IST Book Clubs Are Thriving

The IST Library supports 3 book clubs:  one for grades 3/4, one for grades 6-9, and one for adults.

Harry Potter (HP) MYP Book Club

Despite appearances, we do more than eat cake in the HP Book Club! We are full to capacity at 10 members, many of them being HP experts who design the meetings themselves. We have discussed themes (good vs. evil, orphans), symbolic meanings of names (the Latin root of Voldemort), character development, etc. We have looked at fan fiction and videos and written our own. Most recently we ran a scavenger hunt. Enthusiasm, imagination and a love of fantasy make this a great CCA.

Grade 4/5 Book Club

This year is the first time we have offered a book club for upper elementary students and what bookworms we attracted! In the first week, students brainstormed ideas of what they wanted the club to look like and they decided that thinking and sharing their ideas about books and authors should be the most important focus of our club.

Each student then chose a book that the whole group would read between our weekly book club meets. So far we have read and discussed five books. Members have also written their own reviews of the books on the library’s Online Public Access Catalog (OPAC ) during our club sessions, so head to the OPAC  and read about their recommendations!

February: IST Parent Community Book Club

Our selection for February 2016 is Chronicle of A Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Our next meeting is scheduled for Friday, 19 February, at 9:15 a.m. in the library. The club is open to any IST parents of Tianjin expats who love reading; we meet monthly, usually on a Friday morning. Our members all have different mother tongues but we manage to have very insightful discussions.

2016 Awards

American Library Association announces the 2016 winners of the youth media awards:


Hour of Code 2015 #hourofcode

What is code? Code is short for coding, which is computer programming. Coding can be fun and creative. At IST, we introduced Ozobots during International Schools Library Week. These were very elementary robots that moved based on color and light codes. Minecraft games are even available for coding! Coding is a topic near and dear to my heart. My younger son is a coder. He works as a Java Script Programmer. At age 23, he earns more money than I do…

This week the Hour of Code is being celebrated all over the world. There are almost 190,00 related events taking place in more than 180 countries. This is a global campaign started in 2013 by the non-profit organization  The website has tutorials and offers choices for hour-long coding “events” that students and teachers can choose to do at designated times.  At the heart of the mission for is the belief that anyone can learn the basics of coding. Hour of Code is intended to take some of the mystery out of coding. Students can learn that computer science can be fun!

Check out the website if you would like to start:

Or use the Symbaloo to explore links on your own:

Extension Reading

IST Secondary Librarian Virginia Morgan has prepared three recommended reading lists for the holidays. They have been created for students who would like to extend their learning from the different disciplines they study at IST. These subjects are represented in each list; there is one for grades 6-8, one for 9-10, and the last is for DP students. All recommendations are books that are available in our library.

DP Students: Do you study Geography? Take a look at Longitude: the true story of a lone genius who solved the greatest scientific problem of his time by Dava Sobel.

Wondering why you have to study maths? Find the answer in How Math Can Save Your Life by James D. Stein.

 Please stop by and take a look at this resource.

Best Books 2015: Give the Gift of Reading

Grades 4-8, Graphic novel

Grades 4-8, Graphic novel

Best Books 2015

Looking for some gift ideas? School Library Journal ran a feature this week on the  Best Books 2015. Yes, this is an American magazine and some of the books will not interest students from different nations, but many are excellent choices for anyone reading in English. The book covers are laid out beautifully; hover over and the title/author/illustrator appears, and click on the title and reviews come up. Another option is to click right on your category of interest: picture books, middle grade, young adult, nonfiction.

Keeping Up and Staying Ahead

Yesterday Mrs. Morgan and Mrs. Fang (Library Coordinator and Library Assistant, respectively), accompanied by Neo Zhang (IT Database Manager)  attended a Follett workshop in Beijing . Follett is the company for Destiny, IST’s automated library software. Today we are busy implementing our learning to keep up with the many changes inherent in each updated version.  Mrs. Morgan also gave a presentation about the integration of LibGuides, a curation tool that she uses to support IST teachers and students in their units of inquiry. This software, an industry standard in academic libraries, was new to most of the 50+ librarians in attendance.

LibGuides are subject guides to help students find credible resources. These subject guides are springboards into detailed information that is academic and authoritative. In these guides, librarians recommend specific databases for specific subjects.  Widgets are built into the guides so students can access the databases immediately. Also included are other online sources, eBooks, and books from the IST Library Collections. This week, LibGuides are being used in DP Literature, Grade 8 HEAL and Grade 7 Humanities.

Why should students use them? Other than the fact that librarians spend an immense amount of time creating them…LibGuides should be used because an experienced researcher is directing students in the right direction. The researcher gets help  with “Tuning In” and “Sorting Out,” which are both part of the IST Inquiry Cycle. Students can access information faster, get a background on their topic, and be more successful in their searches

Our Commitment to Literacy

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The strength of the library was tangible during IST’s celebration of International Schools Library Week (ISLW) in October. New programming energized this traditional observance. The following week, IST hosted a greatly respected author, Kenn Nesbitt, former USA Children’s Poet Laureate. Former USA Poet Laureate (2013-2015) Kenn Nesbitt Visits IST On the heels of ISLW, elementary […]