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Groves Christian College is an independent, co-educational P-12 school in the Logan suburb of Kingston. Established in 1999, Groves Christian College is comprised of two campuses, an Early Learning Centre (including a Government approved Kindergarten program) and a Distance Education unit that serves families and students throughout Queensland.
Heather Griffiths, Library Technical Officer, explained how the library was able to provide services that extend through the entire Groves learning community.
'Our student library is spread across four locations - Kindy Library, Foundation Phase (Years Prep -3), Intermediate Phase (Years 4-6) and the Secondary Library (Years 7-12). We also have a Teacher Resource Library for the Distance Education teachers. We have used the Oliver v5 library management system at all branches since 2012 when we converted from a flat file program, with limited functionality and data search capabilities. The staff have found Oliver v5 to be very easy to learn and use.'
Heather is based at the Groves Secondary Library and her role encompasses ordering, cataloguing, processing and managing the library and teacher resources for the school, including the 4 library branches.
The Kindy Library in the Groves Early Learning Centre aims to encourage reading at home from an early age. With a small collection, students use Oliver v5 to find their books and a card system for checking out.
There are two libraries catering to primary school students, each with a room that contains the student library resources and an area for weekly library classes, where the class teacher reads a library book to the class and teaches library lessons. In the Foundation Phase library (for Prep to Year 3 students), a Library Aide manages the circulation desk, using Oliver v5 to check book in and out for students at the start of the lesson.
For Years 4 – 6, students attend Campus 2 where the Intermediate Phase library monitors check in the class library books and students are able to check their own books out for the following week. A Library Aide manages the overdue items.
Heather said that Secondary library space includes a large area with classroom tables and chairs and that they are working on designs to include new student reading areas. She said that the library has also reclassified the Fiction collection into genre format.
'It was a big undertaking. The books are now in genre order, colour coded and the spine label indicating which genre the book is shelved in.'
Increasing student engagement has also been a major focus for the library.
'Once a week there is a 30 minute class for DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) where the students discuss the books they are reading and why they selected these titles. We have just begun a weekly library club to further engage the students in the library activities and events. The plan is to run competitions such as Caption Writing, Year level reading challenges, Genre score board etc. with prizes from our café and tuckshop,' said Heather.
'We are also initiating a regular spot in the college newsletter to highlight areas of the library, and what’s happening.'
Technology plays an important role in the Groves learning community, with Moodle used for classwork and communication with students, school-wide WiFi and a 1:1 laptop program.
'We used to have desktop computers in the library, now, the library is filled to capacity at break times with students on their laptops which is a great chance to show them how to use and access Oliver v5,' said Heather.
'The search interface is easy for our students to use, but we also publish tutorials to the Oliver v5 homepage, such as how to use the online databases, and we’re looking into having a monitor on the circulation desk to run video tutorials to show students how to perform various tasks in Oliver v5.'
For Heather, resource management has been one of the biggest benefits to changing to Oliver v5.
'We use Oliver v5 for all our library resources, as well as text book hire and equipment such as cameras and video cameras. Students loan their laptop devices from our IT department and we also use Oliver v5 to manage the loans, maintenance and repairs of all the equipment.'
Heather has used Oliver v5’s Reading Lists to closely link the library’s resources to the curriculum, particularly for Senior subjects such as Ancient History.
'With the Oliver v5 Reading Lists, the teachers are able to keep track of what we hold in the library for their teaching subject, and the students are able to locate relevant resources quickly.'
If one library branches resources are needed by another, Oliver v5’s Resource Box function is used to manage the inter-campus loans. An Oliver v5 Resource Box is an item, with its own barcode, which is linked to a resource record. Heather described how Groves is using the function.
'For instance when the Intermediate Library requires the books on oceans and water life from Foundation Library, we add these books to the Oliver v5 Resource Box for Campus 2 and vice versa, so we can manage the movement of resources between locations.'
More recently, Heather has been using Oliver v5’s reporting features to get better insights on how the learning community is utilising resources.
'I’ve just started using Analytical Reporting, and have set up a chart to show loans for each year level (Years 7 to 12), which has generated a little competition!'
Heather said that Softlink’s post-implementation support services have been another positive outcome of the move to Oliver v5.
'I have participated in a few training webinars and an online user group and found them excellent, even just to refresh my ideas on using Oliver v5 in different ways that have previously taken a back seat due to time.'
'Softlink’s support team are great, they are quick to respond to tickets and generally able to find resolutions quickly. Having Oliver v5 hosted by Softlink provides us with security of knowing that the database is safely offsite, updated regularly and managed by experts who are able to access our system if problems arise.'