Author Archives: Library

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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.

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Our OverDrive eBook Collection has grown

Here are a few series that have proven to be popular in hard copy and so, to help us keep up with demand, we now offer these great series as part of our OverDrive collection. 

Magisterium –  By Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Think you know magic? Think again. The Magisterium awaits . . .

Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial.  Not Callum Hunt.  Call has been told his whole life that he should never trust a magician. And so he tries his best to do his worst – but fails at failing.  Now he must enter the Magisterium.  It’s a place that’s both sensational and sinister. And Call realizes it has dark ties to his past and a twisty path to his future.  The Iron Trial is just the beginning. Call’s biggest test is still to come . . .

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: The Iron Trial, The Copper Gauntlet, The Bronze Key.

Empire Series – By Raymond E. Feist & Janny Wurst

Enter the mysterious and exotic world of Kelewan… Mara, the youngest child of the ancient and noble Acoma family, is about to take her pledge of servitude to the goddess Lashima when the ceremony is disrupted by news of her father and brother’s death in battle. Despite her grief, as the only surviving member of her house, Mara must now take up the mantles of Ruling Lady. But she soon discovers betrayal at the heart of her family’s loss, and the Acoma’s enemies have brought her house to the brink of utter destruction. Daughter of the Empire is the magnificent first book in The Empire Trilogy by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurts. Mara, an inexperienced political player, must draw on all her wit, intelligence and cunning to navigate the ruthless Game of the Council, regain the honour of House Acoma and secure the future of her family. But with assassins waiting around every corner, it might take everything Mara has simply to survive.

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: Daughter of the Empire, Mistress of the Empire, Servant of the Empire. 

The Belgariad – By David Eddings

Myths tell of the ancient wars of Gods and men, and a powerful object – the Orb – that ended the bloodshed. As long as it was held by the line of Riva, it would assure the peace.  But a dark force has stolen the Orb, and the prophecies tell of war.  Young farm boy Garion knows nothing of myth or fate, but then the mysterious Old Storyteller visits his aunt, and they embark on a sudden journey. Pursued by evil forces, with only a small band of companions they can trust, Garion begins to doubt all he thought he knew…

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: Pawn of Prophecy, Queen of Sorcery, Magician’s Gambit, Castle of Wizardry, Enchanter’s End Game.

Serpentwar By Raymond E. Feist

This is the first book in the bestselling Serpentwar series. A nest of vipers is stirring… Ancient powers are readying themselves for a devastating confrontation… A dark queen has raised her standard and is gathering armies of unmatched might. Into this battleground of good and evil a band of desperate men are forced, whose only hope for survival is to face this ancient power and discover its true nature. Among them are some unlikely heroes – Erik, an illegitimate heir denied his birthright, and his friend Roo, an irrepressible scoundrel with a penchant for thievery. They are accompanied by the mysterious Miranda, upon whom all must wager their lives.

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: Shadow of a Dark Queen, Rise of a Merchant Prince, Rage of a Demon King, Shards of a Broken Crown. 

Lord of the Rings By J.R.R. Tolkien

Continuing the story begun in The Hobbit, this is the first part of Tolkien’s epic masterpiece, The Lord of the Rings, featuring the definitive text and a detailed map of Middle-earth.  Sauron, the Dark Lord, has gathered to him all the Rings of Power – the means by which he intends to rule Middle-earth. All he lacks in his plans for dominion is the One Ring – the ring that rules them all – which has fallen into the hands of the hobbit, Bilbo Baggins.  In a sleepy village in the Shire, young Frodo Baggins finds himself faced with an immense task, as his elderly cousin Bilbo entrusts the Ring to his care. Frodo must leave his home and make a perilous journey across Middle-earth to the Cracks of Doom, there to destroy the Ring and foil the Dark Lord in his evil purpose.  J.R.R. Tolkien’s great work of imaginative fiction has been labelled both a heroic romance and a classic fantasy fiction. By turns comic and homely, epic and diabolic, the narrative moves through countless changes of scene and character in an imaginary world which is totally convincing in its detail.

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King.

The Iron Druid – By Kevin Hearne

Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbours and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old — when, in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old! Not to mention: he draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.

Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power — plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish—to kick some Celtic butt and deliver himself from evil.

– Goodreads

Books available in the series: Hounded, Hexed, Hammered.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyBy Douglas Adams

On 12 October 1979 the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor (and Earth) was made available to humanity – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

It’s an ordinary Thursday lunchtime for Arthur Dent until his house gets demolished. The Earth follows shortly afterwards to make way for a new hyperspace bypass and his best friend has just announced that he’s an alien. At this moment, they’re hurtling through space with nothing but their towels and an innocuous-looking book inscribed with the big, friendly words: DON’T PANIC.

The weekend has only just begun…

 – OverDrive

Books available in the series: The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy; The Restaurant at the End of the Universe; Life, the Universe and Everything; So Long and Thanks for All the Fish; Mostly Harmless. 

The Phoenix Girls By Brian Knight

When thirteen-year-old orphan Penny Sinclair moves to the small town of Dogwood to live with her godmother, she expects her life to become very dull.  She doesn’t expect to find a strange talking fox roaming the countryside near her new home, a kindred spirit in her new friend Zoe, or the secret grove where they discover the long hidden magic of The Phoenix Girls.

– OverDrive

Books available in the series: The Conjuring Glass, The Crimson Brand, The Heart of the Phoenix. 






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Duke of Edinburgh Volunteers

Each year we have students volunteering in the library as part of the Service requirement for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.  These students assist with returns, collate statistics, help with displays, and search online for book summaries and cover images of new books. They also learn how to cover and repair books.

They quickly become independent workers, knowing what jobs need doing and working efficiently and diligently with all tasks. They are a great assistance to the library staff, allowing the staff to concentrate on other duties.

Written by BGS Library Technician Bernadette van den Hout

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Library Lovers’ Day

The library world over the past ten years has adopted Valentine’s Day and celebrated it as Library Lover’s Day, a day which burst upon the School on Tuesday with displays, competitions and activities. In the Senior Library, a box of chocolates was the prize for a Valentine’s Day quiz, supported in particular by hungry Year 9 boys. Students visiting the Centenary Library had the opportunity to make heart-shaped origami bookmarks which they could take home as a memento.

Year 5 boys in the Middle School Library took Library Lover’s Day to the next level by creating Haiku poetry about the library and/or reading. Boys were able to reflect on the place libraries have in their lives, and produced some lovely poems which been posted on the windows of the library so other boys can read them. At the end of all Years 5 and 6 library lessons this week, each boy was given a heart-shaped chocolate to take away and enjoy at a later time.

A special event for Middle School teachers was the opportunity to find their “Perfect Match”. Teachers completed a form with their likes and dislikes when it comes to choosing a book to read, and then Library staff worked hard to find titles to match. Participants were excited to open their parcels of matched books and all were eager to begin reading them.


Year 5 Haikus

Libraries filled with books
Search engines as they are now
Awesome narratives
By Theo Medek
Cosy small building
Filled with books from all around
Inspiration lies
By Andrew Bracher
From a tree I grow
Across every land I go
Ink flows on pages
By Lucas Tan
In a giant room
Lots of books are there for you
This is the library
By Kimihiro Kamori




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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.