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Hoi An International School Case Study

We needed to have a program that would allow easy searching for users with limited knowledge of English, and we found this with Oliver v5’s simple, visual interface.

Debbie Hunter, Teacher Librarian and Curriculum Coordinator
At a Glance
Chosen Solution
Core Benefits to Users
  • Bilingual cataloguing
  • Simple, visual interface
  • Ease of use
  • Reliable support
Library Staff
  • 1 Teacher Librarian
  • 1 Assistant Librarian

About Hoi An International School

The newly established Hoi An International School (HAIS), which occupies four renovated buildings on the Central campus of the College of Technology, Economics and Irrigation in Hoi An, Vietnam, has been founded with a unique vision: to be a dual-programmed school that caters to both local Vietnamese and international students. It is a caring, engaged and multicultural community offering holistic international and bilingual programs for preschool, primary and secondary students. Located in the historic seaside city of Hoi An, the school cultivates a strong emphasis on the diversity of cultures that make up the campus community.

HAIS has an enthusiastic faculty of experienced and qualified teachers from around the world, whose shared mission is to spark curiosity and enquiry in students while developing their core values as ethical, responsible Global Citizens equipped with 21st century skills. The school offers a bilingual program in the primary years that follows the Vietnamese curriculum, as well as the internationally recognised Cambridge program in primary and secondary.

Some unique features of the school are its two outdoor classrooms situated among fruit trees and its sustainable onsite garden, designed and managed by a full-time permaculturist and teacher. The garden offers peaceful outdoor space for reading and thinking, as well as opportunities for the entire school community to take part in Friday afternoon sustainability classes where they learn about the environment, community involvement, student wellbeing and gardening skills.

Shared challenges and opportunities

Teacher Librarian and Curriculum Coordinator Debbie Hunter said she is excited by the possibilities and challenges that come with being part of the team responsible for library and curriculum design at HAIS.

“We are absolutely new, with an amazing vision and enthusiasm!”

Debbie explained how working in a very new school with a mix of international and bilingual curricula has led to new ideas and approaches and a thriving culture of continuous learning.

“The diversity of staff, process, knowledge and cultural understandings nurtures a great learning inquiry where we embrace each other’s understanding and learning styles.”

A unique library space

The HAIS bilingual library is being built to reflect the school’s strong cultural vision and meet its dual-curricular requirements, while appealing to the variety of age groups among the student population.

The library space itself helps cultivate the students’ love of reading through design features that invite creative play. Renovations have preserved small passageways and cavities that were part of the original buildings’ roof structure, where children can read, rest, or imagine themselves in another world – a castle or a secret cave, for example.

“It’s imagination overload, and reading classes are fun,” Debbie said.

Creating a well-balanced collection

HAIS library - young girl browsing shelves.

The mix of resources required to support both the international and bilingual curricula at HAIS has presented an interesting challenge for library staff.

“The library is building a bilingual collection of suitable resources for ‘both sides’ of the curriculum. Our goal is to develop an interesting and appropriate range of Fiction and Non-Fiction material to support this diverse school program,” Debbie said.

Debbie further explained that access to a well-resourced school library is especially important for students at HAIS, as public libraries in Vietnam do not allow borrowing.

“The range of reading material available here is extensive and diverse for young readers, but just not available to them in a public library environment.”

So it’s encouraging to note that the thoughtfully-selected mix of resources available at HAIS, which includes English and Vietnamese textbooks as well as translated titles from Japan, Korea and other countries around the world, has proven very popular with students.

“The students embrace the variety of choices and love reading the books. All of them!”

Cataloguing a bilingual collection

HAIS library

Debbie and her team have overcome many challenges during the process of collection development and management at HAIS, with the choice of library software a major contributor to their success.

“We needed to have a program that would allow easy searching for users with limited knowledge of English, and we found this with Oliver v5’s simple, visual interface.”

Debbie said that in addition to ease of use, it was important that their chosen platform offered robust administrative features for accurate and efficient cataloguing and tracking of resources.

Flexible training and support

“Dewey is now the standard for Vietnamese modern libraries and we want to raise awareness of its values as a resource organising tool for both the staff and the students to find resources more easily.”

The fact that Oliver v5 is a multi-language program was another important consideration

“The goal is to introduce a stronger understanding of the search process, inquiry learning and the values of relevant research in both languages.”

HAIS library - children listening at story time.

For staff at HAIS, a major benefit of choosing Oliver v5 is the flexibility of support and training options that Softlink provides.

“We have chosen a ‘train the trainer’ model, as it suits the school’s shared learning approach and will enable our Viet-speaking Librarian to more confidently follow the training,” Debbie said.

“We also appreciate being able to contact Softlink’s support staff whenever we need additional guidance.”

Big plans for the future

Having succeeded in creating a bilingual school library catalogue at HAIS, Debbie and the library staff are now looking to take their project even further.

“There are almost no school libraries in Vietnam and many Young adult and children’s books are not publicly catalogued for a range of reasons. Cataloguing the resources into a global archive to add to the world’s literature for young children, so that many more people can access age-appropriate resources in appropriate language, is an exciting task for us.”

Further Reading

  • Watch this short (1:53min) video case study for the Hoi An International School
  • In this case study, lead Teacher of Information Literacy at Sha Tin Junior School, Katie Stears, discusses how Oliver v5 helps facilitate age-appropriate library lessons for students
  • Head over to this blog to find out more about our recent developments that have been designed to engage students with the library