Your stories

Your Stories is a collection of stories about innovative, imaginative and successful initiatives, which New Zealand school librarians and teachers have implemented  for the benefit of their students and teaching colleagues.

Some initiatives have been prompted by attendance at one of our Professional Development courses. They all demonstrate how a vibrant school library, with a switched-on librarian who has a close relationship with teaching staff, can design and align their services creatively with the reading and learning needs of their students.

Encouraging reading through generous lending policies

Whangarei Intermediate Library
Whangarei Intermediate Library

Back in 2006, Garth Rodda, Teacher Librarian at Whangarei Intermediate, broke new ground when he dispensed with the library’s 2-book borrowing limit, and extended the loan period from 2 to 3 weeks.

Following up in 2014, what’s the verdict?

Genrefication - transformation given big tick by students

Te Totara School Library
Te Totara School Library

When Michelle Simms, Library Manager at 800-strong Te Totara School, Hamilton, read an article by Jennifer LaGarde, she was inspired to embark on a project to transform her fiction collection by shelving it by genre.

Michelle’s story describes how she achieved the transformation, issues she encountered, and how she gathered before-and-after evidence of how students felt about the changes.

Most of all, find out how genrefication has proved a real success in supporting student reading.

The Poppy Blanket library display

ANZAC Display Riccarton High School library
ANZAC display at Riccarton High School library

In 2015 the library team at Riccarton Community and School Library came across a story about poppies being crocheted and knitted for a display in Australia.

Inspired by this wonderful story, The Poppy Blanket project was born. The Upper Riccarton Community and School Library is a joint use library, and the project gave the school and the community a unique opportunity to work together to create a beautiful tribute to Gallipoli.


Student Library Review Group - Giving students a voice

Student members of Thorndon School Library Review Group
Student members of Thorndon School Library Review Group

When the library team at Thorndon School in Wellington conducted a review to examine the library's role and operations, it sought the voice of students in its review process.

A group of year 7 and 8 students formed the Thorndon School Student Library Review Group (TSSLRG). During the review process they worked with the librarians, the senior teacher and a National Library programme facilitator.

Read more about what and how they contributed to the Library Review, and the outcome.

From information overload to streamlined searching

Hawera High School Library
Hawera High School Library

With 24/7 access to information via the Internet, what is the role of the school library? That was the question faced by Hawera High School, Taranaki, where it had become obvious that students were experiencing information overload.

Inspired by our Curating content for digital learners course, teachers began curating information for senior history, using Pearltrees, with access from the library website.

This led, over time, to subject-specific curations for every department, morphing into a successful and ongoing collaborative school-wide initiative.

Inquiry into inquiry: The Marlborough Inquiry Project

Students researching for inquiry project, Marlborough Girls' College
Students researching for inquiry project, Marlborough Girls' College

This is a story of how a group of Marlborough schools encouraged a more seamless, building blocks approach to inquiry and research processes and skills, across all school levels.

Blank looks from a new cohort of Year 9 students at Marlborough Girls’ College in 2013, when the librarian talked about ‘research methods’, led to a conversation with a National Library Adviser – and this initiative was born.

Principals from participant schools – one primary, one intermediate and the two single-sex secondary schools – gave their support for the project.  The working group developed a 5-stage inquiry and research skills template. This was based on skills to be taught and developed at each level of the curriculum, together with suggested resources for each stage.

An impressive amount of planning has led to the results so far.

She'll be OK: Growing confident library team members

Rebecca Smith Freyburg High
Rebecca Smith Freyburg High

What difference does our online professional development make in the longer term?

We all complete professional development full of enthusiasm for our new projects, determined to try out our new skills.

Rebecca Smith, Library Manager at Freyberg High School reflects on what she learned from our content curation course and how she applied that knowledge in her school.

Positive rewards from creating a school-wide reading culture

Wellesley College winning Kids' Lit quiz team

Wellesley College have a thriving reading culture and are reaping the benefits, which include a team representing New Zealand in the World Finals of the Kids’ Lit Quiz in August 2016.

In this story, the winning Kids Lit team, Jane Kent the School Librarian, and Steve Girvan the Deputy Principal share their perspective on Wellesley's strong reading culture.