With over one million database searches, more than 20,000 books borrowed and an unspecified number of Lego pieces assembled, it is safe to say that the Somerset College library is “trending”. This year we have seen unprecedented foot traffic before school and during lunches.
Yes this could be due to our excellent air-conditioning, however, a recent article published in the Sydney Morning Herald points to a thriving library patronage on a national level. Australians make 114 million visits to public libraries annually making it our most valued cultural institution (Cadzow 28 September, pp. 15-17).
The fact that our students are choosing to spend their time in the KIP during their breaks further affirms the relevance and inclusivity that our library promotes. Our decision to make Junior School lunches technology-free has been transformative, and we have seen the development of soft skills as our students collaborate, problem-solve and share with each other. The culture of gameplay is spilling over to our Senior students with good old-fashioned UNO making a solid renaissance and epic Magic – The Gathering battles taking place.
As Librarians, it is our job to help our students make informed choices, whether that is suggesting what to read after finishing Harry Potter, helping them find sources on obscure topics or videoing their elaborate domino creations, in a small way we are supporting them. One of our most pleasing statistics for the year has been the spike we have seen in book borrowing, an increase of 20% from last year, points to a thriving reading culture. So, whilst we may be less hushed than some traditional school libraries, we have created a communal living-space that equally values the importance of company, literature and knowledge seeking.
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