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Sha Tin Junior School Case Study

“We like the way Oliver v5 provides us with a comprehensive system to organise the cataloguing and circulation of books so that we can do our work more efficiently.”

Katie Stears, Lead Teacher of Information Literacy
At a Glance
Chosen Solution
Key Objectives
  • Easy access to resources for students and staff
  • Simplify cataloguing and library administration
  • Support information literacy and promote independent, engaged learning
Core Benefits to Users
  • ​Flexible interface for different age levels
  • Anywhere, anytime access to the library collection
  • Simple, engaging interface that students can use independently
  • Multilingual cataloguing
Supported Users
  • 900 students
Library Staff
  • ​1 Library Manager
  • 1 Library Assistant
  • 1 Lead Teacher of Information Literacy

About Sha Tin Junior School

Sha Tin Junior School (SJS) is a large primary school situated in the New Territories of Hong Kong, with an enrolment of around 900 students aged 4 – 11 years. Opened in 1988, SJS is part of the English Schools Foundation (ESF) and offers a broad, inclusive education in a supportive and inspired learning environment, where effort is valued, learning is engaging, and creativity is fostered. The school’s vision is to encourage a life-long passion for learning.

The SJS curriculum is underpinned by elements of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (PYP) and provides a robust international education delivered in English. SJS celebrates its place as a culturally diverse learning community in Hong Kong and believes in the importance of Chinese language and culture.

Reading in Sha Tin Junior School Library

Multifaceted role of the SJS Learning Centre

Sha Tin Junior School’s library, known as the Learning Centre (LC), supports these values with a diverse collection of 38,000 printed books including English, Mandarin, and bilingual publications, as well as a variety of digital resources such as e-books, databases, and websites.

The well-resourced LC is managed by a team of three specialist staff members: Library Manager Cindy Wong, Library Assistant Tammie Baba-Kishi, and Lead Teacher of Information Literacy Katie Stears. Cindy and Tammie manage the collection and assist students with selecting and borrowing books for schoolwork, pleasure, and special interest projects, while Katie provides support for teachers and students in line with curriculum and learning objectives. All the library staff benefit from the streamlined workflows and easy access to resources that the Oliver v5 library system enables.

“We like the way Oliver v5 provides us with a comprehensive system to organise the cataloguing and circulation of books so that we can do our work more efficiently.”

Sha Tin students using Orbit

Focus on Information Literacy

Katie explained that her role is to teach students how to develop their research and thinking skills, through teaching Information Literacy classes in the Learning Centre and collaborating with teachers to strengthen the transdisciplinary skills within the PYP units of inquiry.

Developing these skills requires the students to make use of a range of information sources, including printed books, e-books, databases and websites.

“In terms of research skills, the students learn how to locate relevant and reliable information and how to record and present their learning. With regard to thinking skills, the students learn how to make their thinking visible through the use of graphic organisers and visible thinking routines.”

Facilitating age-appropriate library lessons

In her lessons, Katie makes use of the two search interfaces available in Oliver v5: the regular interactive search interface with industry-leading features such as personalised recommendations, drag and drop resource selection, maps, book reviews, and predictive text; and the Orbit picture-based junior interface with personalisation features, e-book integration and book-cover carousels that make searching for books a fun and engaging experience.

Katie said the ability to switch between these tailored interface options within Oliver v5 assisted her with teaching age-appropriate transdisciplinary skills across the primary age range.

Sha Tin Junior students on the iPad

“When the younger students are using Orbit we can direct them to the ‘Pick and Click’ feature so they can be exposed to searching the library catalogue in an easy to use and appealing way. In contrast, when the older students are using Oliver v5 they can easily carry out advanced searches and filter their results.”

“It is rewarding to know that the skills they are learning are enabling the students to become multi-literate 21st century learners.”

Nurturing an active library culture

In addition to their library and information literacy classes, students are encouraged to develop their understanding and appreciation of the Learning Centre, by actively contributing to day-to-day library tasks.

“We have a group of Year 5 and Year 6 students called ‘Learning Centre Agents’, who assist with a range of library duties during lunchtimes. For instance, they re-shelve the books, assist with weeding the collection, and help with special events such as collecting books to donate to others.”

Outside of lesson times, the Learning Centre doubles as a vibrant community space, where students can interact with their friends, draw or colour, and play games.

Outside of lesson times, the Learning Centre doubles as a vibrant community space, where students can interact with their friends, draw or colour, and play games.

“Students enjoy the open-plan, flexible seating within the Learning Centre and the wide variety of resources that are available to them.”

“Through Oliver v5, they are able to develop their independence by logging into their personal account and viewing their borrowing history as well as making online reservations.”

Katie said anytime, anywhere access via Oliver v5 helped students to maintain their connection with the school library and allowed them to enjoy the use of resources outside of school hours.

“I like the way students can access Oliver v5 and Orbit on a range of digital devices. This means that they can carry out searches and login to their account both in school and from home.”

Locating books with Oliver

Reliable support and hosting

The thriving learning culture at SJS extends from the attitudes of its staff, who are constantly striving to improve their practices and outcomes. With this in mind, Katie said she and her colleagues welcome the ongoing support that Softlink provides.

“We appreciate the online training offered. In particular, we value the sharing of updates so that we can make more effective use of Oliver.”

“We have found Softlink Support to be a helpful service who promptly reply to any questions we ask and have given us good assistance.”

Further Reading

  • Click here to learn more about the new-look Orbit
  • In this case study, Hoi An International School Teacher Librarian and Curriculum Coordinator Debbie Hunter, discusses the possibilities and challenges that come with establishing a bilingual library
  • Click here to find out more about our recent developments that have been designed to engage students with the library