About ms_pamsaunders

Librarian, reader, bookshop and coffee addict. I am particularly interested in literacy and supporting libraries in Timor Leste

Comic Con(versation)

Seeing new books and helping select them for the library is always a winning activity and this week students from the Book Club, Library Assistants group,  some year 12 students  and a few keen teachers have all helped review some wonderful new comics, anime and graphic novels for the library collection. Titles chosen range from Super Heros (Welcome Wonder Woman and Ms Marvel), a few more in the Marvel Star Wars range, Blanket (this had been on my list for some time) Nimona,  The Fifth Beatle and many more.

As much as possible we try to purchase locally and from within Australia. All Star Comics based in Melbourne are one of our suppliers who are able to drop tubs of treasure for us to choose from.



Students talking about the comics and popular series as well as sneakily reading a few titles before they are returned.




Out and about

Each year the staff and a small group of student leaders from the four selective high schools are given the opportunity to meet, this year it was Suzanne Cory’s turn to host. For many of us it was a longer commute than usual but we were so warmly welcomed it compensated for the early start.


The keynote speaker, Mark Donaldson VC told of his experiences in the Afghanistan  war and what lead him into a military life. It was honest account and he stressed his ability to focus and think under pressure. These attributes literally lead to his survival, and to him saving the lives of others. It is hard to impress a room of over 500 teachers but he did it.

Mark holding his biography, The Crossroad, signed for a student.

It was with a great deal of pride students from Suzanne Cory also took teachers on tours, sharing the highlights of learning at their school.


The day included the opportunity for faculties to meet. For the library team it was especially delightful to visit another library, to share ideas and concerns. Paul Byrne, Head of Library at Suzanne Cory ran a practical session on encouraging wider reading using games and  fun activities. He had us participate in a student  activity,  matching the book cover with the blurb. Most of us will be taking this idea and using it this term as it resulted in lots of discussion and interaction.

Concluding the day we were challenged by Prof. Shirely Alexander, Vice Chancellor of University of Technology Sydney, who discussed the University’s radical change to their approach to learning. The motivation behind this change is a focus on the skills and knowledge students of the future will need for an ever changing workforce. We were amused by the list of job titles she showed us for jobs of the future and a few librarians among us could see us using our skills to become Nostalgists; helping people sort their collections/memorabilia and telling their story.



We wish to extend our thanks to our host school and the many presenters and facilitators. Thank you also to those who attended from other schools – it was lovely to see you.

The Quiz Club Honour Board

Whilst rejuvenating (ie weeding/deselecting) our non-fiction collection we found this book, Ship’s Log: Voyage from Britain to Australia May 1987 to January 1988 . The book has been beautifully bound and is a record of the re-enactment voyage of a ship in the first fleet, H.M.A.V Bounty.

On opening we discovered, the book had been used as a log, not a ships log, rather a log of boys success in …

The Quiz.


Old Boys 2006

Inside the book pages had been stuck in and listed names and dates of the Quiz Club Honour Board.

Ten year reunion

Intrigued we wondered what the Quiz Club was. On further study of the boys names and the dates we realised these were year 12 students from 10 years ago. Fortuitously there was a ten year reunion of this group this year so we kept the book and sent it along to see if any boys (now men) remembered the book, the quiz and could enlighten us.

A few of those listed were at the reunion and told how it was an activity they did during private study periods.  A group of students had a competition to complete the daily quiz published in The Age and The Herald Sun. They chose a book they thought no one would borrow (um, they were right, the loan history is zero) but which they could easily find each day. They made up pages and stuck them inside the book as a central recording place.

We were impressed with their devotion, from 15 May 2006 until 18 October 2006 there is a list of winners and losers. 

And here are a couple of them now, including David Janick, holding The Quiz Book.

I wonder if they are still doing the daily puzzles in the papers?

The quiz boys

Quiz boys 2






Tammy Talks Trash

The Environmental Action group welcomed students from the other three selective schools on Thursday for a whole day Sustainability Forum. The discussions were loud and passionate.

EAction 5

A highlight of the day was the talk by Tammy Logan of Gippsland Unwrapped .


Ryan welcomes Tammy to the stage.


Tammy stuns the audience by revealing how much rubbish she has generated this year. It half fills the jar in her hand. We all look at each other amazed. She and her family aim to live plastic free and have zero waste.

How? They follow the five R’s and she urges the audience to adopt them also, stressing the first is the important one. For example, do you really need that plastic drink straw? Just ask for a drink with no straw.

EAction 2

Tammy encourages everyone to live with less; we all have too much stuff. Tammy shared how little she and her family have purchased this year and how much they borrow or swap with friends or neighbours, sharing tools, sewing machines and clothes. They follow the Buyerachy of Needs, shown in the image below.



Thank you Tammy for talking to us, thanks also to the students and staff who attended from Nossal, MacRob, Suzanne Cory High schools and the other guests who spoke throughout the day. You all inspired us.

Style and Buttons

The morning started with a request for needle and thread. A button from a blazer had fallen off. So proceeded a lesson on sewing on a button, as naturally, the library had needles and thread.  The discussion then progressed to why that button had fallen off the blazer, it was the middle one of three.

This then prompted the style guidelines posted on the community wall.  Consequently we have been quietly watching the students read, adjust their buttons, undoing, doing up, looking at each other and laughing. Then of course there are those who then only button the bottom button.

“I’m a rebel, Miss”



Thanks to Uqbah who is modeling two buttons done up and the third undone (plus a little photo bombing by Ming).



An invitation to Warrnambool

I was recently invited to speak to teacher librarians and library technicians from schools in the south west region of Victoria. Margaret Sinnott from Emmanuel College, Warrnambool organised and hosted the event.

It was delightful to meet this enthusiastic group who represent both small and big schools, catholic and government, primary and secondary schools. When introducing each other it became apparent some of the issues and concerns were common to all – working with IT, eBooks, changes in staffing, encouraging students to read, noisy libraries or quiet libraries. I wrote notes and tried to address many of these concerns in my presentation. My presentation was around the approach and philosophy at the Melbourne High School library. I showed lots of photos, many of them taken from this blog. Ideas we have tried, those successes and those less successful.

The second half of the morning had two challenges, a discussion around school libraries digital profile and the second around encouraging, some may say pushing, the attendees to committing and trying something new. I gave them four weeks to get back to me with success or not. I wonder how many will. I do hope so I want to hear their stories too.

We often feel quite isolated in our libraries even with the communication offered by the internet. So it is still good to share face to face, or teacup to teacup and have someone else to listen and give advice or encouragement.

Thank you Margaret for the invitation, I really enjoyed the morning, your planning was wonderful. I had to miss the library tour and the visit to the local bookshop but I am sure the conversations and sharing went on all afternoon too.

Sharing ideas

Sharing ideas

Emmanuel College

Emmanuel College

Margaret provided lots of goodies to take away

Margaret provided lots of goodies to take away

Coffee stop pre presentation - love the book nooks

Coffee stop pre-presentation – love the book nooks

The word is …

…glaucoma. At least that was the last word given to the year 9 students at the annual spelling competition. It took 31 words to determine the winner of this year’s competition and the list included words such as odyssey, mezzanine, acqest, paediatrics, myxomatosis (that knocked a few out), penicillin and mortgage. The famous T29 lecture room was packed with supporters, cheering, clapping, yelling ”YES” and raising fists in the air when a particularly hard word was spelt correctly.

The event was conducted with the calm and careful pronunciation of each word by Ms Grimwade, who stressed that we were looking for the British/English spelling of each word. She gave the word, clearly repeated the word, gave a dictionary meaning and when requested used the word in a sentence or gave the word’s derivation. Mr Mahoney, as judge, kept track of each student’s attempts and sadly announced when a student had run out of lives; three words spelled incorrectly and the student had to exit the stage.

Well done Victor of 9B who came first, Kevin of 9M second and James of 9A third. It was a tough competition.

Now for the year 10 competition on Thursday.


photo (1)


Post by Pam Saunders