Author Archives: Library

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Plastic Free at Centenary!


Science Week has continued on at Brisbane Grammar School’s Centenary Library, thanks to Library Student Volunteer Ms Teneale Muir.  


Starting four weeks ago,  Teneale has worked in all three Brisbane Grammar libraries as part of her university studies placement.  During this time, Teneale has created a Plastic Free theme in the Centenary Library by making a wall display detailing the effects of plastic on our planet, a dragon out of recycled plastic to add to the Fantasy theme currently running in the library, and lastly, running a workshop on reusing plastic rubbish, teaching the boys how to make a phone holder using a plastic bottle.  Students were given all the materials required and enjoyed being able to not only  create something that would hold their phone and lead but also help with reducing waste.


Ms Muir has always tried her best to recycle or reuse rubbish where possible.  After watching the ABC’s War On Waste series recently, her knowledge on what plastic is doing to the planet changed, along with some of her family’s rubbish removal habits.  For example, her three year old now knows what soft plastics are and to put them in a separate bin.  These go to their local Woolworths to be recycled rather than go to landfill.  Teneale enjoyed implementing the Plastic Free theme into the Centenary Library for National Science Week’s Future Earth theme, and hopes it provides students with an insight on what plastic is doing to our Earth.

Ms Muir will be finishing her field placement this week, and has thoroughly enjoyed her visit at Brisbane Grammar School.


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Library Thing for Libraries

LibraryThing is a great way to keep details of what you have in your own library, or of the books you have read or want to read. I have been a member since 2007, and have 173 of my own books listed.

It is so easy to navigate, I only needed to add the ISBNs of my books into the site and all the details of the books appeared. I am able to see other lists and can join book discussions; there are even free books and member giveaways.

I have so many books I still want to read that I will soon be starting a new list on LibraryThing of ‘Books to Read’.

In our school LibraryThing is linked to the catalogue so students can find book reviews or see similar titles to books they like to read.

(Bernadette van den Hout, Library Technician)


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Year 5s are Savvy Scientists

On Tuesday evening the Year 5 rooms were filled with great names from the past and present. Alexander Fleming, Charles Darwin, Edmund Halley, David Attenborough and even Archimedes were just some of the scientists who came to life courtesy of our youngest boys.

The evening was the culmination of a great deal of work by students and Science teachers Dean Littlefair and Peter Hunter in collaboration with teacher librarian Vicki Palmer. While the Science teachers were able to focus on the science, having a teacher librarian on hand meant that boys were able to learn about accessing information. Skills such as defining a task, using print and digital resources, and correctly citing sources were all taught explicitly. A selection of specialised resources were also made available in the library and on the library website.

At the conclusion of the research phase, boys were required to turn their notes into an autobiography, setting the scene for the evening’s events.

It was a fantastic night with parents clearly impressed with the depth of knowledge shown by the boys. While nerves may have been present at the start, once boys settled in and began to share their life stories, they thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

David Attenborough (aka Max): “It was really good because everyone dressed up well and was on show. We were all proud to share what we had learned.”

Charles Darwin (aka Will):  “All the adults were asking great questions. It went really quickly and I was able to tell parents of all my great adventures.”

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Manga Pop-up Store

Yesterday boys from across the school were invited to visit the manga-themed pop-up store which was held in the Middle School Library at lunchtime.

Books were provided by Zombster, the manga book specialist store in Oxley, and covered all age ranges and a variety of suitable story lines. Alistair from the store was on hand to answer any questions and offer advice about the titles.

Boys were able to vote on the titles they wished to see added to our collection. Library staff are now working hard to process the books as quickly as possible!

This event has kicked off the start of our manga focus for Term 3 across all three libraries. Upcoming events include craft and food-making sessions, screenings of videos, an author visit and manga drawing tips and techniques.

Already boys are showing a much greater interest in this genre and its popularity will continue to grow as the term unfolds.

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The 2017 Tea Duel Competition – Duel you Fool!! …and they did!

Under the expert eye of our Tea Duelling Tiffen Master, Mr Michael Moloney, the second annual Tea Duelling competition was as intense as it was tumultuous. The last week of a long busy term is a perfect time for Year 12s (and teachers) to let down their hair. On the teacher’s team, we had a perfect blend of youth (Amy Busuttin and Julia Brereton) and wily experience (David Hills and David Carroll). On the boy’s team there was a galaxy of sporting and academic talent from the Dux of School, Joshua, to resident sporty types Olly, Will and Hugo. On the last Thursday lunchtime of term two, the players were ready to rumble.

The action was fast and furious. The crowd that packed the Learning Commons alternated between elation and despair. There was shock after schlock. Just when the crowd thought they had seen it all, pandemonium ensued when one of the biscuits turned out to be made of acrylic! Mr Dan O’Kane was given the red card – disqualification – without a doubt the most controversial moment in the entire history of Tea Duelling at Brisbane Grammar School. The competitors were stunned but had to carry on. In the semi-finals, Ms Brereton beat Olly while Phillip used a “half-drop” with stunning poise and timing to edge out Ms Busuttin. Mr Moloney’s cups of team may have been losing their heat but the Tiffen Master was on fire! The grand final pitted Ms Brereton against Gareth and the winner was…..Ms Brereton!! Congratulations to all who took part!!

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Lunch Bunch Term 2

This term, our small but enthusiastic group of Lunch Bunch students met weekly to read some interesting books. The first was Loki’s Wolves by K.L. Armstrong and M.A. Marr. This proved to be a big hit with the fans of Percy Jackson who love the combination of mythology and action. The boys explored the world of Viking mythology as well as some of the real places in the book such as Mt Rushmore. At the end of the discussion, boys made Viking swords and shields with the help of Library Tech Mr Hills.

Another book which proved a hit was The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. The boys thoroughly enjoyed the combination of pictures and drawings which told the story. A special Hugo Libguide page allowed the boys to explore Hugo’s world in more detail. They particularly enjoyed the silent movies. At the end of the term we screened the movie Hugo and many more boys joined in to watch. This was a fantastic opportunity to show the real world connections with the book. In particular boys were amazed to learn that a train did actually run through the walls and into the street of the Gare Montparnasse.

Participants in the Lunch Bunch core group were given the opportunity to construct their own automatons. This has been a fun activity with boys eager to complete their gentleman automaton before the holidays.

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Year 6 Squishy Circuits in the Centenary Library

This week the Centenary Library Staff – Ms Dani Smith Teacher Librarian, David Hills Library Technician and Mr Brendan Kelly – Digital Media Officer, provided a great STEAM experience for the year six students through an encounter with “Squishy circuits”. All year six classes were treated to this as part of their science program.

Squishy circuits are working electrical circuits assembled from coloured playdough, battery packs, light emitting diodes, insulating film, small direct current motors and switching elements. They can be put together in a million conceivable ways and with a little luck, lights can switch on and motors spin. The lessons began with Ms Smith taking boys through the concept of serial and parallel circuits, safety matters, the details of diodes and the way currents work in the type of conductors that were being used. The boys listened attentively and then began the process of creating a squishy circuit to their very own design.

It was amazing to see the creativity unleashed. In a very short time, boys had made a whole variety of animals, dinosaurs, curious creatures and much more, all with glowing eyes and spinning propellers. Some had the look of a strange biplane, while others were more like sea creatures from the depths. A feature of each class was how different the creations were between classes and between boys. No two were alike. One or two circuits posed problems, but boys persevered until they fixed those problems. The other striking feature of the Squishy Circuit classes was how busy and productive the boys were. Although every boy was working on his own creation, generally there was plenty of advice and help offered across each table. Boys worked cooperatively, even though it was an individual task.

For people who leave the “A” out of the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) pedagogy movement, events such as the Signature Program should give them reason to reconsider their position. The “A” artistic aspect can be part of STEAM in a wholly natural and constructive manner. Boys move from the technical to the creative side of activities in a totally relaxed and natural manner. The tasks are both practical and artistic in an integrated environment.

The many boys who enjoyed their Squishy Circuit experience should think about joining Brendan Kelly’s Lunchbox Club. It happens every Thursday lunchtime in the Centenary Library. See the Grammar Library website for details.

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Escape to Everywhere!

Middle School boys took part in our annual Book Week celebrations last week. The Book Week Breakfast for parents and Years 5 and 6 boys was a sell out with author Oliver Phommavanh entertaining the crowd with stories of his journey as a writer. He also spoke to all Middle School boys during the day and proved a hit with his collection of toys and energetic and humorous presentations.

Parents and boys in Years 7 and 8 had the opportunity to attend a special evening event with local author Richard Yaxley who shared  how he is able to create the stories he does  and offered useful writing tips to our aspiring authors.

With the theme “Escape to Everywhere” classes took on the challenge of creating Read posters and drawing a scene from a book into which they would like to escape.

Lunchtime events ranged from trivia competitions to games days to watching the fantastic escape movie “Chicken Run” – with popcorn, of course!


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Harmony Day

Boys in the Middle School had the opportunity to celebrate Harmony Day on Monday with a range of games and activities on offer in the Middle School Library.

There was a multitude of boys who took up the offer and it was pleasing to see so many boys wanting to engage with the principles behind Harmony Day, a day where we recognise that everyone belongs.

A popular activity was the trivia competition which took the form of an online Kahoot! This enabled boys to work individually or in small teams to answer multiple choice questions on topics relating from car brands and countries of origin to questions about our own country’s multicultural composition. It was a lot of fun and boys were highly competitive. Another activity gave boys the chance to design a mask by scratching off the black coating to reveal colours beneath. These masks emphasised the idea that while we may all look different, in many ways underneath we are all the same.

Other crossword puzzles and guessing competitions rounded out the busy lunchtime.

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‘Teen Tech Week’ Takes Over Centenary Library

During Week 7 of this term, both the Centenary Library and the Senior Library celebrated ‘Teen Tech Week’.   This week runs internationally from the 5-11th of March and endeavours to highlight the range of services school libraries provide to their students and staff beyond the supply of physical print resources.  The week also aimed to show how our BGS Libraries are preparing our students for life in the technology-rich 21st century.

Year 7 & 8 students in the Centenary Library were provided with opportunities all week long to participate in ‘Teen Tech Week’.  Lunchtime activities were organised for each day, with a week-long ‘Teen Tech Bingo’ activity also on offer.  On Monday the library played host to a ‘Magformer Challenge’ where students were provided with a set amount of Magformer pieces and a time limit to create the best and most inventive Science Fiction inspired model.  The winning creation was a wonderful futuristic shoe designed by a Year 7 student.

On Tuesday, students who visited during lunch found 20 different QR codes hidden around the library.  Each code, when scanned with a provided iPad, contained a library-specific trivia question.  Students were asked to find and answer all questions before the end of lunch to enter the draw to win a prize.  Finding all proved quite challenging for some but a pair of Year 8 students answered all 20 correctly within the allotted time limit, and were crowned the winners of ‘Trivia Tuesday’.

‘Wristband Wednesday’, the craft activity for the week, was quite a popular task.  Students were provided with a USB, some duct tape, cardboard, yarn and instructions on how to make a USB wristband.  This proved quite a tricky task which the students enjoyed immensely, with many asking to continue working on their wristbands next week.  One of the Year 8 students took his home, working on it that night with his own yarn and then wore it to Thursday’s event, with the end-product looking fantastic!

‘The Lunchbox Club’ were kind enough to host a come-and-try day in the Centenary Library during lunch on Thursday.  This wonderful opportunity gave non-members of the makerspace club the opportunity for some hands-on experimenting with the robots, drones, circuits and Spheros that the club is lucky enough to work with every week.  So many students walked away from this activity with giant smiles on their faces, and an excited attitude towards exploring more of the innovative technology the school and libraries have to offer.

On Friday, after such a busy week, the students were offered the opportunity to relax with one of the library’s favourite tech TV clips, Astroboy.  Students watched the first episode titled ‘Birth of Astroboy’ and took time to contemplate all they had learned over the week.  Thank you to all who helped organise, took part in activities or just attended to watch from afar; the events would not have been the same without you.

For more information about why we chose to celebrate ‘Teen Tech Week’ in our libraries please visit the official site.