can be seen in these three target areas:

The subjects we teach that cover these areas include Geography, English  and Science.  The way in which we live these are as follows:

  • paper recycling bins
  • Papercut is now controlling our printing – which allows for jobs to be cancelled if they are no longer required, and prevents students printing to all the printers in the school but only collecting from one. This has had a massive impact on our paper and toner use.
  • OneNote notebooks which are now ubiquitous across the Senior Campus are also saving us from printing as many work sheets etc.
  • We also consider the environment when we turn on the air conditioners, and lights – and determine the timing, temperature and duration of use based on necessity rather than just having them running.

Can you think of other ways that we are meeting these goals? If so we would love to hear them.

The logos in this article have been used as laid down in the UN Guidelines for use.







Debating Issues with Year 11 English

One of the best aspects of working with classes is the need for the teacher-librarian and Library assistant to engage with the subject’s content and engage with the Library catalogue offerings. This week Mrs. Bradbeer’s Year 11 English class was booked in to prepare for in class debates.  Three topics were set (chosen from the Debating Association of Victoria) and each provided a research challenge in terms of locating information to underpin the arguments.

Debating skill development and examples – an OLIVER search revealed some debating resources explaining tactics, rules and protocols.  These were displayed in the reading are where they were working during their English lesson, and the QR code below was added to a sign, linking them to an OLIVER search result of these titles and relevant websites.

debating resources

The EBSCO data base offers a range of peer reviewed and newspaper articles, and ClickView has online video material to support the debaters with content generation in terms of their presentation and persuasion techniques. These resources are accessible to all students through SIMON (our learning management system).



The three topics:

  1. That parents should not be allowed to refuse medical treatment for their child.


2. That we should fear the development of artificial intelligence


3. That we should abolish the ATAR system of university entrance


·       A summary of the ATAR system from VTAC:

·       In 2016 the Higher Education Standards Panel released a report on aspects of the ATAR system. You can read the report at and a media article summarising the report at

·       An article considering alternative university entrance systems:

·       A discussion on positive and negative aspects of the ATAR:

·       A newspaper article about mental health and the VCE:

And the search techniques recommended for EBSCO:

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It was wonderful to work with each group and observe their tactics, as well as support their content development and growing understanding of how to present a case for either the affirmative or the negative.  I look forward to hearing about their debates and the results that the adjudicator arrives at when each participant presents their case.



Book Club – our Inaugural Meeting!

Book Club

There was a wonderful meeting of bibliophiles in our library at recess today. Students came from Years 6, 7, 11 and 12 and they were predominantly male. The stories behind the choices of books that participants shared were possibly more interesting as the books themselves.

Meeting 1

Nick brought along a lovely copy of The Hobbit that had been given to him by his uncle, and explained why it was his favourite book and also what he loves about the story.

Jarrod talked about Resisting Hitler, a thick book on a topic that is of serious interest to historians such as himself.

Mrs Simkin shared When the Lyrebird Calls, which is on the CBCA Notables list for 2017. This is a lovely historical mystery set in Australia and well researched.

Angus is currently reading the Charlie Brown stories which are books he has at home. He is reading them because his Dad loved them when he was a boy.

Lachlan led the discussion and Zoe took the photograph. Great work team!

The students have decided to make this a regular event on Tuesdays at recess. All comers will be made very welcome by this lovely group of students.

Dare to DEAR

A collaboration between our Year 9 English teachers, Mrs. Bradbeer and Miss. Hodge, and the teacher-librarian commenced this week.

Year 9 English DARE Reading Project – Drop Everything and Read

The aim of the program is to get Year 9 students reading a range of different texts, trying new books and taking a few risks. The teachers are hoping that by the end of the year our Year 9s will have DARED to read widely and engage with a range of texts. So why should we read, and read a lot?


Why should our Year 9s  read and read a lot?

This article suggests that simply reading a novel can improve your brain connectivity.

“The researchers found that becoming engrossed in a novel enhances connectivity in the brain and improves brain function. Interestingly, reading fiction was found to improve the reader’s ability to put themselves in another person’s shoes and flex the imagination in a way that is similar to the visualization of a muscle memory in sports.”

Reading is also where we learn about language and words, how we structure them to communicate and convey meaning. Good readers often become good writers. Improved literacy skills will benefit you in all your subjects.

Our DARE program will see all of us encouraging our students to work hard on reading texts together as a whole class and encouraging one another to read individually. How will we do this?

In consultation with the relevant English teacher and myself, students will choose a novel to start reading this term. Some will read several. Students are expected to bring this novel to class so that if we have time we will Drop Everything and Read. At home, we want to encourage students to make time to Drop Everything and Read. This might mean saying no to more time on a smartphone, iPad, the TV or your PS4.  All students should make time to read for 20 minutes each day.


So how well did our inaugural lesson go? Sixteen Year 9H students borrowed a book that they may never have considered before.  Eleven from Year 9G did likewise. This is excellent compared to many students usual habit of reading for the duration of their lesson and then putting the book back on the shelf and hoping that they might find it when the next lesson comes around! There were an additional seven students who continued reading a book that they had borrowed last lesson.

So we are not yet to 100% but we have made a big step in the right direction!

Go Year 9 – we dare you to be reading heroes!

See what Year 12 English has been up to this week in our Library.


Year 12 English

The inimitable Mr. Wilson has started a support group for students to come into the library at specified lunchtimes to discuss aspects of the text currently being studied. Currently, this is Alistair MacLeod’s The Island. This is a collection of short stories set against the unforgiving landscape of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  These stories are all concerned with the complexities and mysteries of the human heart. Steeped in memory and myth and washed in the brine and blood of the long battle with the land and the sea, they celebrate a passionate engagement with the natural world and a continuity of the generations in the face of transition – in the face of love and loss.

The inaugural session was held today and a lively band arrived to hear the mellifluous tones of Mr. Wilson, and, to a lesser extent, myself (probably less polished in my presentation) read elements of some of the well constructed, beautiful sentences from this text.

This concept will continue to be explored and built on during the year.

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Two great programs implemented collaboratively with the English department this week! You can read about the other one here!