Gender flipping our fiction collection

What is the proportion of male versus female authors in our fiction collection? We decided to find out by turning around all the books written by male authors so that only the spines of books written by women were visible. This was a powerful visual message to us about the dominance of male authors in our collection. It was also an interesting exercise in figuring out whether the authors who chose to use initials and not first name were, in fact, men or women, and to think about why women would choose to conceal their gender by using initials.

We need to begin to balance our collection! Young men should be reading from a balance of gender perspectives, even as they read from a broad genre representation. We received a number of responses from students and teachers who saw our flipped collection – surprised about the result.

Beginning the process

Sometimes you just have to stop when a good book draws you in.


Warning: Triffid invasion – all in the name of Science

So it seems that Triffids have invaded the library; take care when you pass the lift. And it’s all in the name of Science (with a capital ‘s’).


A few more clues in the picture above. Seems it’s a year 9 Science project display.



Display thanks to MHS Installation Curator, Denise Beanland.

Books light up our world! Sneak preview of our display for Book Week

Book Week is upon us! Yes, The Children’s Book Council of Australia’s annual Book Week is just a weekend away, and this year the theme is ‘Books light up our world’. They sure do, and we are going to be celebrating all week.

Here’s a sneak preview of what Denise has in store for our library.

Give racism the boot – MHS hosts footy match with inner city schools

Ms Lynne Hamilton announced:
Give Racism The Boot! Footy Match- Wednesday 19th @MHS
Melbourne High School will be hosting an Inner City Schools Lightning Premiership on the MHS oval to make a stand against racism and bullying and to support the right of all Indigenous athletes to play their sport without being subjected to vilification and abuse.  Albert Park College and Princes Hill Secondary College will compete against MHS on Wednesday 19th August  – 2pm-4pm.
 In the library we are doing our bit with displays. The Libguide for contemporary Australian Indigenous artists came in handy. These artists have strong political messages.
Game’s on today! Stay tuned.

Have you googled ‘blue’ lately?

Our library has been coloured blue. That is to say, we have blue books displayed in various parts of the library. Random, you say? I call it serendipitous.

How valuable can serendipity be? Let’s explore a ‘blue’ search on Google. A simple Google search (which, as we know, will filter results differently for each person) retrieved the top result of a Wikipedia definition of ‘blue’: Blue is the colour of the clear sky and the deep sea.[2][3] It is located between violet and green on the optical spectrum.[4]

Surveys in the U.S. and Europe show that blue is the colour most commonly associated with harmony, faithfulness, confidence, distance, infinity, the imagination, cold, and sometimes with sadness.[5] In U.S. and European public opinion polls it is overwhelmingly the most popular colour, chosen by almost half of both men and women as their favourite colour.

I wonder if there have been any Australian studies.

Search results for ‘blue’ selecting the ‘maps’ option gave me a map highlighting all the places with ‘blue’ in their title close to Melbourne High School – which is where I am at the moment.

The top result for ‘blue’ filtering for ‘Australia’ was a link to the Beyond Blue, the Australian organisation ‘working to increase understanding and of anxiety and depression in Australia and to reduce the associated stigma’. Three million Australians are living with anxiety and depression according to the website. I would think that is a conservative number. I assume that the Google search retrieved this website because we are currently in Mental Health Week.

A Google Search for ‘blue’ using the filters ‘news’ and  ‘past week’ retrieved news of the 2014 Nobel Prize for physics.

The 2014 Nobel Prize for physics has been awarded to a trio of scientists in Japan and the US for the invention of blue light emitting diodes (LEDs).

Professors Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura made the first blue LEDs in the early 1990s.

I thought I’d put Google through the hoops and set the search filters for ‘blue’ to ‘Australia’ and ’20th century’. There was one result (hard to believe) and it was the Australian Zoo.

Blue has turned out to be quite interesting, don’t you think?

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This is a small book with big questions. You can borrow it from our library if you are drawn to the big questions in maths. Thanks to Catherine Morton for the blue displays.

Libraries on horseback and other unusual bookmobiles


Welcome to Term 4! It’s only the second day but already the library has been returned to its normal happy chaos.

I came across this post about Finding libraries in unexpected places. I’m not sure about boat or horse but the supermarket might be a good place for a small library. What about a tram stop?

Stay tuned for posts showcasing our fun events soon – Michael Pryor’s visit and workshops, Tea Duelling, Steampunk dress-ups, and more.

In the meantime – some random library shots.



Can you find the teapots in our library?



This guy scared me to death as I stepped out of the lift at 6.50 am first day back.


70th Anniversary of D-Day

Today we commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the day (6 June 1944) in the Second World War on which Allied forces invaded northern France by means of beach landings in Normandy, with a Pop-Up display of fiction about World War II.


Seven Australian veterans of the D-Day landings are in France for the 70th anniversary of one of history’s most important days.

Read more about it on the SBS website.

Our books:

The boy in the striped pyjamas, John Boyne

The reader, Bernhard Schlink

Schindler’s list, Thomas Keneally

Once and Then, Morris Gleitzman

Auslander, Paul Dowswell

Pennies for Hitler, Jackie French

Vinnie’s war, David McRobbie

A game with sharpened knives, Neil Belton

The book thief, Markus Zusak

Captain Corelli’s mandolin, Louis de Bernieres

The eagle has landed, Jack Higgins

The English patient, Michael Ondaatje

Postcards from No Man’s Land, Aidan Chambers

You may be interested in looking at ‘D-Day Landing Sites Then and Now’ by Huffington Post.


Pac-Man on our library window

When you step out of the Melbourne High School lift on the fourth floor to visit the library, you may be surprised or delighted (or both) to see Pac-Man on the window opposite.

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According to Wikipedia:

Pac-Man (パックマン Pakkuman?) is an arcade game developed by Namco and first released in Japan on May 22, 1980. It was licensed for distribution in the United States by Midway and released in October 1980.[1][2] Immensely popular from its original release to the present day, Pac-Man is considered one of the classics of the medium, virtually synonymous with video games, and an icon of 1980s popular culture.[6][7][8][9] 


Why, you ask? Why not? Meanwhile, in the time that it took us to set it up, the general consensus amongst students and the odd teacher (yes, we have odd teachers) was that it was ‘cool’.

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