SCIS is more

By Anthony Shaw

Get the latest news and updates on SCIS from product manager Anthony Shaw

Mavis Heffernan cataloguing for SCIS in the 1980s.

Mavis Heffernan cataloguing for SCIS in the 1980s.

Welcome to the Term 4 edition of Connections.

It feels like only few weeks ago we were saying that ‘it’s hard to believe that Term 1 is already behind us’. Now there are Christmas decorations up in shopping centres and Christmas carols will be playing within a blink of the eye. As they say, ‘time flies when you’re having fun’.

First up, I’d like to acknowledge Mavis Heffernan, who SCIS farewelled recently after nearly 50 years in the workforce, making her our longest-serving team member. She spent most of her working life focused on creating catalogue records for resources in school libraries. Mavis started as a cataloguer at Tottenham Technical School (Victoria) in 1973, then joined a team of 15 cataloguers in the Victorian Education Department, Library Branch.

 In 1983, this team became an agency of the newly formed Australian Schools Catalogue Information Service (ASCIS), the forerunner of what we now know as SCIS. Mavis continued to work with the department for another 20 years. After a series of redundancies, she was the last cataloguer left at the Victorian agency. The Victorian Education Department closed their cataloguing service in 2007. In 2009, she started working part-time for Curriculum Corporation as a SCIS cataloguer – and had been here ever since.

We will miss Mavis’s extensive knowledge of all things SCIS cataloguing, her friendly and supportive nature, her ability to efficiently create high-quality catalogue records and, last but not least, her contribution to cataloguing debates on punctuation, spelling, subject headings, Dewey numbers, authorities, and obscure cataloguing rules. We wish her every happiness in her retirement, which will include more travelling and spending time with her family, friends and dog.

Even before Term 3 started, the SCIS team were back on the road, attending the School Library Association of South Australis (SLASA) Conference. It was a wonderful, vibrant and positive day spent talking with wonderful school library staff and learning more about how we can help support their amazing work. We were also lucky to hear some fantastic presentations. I may be biased, but the talk given by SCIS’s Catalogue Content Manager, Renate Beilharz, on free school resources available from Education Services Australia was a personal favourite. I didn’t know that you could find such cute free maths games for primary school students on Scootle, but now that I do, I'm addicted. Here’s a link to Counting beetles. Try to play it just once, for research purposes obviously: https://www.

Scootle is the national repository of digital learning resources aligned to core areas of the Australian Curriculum. School library staff can access these resources and recommend appropriate resources to enhance teacher and student outcomes. Explore Scootle for more fantastic free resources for schools – you’re bound to find quality teaching resources.

Term 3 has been another busy one for SCIS. Renate also presented at the SLAV Masterclass, Diverse collections: equity in action, along with Associate Professor Natalie Kon-yu, author Huda Hayek and Library and Information Services Coordinator at Fintona Girls’ School, Catherine Hainstock. It was a lively and engaging discussion about how school libraries need to be accessible, reflective and a window for all. Catherine’s practical presentation on how Fintona completed their diversity audit in their library was invaluable.

In September, we ran our first in-person workshop in South Australia in many years, Supercharge your SCIS skills. It was wonderful to be back in Adelaide and presenting at the Education Development Centre in Hindmarsh. We were thrilled that so many library staff were able to attend and we extend our thanks to the Department of Education for their support facilitating the workshop.

During the break between Term 3 and Term 4, SCIS headed across the ditch to attend the School Library Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (SLANZA) conference in Palmerston North, New Zealand. We were very excited to meet with library staff in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and it was a lively and informative conference. We learnt a lot about the challenges that schools and school libraries face in Aotearoa and how SCIS can provide more support.

As this busy year draws to an end, the SCIS team would like to take the opportunity to thank the school library community for your ongoing support throughout 2023. It has been wonderful to be out and about through the year, spending time with – and learning from – such a passionate and committed school library community. We look forward to learning more with you in 2024.


Anthony Shaw

Product Manager, SCIS