Loving our Libraries: Part 1

Libraries, at any educational facility, often give a good indication of the overall foundations of the place—whether it’s one that supports its students or not. Despite this, libraries have become overlooked in the last few years. As ‘teaching through technology’ has been introduced into the curriculum, students have gained incredible access to endless information and it’s all right at their fingertips! But what has this meant for the libraries? We caught up with St Peters’ Langer Librarian, Jan Lewis, to find out.

But first, some history

The Langer Library (St Peters Senior School library) opened in 1972. Back then the College population was just nearing 600 students, so there needed to be a place that would support their curriculum and recreational needs. The Langer Library was opened as an educational support facility. It’s open plan design meant that it could be an adaptable space and its location, facing the Chapel in the main quadrangle of the College, ensured that it could be central to the action.

The foresight behind such a design and location, over time, has proven to be invaluable. Today, the Langer Library continues to house a unique collection of resources and can support the changing learning needs of over 1400 students. Gone are the standard-issue tall book stacks and silent atmosphere enforced by shushing staff—the Langer Library of today is a vibrant, dynamic space with services and resources to cover the current Queensland curriculum, QCE and the International Baccalaureate.

A story of survival

Jan hints at several reasons why the Langer Library has withstood the test of time and remained relevant. The first is simple…literacy and reading is important.

Various research studies have shown a strong correlation between reading and academic achievement. Also demonstrated is that the value of ‘reading for pleasure’ has a huge influence on a child’s development, particularly in regard to vocabulary, spelling, but also mathematical skills.

The Langer Library plays a crucial role in encouraging reading beyond the primary years. This is done by:

  • Providing resources (getting the book into the student’s hand)
  • Incorporating new ways to develop literacy

To execute the second of these points, the Langer Library recently teamed up with the English department. Together the two groups introduced BookSurf—fortnightly run lessons in which literature was promoted. The idea behind the program was to promote a love of reading amongst Years 7,8 and 9 students.

So, what about technology?

Jan mentioned that the second way the Langer Library has managed to remain in business is to adapt and grow with emerging technologies. Technology now plays such a vital academic role. To accommodate this, the Langer Library has introduced eBooks and audiobooks. Today, students have a choice of resource formats and, because all resources appear in the Library’s online catalogue, eBooks are available to students 24/7!

Currently, the Langer Library is experiencing significant high use—proof, Jan says, of successful objectives. Overall, it seems that the Langer Library has been a pivotal force behind St Peters being one of Queensland’s leading independent schools and, in the next blog, we’ll look into this further. Keep an eye out!