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The story behind the Library

Mrs Mary Beth Romo has been responsible for the Library since 2017, she is the first full-time professional librarian employed at St. George’s.

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Library in St. George's School

As far as we know, the library dates back to the 1930s, formerly situated in what is now part of the new design & technology room. It was managed by teaching staff on a rotating basis and the books were donated by parents and former students.  A constant issue in school newsletters and yearbooks was the fact that many books did not get returned.

In 1977, an appeal for the 50th anniversary of the school provided most of the funds for the building project of the new school library building. 

There were over 17,000 books when Mrs Romo joined 3 years ago. It soon became apparent that, despite the content, many were remaining on the shelves.  They were considered too old, well-used and yellow, so not very attractive for students.  Books need to be relevant, interesting and up to date, especially for resourcing factual information.  Some students are enticed to read from exciting and fresh covers!


Books were reduced to the current collection of 8,000, which equates to approx. 20 books per student.  They are arranged by fiction, non-fiction and are colour-coded by relevance for Junior, Middle & Senior schools. The school supports intellectual freedom and students’ choices, so with parents and teachers’ guidance, the pupils are not necessarily obliged to read books from their specific age category. The books no longer needed are initially offered to students and teachers and then to local libraries and other schools, including some in Africa. There’s an extensive and even spread of magazines and periodicals in both English & French which very useful for IB students for specific subjects, eg New Scientist, Time, Economist, etc.  Some of these are also available in digital versions.
 

The Library offers a weekly theme which runs in conjunction with the online current events programme, "The Day".  This has been introduced at St. George’s this year with subjects varying from Mental Health to Space.  Some topics are linked to IB subjects and are available in different languages, enabling students to discuss at home with their families.  Debates are encouraged to compare perspectives and to help with literacy. Online materials are also part of the Library’s inventory.  An exciting and very popular database called Epic is offered free to schools for students up to aged 12.  Also, Sora, also a new addition this year, organised by the Swiss Group of International Schools offers over 1,200 e-books

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In this era of technology and so much information available online, we question,"Why a Library?" Students need guidance as to how to enable the skills to select the relevant and appropriate information required for their studies and to learn how best to research and evaluate online resources and to choose the best way possible for their purposes. The Librarian has compiled the online Library https://www.sgislibrary.ch/  which is a very useful tool and offers access to various research, reading recommendations and scholarly literature such as Encyclopaedia Britannica. Our Alumni may be interested in the Archives section which features many old photographs and other materials dating back from the 1920s to the 2010s.  https://www.sgislibrary.ch/archives/


Finally, where does the future lie within the school Library?  It is envisaged that a love of literacy will equal a centre for enquiry connecting all the different subjects studies such that it becomes a hub of teaching and learning. 

School Library 1930