New and Improved Early Reader Section

Please come to the library to see our new and improved Early Reader collection. These are books that are “just right” to build confidence in our younger readers. They feature large fonts, simple language structures and lots of illustrations to help understand the text.

We had not had much circulation of these early readers. Our circulation statistics showed that they were mostly checked out by parents and teachers. As we want to promote independent selection of “just right” books among our younger readers, we needed to make these books more visible to them.

Sarah Ducharme is the librarian at the American International School of Budapest. Ms. Ducharme posted photos of her school’s early reader section and how she had had bookcases specially made to showcase their early readers. We didn’t have that option available to us, but when I found colorful tubs last weekend I knew we could use them to make our early reader section more attractive and easier to use.

The colorful tubs hold books by series or characters, for example, Fly Guy or Amelia Bedelia. Some also are by interest like “movies” or “scary books.” The books that don’t fit into any one category are in tubs by letter of the alphabet. Those labels say “A authors,” “B authors,” etc.

The response from our kindergarten and first graders has been enthusiastic. They each checked out two early readers this week and as you can see from the photos, some of the more popular series are already “sold out.” Circulation for this week doubled compared to the same week last year, and that is without the grade 2 students who will be coming this afternoon. We’ll keep monitoring the circulation to see how effective the new organization is, but we’re pretty sure it will be a big success. Already, several of our new tubs are empty as students have checked out all the titles in the series.

If you are a parent at IST, remember that you too can check out books. You will need to come to the library with your parent ID and create an account, and then you will be able to check out up to 10 books for 2 weeks. To see what our collection has to offer, please visit our library OPAC.

A special thank you to our volunteer, Astrid Breutzman, who taped all the labels on to the tubs.

Grade 7 Readers Recommend

Stop by the library this week to see recommendations by grade 7 students on the library’s big screen display. These students read books from our Panda shortlists for Middle Readers and Older Readers, and posted reviews for those on our library OPAC.

Note that many books do not have reviews. To find reviews for the 2012 Panda Books, you need to find the Panda Book shortlist. Simply click on the Visual tab and navigate to the Panda Books 2012-2013 page.

Panda Books on Visual tab


To read a review on any other title – if it has one – follow these easy steps.

1. Find the book in the OPAC.

Find the title on the OPAC.

2. In the results that come up, click on the word “Details” for the book you want.

Click on the word "Details" for the result that you want.

3. Click on Reviews to see the reviews that have been posted to the OPAC. If there are no reviews, then perhaps you can post one yourself once you’ve read the book.

Click on the word "Reviews" next to the book cover or on the Reviews tab.


To post a review, you will need to log in to your personal account. Students in grades 4 and up can post reviews. Please note that all reviews are vetted by teacher librarians before they are published.

Here are three basic parts to include in your review:

  • a short summary of the book, a description of the setting or of any of the characters, or other information about the contents
  • what you liked the book about the book and why
  • to whom you would recommend the book

Please use correct English. Also, reviews are only 1000 characters long. That’s about 6 lines, so you need to be brief and make each word count. Yes, you can write about books you don’t like too. Just tell us what and why you didn’t like about the book.

Follow these easy steps to write your own reviews for books that you have read.

1. Find the book in the OPAC.

Find the title on the OPAC by entering it in the search field.

2. Click on “Details” for the title you want from the list of results.

Click on the title you want from the list of results.

3.  Click on “Reviews” on the details page for the book, and then on “Add Review.”

4. Write your review in the space provided. You are limited to 1000 characters. That’s about six lines of text.


Click on "Reviews" and then on "Add Review."

Your review will need to be approved by a teacher-librarian. It should be available for viewing about 24 hours after you have posted it and often less.

Pink Ribbon Day on 12 October

The Elementary Student Council is hosting a Pink Ribbon Day this Friday, Oct. 12.  They are encouraging all students and staff to wear pink and to make a donation to help fight breast cancer. Funds will be sent to the Tianjin International Community Center. Click here to download the flyer.

In honor of Pink Ribbon Day and cancer victims everywhere, we’ve prepared 2 lists of books.

Please note that the books are not hyperlinked. If you would like to place a hold on any of these books, see the tutorial here.

We hope you will all support IST’s Pink Ribbon Day and the Elementary Student Council. One more way you can support the fight against breast cancer is by clicking daily on the Breast Cancer site.

The Breast Cancer Site

Grade 4 Are Principled Researchers

Grade 4 has just presented a fantastic science fair showcasing experiments each student devised. The central idea of their unit was, ” Scientific experimentation allows us to investigate our questions and reach conclusions.” As a culminating activity for the unit, students explored questions they had posed during the unit and independently carried out experiments to follow the scientific process and answer those questions.

As part of their inquiries into scientific experimentation, students had to tune into the background knowledge they already had about science experiments and they also had to look for examples of experiments they could replicate in the classroom.

G4 students learned to use the Dewey Decimal System classification number for science,  “the 500s”, to help them find appropriate books on science in our library’s OPAC (online catalog) and on our shelves. In preparation for the science fair, they reviewed citation of books as a way that principled library and information users respect the ideas of others. Each student wrote the author, title, publisher and publication date on an index card which they displayed next to their experiment materials. Here are some photos of their citation cards. Can you find the citation at each student display?

Click here for more photos on the 4R blog.

Click here for more photos on the 4B blog.

Welcome the Year of the Rabbit and the Cat!

As we all know Chinese people are celebrating Chinese New Year now and this year is a year of the rabbit/hare. Did you know that people in Vietnam and Korea also celebrate Chinese New Year? In Vietnam this year is a year of the CAT! The Chinese zodiac doesn’t have cat in it and this year’s Vietnamese and Chinese calendars are different for sure.

Cat and Rat : The Legend of the Chinese Zodiac retells the story of why cat was not selected by the god as one of the twelve animals for the Chinese calendar. If you are interested Story of the Chinese Zodiac is another choice to learn more about the signs. Both books are available in the IST library.

Though many books on Chinese New Year, Spring Festival and Chinese culture are checked out by eager readers there are still a lot on display. Come to have a look and enjoy the happiness of the lunar new year!

Here is a link of Chinese culture, plenty of information and nice pictures of the Chinese New Year can be found on the site, hope you find it useful and fun.

Wish all a wonderful year of Rabbit and Cat!

Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year