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Library: About Us

Visit BGS Libraries for personal assistance or use our online guides, resources and services

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.

 

Contact Us
Senior Library 
   (07) 3834 5270

Centenary Library 
   (07) 3834 5334

Middle School Library 
   (07) 3834 5345

Email
  library@brisbanegrammar.com

Instagram
  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)


Library Policies


 

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.

embed a google map

Meet the Library Staff

 

Cathy Oxley -
Director of Information Services
Cathy.Oxley@brisbanegrammar.com 

David Hills -
Library Technician
David.Hills@brisbanegrammar.com

Elsa Larsen -
Library Communications
Elsa.Larsen@brisbanegrammar.com

 

Dani Smith -
Teacher Librarian
Dani.Smith@brisbanegrammar.com 

Debbie Rawson -
Library Technician
Debbie.Rawson@brisbanegrammar.com

 
 

Vicki Palmer -
Teacher Librarian
Vicki.Palmer@brisbanegrammar.com 

Sarah Lusink -
Teacher Librarian
Sarah.Lusink@brisbanegrammar.com

Bernadette Van Den Hout -
Library Technicia
Bernadette.Vandenhout@brisbanegrammar.com

Cathy Oxley - Director of Information Services and Teacher Librarian - Senior Library

Cathy.Oxley@brisbanegrammar.com 

 

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:

  • Board Director for the Australian School Library Association (2020 – present).
  • President of the Brisbane Sub-committee of the Queensland School Library Association (2010 – 2019)
  • 2017 Queensland Teacher Librarian of the Year, particularly in recognition of her organising and running two TEDxYouth events and establishing the BGS eXchange community hub.

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: 

  • Reading recommendations
  • Research (refining, locating, and evaluating sources; online and academic databases)
  • Academic Integrity referencing, in-text citations, plagiarism, copyright)

Fun Fact: In another life Cathy did a lot of caving and abseiling.

Favourite genres to read: Dystopian and Thriller

David Hills - Library Technician

David.Hills@brisbanegrammar.com

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: 

  • Reading recommendations

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

Elsa Larsen - Library Communications

Elsa.Larsen@brisbanegrammar.com

Elsa obtained her teaching qualification through Australian Catholic University with a Bachelor of Education, and it was whilst competing her degree that she worked as a part-time Library Assistant at a local high school. This confirmed for her that a library was the place where she wanted to work! Subsequently, in order to become a qualified librarian, Elsa was accepted into a Master of Information Studies (Librarianship major) at the University of Canberra. As she had elected an online, part-time course load, she also embarked upon a sea change, moving abroad for some years to London and, later, Toronto. There, she gained valuable tertiary library experience, working for university libraries including UCL (University College London).

Having returned to Brisbane, Elsa commenced with BGS in 2021 and is now based primarily in the Senior Library at the Reference Helpdesk. Her role encompasses a wide variety of aspects ranging from creating content for the Library website and Instagram; providing research instruction and developing LibGuides; creating displays; and designing the various graphics and posters used in the Library.

Having had the experience of working with students in a university library, Elsa is passionate about ensuring that students are equipped to flourish and transition seamlessly from the school setting to the rigour of university level research. She says that we are fortunate at BGS to provide high-quality database access to the boys; however, it is imperative that students understand the research process, including developing quality search terms; evaluating credible sources; effectively refining and filtering their searches; and, of course, academic integrity. If we can help the boys master these skills here at school, it will advantage them right from that first day of university, no matter what disciplines they embark upon.

When asked what the most rewarding part of her role is, Elsa says she appreciates that the boys are very dedicated and care about their education. They have a genuine curiosity for learning, so it is always a pleasure to help them get the best out of their time in the Library. It is a privilege to help create an environment that is welcoming, supportive and offers something special for everyone.

Ask Ms Larsen about: 

  • Reading recommendations.
  • Research (refining, locating, evaluating sources print, online and academic databases).
  • Academic Integrity (referencing, in-text citations, plagiarism, copyright).

Fun Fact: Elsa co-founded a Chihuahua meet-up group, organising monthly gatherings in various dog parks, usually attracting between 50-100 chihuahuas at a time! Her chids (chihuahua kids) are Henry and Harriet. Elsa adopted Henry in London, so he barks with an English accent and has travelled extensively throughout the UK, Europe and even to Canada’s Niagara Falls. 

Favourite genres to read: Biographies; Historical Fiction (modern era only); Science-Fiction (dystopian); and Fantasy (modern era only).

Dani Smith - Teacher Librarian Years 7/8 Centenary Library

Dani.Smith@brisbanegrammar.com 

Dani grew up in the regional border town of Mildura, Victoria, and attained qualifications firstly in Nursing from Deakin University, followed by a Graduate Diploma of Teaching from La Trobe University. Over the following seven years, Dani taught at a variety of secondary colleges in both Mildura and Geelong, whilst also spending some time travelling the world. 

With the desire to shift her career into the school library space, Dani moved to Queensland in 2015 and commenced with BGS as a Library Technician. During this time, she completed her Master of Education in Teacher-Librarianship with QUT and, since 2017, has been the Centenary Library Teacher-Librarian.

The Year 7/8 experience in the Middle School is a sweet spot for the boys, Dani says. They are that bit older and have more freedoms and maturity to govern their learning; they are introduced to more complex research and assessment tasks, yet still have a good balance of “fun” throughout the day. Once they reach Year 9 and are thrust into the Senior School, the expectations are much different and very academically- focused, so it is nice to capture their curiosity and interest in the library space during Years 7 and 8.  

Dani describes the Centenary Library as a great balance between reading, research lessons, collaborating with teachers and planning events or programs such as the Writing Extension program. There is also always something to celebrate, Book Week being the highlight of course, but even supporting the curriculum allows Library staff to get involved - for example, creating Fantasy displays for the Year 7 English unit and running activities and competitions to promote reading.

It is a credit to Dani and the culture she has built within the Centenary Library that students and teachers feel comfortable dropping in and approaching her for help. One of the biggest factors in making the Centenary Library a success has been fostering a supportive, welcoming and collaborative sense of community in the space. She describes it as the lounge room of the school, a place where boys can explore and be inspired and, most importantly, feel that they belong. It can be both a bustling hub of collaboration, but also a quiet meeting space where boys can share their common interests - not to mention the comfy chairs to relax in and curl up with a good book!  Dani says, “There is something in here for everyone!”

 

Ask Ms Smith about: 

  • Reading recommendations
  • Research and Referencing
  • Book Club – Year 7/8 and Year 9/10

Fun Fact: Dani is an avid Collingwood supporter and confident for a Grand Final win… one day.

Favourite genres to read: Fantasy and Mystery

 

 

Debbie Rawson - Library Technician

Debbie.Rawson@brisbanegrammar.com

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 at an all-boys high school library in the Brisbane Bayside area and then, subsequently, 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: 

  • Reading recommendations
  • Research and referencing

Fun Fact: Debbie has two adult children, but her favourite is her cavoodle, Bailey Rose.

Favourite genres to read: Impossible to choose. 

Vicki Palmer - Teacher Librarian Years 5/6 Middle School Library

Vicki.Palmer@brisbanegrammar.com 

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: 

  • Reading recommendations
  • Research and Referencing
  • Book Club – Year 5/6
  • Stop Motion Animation Club
  • Library Monitors

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.Lusink@brisbanegrammar.com

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: 

  • Reading recommendations
  • Research and referencing

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.

Bernadette van den Hout - Library Technician

Bernadette.Vandenhout@brisbanegrammar.com

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: 

  • Reading recommendations

Fun Fact: Bernadette has a WWII bomb shelter in her back yard.

Favourite genres to read: ALL