Upcoming Library Events

Please mark your calendars for these upcoming events in February and March:

Panda Book Voting: February 13-17. The Panda Book Awards is a reading initiative that invites students from participating schools to vote for their favorite books published in 2014-16. Students can vote for books in four categories: Younger, Middle, Older, and Mature Readers. All students will have the opportunity to vote in the library during the week of the 13th to 17th.

Grade 10 Personal Project Exhibition: February 22. Come celebrate the hard work of our grade 10 students when they present their final projects on Wednesday, February 22nd. This is the culmination of a year-long research project by the students.

Star Kids Book Fair: March 2 & 3. IST community members will have another opportunity to buy quality children’s books from a variety of publishers at this spring book fair hosted by Beijing’s Star Kids bookstore.

Critical thinking and the “filter bubble”

The recent U.S. elections in the United States have brought to light the need for all of us to be better critical thinkers and fact-check those Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and WeChat posts that enter our feeds and fuel our anxieties.

Here are some steps to take when you read something shared by a friend but not supported with reliable evidence:

  • Google it. Or Bing it or Yahoo! it or Baidu it or Naver it or do whatever you do to look up information quickly;
  • Look to see if a reliable news source (a news site that pays its reporters to do real, investigative journalism) has reported on the event in question;
  • If you can verify that the information is true, share it;
  • If you realize that the information is not true or you can’t be sure it’s true, challenge it. Comment on it and send a message to your friend to let them know that they need to question their sources.

Here are two sites that make it their business to verify information that we find online:

Snopes.com: Attempts to give accurate information about rumors and urban legends on a variety of topics, including war, business, events, toxins, science, military, popular…

Factcheck.org: Monitors the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases.

In 2011, Eli Pariser gave a TED Talk on the topic of the “filter bubble” and the ways in which Google, Facebook and other sites tailor what we see depending on our past web-browsing behaviors.  Parents and (pre-)teens (preferably together) can watch his TED talk (see below) and discuss what this type of invisible editing does to our world-view. Pariser warns that we need to balance our “information diet” and not just feed on the “junk food” diet fed to us by those who have decided what’s most “relevant” to us–not necessarily what’s important.

Pariser went on to co-found the good-news sight, Upworthy, and to write the book titled, The Filter Bubble: What the internet is hiding from you.

Do you have a resource that you use (perhaps in your mother tongue) for fact-checking or promoting critical thinking? Please let our librarians know so we can share it with our community. Email us at Eleanor_Surridge@istianjin.net or Linnea_Simon@istianjin.net

Library Updates

Scholastic book orders have arrived! The IST library staff were very excited to receive a large shipment of Scholastic books this morning. Library staff worked hard today to organize the orders, and most students who placed orders received their books this afternoon.

New furniture for the library! The library is getting a facelift with the addition of new, comfy furniture perfect for relaxing with a favorite book. Stop by the library to see our cozy, comfy new spaces!

Next IST Parent Book Club scheduled for Thursday, October 27th at 1:30PM

A Man Called Ove

“A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman–our October Parent Book Club Pick.


Last week on Friday we had an excellent turn-out and an interesting discussion about the Man Booker Prize winning novel, The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Our next meeting will take place on Thursday, October 27th at 1:30PM. Please note that we will usually meet on the last Friday of the month in the morning but we needed to choose an alternate time this month. Join us to discuss the novel, A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. This book is available to purchase in Kindle format.

To join the book club, email Eleanor_Surridge at istianjin dot net

Happy Birthday, Tianluo!

We began celebrating Tianluo’s birthday early (his birthday is September 19th) with his Birthday Book Club donation of six books. Thank yimg_3849ou Tianluo for your generous donation to the library!

Tianluo has a wide range of interests, and particularly likes award-winning books. His birthday book donations are Emmanuel’s Dream: the True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson & Sean Qualls; Roger is Reading a Book by Koen Van Biesen; Hippos Are Huge! by Jonathan London & Matthew Trueman;   Leo: a Ghost Story by Mac Barnett & Christian Robinson; Should I Share My Ice Cream? by Mo Willems; and Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld.

Enjoy your books, Tianluo, and we hope you have a happy birthday!

If you would like to celebrate your child’s birthday with the IST Library Birthday Book Club, please contact the librarians at Linnea_Simon@istianjin.net or Eleanor_Surridge@istianjin.net for more information on how to join.

Happy Birthday, Jun Seo!

IMG_3820 (1)Happy birthday, Jun Seo!

Thank you to Jun Seo Yu, grade 1, for his Birthday Book donation to the library. Jun Seo’s birthday book is Dinosaurs From Head to Tail by Stacey Roderick and Kwanchai Moriya. Jun Seo was the first student to check out the book from the library this week.

We hope you enjoy it!

If you would like to celebrate your birthday with the IST Library Birthday Book Club, please contact the library staff at LibraryGroup@istianjin.net for more information on how to join.


Summer Reading for the Adults

Thank you to all the community members who came to the IST Parent & Community Book Club meetings this past year. We had some in-depth discussions on a variety of themes including war, murder, love, friendship, intolerance and inclusion. The multicultural insights have broadened all our minds. Thanks so much.

The next meeting is tentatively set for Friday, 19 August at 9:15 am in the library. The book that was selected is The Ghost Bride by Yangtze Choo. It’s available on Kindle.

ghost bride


Happy reading from Jinx Morgan!

The IST Parent & Community Book Club is open to any reader who is interested. We have members from many different nationalities.  If you would like to join in our lively discussion, please come to our next meeting or email: eleanor_surridge@istianjin.net.

Summer Reading Options: Avoiding Summer Slide

There are many statistics that support the importance of summer reading. Children need to read during the summer months to maintain current reading levels.  If not, they “slide” backwards. To help keep our students reading over the summer, IST has several online reading options. To access the passwords, you must login to the Library OPAC.


One of our options is TumbleBooks, (http://www.tumblebooklibrary.com), an online collection with animated storybooks, chapter books, graphic novels, fiction/non-fiction books to read online, and puzzles and games for both elementary and middle school English Language Learners.

Tumblebooks is fun!

Tumblebooks is fun!

The IST Library recommends that users set up “My Cloud” and personalize their favorite lists.

The second option is TumbleBookCloud Junior, http://www.tbcjr.com), another collection of ebooks and read-along chapter books, non-fiction books, graphic novels, educational videos, and audio books specifically for Grades 3-6.

The third option is to borrow a Kindle loaded with ebooks. We have 6 available.


SYNC, (http://www.audiobooksync.com), is a program that gives away two complete audiobook downloads–a current Young Adult title paired thematically with a Classic title–each week to teens ages 13+.

The 2016 season is 5 May – 17 August. (Week10 and Week 15 have books that are on this coming year’s Mature Panda Book Award list).

Titles are delivered through the OverDrive Media Console.  This software can be downloaded onto desktops, laptops, or even as an app on your phone.

Not all titles are available overseas, but the majority are.

Print Books

Returning students who have cleared their accounts are invited to checkout up to 10 books each for summer. Elementary students will need a signed permission slip from parents for summer checkout. Permission slips were sent through homerooms.

The Library will be giving out recommended summer reading lists at the Community Fair. Stop by our used book sale and get one. If you do not make it, they will be available in the library the rest of the school year.


Join the Library’s Birthday Book Club!

Happy Birthday, Kitsune!

Congratulations and thanks to Kitsune Lewis-Sterling in Pre-K for her recent Birthday Book Club donation to the library. She donated Gon, the Little Fox, by Nankichi Niimi. This is a traditional Japanese children’s story about the life of a little fox called Gon.

Our latest reader!

Our latest reader!

Did you know that “kitsune” means fox in Japanese?