The mission of the Library is to provide a welcoming environment at the heart of our school that is conducive to reading for pleasure and supports students with academic research. From Early Years through to Year 13, we strive to inspire a love of literature, open minds to a wide range of perspectives and cultivate a community of readers. We equip our pupils with library skills and support information literacy across all year groups, specifically helping our Sixth Form with research and citation for their Extended Project Qualification. We work closely with the Leadership Team, Heads of Department and teachers to support the curriculum and give our pupils the research tools they need in every step of their learning journey. The Harrow School Library is a part of a wider community of Hong Kong International School Libraries, as well as the Harrow family of schools sharing best practices and professional development.
At the start of the 2020 academic year, the Harrow School Library Hub was launched. Students have access to thousands of academic articles, journals, magazines, newspapers and databases to meet all of their research needs whether at home or in school. Our Sora ebook lending library offers over 1,800 middle grade and young adult novels while our Lower School students have access to Epic ebooks and audiobooks for early readers. The Library subscribes to a number of databases including Britannica, National Geographic, Gale Virtual Reference Library, BrainPop, JSTOR, Massolit and Hodder A-Level magazine archives. School-wide newspaper subscriptions now include The FT, SCMP, The New York Times, The Sunday Times, The Week, plus First News and Learn The News for junior pupils. We have recently acquired a subscription to Newsbank, a collection of over 6,500 newspapers from around the world which we encourage teachers and pupils to engage with regularly. Our website is also home to Harrovians Recommend, a page of book reviews and recommendations for students by students.
We have over 25,000 books in our library, including an extensive Chinese fiction collection. We aim to provide a wide range of titles that will expose students to many genres of writing across diverse topics. We are constantly adding new titles, from current best sellers, acclaimed award winners to books recommended by teachers for specific departmental needs to support the curriculum. We also canvas our pupils for their recommendations through our student library representatives.
The Library hosts virtual author visits throughout the year to promote reading and the creative process behind books. We support and host competitions during Book Week every year and the 2021 Inspired By Books art competition winners are proudly displayed in our Library. We have introduced the Harrow Library Bistro Events where students are invited to taste different genres from a menu and read samples of books that they might not have read before. The Library offers a number of SCAs in each term including the Bring Me A Book Hong Kong charity SCA who organise money-raising events for the charity, and the Battle of the Books SCA which is team training for the book-quiz competition held in Hong Kong each year.
Ms Julia Besnard, Director of Libraries
Ms. Besnard joined Harrow Hong Kong as Director of Libraries in 2022. She originally moved to Hong Kong for a one-year adventure, which turned into… seven years and counting! Ms. Besnard holds a master’s in Library Science and Cultural Management from Université Sorbonne Nouvelle and Université Paris 10 Nanterre in Paris, France. Prior to joining Harrow Hong Kong, she worked as Chief Librarian at Alliance Française de Hong Kong (a cultural centre dedicated to promoting French) and Teacher Librarian at The Harbour School. She currently serves as co-convenor of ALESS Hong Kong (the Association of Librarians in English-Speaking Schools).
Outside of school, she enjoys reading (especially picture books), listening to podcasts, hiking, and exploring Hong Kong’s amazing food scene. She also enjoys practising Cantonese with her husband, Aidan.