Library Parent Book Club – August 2013

Cover for Bad Karma

One of the highlights of the month for me is the IST Library Parent Book Club meeting. It’s a lovely time where members get together for coffee and gourmet teas, and lively discussion about our chosen book. Of course we don’t limit our conversation to the book, there’s lots of tips for life in Tianjin too!

Our first book for the 2013-2014 school is Bad Karma, by David Safier. From talking to our members as we catch up after the summer holidays, I find that most everyone found it very entertaining. The book centers around a workaholic TV producer who dies in the first chapter and is reincarnated as an ant. To be able to move up on the reincarnation wheel, she must perform good deeds to accumulate enough good karma to offset the bad karma she earned in her life as a heedless and arrogant human being.

For the IST Library Book Club, we all suggest titles for the next session at each session. We collectively choose one, making sure that it is easily available in China via Chinese online bookstores so that we can get the book in in a timely manner. Books are also often available as ebooks from Amazon or iBooks. Everyone is responsible for paying for their own copy. The library usually purchases a copy to have in our collection as well.

Our discussions are informal. We often use a discussion guide that I’ve downloaded from the Internet. My favorite site for discussion guides is, a site dedicated to book clubs. The publishing company for the book is also a good place to find discussion guides. Because I have not been able to find a discussion guide for Bad Karma, we’ll use a generic guide from LitLovers.

To join our book club, please register via the widget on the sidebar. This helps us help new members get the book, and it also helps track our success.

Don’t have time to read the book? Come anyway and help chose the next one.

See you on Wednesday!

Circulation Numbers for the 2012-2013 Year

The end of the school year (and the beginning of the summer vacation) is a great time to look back and reflect. One of the ways I do this is by looking at our statistics for the year. I’d like to share some circulation statistics with you. Circulation statistics count the number of times books are checked out.

I’ve already posted on the top 10 titles checked out in the year, with Squish No. 1: Super Amoeba in first place, which isn’t a surprise as it was the winner in its category for the 2012 Panda Book Awards and we had a Skype interview with the authors.


The top 3 homerooms in the elementary school for check outs this year were: (based on average checkouts per patron)

  1. 3W, with 83.62 average checkouts per patron and 1,087 total circulations
  2. 5D, with 69.94 average checkouts per patron and 1,189 total circulations
  3. 2H, with 64.23 average checkouts per patron and 835 total circulations

The top 3 homerooms in the secondary school for check outs this year were: (based on average checkouts per patron)

  1. 7S, with 84.5 average checkouts per patron and 1,521 total circulations
  2. 7T, with 77 average checkouts per patron and 1,386 total circulations
  3. 6R, with 52.14 average checkouts per patron and 1,095 total circulations

Congratulations to those homerooms. The more you read, the smarter you get!

For a complete list of the elementary homerooms and their checkout average this year, click here. This list of homerooms includes a grade 6 homeroom, and that because there is a parent who has children in grade 6 and in the elementary school.

For a complete list of the secondary homerooms and their checkout average this year, click here.


Thanks to all our IST teachers because they support the library in so many ways, not least by encouraging students to check out regularly.

I’m happy to report that the top five teachers will be at IST next year and are sure to continue promoting reading and inquiry in their classrooms and through the library.

  1. Ms. Ashton
  2. Ms. Simon
  3. Mr. Kimber
  4. Ms. Dingle
  5. Ms. Reston

Here’s a list of the top 20 teachers. They are listed by the homeroom name. Top Teachers by Circulation 2012-2013



The top 5 staff members for check outs this year are

  1. Jessica Yu (library circulation assistant), with 232 checkouts
  2. Jade Zhang (grade 4 assistant), with 190 checkouts
  3. Lan Qin (kindergarten assistant), with 129 checkouts
  4. Helen Gao (grade 2 assistant), with 125 checkouts
  5. Lisa Fang (library cataloging assistant), with 115 checkouts

Unfortunately, I cannot publish the report with the top 20 patrons as I have done with the other categories of patrons because the system includes personal information, but rest assured that our local staff checks out books frequently and in large amounts.


Last, but certainly not least, here’s the top 5 parents who have checked out this year. Thanks so much for being model library users!

  1. Hansa Thakwani, kindergarten parent, with 106 checkouts
  2. Ying Sun, grade 4 parent, with 61 checkouts
  3. Agnes Tassy, grade 5 parent, with 58 checkouts
  4. Preeti Shah, grade 1 parent, with 47 checkouts
  5. Aimin Zheng, grade 1 parent, with 46 checkouts

Looking forward to seeing you in the library even more next year!

Sweet Summer Dreams, IST Library!

School is out for the 2012-2013 school year, and we wish you a restful summer vacation.

Library wrapped up for the summer

I wonder about the secret life of books during the summer when it’s hot and quiet in the library? They must dream of people reading them come August.

To those of you who are headed to new adventures, we wish you the very best. Visit us in person or virtually through the sites. You are welcome to keep using our library resources via the OPAC Visual tab. Make sure you’re extra nice to the librarians at your new school. They are great because that’s just the way librarians are.

To those of you who are returning in August, see you soon! Try visiting the public libraries in your areas. Bring back photos and tell me all about them. I love visiting libraries and talking to librarians around the world.

Have a great vacation, everyone. We hope you spend it reading!

P.S. I’ll be posting occasionally on this blog during the summer, so keep coming back. Better yet, subscribe. There’s a very simple subscription widget on the right sidebar and once you subscribe, you won’t miss any library goodness.

Goodbye, Ms. Surridge, Zai Jiàn!

Ms. Surridge on Character Dress Up Day 2013

We are sad to say farewell to Ms. Surridge, who will be leaving IST to join a school in Morocco. Ms. Surridge has been a valuable member of our library staff and instrumental in developing the IST Writing Center. She always tells it like it is, and our secondary library program continues to grow and thrive thanks to her contributions.

We know we speak for all of our students when we say we will miss her. All the best, Ms. Surridge. Let us know how you’re doing! Visit the blog and let us know how you are all settling in in Morocco!

Elmans on Character Dress Up Day


Thank You to our Super Volunteers

We are very fortunate to have a group of dedicated volunteers who help us out in the library. From shelving to cataloging our foreign language books, our volunteers help us in many areas.

This week, we asked for their help again to prepare for the summer closing. Five volunteers came today, including a mom from the Japanese International School, to shelf-read our collection. Shelf-reading is when we check to make sure that all the library books are in the right place on the shelf. It’s tedious work, and with 30000 titles to check, quite time-consuming. We greatly appreciate the time our volunteers gave up today to help us.

We also want to thank two of our volunteers, Shibani and Carla, who are leaving IST to return to their home countries.

Shibani has been very supportive of the library program from her arrival at IST when her son was in kindergarten. He has participated in the IST Library Birthday Book Club three years in a row, donating very popular titles: a set of early reader non-fiction on animals, the first book in the Dragonbreath series and the third book in the Ninjago series. Shibani has been volunteering on a weekly basis and helping with shelve returned books.

Carla Pamfilio has been volunteering at the library for the last three years. She was instrumental in securing funding for our Portuguese language collection. To that effect, she organized the Brazilian community in two Brazilian BBQs which were a great deal of fun for parents, and very beneficial for students as our Portuguese language collection grew from 5 titles to 210! Carla also helped recently with the cataloging of our Spanish books. She is friendly and super efficient, and we’ll miss her terribly.

This year, Astrid Breutzman, Quay Martin, So Young Yoo and Tomoko Homma have also given us many, many hours of unstinting help. We appreciate all and any of the time that they give us and we’re delighted to call them friends.

Thank you, dear volunteers, again for all of your help and support this year. Best wishes to Carla and Shibani on returning to their home countries. Happy summer!

Thanks, IST, for the Flood of Book Returns

It’s been very busy today as IST as we have been shelving all the books returned in preparation for the annual closing. Last week I checked the number of books overdue and saw that it was about 1550 books. Today, after a flurry of late afternoon returns from secondary students, we are down to less than 500 and we still have four days to go before the summer vacation.

The elementary students have the best record. Only a few still have books out and I expect those books to come back tomorrow morning, so secondary students will have to catch up!

Our library OPAC can generate statistics about the library circulation patterns. This is part of a quick report that I have been monitoring throughout the day.

This report lists all the overdue materials and you can see the first of the list below the total number of overdues. Our goal is to reduce that number to zero by the end of the week.

Students and parents, remember that any student that has not cleared his or her library account will not receive a report card on Friday. Instead, that student will need to return or pay for lost books, and then, with a receipt of payment from the library in hand, go to the office to retrieve the document.

Checkouts for summer reading started today. We can checkout a temporary library bag for you, or you can bring your own bag to help you carry books. The librarians are eager to help you make your selections, so be sure to ask for help if you need it.

Happy Birthday, Jin A!

Jin A is our last, but not least, member of the IST Library Birthday Book Club. Jin A is a friendly and cheerful library user who always remembers to return her library materials on time. We are very pleased to receive Jin A’s Birthday Book Club donation.

Jin A donated the book, Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover, by Cece Bell. This is the story of two very different friends, a rabbit and a robot, both with very different expectations about what should happen at a sleepover. I’m sure Jin A is going to enjoy this beginning chapter book very much.

We will resume the IST Library Birthday Book Club in August. Please come to see us at the library if you would like your child/ren to participate at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year so we can look for appropriate choices during the summer.

Top 10: Books in 2012-2013

Here are the top ten books checked out in the 2012-2013 school year.

10. I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen with 30 checkouts

9. Is Everyone Ready for Fun? by Jan Thomas. with 32 checkouts

8. I Spy Fly Guy, by Tedd Arnold. with 32 checkouts

7. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw, by Jeff Kinney with 33 checkouts

6. Benjamin Bear in Fuzzy Thinking, by Philippe Coudray with 33 checkouts

5. The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate  with 34 checkouts

4. Mr. I, by Lewis Trondheim  with 38 checkouts

3. More Bears, by Kenn Nesbitt with 40 checkouts

2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules, by Jeff Kinney with 49 checkouts

1. Squish: Super Amoeba, by Jennifer L. Holm and Matt Holm with 60 checkouts

Online Reading: Library OPAC

The library OPAC brings you more online reading options for the summer and year round.

Once again, the Visual tab offers you a wide variety of resources.Visit the library OPAC by clicking on the OPAC icon on the top left corner of this page, or visit

Follow the steps below to view the online reading options on our library OPAC, or click here for a video tutorial.

Click on the Visual tab.

The ‘Children’s Online Reading’ button will take you to a collection of online reading sites. Some of them may require creating a free account. If you are in China, the sites might load slowly or not at all, but you should not have any trouble outside of China.

The ‘Current Events-Many Languages’ button will take you to a collection of online newspapers, most for school age children, in many different languages. Is your home language missing? Help us find an online newspaper for children in your language so that we can include it.

Online reading options on the library OPAC

Want animated storybooks and audiobooks? Log in to the library OPAC to access TumbleBooks.

Online Reading: Tumble Books

To help keep our students reading over the summer, IST has several online reading options. Our students in grade 1 to grade 5 have been learning about them in our library sessions this week and will continue with more options next week.

One of our options is TumbleBooks, an online database with animated storybooks, chapter books, graphic novels, and non-fiction books to read online. You will need an Internet connection and an updated Flash plugin, which can be downloaded from the Macromedia website.

There are three different levels of TumbleBooks.


To access the three different levels of TumbleBooks, first go to the library OPAC.

  1. Log in to the OPAC. You can use your personal account credentials or the library’s Quick Login, which is found on your homework logs and the library brochure. Elementary children have been taught to find the Quick Login.
  2. From the OPAC Home page, scroll down the list of subscribed databases to the three TumbleBook links. Note the username and password for the level you want to access.
  3. Enter the correct username and password.
  4. Click on a category to see a list of books.
  5. Click on the “Read Online” button for the book you want to read.
  6. Sit back, relax and wait for the book to load.

Click here to download a pdf tutorial with screenshots to guide you.