The Upbeat School Library

We say “Yes!”


  • Pam Saunders



community, positive, support, events, collaboration


Melbourne High School (MHS) Library is bursting with students from opening to closing time. In this paper Pam Saunders, Head of Library at MHS will share the numerous ways she and her teams have blended the library, both virtual and physical, into a dual community space – a place for learning and collaboration and a place for relaxation and creativity. The MHS library is about connections and belonging; being informed, critical and mindful users of information, the exchange of ideas, collaboration and the unexpected.
MHS has 1400 students, all boys aged 15-18 years. This demographic has traditionally been difficult for the library to effectively engage, but the door counter statistics confirm that one third of the students visit the library each day. The library has been transforming, with Pam and her team creating an environment which is safe yet stimulating, and one where students can interact and be involved. It is an environment which encourages reading, but also sharing, talking, laughing and doing. The teacher librarians create and manage a mix of resources, but they are also event managers, collaboration artists and risk takers. They are active in both the physical library space and the virtual space. There are daily events, special activities and themes which help create a lively space, but the main change has been the outward focus that the team now brings to the library which allows for a positive environment. It is now a place where the answer to any request is always ‘yes’. This paper will examine the impact which this approach and the attitude of the library team has had on students and teachers and how it has created a community. The paper will provide a practical framework that others can use to enhance their learning space with dynamic ideas and a positive role model.