Staff Focus: Tania Jordan, Primary Teacher Librarian

Written by Roseline Yang (Community Relations Officer)

In the middle of Book Week, we wanted to know more about the person behind this event: our Primary Teacher Librarian, Tania Jordan. Let’s meet her!

Could you share with us the purpose of Book Week and what what we can expect for this year?
Like in many countries, Book Week is celebrated every year here at YCIS in order for children to engage with book-related activities.

This year we will have special events through the week, including a new focus on Non-Fiction called Tuesday News Day. On Wednesday of Book Week, students (and teachers) will enjoy some silent, sustained reading in their pyjamas. On Thursday, we will have Buddy Reading, joining-up classes to read with one another.

Parents are welcome to join us at the closing assembly – 1:30pm Friday 24th February in the RP gym. Parents can still send an email to to sign-up for the Q&A with our visiting author, Mr Neil Griffiths from England, 2:25pm-3:05pm in the ECE Parent Room on Thursday 23rd February. They can also get in-touch with their child’s co-teachers to find a time to read to their child’s class during the week.

As you can see, there are lots of ways that parents can get involved this year.

Of course, they shouldn’t forget helping their child organise a book-themed hat to wear at the Friday closing assembly! By the way, our Hats Off to Reading theme came about because of our visiting author’s book, Hats Off!

How long have you been working at YCIS as a Primary Librarian?
I started work in Shanghai with YCIS in 2013. I was the first trained teacher librarian to work here.  Before that, I worked in a Primary Library in an International school in Dubai. I have also worked in Hong Kong and in Australia.

What is your role as Teacher Librarian?
I help support students’ learning and their love of reading. The natural consequence of enjoying reading is better writing, so there is a strong connection between students who read frequently and those who do well at school.

I assist teachers who are looking for particular books related to their Topics of study or their Literacy (English/EAL) units. There are four resource rooms in their library for teachers, so I help teachers whenever I can to find what they are looking for.

I also help in the ordering of new books for our library shelves and resources that are kept in the library resource rooms.

I help organise Book Fairs with an outside vendor and Book Club ordering (with Scholastic or Baker Books for example).

Book Week of course is one of the main ways I get students (families and teachers too I hope) enthused about reading. This year’s Book Week visiting author, Neil Griffiths, will have sessions with students, staff and parents. I hope parents attend the Q&A session with him on Thursday at 2:25pm in the ECE parent room!

How often do the children interact with you at school and what do you do with them?
Classes come to the Library once a week for half an hour, but many students also pop-in before school starts in the morning or else through the day or after school in the afternoon.

In Library sessions, I generally read a story or introduce books related to their units of study, either in Topic or Literacy (English/EAL).

The story or book is a way to start a discussion with students. Similar types of class management that are used in the classroom are also needed during Library sessions to make sure students are listening and focused. From our discussion, students might have new ideas about what they will borrow either for pleasure or for study. Nothing is better than seeing students excited about their reading!

Why have you specialized as a teacher librarian?
I trained as an English and Art teacher, but have never actually taught art (I think I’ve lost the skill!).

I found being in the classroom very demanding! Being in the library can be demanding too, but I think I am better suited being based in the library. It is very rewarding for me to be able to introduce students to new authors and books and to support teachers in their work.

Libraries have always held an allure for me. When I was very young I would visit the local public library with my mother. When I was a teenager, I remember my excitement learning about art museums all over the world that only existed for me in books.  It was in the day before the internet and before I had ever travelled.   

Is there something special you would like to share with our parents and children?
To the parents: Remember that fostering love for reading means giving children the freedom to select the books they are attracted to, even if often it can be picture books or comics.

To the children: Our library is always a place where you are welcome to come and visit myself or Vicky, the library assistant who can help you borrow both in English and Chinese.