SCIS Data case study: Chris Archbold, Riccarton Primary School, NZ

‘SCIS makes a consistent catalogue. If all the primary schools around New Zealand are using SCIS, they are all getting the same information. This means that students can move from school to school and know that they are still going to get good, consistent search results.’

School: Riccarton Primary School
Type: Government school for years 1–8
Enrolment: 284
Cataloguing subscription: SCIS Data
Library management system: MUSAC
Size of collection: 4,200

Chris Archbold opens her library each morning at 8.30 am to an enthusiastic crowd of library-goers, and she relishes in the buzz created by students. Chris is the library manager at Riccarton Primary School in Christchurch, in New Zealand’s South Island.

This buzz is the telltale sign of a school community enthusiastic about their library. ‘We are buzzing here in the morning and again at lunch times,’ Chris says. ‘Some kids are having chat sessions, some kids are borrowing books, and some kids are reading books. To be able to sit at the OPAC and find what they are looking for is really important, so to have the best possible search options is fantastic.’

Chris has been using SCIS for her library cataloguing for more than 10 years, which helps her save time and make library resources discoverable to Riccarton Primary School’s enthusiastic staff and students. Students are able to access the catalogue containing more than 4,000 titles from the library and all classrooms within the school. With the help of SCIS Data, students can easily search for relevant titles before locating them in the library.

Enhancing resource discoverability

As the library manager, Chris’s role is vast and varied. ‘I am in charge of keeping the library in order, purchasing new books, repairing old books, and circulating and displaying books — you name it, I do it!’ Chris sees the library as a place to ‘encourage reading and to be available for students who want to read. Having a librarian means that they can have that support’.

Chris is passionate about the role of high quality, consistent catalogue records in allowing students to find what they are looking for. ‘It’s absolutely essential for students to be able to find and locate any of the resources that they need, whether it be websites or books,’ Chris explains.

Chris understands that SCIS’s high quality records are crucial for the discoverability of her library resources. ‘It makes a consistent catalogue,’ she says. ‘If all the primary schools around New Zealand are using SCIS, they are all getting the same information. This means that students can move from school to school and know that they are still going to get good, consistent search results.’

Chris uses z-cataloguing, which means that she can search and download SCIS records without leaving her library management system, MUSAC. ‘I can’t imagine using any program other than SCIS. I know that the national library offers a free service, but I find SCIS covers more of what I need, so I’ve stuck with it,’ Chris says. ‘It’s great. It’s been the best thing.’

Catalogue records suited to schools

Prior to using SCIS, Chris used Numerical and Alphabetical Subject Headings for Primary Schools. She then briefly moved to Te Patakataka. ‘From there, I went on to SCIS. I have to say, SCIS was like a dream come true. It is just so fast!’ she exclaims.

‘SCIS is relevant to our school community, which is very multicultural. Most of our students can access information they are searching for because of the wide coverage of subject headings that are used,’ Chris continues. SCIS has subject headings suitable for use by students, making it a user-friendly option that matches terminology used in schools.

In addition to managing the Riccarton Primary School library, Chris also teaches students with special needs. As the library manager, Chris is perfectly suited to helping young students become confident readers. Chris particularly enjoys sharing books from the Rainbow Reading program with students who struggle to read. Rainbow Reading is an audio-facilitated reading program that supplies books with activity sheets and interactive pens. When pressed to dots on the page, the pens read sentences aloud so that students can follow along.

Chris is clearly committed to ensuring the students at Riccarton Primary School have access to books that support student learning and enhances their literacy skills. SCIS Data means that those resources are quickly catalogued and made available to students looking for the next title to delight, inspire, or inform them.

Chris’s verdict

For schools not yet using SCIS, Chris recommends to ‘use it, try it, and see what you think!’ Her enthusiasm for SCIS is evident as she continues: ‘I just love the whole program, and particularly love the fact that it’s got so many subject headings. It is fantastic.’

For a free trial of SCIS, please complete our trial registration form. Experience SCIS Data for yourself, commitment-free.

These interview extracts have been lightly edited and reordered where necessary to improve readability and clarity.

Students’ brilliant ideas: how the Nagle College Library website started


Ernesto Gutierrez Jr, College Library Coordinator at Nagle College in NSW, recently worked with his students to develop a library website. Its content is created for and by the students, and ranges from well-considered reviews to student-produced videos. Ernesto shares how the website came to fruition.

Continue reading Students’ brilliant ideas: how the Nagle College Library website started

SCIS Data case study: Caroline Roche, Eltham College, UK

‘Yesterday, a student asked for a book on Emmanuel Macron. It will be delivered today, and I will be able to catalogue it within five minutes because SCIS is quick. I’ll have it in her hands this afternoon.’

School: Eltham College
Type: Independent school for boys (aged 7–18) and girls (aged 16–18)
Enrolment: 850
Cataloguing subscription: SCIS Data + Authority Files
Library management system: Accessit
Size of collection: 11,780 in junior library; 22,665 in senior library

Eltham College, a high-performing independent school in South East London, focuses on the core business of school libraries: providing access. Librarian Caroline Roche works in the senior school library, supported by a library assistant and a school community enthusiastic about the library’s role. Spread over three floors, Eltham College’s senior library provides space for students to study, read and gather during break times. In a library that prides itself on immediate access, SCIS Data contributes to their fast-turnaround workflow.

Continue reading SCIS Data case study: Caroline Roche, Eltham College, UK

Taking reading for pleasure beyond the library

In this blog, Lucy Chambers shares with us some of the successful reading promotions that she has held in her schools. Lucy presented them as part of her workshop on school librarians sharing good practice, held at the CILIP School Libraries Group Conference in April.

Continue reading Taking reading for pleasure beyond the library

Let’s not think of libraries as gifts, but as wise investments

Fleur Morrison writes about the importance of libraries, whether in our cities or schools, for the future of our communities.

There are plenty of things that young people feel aggrieved about being saddled with. Climate change and a long-running war in the Middle East are two that leap immediately to mind.

But there are other things handed down by previous generations that seem to suggest extraordinary generosity and vision. One is libraries.

Continue reading Let’s not think of libraries as gifts, but as wise investments

In conversation with ASLA’s Teacher Librarian of the Year

For Library Lovers’ Day, we celebrate the work of Jane Viner, who was awarded Teacher Librarian of the Year in 2017. SCIS recently spoke to Jane about what makes her library unique and what she finds most rewarding about her role and working in school libraries.

‘I loved this book, Mrs Viner. Now I know why I like reading. Are there any more like it?’

Continue reading In conversation with ASLA’s Teacher Librarian of the Year

What can a library be?

Stony Evans
Library media specialist
Hot Springs, Arkansas, USA

Do you ever stop and think about what the school library can be for your learning community? It is easy to get caught up in the daily activities and forget about the endless possibilities that exist for our learners. As I prepare to begin my 10th year as a school librarian, I’ve been thinking about how the library spaces and resources can transform our students’ lives. I would like to share some recent happenings that have illustrated this to me.

Continue reading What can a library be?

The full history of Connections is now online

2017 has been an exciting year for SCIS.

Our new website SCIS Data was launched in August, complete with a fresh rebrand and exciting new features to support school libraries. We also celebrated the 100th issue of our quarterly magazine, Connections, and to commemorate the milestone, announced that we would digitise and make available the full history of Connections.

We are proud to announce that — for the first time in our history — the entire collection is now available to view and download online.

Continue reading The full history of Connections is now online

How the school library saved my life

Megan McDonald
Children’s book author

I grew up reading—at the school library, on the bookmobile, at the comic book store, at home next to the heater under the piano. As a girl, I found pieces of myself in the characters of Ramona, Anne of Green Gables, Laura Ingalls, Jo March, Harriet the Spy, Jane Eyre.

Continue reading How the school library saved my life