St Mary's launches library with a twist - St Mary's Anglican Girls' School

St Mary’s launches library with a twist

POSTED May 6 2024 , Junior School, News

In recent years, our Junior School staff has embraced Kath Murdoch’s inquiry process of learning, which is grounded in the philosophy that education begins with the curiosity of the learner. It empowers students to take charge of their learning journeys and encourages them to arrive at an understanding of concepts by themselves.

An important aspect of delivering this innovative approach to education is finding ways to show students how they can apply their learning in the real world and empowering them with communication skills that will stay with them for life. That is why our Junior School is launching St Mary’s first ‘Human Library’.

This novel project aims to bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world application by connecting students with a diverse array of experts from within the School community. The Human Library will operate just like a traditional library, but with a twist. Instead of books, the ‘shelf’ comprises a database of human resources made up of current and past parents, Old Girls, grandparents, current and past staff members and friends of the school.

Sustainable Fashion Designer and founder of KonaCoco, Jessica Broughton, is a member of our Junior School Human Library

Deputy Head of Junior School (Curriculum), Ms Natasha Denham, said the idea came to her while undertaking a Purposeful Pedagogies: Global Competencies professional learning course facilitated by the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia (AISWA) last year.

“A huge part of the course focused on students contacting experts and that was the catalyst for St Mary’s own Human Library. We wanted our students to tap into people in our community because we know that there are so many people – parents, grandparents, Old Girls and staff – who are experts or knowledgeable in a vast range of topics,” Natasha said.

The Human Library, according to Natasha, will facilitate the practical application of classroom concepts and provide students with insights into the real-world relevance of their studies.

“Our students often ask, ‘When is this used in the real world?’ or ‘How is this going to help me after school?’ To have people in professions communicating what they do will give the girls an insight into where they could use new skills or where their life could go.”

Former fighter pilot, Ray Simpson, has also signed up to be a Human Library resource for our students

The St Mary’s community has already rallied to stock the shelves of the School’s newest library. It already possesses several engineers, doctors, lawyers and mining professionals, a midwife, an anaesthetist, a sustainability in fashion expert, a fighter pilot, an arts manager, a mental health professional, a florist and a dentist, as well as experts in crisis management and ancient Greece and Rome. It even has a two-time Olympic gold medal-winning cyclist.

As our Human Library expands – stocked with the wisdom and experiences of those who have walked varied paths in the world beyond the classroom – it will not only enhance the educational experience of our students but also foster a sense of connection, curiosity and inspiration that will undoubtedly shape our girls’ future endeavours.

Join our Junior School Human Library!

If you are interested in sharing insights about your profession, studies or hobbies with our students, we would love for you to be a part of our Junior School Human Library. Our goal is to create an extensive database of ‘human resources’ who possess knowledge about a variety of topics.
To sign up, please click the button below. For more information, please contact Natasha Denham at