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2020 AES Stein Library Annual Report: Inspired Lifelong Learning

Learn what we did in the library this year.

The American Embassy School libraries support the AES Mission for the students, faculty, staff and parents of the AES community. The libraries encourage “inspired lifelong learning” and support all areas of the AES curriculum. Literacy, literature appreciation, inquiry, and collaboration are key components of the library programs. Both libraries’ welcoming environments provide access to current, relevant resources.

You are invited to look at all three pages of this report by clicking on the three tabs above. 

E-reading circulation


We experienced an impressive 139% increase in our Sora use and a 40% increase in our RBdigital use in our statistical year, which we are proud of. (We use April 1 to March 31 for reporting purposes.) Because of our switch to Continuous Learning on March 15, our Sora statistics are through the roof. From March 15 to May 26 we more than doubled our total Sora circulations for 2018-19 and almost matched our 2019-20 circulations!

Print Collection

undefinedLess is more!  Our collection development focus continues to be to rid the library of outdated books to curate a "tighter" collection of fewer, better-quality titles. We currently have just over 25,500 titles per student, which averages to 35 books per student. Our average age is 16 years, which is still older than we'd like. We'll continue to weed out old titles and purchase new next year as we push towards our goal of an average age of 10 years with at least 25 books per student.

This year we got read of the General section and created a Classics section in its place. We also continued to reorganize and add navigational shelf labels to the non-fiction section to make finding books easier.


Research in the library

undefined MS and HS students in all grade levels came to the library to conduct research in language arts, social studies, humanities, science, health, history, math, art, and English. A major focus of library lessons is how to conduct academically honest research. Students at all grade levels use Noodletools (which had over 14,000 AES logins this year) to help them cite their sources, and they're all encouraged to use a notetaking method that requires them to paraphrase as they go. 

Once we went into continuous learning, research continued. Both 9th and 10th grade history classes adapted their already-scheduled research projects to a distance learning platform. It was great to collaborate with the history department as students pursued independent research.


The Libguides platform (where you're reading this report) is the library's home for digital content and resources. They are mostly used by our school community, but are viewable worldwide. The AES guides have been viewed over 24,000 times this year! The most-viewed guides were:

Anuradha Bhagwati

Anuradha Bhagwati, author of Unbecoming:  A Memoir of Disobedience, spoke to some AES high school students, faculty, and parents in January on her way to the Jaipur Literature Festival. She told an inspiring story of her life as the daughter of Indian immigrants to America who became a US Marine and then an activist, leading the challenge that resulted in groundbreaking changes to US military policy. Ms. Bhagwati's visit was sponsored by the US Embassy.

Library Staff Professional Development


  • Linda attended the Librarians' Knowledge Sharing Workshop in Kuala Lumpur and co-presented a workshop about supporting the extended essay.
  • Gaurav offered training to the staff of both libraries on the Google suite of apps as well as the Destiny Library Catalog.

MSHS Library Budget


The largest expense for the MSHS library is databases, with books coming in second. 


Circulation Statistics



Parent Book Club


Each month the library hosted a parent book club organized by Elizabeth Williams Oerberg.

Senior Exit Survey

Senior Exit Survey: Think about one time in your AES career when the school library really helped you. Write about the help that you got, and what you were able to do because of it.

  • I was able to use the private rooms to get lots of work done and it gave me space to be independent.
  • The school library helped me whenever I needed resources for schoolwork, exams, or university. Not only was I able to borrow books easily (which I’ve thought of purchasing on my own before) but also the online databases provides me with various and accurate sources. I also liked how I could print things out comfortably!! I will miss everything of our school’s library :(
  • I got a lot of help with citations for my history IA (where the sources are especially crucial) and figuring out the process for sources that I translated from a different language.
  • Besides the actual books, the school library has always been a great space whether that is for me to study and catch up on work or even to tutor underclassmen.
  • In 10th grade, Mr Bisht helped me figure out Noodletools which set me up for stronger citations for the rest of my high school career. Likewise, in 12th grade - sorry, I realise that this is a second component - Ms Hoiseth helped me learn how to work with the kinds of sources I'd never used before like digital manuscripts etc for citations that strengthened my work for my math IA. Of course, Ms Saigal and Mr Ravi were also incredibly helpful throughout my three years at AES. Thanks, library team, you really made my time at AES so much easier!
  • When I needed access to a couple of sources for my extended essay that were locked or needed to be paid for and was given access to all of them within a day thanks to Ms. Hoiseth. It was super helpful for the completion of my extended essay and allowed me to use very credible sources.
  • I really liked the use of rooms with the white board. When I had tests I would do some problems on the board. But I wished there were more sufficient markers in each room. Even the bathroom inside the library was very useful as I don't need to walk the whole way outside of the library.
  • I got to read Calvin and Hobbes. Still my favorite comic strip. Calvin and Hobbes accounted for approximately 30% of my overall education, so thanks to the library for that.
  • It's really hard to just state one time because of how helpful the library has been to me during my whole time at AES. It has always been a space that allows me to concentrate, study, and get important work done. I was also able to double check my citations were correct for important projects such as my IB IAs and EE with the help with the great library staff.
  • For my Extended Essay the library was a huge help as I found an abundance of sources and places I could go for help with citations, or finding certain topics I needed to complete my ee.
  • I first just want to say that the library staff in the AES MS/HS Library are really incredible; they are so great at their jobs, constantly willing to take their work to new heights, and always finding new ways to support us. I am so grateful we've had their support. 

Building modifications

The amazing AES Facilities team completed a couple of projects that transformed the library. They created a new entrance that is more easily accessible from the middle and high school buildings:

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They helped make the library feel more open and accessible by removing the old magazine shelf and helping us rearrange some of the other shelving. Here are some before and after pics:

And, perhaps most importantly, they built a restroom that is accessible inside the library!



Database Use

The AES libraries provide access to several databases to help students with their inquiry projects. Each year we analyze usage data to determine which databases we should keep, add, or discontinue. Based on usage data on the number of searches conducted, Britannica, Culturegrams, and JSTOR are the most-used databases.

This year we added the database APAPsycnet for high school psychology students, and the Journal of Chemical Education for science students, and The Atlantic for social studies students.



Faculty Survey

  • I love the library staff! They are so helpful, kind, friendly. It is the wonderful people that make the library amazing.
  • I've used the library many times and the response to help is immediate...with book delivery to my classroom! Also a great place to work, grade, relax :)
  • I have never had such a positive experience with a librarian.
  • Thank you for what you do!


AES Presents!

The library and the admissions office joined forces to create a monthly speaker series called AES Presents! for community members. The presenters spoke on a wide variety of interesting topics.

  • Mark Williams - The Equation of Creativity + Service = ?
  • Mridula Koshy - The Community Library Project
  • Sunaina Suneja - Journey of a Craft Revival: Phulkari Embroidery
  • Pankaj Vir Gupta- The Yamuna River Project
  • Marta Sanchez-Capuchino - Mindfulness in Our Daily Life

We appreciate our community members stepping forward to share their expertise!


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