The Library is committed to preparing students for a complex future in a global world.
BGS Library empowers and transforms learners by facilitating opportunities for excellence in critical thinking, meaningful creation of knowledge and a deeper understanding of complex world issues in an inclusive community where students can thrive. Through collaborative partnerships, the Library improves literacy outcomes by fostering a love of books and a strong reading culture.
(07) 3834 5270
(07) 3834 5334
Middle School Library
(07) 3834 5345
Connect with us @BGSLibrary
Library Opening Hours
Middle School Library (Years 5-6)
7.45am - 3.45pm
Closed Morning Tea
Outside School Supervision
6.30 - 7.45am and 3.45 - 5.30pm
Centenary Library (Years 7-8)
7.30am - 5.00pm (Mon - Thurs)
7.30am - 4.30pm (Fri)
Closed Morning Tea
Senior Library (Years 9-12)
7.00am - 5.00pm (Mon - Thurs)
7.00am - 4.30pm (Fri)
Plan Your Visit
Brisbane Grammar School is located on the corner of Gregory Terrace and College Road in the inner city suburb of Spring Hill. Roma Street train station is a short 5 minute walk away, while a bus stop at the front entrance to the School caters for buses providing transport to the city centre and several suburbs.
Meet the Library Staff
John Byrne -
David Hills -
Cathy Oxley -
Debbie Rawson -
Vicki Palmer -
Sarah Lusink -
Bernadette Van Den Hout -
Cathy Oxley - Teacher Librarian - Centenary Library
Cathy has been a Teacher Librarian for over thirty years, graduating first from Newcastle University with a Bachelor of Education, then followed by a Graduate Diploma in Information Science from Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.
Cathy joined BGS in 2009 in preparation for the opening of the new Lilley Centre, which would become home to the state-of-the-art Senior Library. Since then, she has developed the Senior Library into the ideal blend of academic study spaces supported by expertly resourced collections, alongside vibrant and engaging areas for collaboration, reading, and enjoyment.
Cathy leads a team of dedicated library staff across the three libraries on campus to deliver one cohesive BGS Library service. The three libraries are unique in that they each cater to their respective year levels, meaning that resourcing and activities are tailored accordingly. As Director, Cathy provides leadership and direction for Library operations, including responsibility for the Library Strategic Plan and budget; as well as overseeing reading and information literacy programs across the three libraries.
Cathy can be found most days in the Senior Library, where she is either promoting books and reading to classes; delivering lessons on research, referencing and information literacy instruction; working with classes undertaking research; or helping a keen reader choose their next book. Cathy works with various Departments to support their assessment tasks and always enjoys venturing out of the Library to the Forum or to one of the Science labs or classrooms to deliver a research instruction lesson.
The Library website is a core element of the Library service as it includes an extensive suite of research guides and e-resources as well as endless information promoting books and reading. Cathy, along with Library staff, continually create and update these resources and she is always keen to enhance her HTML coding expertise!
Cathy has contributed widely to the profession of Teacher Librarianship and continues to share her knowledge and collaborate with networks of Teacher Librarians across Australia. She has a string of accolades to her name including:
When asked what she loves most about her job, Cathy says her two key ‘happy places’ are: working with the students and assisting them to find exactly the right book or the perfect source of information; and creating web content for the Library website.
Ask Ms Oxley about:
Fun Fact: In another life Cathy did a lot of caving and abseiling.
Favourite genres to read: Dystopian and Thriller
Vicki Palmer - Teacher Librarian Years 5/6 Middle School Library
As a previous classroom teacher of English, French and other subjects, Vicki ultimately found her calling pursuing a career as a Teacher Librarian. She has since worked in various libraries in Glenden (near Mackay), Townsville, Sydney and now Brisbane.
Vicki’s story with BGS began with the opening of the Middle School in 2003 when she was hired as the Teacher Librarian for the brand new Middle School Library. Under Vicki’s direction, what began as a large empty room soon became transformed into the dynamic, vibrant and welcoming space it is today. Vicki took on the responsibility of curating and developing the library collection which now houses over 10,000 books, both fiction and non-fiction, meaning that there really is something for everyone. Vicki says she is always on the hunt for books and resources to cater for the ever-changing and diverse needs of her students and teachers.
Vicki describes the Middle School Library as a very strong community where both students and teachers support one another; the students’ enthusiasm, open minds, and sense of fun is really a pleasure to see. She adds it is a unique space because it blends fun with academics. For example, during lunch breaks Vicki runs a variety of clubs and activities that are open for anyone to join, including Book Club, Lego Boost, Stop Motion Animation, Rubix Challenges, and Library Monitors. Vicki says it is amazing to watch the boys collaborate and develop their problem-solving skills and simply be creative.
Vicki has a great love of reading and is keen to share her knowledge of excellent books with the boys. Author visits, the annual Book Fair and Book Week activities are highlights of the Library program. A small group of budding writers also visit the Somerset Storyfest each year. As there is always something going on in the Middle School Library, Vicki is able to maintain a high level of enthusiasm and interest for reading amongst the boys. When asked what the most rewarding aspect of her job entails, Vicki’s answer is, “When a child who was once a non-reader becomes a reader”.
In addition to collection management duties and organising lunch time events, Vicki collaborates with Departments to support academic and assessment tasks. Each class has a timetabled Library lesson every week as part of the English program, and also visits the Library for information research skills lessons.
When asked what is special about the Library, Vicki answers, “I believe that the Library is the heart of the Middle School – it is a keeper of our past, and a welcoming place for people to come together.”
Ask Ms Palmer about:
Fun Fact: I like to cruise and make cakes.
Favourite genres to read: Realistic Fiction
Sarah Lusink - Teacher Librarian Years 5/6 Middle School Library
Sarah began her teaching career in 2009 specialising in Early Childhood, and subsequently spent 3.5 years teaching in London, followed by a year in Melbourne. At this point, having also started her family, Sarah wanted to embark on a career shift and further her studies. Coupled with her passion for reading and experience having witnessed the difference that reading can make in improving literacy skills, she enrolled in the Maser of Education (Teacher-Librarianship) at Charles Sturt University.
As part of Sarah’s course requirements, she needed to complete a two-week school placement and applied to do this at BGS. At the completion of those two weeks, Sarah continued building her relationship with the School by volunteering her time in the libraries every week until her graduation. Serendipitously, at that time Middle School Teacher–Librarian, Vicki Palmer, was transitioning to 3 days part-time, and Sarah was offered the role to complement the other two days. Sarah officially joined the BGS Library team in Term 3 of 2020.
Based in the Middle School Library, Sarah now works closely with the Year 5 and 6 boys, forming relationships centred around books and fostering a sense of community in the space. She encourages the boys to engage in conversations around building the Library collection and creating fun activities based around their interests. Sarah’s vision is to enable a warm and welcoming community space where students feel safe, secure and accepted for who they are.
As a Teacher-Librarian, Sarah collaborates across Departments to support literacy, academic and assessment tasks. Each class has a weekly timetabled Library lesson with a focus on exploring real-life contexts and building skills that transfer to curriculum areas. The boys are encouraged to question and continue building their knowledge, skills and inquiring minds. The vision is that ultimately, by the time the boys become seniors of the School, they will be self-sufficient researchers.
The highlight of the Library year for Sarah, is taking students to the Sommerset Storyfest. She describes the excursion as an enriching experience for the boys because they are afforded the opportunity to hear from inspiring and creative people. She adds however, that the Middle School Book Fair comes in at a close second, because one can’t underestimate the value in selecting, purchasing, and owning your very own book! Sarah confesses that she has books in every single room of her own home, and that her children were read aloud to before they were even born!
Sarah takes great pleasure in having that ‘breakthrough’ with a student who was once a non-reader, but comes back to borrow again and again. She notes it is a real privilege to be able to come to work every day and feel that she has made a difference and it is her hope that she will have brought many along on the life-long reading journey.
Ask Mrs Lusink about:
Fun Fact: Sarah’s favourite pastime is browsing bookstores, especially with a coffee in hand!
Favourite genres to read: Sarah takes guilty pleasure in chick-lit romance stories; however, she really enjoys reading all the genres on offer to the boys and is currently exploring the genre of Fantasy.
David Hills - Library Technician
Our longest serving staff member, David Hills undertook his final practical placement at BGS in 1997 for his Diploma of Library Studies. On completion of his qualification, David was hired to join the Library team. Since then, Mr Hills has witnessed significant transitions and transformations of growth within BGS, including the construction of the entire Middle School and the Lilley Centre.
When asked about the best part of the job, Mr Hills explains "It is the positive human connections that make all the difference, no matter how difficult the day or situation, the times where you can help a student or staff member or provide that sense of community is what makes it all worthwhile." Mr Hills ran a Strategic Games Club for over 20 years and this provided a way for like-minded students, who might not otherwise have met, to be able to share in and enjoy these games together. He reflects that this club often attracted boys who were also interested in reading Fantasy or Science Fiction, and hence provided another gateway into the Library spaces.
“The librarians’ role hasn’t changed, it has broadened. We are still in the midst of a major transition in the information age, and librarians are still needed as gatekeepers”. - David Hills
Ask Mr Hills about:
Fun Fact: Mr Hills has been training in marshal arts (Wing Chun) for over ten years and now teachers the practice as well.
Favourite genres to read: Fantasy; Science Fiction; Historical Fiction
Debbie Rawson - Library Technician
Having previously worked as a Teachers' Aide, Debbie embarked on a career shift in 2011, graduating with a Diploma of Library and Information Services. She secured a position with Brisbane City Council Libraries. In 2020 she commenced at BGS as a Library Technician.
At present, Debbie is based mostly in the Centenary Library and describes it as her 'happy space' - and notes she hopes this is also the case for the boys! She adds that it has a uniquely welcoming atmosphere and there is never a dull moment. Each day is different, and it is truly a diverse role with many different activities, events, and competitions organised for the boys to get involved in.
Debbie appreciates the many opportunities working in the Centenary Library offers in making connections with the boys. While she also spends time in the Senior Library, she says the beauty of being rostered in both libraries is that she gets to know the boys in Centenary Library over two years and, when they move up to the Senior School, she can still continue to build that rapport.
Much of Debbie’s time is also spent creating and curating content for extensive research guides for each subject assignment. This involves collaboration with HODs and other teachers when preparing these at the commencement of each assignment. Debbie’s favourite subject to work on is Modern History, as she is constantly learning new things, whether it be about the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement or the Russian Revolution.
The blend between the dynamic energy of the Centenary Library, mixed with her involvement in the academic research space, means that Debbie enjoys some of the best that BGS Library has to offer. It is an exciting, ever-evolving and rewarding role to work in.
Ask Mrs Rawson about:
Fun Fact: Debbie has two adult children, but her favourite is her cavoodle, Bailey Rose.
Favourite genres to read: Impossible to choose.
Bernadette van den Hout - Library Technician
It was when reading through the QTAC guide with her son, that Bernadette came across the Library Technician Diploma course description and thought “this is for me, and now is the time!”. With her children soon to be finishing school, and as an avid reader and weekly patron of her local library, Bernadette embarked on this new stage of her life.
After completing her qualification, Bernadette joined the State Library Queensland for 5 years where she worked supporting rural libraries and the LOTE collections. Following SLQ, Bernadette commenced at BGS in 2008 just prior to The Lilley Centre opening, which meant working out of the temporary library demountables during the construction phase.
Although no two days are the same at school, Bernadette recognises the staple joys that the work provides, including the books, people, and students. She is passionate about encouraging a love of reading and recommending books to all. Bernadette’s week is typically spent across all three libraries, and she very much enjoys interacting with students across all of the age groups. In fact, Bernadette insists she loves coming to school as much as possible, as otherwise she would be permanently babysitting her grandchildren!
A large portion of Bernadette’s duties involves purchasing and cataloguing our books. She works closely with other subject departments, sourcing pedagogical resources for their classes and distributing subject relevant information. She notes it is always a pleasure and very rewarding to help her colleagues as well, not just the students. Bernadette is also an expert on the catalogue database and will always spot and fix any discrepancies that appear in the records.
As a self-confessed bookworm who loves reading eBooks and listening to audiobooks Bernadette says, “If I had the time, I’d be reading a book a day”. She admits it is commonplace for her to become so immersed in reading, only to realise that hours have passed without her knowing!
Bernadette is always happy to chat about book recommendations, but one thing she always tells people is to join www.fantasticfiction.com because you can check on an author and read their books in the correct order; and after you “Follow an author” you will be contacted when a new book is released.
Ask Mrs van den Hout about:
Fun Fact: Bernadette has a WWII bomb shelter in her back yard.
Favourite genres to read: ALL