Singapore American Middle School Library

Goals and users The Middle School serves 920 students aged 11 to 13 who come from 55 different countries. The middle school library is one of four libraries within a school of 3,850 students. See powerpoint slides below, on the various facilities provided by the middle school library. Many of the American School students like their parents are likely to be global citizens, traveling and living in different cultures. As such, these students need communication and technical skills to manage in an ever changing world environment. The library exists to facilitate their information and technological needs. “The mission of the library media program is to ensure that students and staff are effective users of ideas and information”.   A unique feature of this international school lies in the very active contribution and involvement of the Parents Teachers Association (PTA).The library frequently enlists help and advice of parents for feedback on various library programmes. Parents and students are allowed to recommend books and other resources for the library and efforts have been made to incorporate their ideas into the library’s planning and programming.

The Collection
The library has a collection that comprises resources from a range of literary, artistic and subject related print and electronic materials. The library has a collection of about 32,000 books, 3,000 ebooks, 250 audio books, 15 online databases and access to the National Library Board eResources. These are selected to support the major themes of the curriculum. Resources that expand students’ knowledge beyond the boundaries of the curriculum are also included. At the moment print books are the predominant media, however, according to the librarian, Mr Starker, the library’s ebook collection will surpass print collection in the near future by powers of ten.  Due to the digital revolution, the library’s development policies will change radically in the next 2-3 years. Currently, the library has a comprehension selection policy, where students, parents and teachers are invited to submit requests for materials and the librarian has the final say. ICT is radically changing library work and processes. The SAS Middle School library is seeking to develop a Research and Development Center for Emerging Technologies within the library.

Currently, the middle school library has 1 full time professional librarian and 2 library assistants. Technology support is provided by a team of IT specialists. As a faculty member, the librarian, is expected to participate in the many professional development opportunities during each school year. Both the librarian and library assistants are expected to provide ongoing support and training to teachers within the school. In tandem with the impending upgrading work planned for the library, there will be corresponding dramatic changes to the job scopes of the various library staff.

Reference Service
The library provides the standard face to face reference service at the information counter as well as through email. The reference book collection of approximately 10,000 books, will be the first collection to be replaced by digital resources.  Currently, the librarian teaches reference skills to all 900 students via English, Social Studies and Science classes. Due to the small number of library staff, SAS will be exploring more effective ways such as the use multimedia approaches to accomplish this instructional service. The library is very dependent on the Internet for the many library processes but Mr Starker felt that they could do a much better job of teaching students and teachers effective Internet Search techniques.

 Network & IT Infrastructure

The library recognizes the importance of IT infrastructure and is already in the midst of equipping the library with state of the art technology tools for learning. The remodeled library will move away from the warehouse model concept to that of a highly interactive, collaborative and multidisciplinary model. Plans are in the pipeline to include Library 2.0 features such as flexible work and study spaces, ergonomic furniture and shelving, experimentation with mobile phone apps as well as consideration on the use of augmented reality, games based learning and gesture based computing.

User Education
User Education is carried out during the new students’ orientation period during which students are brought through a structured library induction programme. Information literacy as well as reading programmes are carefully dovetailed into curricular topics. The librarian who is a member of the teaching faculty is in a good position to plan and collaborate with other academic staff.

The SAS Middle School library is one that is well resourced both in terms of collection as well as various facilities to support the teaching and learning programme. It is both progressive and strong in its instructional programme as the library is managed and led by a dynamic and visionary librarian. From the visit, I am able to see the important leadership role of a teacher librarian in driving and managing the library.

S’pore American Middle School Lib Visit

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