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Curtin Malaysia hosts Librarians Leadership Camp for SM Sains Miri students

Miri – 7 November 2018 – A ‘Librarians Leadership Camp’ hosted by Curtin University Malaysia (Curtin Malaysia) for students of Sekolah Menengah Sains Miri over the weekend saw the participants brainstorming and planning ways to revamp their school library.

The camp was a collaboration between Curtin Malaysia’s Library and Learning Commons and Pusat Kegiatan Guru (PKG) Miri, the first such collaboration between the university and PKG Miri.

Such collaborations are part of the Library and Learning Commons’ ongoing community outreach initiatives. It is strongly committed to leveraging its vast knowledge and experience in library management to benefit the community, particularly school and community libraries.

47 students from forms one to three took part in the camp aimed at introducing and advocating librarianship among students of SM Sains Miri.

“SM Sains Miri is encouraging its students to fully utilise its library and what better way than to get the students actively involved in running their own library,” said Curtin Malaysia’s Head of Library and Learning Commons Mac’Earldon Mike Maxwell.

The camp included a 2-day workshop and teambuilding activities at the campus facilitated by staff of the Library and Learning Commons followed by a closing ceremony at the school on the third day. The workshops were on ‘Cataloguing and Classification’ and ‘Information Literacy Skills’, which are basic essentials for librarians.

Mac’Earldon said that, to build a library, one needs to not only know how to operate and manage its resources but also encourage users to make use of them.

“The library of yesteryear is no longer relevant in this 21st Century and schools such as SM Sains Miri realise the importance of changing the way their libraries are managed to suit the millennial students and changing trends in education,” he remarked.

He said that The Library at Curtin Malaysia is a good example of a modern library, with floor space of some 16,000 square feet and a collection consisting of over 32,800 printed books, 4,300 audio-visual items, 500 print journals, 250,000 electronic books, 150,000 electronic journals and 600 online databases. Through the latest digital technologies and the Internet, its online resources are easily accessible by users anywhere and at any time.

According to Mac’Earldon, helping users acquire Information Literacy Skills (ILS) is a big part of the library services at Curtin Malaysia. All new students at the university are captured in the library system and encouraged to attend ILS training to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to navigate and use all the library services.

Such knowledge and skills are also imparted to secondary school students through workshops in the conviction that ILS is an important skill every student should acquire to enable them to be fully prepared for high-level studies.

In her opening remarks during the workshop, the teacher in charge of the school’s library, Fiona Toh, said traditional libraries are no longer sufficient or relevant to the needs of today’s students. She said that bringing the students to visit Curtin Malaysia’s library was an excellent way for them to observe and learn how a modern academic library is managed.

This view was supported by Josephine Ambon of PKG Miri, who is responsible for all the School Resource Centres or ‘Pusat Sumber’ in Miri District. She thanked Curtin Malaysia for hosting the workshop, which was probably the first of its kind to be held in Sarawak, and urged the university to continue helping local schools build better and more useful libraries.

Josephine said that, following the success of the Librarians Leadership Camp, PKG Miri plans to organise a similar camp for all secondary schools in Miri District and hopes that The Library and Learning Commons will support it.

In conjunction with the camp, The Library and Learning Commons donated new books to the SM Sains Miri library from funds raised during its Library Charity Sale held during the Curtin Malaysia Carnival last August. The books were handed over by Mac’Earldon to the school principal, Mohd. Dzul Badzli Bin Abdullah, during the camp’s closing ceremony at SM Sains Miri on 4 November 2018.

For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website (, its Facebook page (CurtinMalaysia), Twitter profile (curtinmalaysia), Google+ page (Curtin Malaysia), Instagram (curtinmalaysia) or YouTube channel (Curtin Malaysia).

Participants during the ‘Cataloguing and Classification’ workshop.

Librarian Nora Hii instructing the participants on information literacy.

The students pose for group photo after the workshops and a tour of the campus.

Group photo of students, Curtin Malaysia and SM Sains Miri staff, including Toh (seated 2nd left), Josephine of PKG Miri (3rd left), Mohd. Dzul Badzil (5th left) and Mac’Earldon (6th left) during the closing ceremony at SM Sains Miri.

Mac’Earldon handing over donated books to Mohd. Dzul Badzli.