HolyFamilyCatholicPrimarySchoolMenai_News_LibraryLibraries and technology are inseparable, giving today’s generation more ways than ever to explore books for love and learning.

When Sydney Catholic Schools’ (SCS’) digital borrowing platform OverDrive merged collections with other Catholic diocese in NSW to become the ACEN digital library in August last year, the number of ebooks and digital resources available to students rose to more than 10,000 and circulation soared.

In the past 12 months, borrowing on the platform has almost doubled among SCS students, with books checked out more than 187,000 times and their use now accounts for the fourth highest circulation figures in the world among those who use the platform.

Holy Family Catholic Primary School Menai’s Teacher Librarian Chantelle Bower said the library has become much more than a book repository. Library lessons include activities for students in the Newman Selective Gifted Education Program. Year 6 library monitors hone their leadership skills and maker space activities allow students to learn and design objects with high- and low-tech resources. Fun events grow a love of books by allowing students to taste new fiction before it reaches the library’s shelves.

Books can take you anywhere, and I love inspiring the students to be creative with their words.

– Chantelle Bower

The school’s Bring Your Own Digital Device (BYODD) policy adopted in 2015 has facilitated ebook loans. Holy Family students have borrowed more than 4,500 ebooks so far this year.

“From Kindergarten to Year 2, physical borrowing is still winning, but because Years 4 to 6 have their own device, the ebook would be nearly equal in popularity.

“I love that we can be so flexible in this space. In a big school, it’s a place where people can come to a quieter environment and relax a little. I love that books can take you anywhere, and I love inspiring the students to be creative with their words.

“On the ebook platform at the moment there’s an autobiography on Roald Dahl, so the children who have been immersed in that are excited about borrowing his books.”

A refurbishment of St Clare’s College Waverley’s library has turned it into a technology-rich and collaborative space. To make way for study, green screen and virtual reality rooms, the school reference collection was culled to just three shelves.

Leader of Information Literacy and Innovation Michael Burden said the technology had added another level of creativity to student’s work. “We kept the fiction collection and added to that,” he said. “To supplement the reference collection we have subscribed to the EBSCO database and Britannica online.”

Senior students hone their research skills with library lessons on how to use the EBSCO database effectively. A section becomes a dedicated study zone for them during HSC assessment times.

“Students did a virtual tour of Pompeii using Google Earth [virtual reality],” Mr Burden said. “There is a lot of peer learning taking place and much more collaboration. That couldn’t happen without these spaces.”