Welcome to our MESC Learning Commons

It’s been a great start to the MESC Learning Commons this year with our newly revamped area looking fantastic and gaining lots of positive comments from students and staff.  Our new team of Year 7 & 8 Library Monitors has been appointed and  Isabelle (Belle) York of Year 8 is our 2017 Library Captain.  Belle will be a fantastic ambassador in promoting the library and reading, as well as helping to lead this enthusiastic group of students.  They are already planning lots of exciting events for our students and staff.  We started with a ‘Library Lover’s Month’ display and “Blind Date with a Book” activities for students which has been lots of fun for those involved.  The Library Monitors have been busy wrapping up more books to replace those already borrowed.  Our first “Between Covers Book Club” meeting for 2017 is on Monday 20th February at lunchtime, and every second Monday lunchtime from then.  This will be held in our Learning Hub area which also houses our teacher’s resources and is a popular meeting area with the beautiful timber table made by our talented Hands on Learning students..

You will find information on this website to help you with research, bibliographies, copyright, digital citizenship, new resources/titles added to our collection, as well as access to ClickView and newspaper indexes, etc.  Book reviews are always a welcome addition and a great way of finding out which titles are popular among our readers – we look forward to reading more throughout the year ahead.

We also have a small collection of eBooks which are accessible via iOS and Android devices using the ePlatform app (free and available for download from App Store, Google Play and Amazon).  More instructions on how to access these are available on our eBooks@mesc page.

Please explore what we have to offer and let us know if you need assistance with anything.  If you have any questions about the MESC Learning Commons and what we can do to help you, then please contact us on library@mesc.vic.edu.au

We hope to meet lots of you this year – pop in at lunchtime and enjoy a game of chess, add to our jigsaw puzzle, catch up on the latest magazines, or just take a rest with a book in a bean bag – whatever it may be.  Happy reading in 2017!

Mrs Swannell

The Inky Awards 2014

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The Library Monitors team (along with new mascots ‘Inky, Slinky and Minky’ attended the ‘2014 Inky Awards Ceremony’ at the State Library of Victoria: Centre for Youth Literature yesterday to celebrate young adult voices and high quality youth literature.   All five Australian shortlisted authors were at the event and most generous with their time, talking and mingling with those in attendance.

Amie Kaufman – These Broken Stars
Will KostakisThe First Third
Ellie MarneyEvery Breath
Allyse NearFairytales for Wilde Girls
Claire ZornThe Sky So Heavy


Our students were able to meet the authors and the Inky Awards teen judges, participate in a Q&A session, mingle with other students, join in games and quizzes (relating to books of course) and celebrate as the “Gold Award” (for Australian authors) was presented to Will Kostakis for his novel The First Third and the “Silver Award” (for International authors) was presented via videoconference to Julie Berry for her novel ‘All The Truth That’s In Me’.


The Inky Awards are held annually and a great way for students to find out what their peers are reading and recommending to others.  The ‘Young Adult’ (or teen fiction genre) is for readers between 12 and 18, although many adults often enjoy these titles, with characters and conflicts relevant to teens.  The Inky authors gave us an insight into their writing styles and their passion for writing teen (YA) fiction rather than adult fiction.

There are a number of ‘top YA lists’ to help you select your next novel but why not start with your school library and speak to one of our library monitors to find out which are their favourites.


In the News(paper)

newspaper (1)

Access to news and newspapers online is available via many sources (both subscription and ‘free’) depending on your needs.  You may have your own online subscriptions to Australian newspapers (The Age, Herald Sun, etc.), access overseas news via BBC Online and CNN, use news ‘feeds’ via RSS (really simple syndication), use NineMSN as your search engine, ‘follow’ news services via Facebook and/or Twitter, or simply pick up a ‘hard copy’ (real) newspaper.

The MESC Library subscription to the “NewsBank Info Web” provides access to ‘complete full-text’ articles from The Australian, The Age, The Herald Sun and local newspapers (Victorian editions) from 1999 to the current issue (today’s newspapers).

Within NewsBank you are able to enter a variety of search terms – headline, author, section, page, date, etc. – and sort results according to ‘newest’, ‘oldest’ or ‘best match’.  If you have a large number of ‘results’ then these can be further sorted by year, location, source, readability (Lexile level).  You are also able to save, print, email any of the articles for further reference and it will also provide the reference details required for entry within your bibliography.

Listed below are other sources of newspapers which you may like to explore, including the  World News (graphic search) -this new interface allows you to select a location on a world map and read the local news – awesome!

ABC  http://www.abc.net.au/
Access to News, TV, Radio and website- the authoritative source for Australian news and analysis

Australian Newspapers  http://www.newspapers.com.au/
Contains links to major Australian papers. It provides access to abbreviated versions of the papers for free 

Google News  http://news.google.com/newspapers
Covers tens of thousands of scanned articles from papers around the world from the 1790s to today. Australian content includes ‘The Age’ from 1854 to 1989 and the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’ from 1830 to 1989

Koori Mail  http://www.aiatsis.gov.au/koorimail/index.html
Access to archived copies of the Koori Mail from the first edition until 2 months ago

Local News  http://newslocal.newspaperdirect.com/epaper/viewer.aspx
Find your local newspaper online. The search tool uses geolocation to choose your local paper

TROVE Archived Newspapers  http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper
These papers and magazines have been digitised by the National Library of Australia.  Over 3 million articles with exact copies of pages from Australian newspapers including advertisements, comics etc.  This covers nearly every State and Territory newspaper from 1803 to the mid 1950’s (when copyright was applied) and the Australian Woman’s Weekly from 1933 to 1982

World News  http://www.onlinenewspapers.com/
This website provides access to newspapers from around the world

World News (graphic search)  http://newspapermap.com/
This new interface allows you to select a location on a world map and read the local news. Don’t forget to zoom in to get specific news


MESC meets MWF 2014

The Library Monitors’ Team attended two sessions at the recent Melbourne Writers Festival held at ACMI in Federation Square, Melbourne.   It was a fun day which also included a look at the fantastic Dreamworks Animation: The Exhibition with a chance to see how animations are put together and even have a go at making our own.

The first session was to hear from Australian authors Jackie French and Kirsty Murray who were speaking about how historical fiction can often reveal true things that happened in the past.  Both spoke about using events that had happened both to them and to others as the basis of many of their stories “We can create the future…but to understand who we are we have to know the past as well”.   They also gave an insight into when they first started writing stories, both for pleasure and then later as professional authors.  Kirsty Murray spoke about “gaps in history” with stories often not told of everyday people but rather the boring bits of history from “official and respectable accounts” .  Jackie said it is often when reading ‘primary sources”  (such as diaries, biographies, historical records, newspapers) that she will come up with an idea for her next story “good historical fiction has to be good history and the voices of people who were there”.  Students also had the chance to ask questions, have photos taken and get their autographs.


After a visit to Dreamworks,  some book purchases and lunch we attended the announcement of the Centre for Youth Literature “Inky Awards Shortlist” .  These awards are for books that have been selected by teenagers,  judged by teenagers and voted for by teenagers – with the Gold (Australian title) and Silver (International title) winners being awarded in October.  During this session we heard from three of the teen judges about how they had to read 20 titles and narrow this down to the 10 shortlisted.  They told us about the books they enjoy reading themselves, the application process for being a judge and criteria used to reach the shortlist.  And they each got to keep the 20 books!

Monitors at MWF 2014

There is now a display in the Library of Jackie French and Kirsty Murray books, with posters about both authors also there for you to see, together with the short listed Inky Award titles.  The students were a delight to take out on this excursion and they asked insightful questions of the authors (even at one stage rendering Jackie French speechless as she revealed a bit about herself as a homeless teenager).  We are now looking forward to attending the Inky Awards Ceremony, at the State Library of Victoria in October, to see if our own favourite titles from the shortlists are winners.

The best part of the day was…
“…getting to meet Jackie and Kirsty, and get their autographs” – Amie
“…having my book signed by Jackie” – Alyssa
“…going to the Dreamworks Exhibition” – Katelyn
“…hearing how Jackie writes her stories” – Violetta
“…meeting and talking to  Ellie Marney who wrote shortlisted ‘Every Breath'” – Tom
“…listening to the Inky Awards judges” – Holly
“…the reviews of the Inky shortlist books and how they chose them” – Darcie
“…winning a book prize in the Book Pop Quiz” – Lucaya
“…watching the students practice their State Schools Spectacular dance routine on the big screen at Fed Square!”… Mrs Swannell

Oh for a book…

John Wilson 1785-1854

We have just added some great new titles to our collection which are now on display in the MESC Library and ready for borrowing.

We also have a display of the 2014 Children’s Book Council Awards shortlisted titles with the winning titles being announced on Friday 15th August.

The State Library of Victoria ‘Centre for Youth Literature’ 2014 Inky Awards are titles that have been chosen by teens and will be judged by teens.  The ‘longlist’ will be narrowed down to 10 titles shortly with a Gold Inky (Australian title) and Silver Inky (International title) to be announced in October.

If you still need help selecting a great read then why not investigate one of the online sites listed on the right and/or on our ‘Connect to Online Reading’ display board in the Library.

Connect online

If you are still unsure which book you would like to read next then why not try one of our ‘mystery books’.  These are wrapped in brown paper with some clues on the front to help you choose – you never know you just may discover your next favourite author!  When borrowing these you will also receive a ‘Mystery Book Rating’ slip so you can give us some feedback  – was it ‘The Worst…. I couldn’t wait for it to be over!”  or a case of  “Quick…. Give me more books like this!”  Each time you return one of these slips you will receive a ticket into a prize draw at the end of the year for a book voucher.

Mystery books

So what are you waiting for…  get to the library now and start borrowing… and this includes staff!

Library Connections

It has been a busy first week in the Library this term and not just because of the cold weather!


Students are arriving for early morning chess competitions and homework sessions, with others catching up on the latest magazines and titles on display at recess. Lunchtime sees others meeting for group study sessions, more chess, browsing and borrowing, and some simply finding a comfy spot to read.

The Library Monitors have also been busy after setting up our “Connect to Reading” displays last term in readiness for Children’s Book Week.  On display and ready for borrowing are the CBCA Shortlisted books and the State Library of Victoria ‘Inky Awards’ shortlisted books. A wide variety of levels and genres from both Australian and International authors to choose from.  You will also see our ‘Connect to Reading with Wally’ display complete with a jigsaw puzzle which we hope everyone will help us to finish by the end of term. Also on display here is a selection of ‘mystery books’ which are proving to be popular. These have been wrapped in brown paper with some written clues to help you choose and are not to be opened until you get home.


The Library Monitors do a fantastic job looking after the library at lunchtimes (beware anyone doing the wrong thing!) and assisting with many tasks. You will often see a group of them enthusiastically processing and covering new titles at lunchtimes and not just so they can read them first!  Our many regulars are still enjoying their games of chess, with a number of senior students also competing for a game or two – watch out for the ‘Inter Year Level Student Chess Tournament’ being organised by some Year 7 boys soon.

The Teaching Resources Room is also starting to take shape (in the old locker bay area) and when complete it will house the English, Humanities and Maths resources as well as general teacher curriculum resources. We also hope to be able to use it as a small meeting area, for staff and/or students, once complete.

So do pop in and visit us, find a seat if you can, and we’ll help you to ‘connect’ with our library!

Easy Bibliographies with new Online Referencing Generator

Bibliographies are an important part of any unit of work and helps the reader (teacher) to identify and consult (if necessary) the sources used and therefore guards you (student) from being accused of plagiarism.  There is a Bibliographies section within this website to help you in setting out your bibliographies and the library has recently acquired access to the SLASA Online Referencing Generator which is a useful way to quickly create reference lists for projects and work, and it also caters for different year levels.

Follow this direct link to a login dialog box where you will need to enter a password (request password here).

SLASA Online Referencing Generator

Reading, Research and Rewording!

READING   is rewarding in many ways and has many benefits that assist throughout the school day, and beyond.  The following points were found on the readingisrewarding.com website.

  • Improved academics – reading in general makes you smarter.
  • Reduces stress – reading helps your mind shift gears from a stressful day.
  • Increases vocabulary – reading exposes you to many new words.
  • Improves spelling – reading shows you the way words look.
  • Improves memory – reading requires you to remember details, plots, themes, etc.
  • Builds self-esteem – more informed, others look to you for answers.
  • Improves discipline – adding book reading to your schedule, and sticking to it.
  • Improves creativity – exposing yourself to new information, helps creativity.
  • Improves conversation – gives you something to talk about and share with others.
  • Decreases boredom – reading a good book gets you involved in the story.
  • Improves writing – most authors say they read much more than they write.

Congratulations to the winners of our recent ‘Library Lovers” competition in which students wrote about why they love libraries and reading in particular.  First prize went to Holly (Year 7) for her entry below:

“I really love reading because a good book will take me into a whole new world and make me feel like one of the characters.  It can also make you use your imagination to think of all the different places and people within your book.  A library is a good place to read because it is quiet and I am surrounded by my favourite things – books!  The books which I enjoy reading the most are adventure books.”


The Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge 2014 for students is celebrating it’s 10th year with many fun new ways to inspire you to read including:

  •  Weekly video clips from popular sports stars, well-known authors and TV hosts
  • Paper Cuts competition for secondary students
  • Lachlan the Reading Dog; our lovable Challenge mascot
  • Great reads; a bumper booklist with even more exciting titles

If you would like to join our MESC Library Monitors in entering the 2014 Victorian Premiers’ Reading Challenge (Years 7-10) then please collect a registration form the next time you visit the library.


RESEARCH  is “the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions” (Oxford Dictionary).

The “Learn Skills” section on the ‘ergo’ website – managed by the State Library of Victoria -provides excellent guides to assist students of all levels with their research and study needs – follow the highlighted links or enter via our ‘Research and Study Tips’ page.   ‘ergo’ also provides “a glimpse of the variety of historical resources that you can find in the State Library’s collections – both onsite & online” – with topics such as ‘Rebels & Outlaws’, ‘Fight for Rights’ and ‘Australia and WWI’ readily available.  Primary and secondary sources of information such as this can be critical for historians, authors, educators and researchers, so having access to such sites is most useful.

It is free to join the State Library of Victoria and by doing so you will be able to “Ask a Librarian” for help on topics you may be researching, as well as conduct your own research for articles in ejournals, newspapers and ebooks online (if you live in Victoria).  You are also able to access a number of other services should you visit in person – Note: it is not a lending library so you will not be able to borrow items.

REWORDING – here are two links that may help you in understanding and selecting search results by making the digital text simpler and/or at your readability level.

RewordifyGoogle Advanced Search

Rewordify –  enter sentences, blocks of text, or even websites such as The Age and Rewordify will basically simplify the ‘harder’ words within that passage of text.

Google Advanced Search – allows you to enter a range of search options as well as enter a Reading Level.  You can further narrow this down with options like ‘annotate results with reading levels’ or ‘show only basic results’.  Select your choice and then make sure you click on ‘Advanced Search’ (blue button at the bottom of the screen) and to go searching for what you want.  This only ‘sticks’ whilst the browser is open, so if you close and open again you will have to reset the reading level options.

Enjoy exploring the many links provided here and also within our MESC Library site.  If you have any queries and/or would like further help accessing any of these please contact library@mesc.vic.edu.au

Happy Reading!


Library Chess-Mates!

The library has been a very busy spot over this last week with our new chess set becoming very popular amongst all year levels.  It’s been great to see new friendships formed, hints and tips being shared, and a little year level rivalry developing now and then, as both girls and boys compete.  If anyone has a spare chess set they would be happy to donate to us, then I’m sure it will be well used and we may even look at organising a chess competition later in the year.

Chess SetThe Year 7 and 8 students are currently receiving short Library Orientation sessions via their ‘Real Time Learning’ classes, with many of the Year 7s returning to make use of the library during their breaks for further research, reading and checking out new resources, catching up with friends, or using their netbooks.

New books and magazines are being processed regularly – check out the latest titles on our New Titles page for the latest additions to our collection and watch out for some student book reviews.   All new books are available for borrowing from the displays and magzines are for use in the library only.

The following article was shared with staff recently and I know many also shared it with their classes.  If you wonder why reading is so important then this is another reason that may help you to understand –

Reading ‘can help reduce stress’ 

“Reading is the best way to relax and even six minutes can be enough to reduce the stress levels by more than two thirds, according to new research.  And it works better and faster than other methods to calm frazzled nerves such as listening to music, going for a walk or settling down with a cup of tea, research found.  Psychologists believe this is because the human mind has to concentrate on reading and the distraction of being taken into a literary world eases the tensions in muscles and the heart….”

Link to full article   Reading ‘can help reduce stress’

Happy Reading!




Library News 2014

Welcome to the MESC Library in 2014 from our newly appointed
Library Captains – Bethany, Eloise and Amie. 

2014 Librry Captains

They have been busy during these first weeks of Term 1 setting up displays, processing new titles and getting ready to launch our new “Between the Covers Book Club” – more information and posters regarding this will be going up soon.

This month we are celebrating ‘Library Lovers’ Month’ with a great competition which you can join in by telling us in 50 words or less why you love your library and/or reading – see Library Lovers Day Poster 2014.  Email your entries to library@mesc.vic.edu.au.  There are 3 student prizes and 1 staff prize to be awarded, with entries closing on 28 February. 2014 - Library Lovers Month (1)Library Lover’s Day is celebrated on Valentines Day (14th February) each year by libraries (both public and academic) throughout the world.  It is a celebration of what a library has to offer in terms of resources available and staff who are willing to assist in their users’ needs. So pop in tomorrow and help us celebrate.

If you have any suggestions for new titles to add to our collection this year then please let us know.

Happy Reading!