Kardinia International College plants the seeds of success for new students


Kardinia International College plants the seeds of success for new students

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. In this blog post, Adria 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 libraries

Kardinia International College has two Learning Resource Centres: the Junior School Inquiry Centre and the Senior School Learning Commons. We have 2 part-time library staff at the Junior school and 3 full-time staff at the Senior School. I manage library services from K-12, teaching information literacy, resourcing curriculum and library materials and overseeing administration at both campuses.

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

Above: Kardinia College Junior School Inquiry Centre
Above: Kardinia College Senior School Learning Commons

Why Oliver v5 is the right library system for our needs

We started using Oliver in 2011. When I arrived, my brief was to find an affordable Library system that combined our two campuses but was very specific to each. Our Junior school needed image-based searching, while our Senior school needed to provide a more sophisticated interface. It also needed to integrate with our student database and take out some of the menial tasks such as rolling over class groups, adding, deleting patrons, etc.

With nearly 1900 students from Kinder to Year 12 and around 1300 students in the secondary school alone, we see a huge intake of new Year 7s each year. Since I arrived in 2010 I have been continually updating and improving an orientation program for these students, as it is imperative they make connections in their house groups early on.

How we grow a thriving library culture

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 e-books, 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 we have available.

We provide ‘showbags’ for the students with postcards and bookmarks conveying information about our services and all students enter a raffle. In the past, our generous suppliers have provided some amazing prizes for the raffle. We’ve had 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.

Last year, the showbags included ‘Seedsticks’, which are bookmarks where the top is removed and then planted. We ran a competition to see how the lettuce and parsley were growing and there were more prizes – just so the orientation wasn’t seen as a once off and forgotten. Students really enjoyed this activity.

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 me when they undertake their first assessment tasks, and I give 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.

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 its population 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.

For more ideas on nurturing a positive school library culture:

Editor’s note: This post was originally published January 2018 and has been updated January 2019 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehension.