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Kardinia International College plants the seeds of success for new students


How to grow a thriving library culture

At Kardinia International College, a lot of effort goes into ensuring new Year 7 students receive a warm and enthusiastic welcome as they enter the secondary years. With the full support of their teachers and peers, even the most nervous of newcomers can feel prepared to weather the challenges of high school.

Kardinia College Learning Resource Centre Manager, Adria Juros, has been the driving force behind the College’s successful Year 7 orientation week program since 2010. This blog post, originally published in 2018, talks about the program, including the Library’s role in its implementation and the various ways the Kardinia community helps its youngest members put down roots in their new environment so they can grow into confident learners.

About Kardinia International College

Kardinia International College is a K-12 educational, non-denominational, independent school situated on 52 acres of spacious grounds in Bell Post Hill, Geelong. The College was founded in 1996 with fewer than 100 students, and has now grown to nearly 1900 students from Kinder to Year 12.

Kardinia is an International Baccalaureate World School offering the IB at the PYP (Primary Years Programme) and DP (Diploma Programme) levels, and the VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education).


In addition to its innovative curriculum enriched with international and cultural experiences, the College is proud of its impressive array of first-class facilities, which provide students with vibrant and dynamic spaces in which to learn and grow.

About Kardinia International College libraries

Kardinia International College has two Learning Resource Centres: the Junior School Inquiry Centre and the Senior School Learning Commons. At the time of publication, they had 2 part-time library staff at the Junior school and 3 full-time staff at the Senior School.

Adria manages library services from K-12, teaching information literacy, resourcing curriculum and library materials, and overseeing administration at both campuses.


In 2012, the purpose-built Junior School Inquiry Centre opened and was ahead of its time for a primary school library, offering self-checkout for students. In 2015, they opened a new Learning Commons facility in the Senior School, combining Library, IT, and student services. Both sites have flexible furniture and moveable trolleys, and traditional text resources as well as unit boxes, eBooks, audio books, and databases.

Kardinia International College junior library.
Kardinia College Junior School Inquiry Centre
Kardinia International College senior library.
Kardinia College Senior School Learning Commons

Why Oliver v5 is the right library system for their needs

Kardinia started using Oliver in 2011. When Adria arrived, her brief was to find an affordable library system that combined the two campuses but was very specific to each. The Junior School needed image-based searching, while the Senior School needed to provide a more sophisticated interface.


The LMS also needed to integrate with the student database and take out some of the menial tasks such as rolling over class groups, adding, deleting patrons, etc.

How they grow a thriving library culture

With nearly 1900 students from Kinder to Year 12 and around 1300 students in the secondary school alone, Kardinia sees a huge intake of new Year 7s each year. Since Adria arrived in 2010 she has been continually updating and improving an orientation program for these students.

“It is imperative they make connections in their house groups early on,” she said.

The new Year 7s are allocated into a multi-age tutor group, with two houses of students (about 110) going to camp Monday – Wednesday whilst the other 110 stay at school for the orientation program, and then they swap from Wednesday to Friday.

During orientation, the students are introduced to searching the Library Homepage and Oliver v5. They learn how to download eBooks, print, and use the self-checkout facility. This early training ensures they feel comfortable visiting the library and getting to know their way around, so they are more inclined to use the facilities and resources available in the library.

They provide ‘showbags’ for the students with postcards and bookmarks conveying information about the services the library provides, and all students enter a raffle. In the past, generous suppliers have provided some amazing prizes for the raffle such as a coffee machine, drones, speakers, and tablets(as major prizes) with books, stationery, and office supplies(as minor prizes). Often there has been in excess of 20 prizes on offer.

“This sets off a fun and positive relationship with the library,” Adria said.

In 2018, the showbags included ‘Seedsticks’, which are bookmarks where the top is removed and then planted. Adria ran a competition to see how the lettuce and parsley were growing and there were more prizes. This ensured that the orientation wasn’t seen as a one-off and forgotten.


“Students really enjoyed this activity,” she said.

Kardinia International College growing a thriving library culture.

In their introduction to Oliver v5, students are given a basic overview of searching, placing a hold, and creating interests. All Year 7’s have sessions with Adria when they undertake their first assessment tasks, and she gives them more detail then.

“The students feel much more in control of their borrowing with Oliver v5, as it allows them to renew, reserve, and search from home. It is very intuitive and students feel they can have a go without always coming to ask staff for help,” Adria said.

For more ideas on nurturing a positive school library culture read the following guest blog posts:

  • At the British School in Tokyo, librarians Richie Steven and Michael Bell have turned the school’s three libraries into buzzing community hubs that attract frequent visits, not just from students but from their families as well! Read more here.
  • St Michael’s College, Henley Beach, saw significant growth from 2008 to 2018. This blog post shares how the Resource Centre adapted to meet the needs of a rapidly growing and changing school community.
  • This blog post shares how Kathleen Cassell, Library Technician at Buninyong Primary School, has made the library an attractive and functional space for the whole school community to enjoy.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published January 2018 and hasbeen updated January 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehension.