International Schools Library Week

The IST library celebrated International Schools Library week with fun and exciting activities all week long. We kicked off the week with a launch of the Panda Book Awards, which encourages students to read, share, and vote for their favorite books in four categories. This year’s Panda Book Award nominees are:

We shared the books with students through the week, and helped create buzz about the books with Panda quizzes and prizes all week long.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we hosted the Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore book fair. Many students, teachers and parents browsed and purchased books at the book fair.

On lunchtime on Monday and Wednesday, elementary students were invited to participate in “Monster Crafts” in the library. We had a lot of fun doing activities that were inspired by the book “Crafty Cat and the Crafty Camp Crisis” by Charise Mericle Harper.

We wrapped up the week with Character Dress-Up Day and the elementary library assembly on Friday morning, and “Celebrating 20 years of Harry Potter” with grades 6-8 students in the afternoon. Watch this space for photos from Character Dress-Up Day and the “Harry Potter” event coming soon! 

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.

Used Book Fair now at the Community Fair

Thanks, IST, for your support on Friday for the library’s annual used book sale. We raised over 4000RMB for library programs!

As we still have lots of good quality books in different languages, we will be setting up a stall at the Community Fair. Be sure to bring a bag or two to load up for summer reading.

Also at the Community Fair will be a stall organized by Ms. Wang to help the IST cleaning ayee who is battling terminal cancer and a stall supported by Ms. Fang to raise funds for Auntie R’s Animal Shelter, a charity with whom several of the IST teachers, teaching assistants and students are involved.

Library volunteers who would be willing to give up a little time on the day to help with used book sales are very welcome. Please email us or let us know in the comments.

IST Community Fair 2014, on 11 June

For Sale: Used Books and Used Toys

Have books?

It’s the end of the school year and our thoughts turn to the summer vacation. One of my favorite aspects of a vacation is the unlimited time for reading, but if you’re staying in Tianjin, where do you find inexpensive English language books? That’s easy! At the IST Library’s Annual Used Book Sale!

If you’re leaving Tianjin for good, what to do with your old books? That’s easy too! Donate them to the library’s used book sale and see them off to a good home. We welcome donations of books in salable condition, in any language and for any reading level.

The IST Library’s Annual Used Book Sale will be held on Friday, 30 May, from 7:45 am, in the library. Come and browse through hundreds of gently loved books. Donations will be accepted until Thursday, 29 May. Profits from the used book sale will be used for library expenses.

Poster for IST Library Annual Used Book Sale 2014

Have toys?

The “Let’s Play” Community and Service Group, led by Ms. McKendrick, will have a second hand toys and children’s clothes stall at the IST Community Fair to be held on 11 May. Send donations to Ms. McKendrick’s classroom, room 202 in the Han building. Funds raised will be used to purchase toy equipment for the nursery and prekindergarten classes.

Ying Chang Compestine Books for Sale Now!

The author visit by Ying Chang Compestine is just around the corner, next Monday, 21 April! We just received a shipment of her books from Beijing Star Kids Childrens’ Bookstore and we will start sales tomorrow, Wednesday. If you would like to have Ms. Compestine autograph your book, be sure to purchase your copies by Monday morning as her book signing time will be limited.

The books we have for sale are the following.

Middle school novels

Cover for A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts
A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts: A Collection of Deliciously Frightening Tales – 125RMB
Contains eight ghost stories about Chinese cooking and culture; and includes a recipe and historical notes after each.(Review from IST OPAC.)
Cover for Secrets of the Terra-cotta Soldier
Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier 125RMB – NEW IN 2014
In this action-packed adventure, thirteen year-old Ming lives in a village in 1970s Maoist China. His father is convinced that Emperor Qin’s tomb – and the terra-cotta army created to protect him in the afterlife – lays hidden in the hills around them. But if Ming’s father doesn’t prove it soon, the town’s Political Officer will send him away.(Review from the publisher.)

 Childrens’ Picture Books

Cover for Runaway Wok


The Runaway Wok – 125RMB
On Chinese New Year’s Eve, a poor man who works for the richest businessman in Beijing sends his son to market to trade their last few eggs for a bag of rice, but instead he brings home an empty–but magic–wok that changes their fortunes forever. Includes information about Chinese New Year and a recipe for fried rice.(Review from the IST OPAC.)

Cover for Crouching Tiger


Crouching Tiger – 125RMB
When Ming Da’s Chinese grandpa comes to visit, he overcomes his initial embarrassment at his grandfather’s traditions and begins to appreciate him.(Review from the IST OPAC.)

Cover for The Real Story of Stone Soup


The Real Story of Stone Soup – 125RMB
When a crew of Chinese fishermen forget to bring cooking utensils with them, they find creative ways to make do with what they have and what they can find.(Review from IST OPAC.)


Cookbooks – Ms. Compestine is an expert on Asian cuisine and has written extensively in culinary publications. She has a TV cooking show and has been the food editor of Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Cover for Cooking with an Asian Accent, by Ying Chang Compestine
641.5 COM
Cooking with an Asian Accent  – 245RMB
In Cooking with an Asian Accent, award-winning author Ying Compestine, a nationally renowned authority on Asian culture and cuisine, reveals how to make delicious home-cooked meals that nourish the senses and the soul using accessible ingredients, simple preparations, and thrilling flavors.(Review from the publisher.)
Cover for Cooking with Green Tea
641.5 COM
Cooking with Green Tea: Delicious dishes enhanced by the miraculous healing powers of green tea – 145RMB
Green tea contains the most effective antioxidant known, something more powerful than even vitamins C and E. The compound is known as polyphenol, and in Cooking with Green Tea, you’ll learn how to put this potent protector to work in your cooking. Meet the different kinds of tea and learn why green tea is favored among the rest. Step-by-step guidelines describe how to brew and cook with tea. More than 50 creative, delicious recipes are included.(Review from

Parents, please remember you are very welcome to either of the presentations. We thank the PFO for their generous sponsorship and we hope to see lots of parents enjoying the presentations as well. 

Both presentations will be in the theater:

  • 11 am for grades 6 to 8
  • 1 pm for grades 2 to 5

December Book Fair

Get ready for the upcoming holidays and visit our December Book Fair, hosted by Beijing Star Kids Children’s Bookstore. Books make great gifts!

The Beijing Star Kids Children’s Bookstore will set up a book fair for us next week, on 3 and 4 December. As with our October book fair, purchases will be cash only. There is an issue for Beijing stores using credit card machines outside of the city.

Come visit the book fair. Star Kids always has a great selection. This year it will feature Panda Book Awards books and many bestsellers.

Dec 2013 Book Fair, 3 and 4 December, in the library

Using Call Numbers

Let’s say you want to find a library book about dogs. You look up the word “dog” in the library OPAC and you find the title you want. Now what? How do you go from the book title on the screen to finding that same title on the shelves? The answer is you use the call number.

The call number is written on a white sticker at the bottom of the spine of all our library books. The call number will have at least two lines. The top line or lines will tell you where the book can be found in the library. The bottom line tells you who wrote the book as it is the first three letters of the author’s last name.

Fiction books are organized by section: E for the picture books, ER for the early readers (we also call them the red sticker books), and ELE F (we call them yellow sticker books) for the beginning chapter books. Within each section, books are arranged alphabetically by author’s last name, or rather by the three letters of the bottom line of the call number.

Non-fiction books are also organized by Dewey Decimal sections. Each of the section corresponds to a broad range of subjects. To locate a non-fiction book by the call number, one must first read the top line/s and find that number on the shelf. Once you have found that number, you then look at the bottom line and use alphabetical order to find the three letters on the shelf.

Grade 2 and 3 students have been practicing their call number location skills. They will be using those skills all year when looking for books to support their unit and personal inquiries.

We start out with a review of alphabetical order. I print out book slips from the library OPAC, and on those book slips we notice

  • availability (if the book is in the library or has been checked out)
  • the title
  • the call number
  • the cover image, if the OPAC has one. (Not all books have cover images.)

Armed with the call number slips, the students then pair up and go retrieve the books. After we’ve used up all the slips, we put the books back – using the same call number skills that we used to find them.

The second and third graders love finding books on the shelf. Last week we only looked in one section, the ELE F section because it has books that are almost all the same size and the spines are mostly wide enough to see the whole call number. Next comes getting call number slips from different parts of our fiction collection and then the non-fiction collection. Soon enough, they will be able to find books in any section of the library.

Click on the first image in this gallery for an “Anatomy of a Call Number” sheet that summarizes what the different parts of the call number mean.