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Moving to Oliver v5 - The Knox School


For this blog post, we had the pleasure of interviewing Marianne Van Niekerk, Head of Library Services at The Knox School, about their recent move to Oliver v5.  

Established in 1982, The Knox School is an independent, values driven school for girls and boys from Early Learning to Year 12. Situated in Wantirna South, The Knox School is driven by values, celebrating each person’s unique spirit without any religious affiliation. The school focuses on the design and implementation of a model of personalised learning for a student body of 750 students.  

Head of Library Services, Marianne van Niekerk, oversees a library that is staffed by one full-time Teacher Librarian, two part-time Library Technicians, and a casual staff member.

Can you tell us a little about The Knox School library?

Senior Library
The Senior Library

The Knox School library supports the school’s mission to equip students to be the architects of, and advocates for, their learning through their lives by providing access to quality information and related materials to staff and students.  

We deliberately develop students’ information literacy skills through cultivating a love of literature and reading. This is achieved through providing students in Prep to Year 4 with library lessons. In addition to this, students in Years 5-8 and Pre-Prep, have regular library visits where they have the opportunity to borrow, and have research sessions that are run by our library staff.  

Oliver v5 plays an integral part in how our library functions. It connects our students to over 27,235 physical and online resources which include graphic novels, fiction, junior fiction, middle fiction, picture books etc.

We also encourage students to read and participate in the Premiers’ Reading Challenge. Students can easily search books in Reading Lists or look for the image under a title search.

What do you think your students like about your library?

Junior Picture Books
The Junior Picture Books

Our library is a welcoming space for students to read, play, and relax. We run library lunchtime clubs, where students can play board games, Minecraft Education, create, enjoy book talks, and do silent reading.  

We also have many quality, easily accessible resources, including online resources which are available 24/7.

Junior School students enjoy the Orbit interface where they can add avatars, backgrounds, reviews, and manage their own loans.

What do you like best about your role?

I enjoy the collaboration and connection between all areas of the school.

Seeing the delight in a student or staff member's face after finding the right book is very rewarding, and reading, and sharing the joy of reading and stories with students is a pleasure.

I also enjoy organising and making valuable resources available to the school community.

What were the reasons you chose Oliver v5 as your school library system?

Junior Fiction
The Junior Fiction

We were unhappy with the lack of functionality and support offered by our previous supplier. As Oliver is used by New South Wales and Victorian Government Schools, we were confident that it had the necessary online safety certificates in place, securing what we upload to the cloud.  

While many library systems promised the same functionality, in reality it’s not the same when you dig deeper.

Oliver v5 keeps up with online demands, has 24/7 access to resources, easy integration of Federated searches including World Book, ClickView, eBooks, and more. All of these are priceless especially during Home Campus.

Regular system updates are another bonus. I like that Softlink doesn’t just promise updates but undertakes actual updates, on a regular basis.

As a K-12 school, I also found the 2 interfaces, Orbit for younger students and Oliver for older students, very appealing.

Do you have any examples about how Oliver v5 helps you deliver library services?

  • Staff and students can search, request, renew and review items on any device platform.
  • Staff like sending lists of requests they have in their baskets to be picked up through the system.
  • Reading Lists are a great way to showcase regularly requested or topic specific books.
  • Overdue notices are no longer a hassle, they run automatically.
  • New staff and student import/update happens overnight without any problem.
  • Stocktaking is easy and thorough. Items are automatically marked as ‘LOST’ at the end of the stocktake.
  • There’s almost any report you can think of, if not, the Oliver team is happy to assist to make a custom report.

What is your favourite feature/s in Oliver v5 and why?

Senior Work Area
The Senior Work Area

I like the Federated search function; students can search and find all resources they need for research in one place with one search.

Oliver search clearly shows books in a series and series number – we all appreciate this feature.

LearnPath is a good added resource. It is helpful during remote learning to guide students to reliable resources.


How have you found Softlink Support and Hosting services?

I have found Softlink support to be both excellent and timely. Additionally, since moving to Oliver we have experienced problem free cloud hosting. Our IT team is very thankful we changed systems!

Do you have any additional comments you would like to add?

We moved to Oliver v5 during a lockdown which was not as daunting as anticipated. Softlink made the process smooth.  

We were also happy with the remote training which was personalised and gave us the opportunity to test and try different parts of Oliver.

Hear from other Oliver users

  • Read the Rutherglen case study for more information on how Oliver v5 can benefit you school library
  • Watch these video case studies,  in which Kay Oddone and Warren Armitage from Brisbane Catholic Education share their experiences with implementing and using Oliver v5
  • In this case study, the Melbourne Grammar School discuss how Oliver v5 has improved access to library resources