A key to the past – the library continues to be used by past students

(This post has been written by Pam Saunders, Head of Library).

It is not uncommon for us to receive queries from past students. It would seem ‘once a Melbourne High boy, always a Melbourne High boy’ and this entitles one to keep using the school and its resources.

Yesterday was typical, with a request from an old boy.  He had graduated in the mid 1980s and was asking for a copy of the school biology textbook which he would have used back then. It was The Web of Life, a familiar text for many of us.

Web of Life Books

With some deeper reference questioning it was revealed he was actually after a dichotomous key for eucalyptus. He recalled his HSC biology teacher had shown one to the class. Now, as an avid bushwalker, the old boy wanted to use it, ideally the same key, to identify trees on his walks.

We found The Web of Life and several books on eucalyptus. We also found dichotomous keys online (thank you Mr Google) including a beautiful item on the State Library of Victoria website.


This raised a discussion this morning amongst the library team about what books we should be keeping and whether they should they be on the open shelves. I am starting to think we need to consider an archived collection (we do have some space for this and a small collection already) so the books are retained but not distracting library users from a fresh, current collection.

I wonder what the next request from an old boy will be for.



The library is a verb: wondering, discussing, tinkering…

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Curiosity can draw students in. Surprise them with something unexpected, provide no instructions, and you might attract a group of students asking questions, making assumptions, providing possibilities.

Makerspaces in the making. 

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Student to me about the motherboard: Where did this come from? Did you put it here or did you come in this morning and just find it?

Me (looking up to the ceiling and raising my hands) ???

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We are on our way to redefining the library space – not only as a place for books but also a place of wonder and tinkering.



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‘Classic Captions’ competition


It’s still a little while before Book Week, but we already have one of our competitions on display in the hope of attracting a healthy number of competitors. Our inaugural Classic Captions competition invites students (and teachers) to add their own captions to some classic art works.

You can enter as many times as you like! Prizes to be won, of course. So, something like this -

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The best captions will be published in this blog, so start thinking.

Book donations

We are fortunate to receive book donations from various people in the community. Thanks to Pieter Scheffers for recently donating the wonderful philosophy collection (photos coming soon), and also for the books which arrived today. There has been much interest from our reading community.


Battle of the borrowers. Reading is a dangerous sport.

An interesting development since we moved to the library management system, Infiniti, is that the awareness of ‘top student borrowers’ has led to a rivalry of sorts. Currently Noah and Muhammad (Imad) are battling for first place in the apparently coveted spot for prolific readers.

A battle of readers is a most civilised battle. We approve.




Librarians have left the building (again) – Visit to Melbourne University libraries

Yesterday we visited several Melbourne University libraries as well as the University College library. We are fortunate to have CJ temporarily on our team; CJ is College Librarian at the University College Library.

As a library servicing a highly academic cohort of students at Melbourne High School, we are interested in liaising with university librarians so that we can assist students with their transition to university. This includes so many things, such as the way we could use spaces to facilitate the variety of student needs when they come to the library; embedding literacy and research skills into assignments and essays; teaching students about bibliographies and in-text citation; teaching them how to navigate online resources and manage information – in short, everything they need to be independent learners at the tertiary level.

We had already developed a partnership with the Melbourne University librarians in terms of shared online content – the Melbourne Uni librarians have kindly allowed us to use and modify their excellent Libguide about research. In turn, we have shared our Libguide for mobile apps in education.

We all agreed that yesterday’s visit and our visit to The Library at the Docks last week are an invaluable form of PD for us all – rich, relevant, ongoing and inspiring.
Here are a few photos:
The newly redesigned library and IT help desk at Giblin Eunson Library, University of Melbourne
Interesting, transparent way of separating the quiet zones
Reception and residential rooms at University College, Melbourne University.
I thought I’d throw in a couple of sights around the area
Can you guess the location of these?


Visit to The Library at the Dock

We took the opportunity to visit The Library at the Dock on a report writing day when our library was being used for the GAT in the morning. What a beautifully designed community building on a site with impressive views from all angles.

From the City of Melbourne website:

Library at The Dock is a three-storey building, 55.3 metres long by 18.1 metres wide, and is made from engineered timber and reclaimed hardwood.

Read about the building’s sustainability features (PDF, 600kb).

As well as a traditional library collection, the library and community centre offers an interactive learning environment and a state-of-the-art digital collection, multi-purpose community spaces and a performance venue that holds 120 people. Connections to Docklands’ rich maritime and Aboriginal heritage is embraced and celebrated with facilities to support local historical research and educational experiences.

Apparently the building was pre-fabricated in Austria and put together in 60 days on site by 6 carpenters. I hope I remembered that information correctly.

I took photos from all angles. As you can see, the library has plenty of space and light, glass everywhere, beautiful wooden surfaces and tasteful furnishings.

Image Image (1) Image (2) Image (3) Image (4) Image (5) Image (6) Image (7) Image (8) Image (9) Image (10) Image (11) Image (12) Image (13) Image (14) Image (15) Image (17) Image (18) Image (19) Image (20) Image (21) Image (22) Image (23) Image (24) Image (25) The returns sorter -


Image (26) Image (27) Image (28) Image (29) Image (30) Image (31) Image (32) Image (33) Image (34) Image (35) Image (36)There is a Makerspace! and of course a 3D printer -
Image (38) Image (39) Image (40) Image (41) Image (42) Image (43) Image (44) Image (45) Image (46) Image (47) Image (48) Image (49) Image (50) Image (51) The children’s section was so much fun! Image (52) Image (53) Image (54) Image (55) Image (56) Image (57) Image (58) Image (59)


Obviously this library is completely out of our financial range, but it’s always good to take some ideas from well designed spaces.