Author Archives: Library

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Books and friendship combine in the BGS Book Clubs

The fantastic reading culture at Brisbane Grammar School is reflected in some of the extracurricular activities provided by the libraries.  BGS is lucky enough to have three different active book clubs for students to join throughout their time at Grammar, and these are a great opportunity to engage with books and other boys in a relaxed and social setting.


The Senior School’s Aficionados Club is available to boys in Years 9 & 10. This club discusses both books and movies, and meets in LC309 every second Friday lunchtime. Members are all offered the opportunity to attend the Somerset Festival of Literature later this term, and there is also the possibility during this year that the club will meet with other schools in the area for shared discussions.  If you are interested in joining, contact Ms Oxley.

Years 7 & 8 students may join our Inside Story Book Club which meets every Friday during lunch in the Centenary Library.  Members of the club in the past have represented BGS at the annual Readers Cup Competition, have assisted in organising Library activities such as the ever popular Library Legends and have had the opportunity to meet once a term with St Joseph’s College (Terrace) for a shared book club.  Should you wish to become a member of this club please see Ms Smith in the Centenary Library or attend one of the meetings on a Friday.

The Middle School Library holds meetings every Tuesday during lunchtime for The Lunch Bunch.  Each term Ms Palmer will run activities focusing on a particular topic; currently the boys are learning about coding, while in Term 2 The Lunch Bunch will take the form of a book club.  This club is for Years 5 & 6 boys. Should you require any more information, or if you would like to join, please see Ms Palmer in the Middle School Library.

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Game on! Learning about the Centenary Library

At the beginning of every year, Year 7 learns about the Centenary Library.  This year we played a game called Library Smarts to help us learn about the library and its offerings.  With the help of Grumpy Cat cards and Grammar Man cards we created a set of ‘rules and behaviours’, and found out some information about library opening and closing times, where to go to borrow pens and find scrap paper, good habits, behaviours and the names of the staff.

We all worked together to master various missions from the game board in the allocated time. There was a winner at the end!  We moved around the library, armed only with an iPad to record a quick catalogue search for the correct Fiction or Non Fiction book, or to find the correct magazine, while our Team Commanders kept the pace fast, lively and on track.

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Library Monitors Celebrate the End of the Year

A large group of dedicated students have been working in the Middle School Library all year to assist with the day-to-day activities of the Library. Boys in Years 5 and 6 sign up at the start of each term and receive one time slot a week which they eagerly attend. Jobs include loaning and returning books, shelving, stamping books and other book processing tasks. A favourite task is ringing the bell to mark the end of break times!

As a ‘thank you’ to the boys, Ms Palmer invited them to attend a special Library Monitor Party. Boys made short work of pizzas, chips, chocolates and other tasty delights. It was a great end to their year of hard work.

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Para-cord Craft and Compass Creation

As a steam activity with a survival theme I decided to run several Friday afternoon sessions teaching students some basic survival hacks.  The sessions gave students the opportunity to experiment with both a para-cord craft and compass making.   Para-cord (short for parachute cord) is a light, durable and incredibly strong rope which is very useful for any number of things in a survival situation.  The students learnt how to weave a simple para-cord wrist band that is light, comfortable and convenient to wear during a camping trip or while bush walking.  This wristband would provide up to 2 metres of rope, which can be further broken down to harvest internal fibers providing extra length, and smaller threads for an even wider variety of tasks.  The students who participated in this activity over the weeks it ran, enjoyed the artistic side of para-cord crafting, often asking to create new wristbands in different colours and inquiring about other, more complicated designs.

After a couple of weeks concentrating on para-cord, we moved on to constructing a working compass out of a few simple items.   We used needles, pieces of cork, magnets and a bowl of water.  As the boys worked it was explained to them that the materials they used could be replaced by a number of different things.  Paper clips, or other wire, fishing hooks and safety pins which could be adjusted using pliers or simply bending repeatedly until they snapped.  The cork could be replaced with a leaf, or a piece of plastic.  The needle can be magnetized using a battery, or by rubbing it repeatedly on silk, or more likely wool.   The response from the boys was enthusiastic, especially for the para-cord craft, with many boys asking to have a go long after my materials had been depleted.  A few students even decided to purchase para-cord themselves and continue crafting as a hobby.

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’10 Minute Raves’ #2 with legendary teacher Mr Ian Howlett

Surprised, amused and delighted were the group of boys who attended our second in the series of “Raves” from a legendary teacher. Ian began a rapid fire set of recommendations for good books to to read. He began with the “beach reads” style of authors who entertain with their works. From Grisham, Dan Brown and Matthew Reilly he moved on to a range of his favourite historical novelists such as Ellis Peters, Lindsay Davis, Patrick O’Brian, Liam Hearn and Laura Joh Rowland.

But as Grammar tradition demands, he kept the best till last. Launching into a history of his readings of Jane Austen, Mr Howlett challenged his audience to put off reading his favourite novel “Pride and Prejudice” until the time is right – perhaps during University, perhaps not – or possibly well after. His explanation for doing so was very well reasoned, but it probably has had the opposite effect. I’m sure everyone attending the talk could not wait to get their hands on a copy.

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’10 Minute Raves’ with legendary teacher Mr Wayne Zeller

I never knew that there was a nursery rhyme “One flew East, one flew West, one flew over the Cuckoo’s nest”, but Mr Zeller does that when he is talking about books – always shining a light on some aspect of a novel we did not expect. From Kesey and Heller, he took us on a gallop through a forest of great writers, Richard Matheson, Cormac McCarthy, Stephen King, Robert Ludlum before rounding off with nineteenth century classics. Thanks to his art, this rave was both instructive and enjoyable.

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‘Inside Story’ hosts a shared Book Club

Thursday afternoon saw the final joint book club meeting between BGS and St Joseph’s College, Gregory Terrace (Terrace) for 2016.  The Years 7 and 8 book club ‘Inside Story’ played host for the second time to the Terrace book club equivalent.  For the past three terms the two schools have met one Thursday afternoon a term to discuss a book they have all been reading.  The boys and their librarian book club leaders meet, enjoy some pizza and cordial and share their opinions on the most recent book that has been set.

The past two meetings have seen students and staff enjoying ‘Masterminds’ by Gordon Korman and ‘Wool’ by Hugh Howey with some wonderful and thoughtful conversations occurring.  This term the students have been reading ‘The Firebird Mystery’ by Darrell Pitt, a Steampunk novel based loosely around the concept of a Sherlock Holmes style mystery.  This book brought up some interesting conversations about World War II and other great YA series’s that fall into the same Steampunk category.  These events are a great chance for students to engage with books, and other boys, in a social setting and something we hope to continue in 2017.

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A Celebration of Harry Potter

The November opening of the movie Fantastic Bests and Where to Find Them provided a perfect excuse to unleash Pottermania on the Middle School. Already boys have entered trivia contests across the two libraries and also made howlers which they were able to take home.


Next week sees the Magician Contest which will take place in the MS Amphitheatre on Friday, 28 October. Boys who wish to enter have been advised to sign up at MS Reception. Events in the following week will be more Harry Potter-themed craft, as well as a Hogwarts dress up day on Friday, 4 November.  Boys are able to be in costume all day but must wear their school uniform to and from school. There will be a parade at lunch with prizes for the best dressed. We look forward to this celebration of all things Hogwarts.


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Need a book and the library is closed? Download an eBook.

I have become a regular reader of eBooks, they are great to read while I am having my lunch. Unlike paperback books I do not have to worry about trying to keep a book open or being careful not to spill anything on the pages. I am easily able to read during my lunch break and then continue reading the story on my iPad when I get home. I just login to my account and continue reading from where I had finished, with just a click of the mouse (or a touch of the iPad) whenever I need to turn the page.

I have recently read a series by Kevin Brooks called “Travis Delaney Investigates”. It is a great series that includes adventure, intrigue, spies and also portrays the importance of family and friends. I am not restricted to just the school eBooks, I can also borrow from the local Council Library for free. My current loan is another great book by Kevin Brooks called “iBoy”,  about Tom Harvey, an ordinary 16 year old boy until shards of an iphone become embedded in his brain. Could he really compare himself to Spiderman being bitten by a radioactive spider?

There are so many wonderful ways to be able to access books, reading paperbacks or eBooks or even listening to audiobooks, which are great when driving long distances.

By Bernadette van den Hout – Library Technician


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Marco Gliori Visit

Poet Marco Gliori held the Year 5 boys enthralled as they watched him perform poems in the Middle School Library last week. Marco has been to BGS many times and is always a popular guest.

As part of the English program, the boys are learning about poetry and meeting and hearing a poet was a unique experience for many. Marco’s presentation included some of his own work as well as such classics as The Man From Ironbark. This rendition included acting out by volunteers from the audience who took on the part of barber, victim, local police and “cool dudes”. There was also a chance for them to learn about rhythm and other poetic devices.

As the boys left the Library they were inspired to begin their own poetic journeys.