What’s the Librarian Reading Now? You Are The Music.

Mr Bull is currently reading You Are The Music, by Victoria Williamson.

Dr. Victoria Williamson is a post-doctoral research fellow at Sheffield University and one of the world’s foremost researchers on the Psychology of Music. In this, her first book, she explores the complex relationships between music and our brains. She poses such questions as:

  • Do babies remember music from the womb?
  • Can music help with exercise or recovery from illness?
  • What is going on in your brain when that certain song transports you back to teenage years.

For more Psychology and Music information and latest developments check out Vicky’s Blog here.

For more info on Vicky and her other publications and research interests check out the link below.

vicky pic








Minecraft. 21st Century Collaborative Education or Mindless Obsession?

pic by Mike Prosser

Unless you have been living in a hole (but not a pixelated mineshaft) you will have heard about the online world building game Minecraft. Its enduring popularity and cult-like appeal for children, young (and not so young) adults has been surprising and perplexing to many adults. In a world where super high resolution computer graphics are available on PCs, tablets and even phones, why does this clunky, pixelated, retro looking game mesmerize so many?

As well as the game itself, Minecraft has spawned (no pun intended) a panoply of websites, books, merchandise and entire YouTube channels dedicated to the concept and all it encompasses.

Common Sense Media has released a list of their 12 best Kid-Friendly Minecraft related YouTube Channels. View the whole list below.

The 12 Best Kid-Friendly Minecraft Channels on YouTube

Take a look below at the wonderful books about Minecraft which we have for loan in the Cabra Libraries.

minecraft books

Minecraft Books at Cabra Feb 2016

More Minecraft resources and links below. Go crazy!

minecraft wiki logoMinecraft Wiki. Huge collection of articles and resources by multiple contributors.

Some of the best Minecraft related Websites can be found here.

List of other books about Minecraft. Librarian and kid approved.




What’s the Librarian Reading Now?

Mr Bull is currently reading The Winter Book by Tove Jansson.

Tove Jansson is best known perhaps for her children’s book series featuring The Moomins. The first of these eight books appeared in 1945 (The Moomins and the Great Flood) and the final novel wasn’t published until 1970 (Moominvalley in November). As well as writing and illustrating this delightful series she also produced a long-running Moomin comic strip which was subsequently taken over by her brother Lars when Tove gave it up to concentrate on her novels and short stories for adults.

tovejanssonstudio  Finn_Family  saari19In 2014 the centenary of Jansson’s birth was celebrated with much fanfare. For more information on Tove Jansson’s life and work as a writer and artist check out the fine links below:

Brief biography which appears on official Moomin site.

Tove Jansson Virtual Museum and Life Story

Moomin iOs and Android games

moomin characters

Which Moomin character are you most like? Take the Moomin character personality test.

Website of the Week: Nations Online

One World – Nations Online

The Nations Online Project :: Get In Touch with the World.


This week’s Website of the Week is The Nations Online Project. This site provides a superb collection of information and links about just about every country in the world. Search by country, continent or language. There are also some excellent articles on cities including Megacities and famous cities. Nations Online compliments the excellent statistically focused CIA World Factbook and the more culturally oriented A-Z of World Culture.

The Nations Online Project – is, among other things, a more or less objective guide to the world, a statement for the peaceful, nonviolent coexistence of nations. A statement in favor of cultural diversity and the free flow of information and knowledge across national, cultural and religious boundaries.

Nations Online Project is a pioneer in providing information about countries. It is actually as old as Google, and older than Wikipedia.


2016 Reading Challenge. Are You Up For It?

Last year (2015) I manged to complete my Goodreads, Reading Challenge 2015, ploughing my way through 33 books; fiction, non-fiction and even some graphic novels for the first time. Check out what I read last year below using their nifty Reading Challenge Widget which I displayed on this very blog for all to see. I’ve upped my goal by 2 books to 35 for the year and I am once again keeping tabs on myself via Goodreads.

If you fancy taking a simple challenge yourself, check out this Pinterest page above with some excellent prompts for what to read in 2016.

Remember to check in here to see how I’m doing throughout the year.

Read what you love, love what you read.


2015 reading chalenge boks part 1 reading challenge books part 2


Cabra Library Blog Finalist in Edublog Awards Four Years Running!

I have the great pleasure of announcing that the Cabra Senior Library Blog has once again been shortlisted as a finalist in the this year’s Edublog Awards. This is the fourth year running that we have made the shortlist, check out all the nominated finalists in each category here. To vote for us (please do) or to vote for any other blogs in the other categories just click on the badge above or visit the link here.

Huge thanks goes out to all the students, teachers and everyone else who visited our blog again over the year and made comments or suggestions or just said hello. 2015 was our busiest year ever with over 12400 page hits, up almost 50% on last year!

We are constantly expanding and improving this site and we will continue to use it as a central repository of the best educational technology and reading resources on the internet in 2014.

Vote for us now! Just visit the link to the left, find Cabra Senior Library Blog in the list and click to record your vote. You only have till December 15th. You know you want to.

2015 Edublog Awards Nominations Now Open

You can nominate the Cabra Senior Library Blog here. Look for the best Library/Librarian blog category. We have been fortunate enough to make the Edublog Awards shortlist for the last 3 years running. Let’s make it number 4!

2015 edublog awards banner

Nominations for the 2015 Edublogs Educational Blogging Awards have now opened. You have till Wednesday 2 December to nominate your favourite educational blogs in any or all of the following categories.
So go nominate your favorite blogs, twitterers, community sites, videos, podcasts and more… for 2015:

The Edublog Awards started in 2004 in response to community concerns relating to how schools, districts and educational institutions were blocking access of learner and teacher blog sites for educational purposes.  The purpose of the Edublog awards is promote and demonstrate the educational values of these social media.

Working together, we create an invaluable resource of the best-of-the-best on the web!

2015 Categories

Nominations are open from now through Wednesday, December 2nd.

We have decided for 2015 to focus exclusively on blogs in education, so you may notice a few categories from previous years that aren’t included. This will allow us to spend more time reviewing all nominations for a more thorough voting round.

  • Best new blog
  • Best group blog
  • Best class blog
  • Best student blog
  • Best ed tech / resource sharing blog
  • Best teacher blog
  • Best library / librarian blog
  • Best administrator blog
  • Most influential blog post of the year
  • Best individual tweeter
  • Best individual blog

Don’t forget to make your nominations here!

My nominations for 2015 are:



Research in Context Database Now Available

The Cabra Library is now able to offer students and staff access to another excellent collection of reference information. It is called Research in Context Database and it offers comprehensive detailed  information on just about every topic you could think of. You can access an incredible wealth of information on most topics and view or download these eBooks for later use in much the same way as the Gale Virtual Reference Database GVRL database. For a comprehensive set of guides on using this new research tool click here.

The Research in Context Database covers the following broad subject areas: Click here for the full list.

You will need a username and password to access the site, please ask your Homeroom Teacher for this. Access this resource and many others from the “Link Favourites” on the right hand side of our Access-It Library Catalogue.

For an overview and tips & tricks on using GVRL check out the video tutorials below:

How Much Media Do Kids and Teens Consume Each Day?

So, how much screen time is too much? Exactly what are the youngsters watching, doing and how often?

Common Sense Media has released the results of their research into the screen and media usage patterns of kids, tweens and teens.

Tweens, Teens, and Screens: What Our New Research Uncovers

By taking a “census” of kids’ media use, Common Sense’s new study quantifies screen use, identifies unique types of users, and uncovers patterns that could spark improvements in content, access, and learning.
Key Findings Include:
  • It’s not your imagination — media use is off the charts.
  • There is a wide diversity in screen media use.
  • Low-income kids lack access. 
  • Boys’ and girls’ media preferences are very different.
  • Social media use is big — but maybe not super fun. 
  • Everyone can be a maker, but not many are.

Read the whole report here.



Award Winning Author Oliver Phommavanh Visits Cabra

Acclaimed Author Visits Cabra

Today we were fortunate enough to be visited by hilarious children’s author Oliver Phommavanh.

“When I was a kid, I used to be a class clown. I just loved making people laugh. Teachers would tell me that I needed to grow up. But I had a better idea. Why don’t I choose a job where I can act like a kid and make jokes for a living!”

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Year 6, 7 and 8 students were treated to an amazing presentation by Oliver.  He had the students in fits of laughter for over an hour relating the story of his family, his schooling and the inspiration for his writing. 8 Gold were lucky enough to spend 2 Blocks with Oliver in his writing workshop.

Oliver is a young Thai-Australian writer for children. He has featured on panels at the Sydney Writers’ Festival among many other appearances at festivals and writing events as well as in blogs. He has worked as a primary school teacher and now spends his time writing and sharing his writing passion with kids and engaging them with humour. He’s also a stand-up comedian and has appeared on national TV and radio as well as a number of well-known comedy venues such as the Comedy Store in Sydney. His first book, Thai-riffic! was published in June 2010 to critical acclaim, followed by Con-nerd in 2011, Punchlines, Thai-no-mite! and Stuff Happens: Ethan. Visit Oliver at his website: http://www.oliverwriter.com

It is always so very special to be able to invite authors to visit Cabra to inspire, entertain and encourage a love of reading and writing in all its forms. Thanks Oliver!

Oliver is published by Penguin Books. To read a Q & A with Oliver click here.