Preparing for a Library Renovation is also Useful for a Pandemic


School leadership, as part of its Facilities Master plan, decided to merge our 2 school libraries, as part of a renovation of the entire building which houses our main library. Since 2019, we have been preparing for a scenario where we would be moving to a temporary location for well over 12 months, and where services and access to print books would be greatly reduced.

The plan was for building works to commence in September, 2020. In light of this, we had been focusing on designing an amazing new library, culling of unused resources, and greater provision of online services and texts.

While the building project was suspended due to COVID 19, the urgent preparation for this renovation left us better prepared for providing library services during the COVID Pandemic and learning@home and also learning@school under COVID health restrictions.


Just to give a general context to library operation under COVID; the school has been generally operating its normal timetable, even while learning@home occurred. We had some students of essential workers at school, but the vast majority were learning@home. Students who attended school also learnt online. Our students range from Year 5 to Year 12, and all staff and students have at least a Windows tablet. The students started each day with Home Group remotely, often using Microsoft Teams. This included students still attending school. Then the school day progressed as per the timetable. Lessons were delivered using Onenote and Teams. The school already used Classroom Onenotes for lessons, so these were amended for students to be able to follow at home. These adjustments were time-consuming to develop, and included screencasts, videos and many additional instructions. Pastoral House Assemblies occurred via Teams. The school also conducted its full school Friday Assemblies which were streamed live via Teams to nearly 1600 students, nearly 200 staff, and also any watching parents at home.


All staff were able to choose to work from home or school. The library shared a live updatable file that contained the times library staff would be on site. Most library staff chose of their own accord, to come in to work on some of their rostered days. This enabled the library to provide a collection service for books and texts from Student Services;’ parents and students emailed and phoned with requests. The library was like a beach during under the extreme COVID restrictions; people could come and borrow, but not stay or sit. This was due to cleaning arrangements and could be changed with a day’s notice.


The library emailed weekly newsletters to staff, Seniors, Years 7 to 10, and also one to Years 5 and 6s, as well as promotion via our blog

The Library advised parents of services via the school newsletter, and via a COVID parent portal, which contained all the school learning@home information.

We lent large numbers of set novels and also books for reading for pleasure, at the end of the term. Most English classes rearranged their units to study set novels, as these were units were easier to deliver at home.

We promoted reading ebooks and audiobooks, via our Wheelers Eplatform and Overdrive Sora app. We send out a book review daily on our Instagram account @ahsbrisbanelibrary

Library Lessons

Library lessons continued with Year 5 and 6 students, at the normal time on their timetable, albeit remotely. These students were familiar with Onenote, which Library staff already used with students. Library staff prepared many videos where they read books aloud, as well as other videos to explain tasks. The Library program includes many aspects of the Digital Technologies Curriculum, such as Scratch, and this could be delivered online. This was also a good time to revisit online safety with students.

Library Staff Duties

All school staff were provided with a tablet to use at home. Staff used the Outlook “To Do” tool to organise and share etheir daily tasks, professional learning and larger projects. Staff checked in weekly using Microsoft Teams. Library staff meetings were delivered via Teams. Library staff work in operational groups who meet twice a term; this continued occurring, but via Teams. Our school is very well set up to work remotely, and library staff easily found projects to work on from home.

Textbook Hire

AHS uses Box of Books as its online text platform. Jacaranda offered free texts during Term 2, as a COVID offer, and these texts were added to our Box of Books collection for many Departments.

A new Senior Religion text was released in digital format this week, but not yet in print. Students and staff had access to this new text online the next day, via Box of Books.

Due to a curriculum change by QCAA late in Term 1, some Senior classes needed novels after students had finished for the Term, so print could not be issued. After exploring different avenues, these novels were delivered via Wheelers Eplatform. The Library made a range of videos and other support resources, to assist students in studying set novels in ebook format for the first time.

AHS bought a school license for the digital version of the QSLA APA Guide to Referencing for Secondary Students, by Jenni King, a few years ago. This is provided to all students online in their Box of Books text collection.


The Library began using Libguides as its new site, last year. Many library staff have worked on this and it is now a rich resource. Teaching staff requested many Research Guides to support assignments and these are provided via Libguides, as well as learning resources such as Referencing Guides.

The Library added several new databases this year, so that was a timely increase in resources to support online research, when print books are not available. This included 2 new ebook collections.

Library staff scanned many single chapters of textbooks for teachers at the end of Term 1, as permitted under our copyright license. These were also catalogued.


Library staff made many screencasts and provided many links to craft and other projects that can be done at home. In particular, ideas were provided for gifts students could at home make for Mothers’ Day.


Library staff were extremely fortunate in the way our school planned for remote learning. All staff were very well supported with Professional Development for using Teams and for creating online learning resources, before moving to the situation where staff and students worked from home in Term 2.

In terms of library operations, returned books are left in quarantine, before shelving. The catalogue was adjusted so that borrowed items were not be due, until return to school.

In terms of managing when students were on site, ample sanitizer was provided and early effective initiatives, such as split lunches, reduced student numbers in the libraries at the end of Term 1, at any one time. Furniture was spread out to create distance, and bean bags and cushions put in storage. The school moved quickly to provide additional cleaning of the whole school, including the library.

These were just some of the initiatives the Library provided during COVID learning@home. With the move back to learning@school, hopefully the library project will be ignited; and in the meantime…the culling continues.

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Posted by on May 29, 2020 in Uncategorized


Shelving and Cataloguing Sheet Music

Some information on how we shelve and catalogue Sheet Music, that might be helpful to others. We have about 4000 different works catalogued.

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Posted by on May 28, 2020 in Uncategorized


Future Libraries Conference, Brisbane, October 25th, 2019

The annual Future Libraries Conference is on Friday, October 25th in Brisbane. Please see more information and book at

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Posted by on October 15, 2019 in Uncategorized


CSU Visit 2019

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Posted by on September 18, 2019 in Uncategorized


Budget Self-Checkout Machine

We are trialing Self-Checkout to see if students like it. Self-Checkout is a module that comes with our Oliver subscription. So we are using this with our library barcodes for Self-Checkout. We do not have RFID.

We set this up with 2 back-to-back screens, as in the images, so that library staff can check what students are doing. It is run off a Nuc. It is for borrowing only. And students need their ID card to use it.

We do not have security gates, but do have security cameras.

So, this is a low cost Self-Checkout system, and so far has been successful.

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Posted by on September 14, 2018 in Uncategorized


Improving Access to Databases via Catalogue Home Page

By placing databases on the catalogue home page, access to these digital resources is facilitated. (Our catalogue can only be accessed behind a password protected school intranet). Now, most of our databases require no login or password once logged into the school intranet and the user experience is the same at home and at school.

However, if pass-through was not available from database vendors, then logins and passwords are provided on the library catalogue home page. (These logins and passwords have been blanked out below in the images)

This removes one of the biggest barriers mentioned by staff and students – needing to locate passwords and logins, and having to go to multiple locations to access databases. Feedback has been that this is a great improvement.

Another improvement is the grouping of databases – Explora allows 4 databases to be searched at once.

In some cases, there is direct pass-through, such as for ebooks and audiobooks, when searching within the catalogue, but login and password details may be needed if wanting to search within particular ebook collections separately – so logins and password details are provided on the home page).

Another advantage is that this use of the library home page reinforces the library catalogue as the central place for research.

These images below show the catalogue home page, as users scroll down.




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Posted by on May 28, 2018 in Uncategorized


Better access to digital resources

Digital resources are now easier to access via our Oliver catalogue Home Page. This solution utilizes Single Sign On for most databases, so there is no requirement to use a login and password to search the databases. Clicking on the database box, takes staff and students directly to the database search page. Where pass through was not available for some databases, logins and passwords have been provided on the home page. The Library catalogue is only accessible after signing into the school intranet.

(Login and passwords have been covered with blue boxes)(This is editor view, so looks cleaner for staff and students with no editing tools)



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Posted by on May 15, 2018 in Uncategorized


360 videos with phone & Google Street View

Instructions with pics

1. Open the Google Street View app .
2. Tap Create +.
3. In the bottom right, tap Camera .
4. Take a series of photos, with the circle matching the yellow dot each time. Elbows in. Look up and down to find dot.
5. At the bottom, tap Done when the tick at the bottom goes green. Make sure to look up and down to get enough images.
6. Your 360 photo is stitched together and saved in the “Private” tab on your phone. The photo is also saved on your phone (unless you turned this setting off).

• Save to Album to your phone or RoundMe app or or
• Can make public or private
• Can blur faces within app but only in the Private tab

Publish 360

• More instructions
• Bit older instructions
Reflector app is good for teaching: shows what is on phone or PC – not free

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Posted by on June 28, 2017 in Uncategorized


Evidence based practise: Mix

Tools like Office Mix are useful for teachers and teacher-librarians as they allow student self-paced learning, quizzes can be included, and it provides analytics about student use. Screenshots are shown below of slides in an example of Mix used for information skills revision. The boxes with a blue box and checkmarks contain quiz questions in the actual Mix. Office Mix enhances Powerpoint, so also has the advantage of being a familiar tool for many people.

Analytics and statistics


More at: and

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Posted by on March 7, 2017 in Uncategorized


Reading, listening, typing

Sites about news, typing and reading levels, that might be of interest.

With rewordify, students can simplify text Kids can paste their text snippets of choice in and read a book that way, simplifying it for themselves. An example is below where I copied in a bit from Romeo and Juliette (though – No Fear Shakespeare – is best for making Shakespeare easy). Also the last site in the dot points has reading skills practice that might be of interest.

 To be, or not to be: that is the question: 
Whether it is higher-quality in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of terrible and shocking fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposite (or fighting against) end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-pain and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is going to eventually get, it is a perfection/completion
Completely to be wished. To die, to sleep ;

Sites with different reading levels

 Also, came across this site with free audiobooks including Holes You can listen at fast or slow speed and it has the text as well.


Also, if wanting typing practice, there are links at my other blog for student self-paced typing. I have used with Year 7 and 8s and it is great and it was free when I used it. Teachers can set up a class and see each student’s  progress and there are tests and games along the way




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Posted by on March 3, 2017 in Uncategorized