"The library card is a passport to wonders and miracles, glimpses into other lives, religions, experiences, the hopes and dreams and strivings of ALL human beings, and it is this passport that opens our eyes and hearts to the world beyond our front doors, that is one of our best hopes against tyranny, xenophobia, hopelessness, despair, anarchy, and ignorance."
– Libba Bray, NY Times bestselling author
It has been said that an effective school library enhances student learning outcomes by providing a range of programs, services and resources which support teaching and learning. It also supports and encourages students' reading experiences. It is the hub of the school. Our school community embraces Tech’s Charles Kingsford Smith Memorial Library as a centre for collaborative or independent learning and leisure activities. R. David Lankes says, “Bad libraries build collections, good ones build services but great libraries build communities.”
Our school community is enhanced by our library because of the intellectual, creative, social and collaborative opportunities that it offers students and staff. We have a wide range of resources available for pleasurable reading or for research purposes including books, ClickView films and magazines to help students read in-depth coverage of current events.
The library also aims to develop links with the wider school community through providing ex students with access to the school archives. The Bob Booth Archive Room is situated on the mezzanine level where the school archives are maintained and available by appointment for inspection by alumni.
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Our library teaches the research and study skills that ensure our young men make the most of their education here at Sydney Tech. Our mission is to help students to take control of their own learning.
Year 7 students brainstorm keywords to use in assessments, are guided away from copying and pasting information, instead learning to paraphrase, and are assisted in assessing various sources from the internet. Senior students also need refreshers in these skills, especially evaluating the validity of internet sources, including accessing and using peer reviewed academic articles from the State Library of NSW.
From creating animations and storyboards in English classes, delving into the world of Jack the Ripper's London in History investigations, or creating infographics from research in individual projects in Geography, the library is always a busy hub of research, driving extension opportunities for our gifted learners.
Year 12 students work either individually or collaboratively in the library during their free periods. They can work in groups, draw on whiteboards, practise speeches and design projects in seminar rooms, or in the upstairs senior study section of our library.
This space is filled with tables and chairs, a bank of 10 computers, and has soft seating for students to relax in.
Book Club - The Lunch Bunch
In 2019, we started the books@breakfast book club, a student-run club that met once a term before school to discuss a book, chosen by the club the previous term.
Books included Nic Stone’s "Dear Martin", Stephen Chbosky’s "The Perks of Being a Wallflower", David Levithan’s "Every Day" and Matthew Reilly’s "The Secret Runners of New York". These stories with teen protagonists are poignant and provide a way for students to build empathy and emotional intelligence through their common experience of reading the same book.
In 2020, the club became The Lunch Bunch, with students meeting once a term over lunch to discuss books such as the popular "Dear Evan Hansen" or Trent Dalton’s "Boy Swallows Universe".
This student-led group meets in the library at lunch once a week in terms 3 and 4 to compete for the coveted title of Tech’s Chess Champion. The competition is welcome to all ages.
Chess boards and timers are available throughout the year for before school, recess or lunch recreational play, and are a very popular pastime for the boys.
Workshops / Speakers
In 2019, our library began its Artist in Residence program, in which we invite an author/illustrator to visit the school for the day and to engage with our students through a workshop or presentation.
An example was the artist Matthew Lin, who led an exciting workshop on Manga, talking to the boys about how he used his graphic artist skills to start creating his own Manga, a Japanese style of graphic novel or comic book. The workshop was open to any student who wanted to participate, offering them a chance to relax and be creative.
In 2019 we also hosted slam poet Will Small who led the students in a creative writing workshop, including how to take ideas and feelings and make them into a rap/slam poetry. Students were guided to find their authentic voice.
More speakers headed to the library include a climate scientist, Chris Turney, and popular young adult author, Phillip Gwynne.
Premier's Reading Challenge
Students in Year 7-9 are encouraged to participate in the Premier’s Reading Challenge, which seeks to guide students into reading widely and outside of their comfort zone. It is not a competition against others, but instead, a chance for each participant to push himself to read 30 books in different genres throughout the year.
We have a large number of students taking part each year, with many reaching bronze, silver, gold or platinum levels for consecutive years of participation.
For more information, visit https://online.det.nsw.edu.au/prc/home.html
Write a Book in a Day
Write a Book in a Day is a fun, creative and collaborative competition for school students in Years 5 to 12 and adult writing groups. Teams of up to ten have just twelve hours to write and illustrate a book from start to finish. To make it even more fun, unique parameters must be included in the story. The completed books are donated to children in hospitals across Australia.
Tech has two Year 10 teams compete annually, spending from 8am to 5pm in the library to create the story and accompanying artwork. All money raised goes to The Kids' Cancer Project.
There are a myriad of games to entertain the boys before school, at recess and at lunch. Card games, board games, strategy games... there is something for everyone.
Games help our students to relax and unwind in between their learning sessions. Games are also great for building friendships, and helping to develop critical thinking and creativity.
The school archive is housed in the Library in the Bob Booth Archive Room. It comprises documents, photographs and artefacts relating to the founding of the school in 1911 and its history. Sydney Tech spans three educational sites; Ultimo; Paddington and Bexley, and information relating to alumni, past teachers and the life of the school can be readily found in the archives.
The archive contains the most complete set of research files relating to Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, an Old Boy of the school, in Australia. The research files were most recently used by Peter FitzSimons for his book on Kingsford Smith, "Charles Kingsford Smith and Those Magnificent Men", published in 2010.
In 2011 the archive was renovated for the school Centenary Celebrations and was extensively used by Dr John Morrison in his book "The Story and Times of Sydney Technical High School, 1911-2011", published in 2011 to celebrate one hundred years of school history. Alumni can access the school archives on Wednesday afternoons. Please phone the school on (02) 9553 8315 to arrange.