School library spotlight: The King's School Senior Library

By The King's School Library team

The King's School library team takes SCIS inside their school library.

The library at The King's School

A photo of the library at The King's School

Tell us about your school, your library team and their roles.

The King’s School is an independent Anglican day and boarding school for boys, founded in 1831. Our school community is truly multicultural and represents the diverse nature of contemporary Australian society. As a library team, our aim is to meet the distinct needs of our students, applying modern principles to a diverse, energetic and busy library.

Our library is formally titled the Robert Lloyd Memorial Library and is housed in the Centre for Learning and Leadership (CLL), located in the heart of the senior campus. Our team consists of four full-time staff: two teacher librarians, one librarian and one library assistant. The library team is overseen by the Dean of Digital Learning and Innovation, who is responsible for three libraries across the King’s Schools’ campuses.

In the Senior School, the teacher librarians’ role involves teaching wide reading lessons and promoting a healthy school-wide reading culture; readers’ advisory; collaborative lessons covering literature, referencing, research strategies, and information and digital literacy; collection development and management to support the curriculum; building assessment guides and digital collections; developing interactive displays; organising literacy-themed special events; managing library spaces; and providing professional development opportunities to staff. The student body visiting the library engage in independent work, while the teacher librarians offer guidance on database searching and navigation, along with strategies for discerning and utilising credible and peer-reviewed articles to meet the students’ information needs. The teacher librarians find this instruction equips students with the necessary skills when continuing to tertiary education and provides them with agency for selfmanagement and autonomy.

The King’s School librarian plays a vital role in the modern information landscape, serving as knowledgeable and resourceful guide to access and navigate the vast world of understanding. The librarian’s primary responsibility is to curate, organise and manage the library collection, encompassing books, digital resources, journals, periodicals and multimedia materials. Beyond merely cataloguing materials, the librarian strives to create an inclusive and welcoming space for all patrons, fostering a love for learning and promoting intellectual curiosity. The school’s librarian also advocates for intellectual freedom, ensuring that all individuals have equal access to information without censorship or discrimination.

The library assistant plays a crucial role in supporting the efficient functioning of a library and ensuring a positive experience for patrons. As an essential member of the library team, their responsibilities encompass a wide range of tasks. They assist with the organisation and maintenance of library materials, including shelving books, checking items in and out, managing the cataloguing system, and managing the booking of library spaces. The library assistant is often the first point of contact for visitors, providing friendly and helpful customer service, answering inquiries and directing patrons to the appropriate resources.

What is the most rewarding aspect of working in a school library?

For all of us, we are motivated by the desire to provide a quality service for our students. We love supporting their educational and emotional development. We strive to create and provide a comfortable and evolving space that allows them to study, relax, read, play and research.

Introducing books to students in various formats – hard copy, ebooks and audiobooks, either fiction or nonfiction – and engaging with students on an individual basis and assisting them with reading choices is also very fulfilling.

Study area at The King's School library

Study area at The King's School Library

As a team, we help our students by maintaining our successful programs while also developing new learning projects that excite and energise students. In the future we will be supporting the development of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme, as it is implemented in 2025. We are also in the process of transitioning our library management system from Follett Destiny to Softlink Oliver V5. We will also be developing our external footprint via LibGuides, providing our parent, student and staff communities with a truly interactive, personalised experience. Helping our teachers is also critical, and while that can sometimes be in a supportive role, seeing the curriculum enhanced by our work and how we are utilised in the classroom reminds us of the importance of our profession.

What do you see as the most important part of the library’s role in the school community?

It sounds like a cliché to describe libraries as the heart of a school, but it is a common expression for a reason. A good, wellresourced library acts as a conduit for learning and socialising. It is a welcoming space for all students and staff, providing resources and support for learning and development. What this looks like in practice will differ from school to school, but at the core we aim to provide ‘just in time’ services to all students and staff. At King’s, the library is centrally located on campus to fulfil its role as the ‘heart of the school’.

We are dedicated to creating an inviting and vibrant learning space that enables users to become collaborative, inquisitive and innovative risk-takers, proficient in both accessing and generating information, while nurturing a genuine appreciation for reading. Our aim is to create and maintain a physical and digital environment that provides opportunities for students to advance their learning, cultivate a sense of social responsibility, and embark on a transformative journey of personal growth.

Therefore, we provide extended operating hours, ensuring accessibility from Monday to Thursday, spanning 7:30 am to 8 pm, and on Fridays from 7:30 am to 4 pm, during which time teacher librarians support and guide students. Printing, binding, a wide array of physical and digital resources, as well as tutoring sessions with old-boy tutors, are all on offer. Dedicated spaces with flexible comfortable furniture of various configurations allow for quiet reading, group activities, or teaching classes. In addition, we have digital screens for collaborative work; a vast range of magazines and newspapers (physical and digital); Reading Club and Writers’ Club; physical chess sets; extensive manga, picture book and graphic novel collections; a genrefied fiction collection; innovative and contextual displays; promotions such as ‘adopt a shelf’ and ‘read across the genres’; and various school holiday competitions.

Are there any current issues or challenges facing your library and how are you working to overcome these?

As with most schools, there is constant pressure on our time and the actual library space. As our school has expanded over the years, the library staff have had to produce clever and equitable ways to manage the physical space available. The emergence of AI (artificial intelligence) has created a new layer of complexity that will challenge us, and we will need to adapt appropriately. Amidst the changes in the library, our endeavours will encompass transitioning to Oliver, preparing for the International Baccalaureate program, and engaging in the design and development of Interactive LibGuide pages. These tasks will undoubtedly keep us fully occupied and committed to enhancing the library experience for all our patrons. 


A lounge area in The King's School library

The reading area at The King's School library

How do you promote reading and literacy in your school and are there any challenges in doing so?

Addressing the challenges posed by time constraints and curriculum demands, ensuring students have access to reading support, becomes paramount. At the King’s School, we have introduced the ‘Storylines’ initiative in English, whereby students from Year 7 to Year 10 regularly visit the library as part of their scheduled timetable.

This program serves as a launching point for our concerted efforts to foster a reading culture and encourage book borrowing among our patrons.

To further promote reading and writing interests, we have established two clubs, namely the Reading Club and the Writers’ Club, which both meet once a week. Additionally, we actively engage in the Write a Book in a Day competition, with enthusiastic participation from numerous teams spanning all year groups.

These initiatives are backed by studies illustrating the positive impact of proactive reading programs on literacy ultimately leading to enhanced academic outcomes. By intertwining literature into our students’ lives, we aspire to nurture a passion for reading, bolster creative expression, and contribute to their overall intellectual growth and development.

As we are aware, literacy encompasses far more than just reading and writing; it embodies the very essence of how we engage with the world and those around us. It encompasses diverse forms of communication, such as speaking, listening, writing, illustrating and creating meaning, facilitating the sharing of experiences. Within our library, we are committed to broadening students’ horizons by exposing them to a wide array of narratives, presented in various formats and languages. Our collection spans traditional texts, picture books, graphic novels and beyond, ensuring that everyone – be it student or staff – can find a reflection of themselves on our shelves.

By curating extensive and diverse collections, we strive to provide a global perspective, enriching the learning journey of our entire community.

The library provides a positive welcoming environment for students in a bright, flexible and inclusive space, and thus gives them opportunity to pursue their literary interests as a foundation for a lifelong love of reading and knowledge.

What is your favourite thing about SCIS?

SCIS is used across all three campuses of the King’s School, and we would expect each campus uses it differently, according to need. In the Senior Library, we primarily use it for downloading records, via Z.39 protocol, which is mostly very efficient and has a high rate of retrieval. Our librarian, rather than the teacher librarians, has the opportunity to undertake original cataloguing, on those rare occasions when there is an item not catalogued in SCIS. In such situations, SCIS provides ready confirmation and guidance regarding approved subject headings and suggestions for appropriate Dewey numbers. Previously, we sent books without SCIS records to SCIS for cataloguing and return, but generally find now that need has evaporated.

What would you like to see SCIS do more of?

Personally, we would be grateful for retrospective addition of subject headings and summaries to some older but still used titles, especially in the case of classic literature. It would, of course, be a hugely time-consuming process to undertake, but it is disconcerting to access a new edition of a classic text only to find that the SCIS record has no summary and very minimal subject headings. But, regardless, our library depends on SCIS for efficient delivery of our services.

The King's School Library team