Term 1 in Review
At last term’s commencement, a new cohort of enthusiastic Year 7s converged on our College library, revitalising a spirit that was partly lost across successive lockdowns, reduced access, social distancing and remote learning. Our new Year 7s have left an indelible mark on Bethany’s spirit already. Borrowing rates for fiction have increased, levelling up the statistics on returning and borrowing, and indicating that one great read can certainly lead to another. Nonfiction has shrugged off its irrelevance as our youngest students meander the shelves to find information in the old-fashioned way. We look forward to rejuvenating this collection for them! We also look forward to expanding our students’ information literacy toolkit through the inclusion of signage that teaches the fundamentals of how knowledge is classified and categorised. Our newest students have definitely embraced the aspirations that define library culture and engagement.
We farewelled Mr Peter Hulme last year, and are now enjoying the legacy of his generous bequest to the College library. Put simply, he saw fit to donate his retirement gift back to our library with the instruction to buy beautiful books for the girls. And we’ve done that. Those books will soon be available for borrowing following a holiday shopping spree in Dymocks’ city store. Thank you, Mr Hulme! He was, in many ways, our resident Tim Winton, living the wonder of both surf and literary culture, and frequently demonstrating the joy of reading for pleasure through his regular presence in the library, flitting through the pages of his latest crime fiction novel. It’s highly likely he’s still indulging those pleasures – and more often now.
We missed Mrs Sultana enormously throughout her extended absence last term, and we welcomed her return last week very enthusiastically. Her familiarity with library procedures, particularly the backend of Oliver, our library management system, was sorely missed. But in her absence, three amazing women stepped up to fill her shoes at short notice, and we all engaged in successful collaborative professional development to keep the library functioning. A huge expression of gratitude for the work of Mrs Maria Bird, Mrs Yolla Bressa and Mrs Maryanne Mendoza is in order. Their warm personalities and workplace agility were assets throughout this time.
Mrs Damienne Forrester departed Bethany at the end of last term to pursue a new professional aspiration with People and Culture at Sydney Catholic Schools. We wish her every happiness in her new enterprise at World Square. Again, we are able to draw on the rich resource of former staff to step back into roles they’re familiar with. Mrs Lynda Fleming became a familiar face yet again in the library last year when she shared Mr Peter Hulme’s English classes on Fridays. We’re fortunate to have her expertise as librarian yet again in the interim until a new librarian is found for Monday to Wednesday. Please enjoy the pics of Mrs Fleming’s ANZAC Day displays, a fitting tribute to our fallen soldiers and surviving veterans across many wars.
The culture of reading continues to grow at Bethany, encouraged by the introduction of new fiction titles, more frequent contributions from our students through suggestions on how to expand our collection, and the ongoing enforcement of the library’s lounge area as a designated ‘reading-off-screen’ space. Our pics below invite you to behold the beautiful vision of an adolescent girl immersed in a hard-copy book. What lies beneath that surface vision is the promise of a sustained concentration span, an expanded vocabulary, an attuning of the ear to the rhythms of our written language in all its forms, and the development of empathy as she enters other people’s worlds through the power of story.
Collaborative study in the lead-up to the Year 12 half-yearly exams was evident last term. We’re very fortunate to witness the joy of young women supporting young women as they negotiate assessment schedules and build a solid foundation of essential knowledge and skills in the lead-up to their final HSC experience at the end of the year. Again, our pictures tell the story.
We’ll remember Term 1 for many things, but incessant rain looms large in our recollections. The silver lining, though, is the chance to use vacant time to shape experimentations in learning and socialising in the library space. 7PE203 spent many a Thursday afternoon in this space because of the closure of local sporting grounds. They used some of this time to remind themselves of the joy of reading and recommending books to one another. Our ‘digital detox’ afternoon saw the girls meandering leisurely through a series of ‘detox’ stations to revisit the fun of colouring in, the jigsaw puzzle, the wordfind, screen-free homework tasks and UNO. The audible social chatter that such activity generates is a welcome noise in the library space.
Thank you to the staff and students who continually bring their warmth and friendliness to Bethany’s library.
And finally, Mrs Simonetta’s recommendations for reading and viewing…
For older students and teachers, The Books that Made Us and the documentary tie-in narrated by Claudia Karvan, acclaimed Australian actor, who explores and interviews the greats of Australia’s literary landscapes of the present and past.
For Years 9 and 10, Underground by Mirranda Burton, an historical graphic novel that chronicles the protest movements in Australia, led by housewife activists and rebel journalists, during the Vietnam War.
Happy reading and viewing from the library team!
Teacher / Librarian