Five Minutes of Fame with Sarah Mounsey

Sarah Mounsey

Director of Libraries, Sarah Mounsey


1. Where else in the world have you lived? 

I was born in Australia and lived there until I was 18, then galivanted off to England for a gap year in Cheshire and spent a year travelling. I realised then, that although Australia was amazing, it was not the centre of the universe. I returned to Australia to do my teaching degree and then taught there for a couple of years. I then went back to the UK for what I thought would be two years and I have not lived in Australia since. I spent six months living in France, eight years in London and I have been in Singapore for eleven years.  I have loved all of these places but as the Peter Allen song says “I still call Australia home.”


2. Tell us about your family.

I grew up surrounded by women and am now surrounded by men! I am married to Craig and we have three boys and a pet dog, who is also a boy! Thank goodness we have a wonderful helper, Ofelia, who helps keep some balance in our home.


3. What’s your favourite weekend activity in Singapore? 

Anything that involves being near the water, whether it be cycling or walking along with park connectors, the East Coast Parkway or spending time at Sentosa. Having some delicious food and a relaxing drink is always a necessity too.


4. Do you have an all-time favourite book and author? 

That is an almost impossible question for a teacher-librarian to answer! It is like asking a parent to name a favourite child. If I have to name a favourite picture book though, it would be Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Flemming because the premise of the story is that the best gift you can give someone is a story. Picture books are one of my favourite formats because you can use them with children of all ages. I do not have much time to read literature that is not for children, so it is a treat when I do!


5. Have you always wanted to pursue a career related to books?

Yes, in a roundabout way. It was teaching that lead me there. During my childhood, my parents owned a bookshop for a few years and our whole family were avid readers. When I finished my Bachelor of Education (Primary), I loved teaching English and kept thinking I would love to write my own picture books. When I became a mum I took some time off teaching and stayed at home to look after the boys. I decided to do some creative writing courses and a few years later I published three picture books. I did author talks at different schools and met some wonderful teacher librarians. This led me to enrol in a Masters of Education in Teacher Librarianship and Information Science. I came back to teaching at Dulwich as a Year 2 class teacher and then moved to be the Junior School Teacher Librarian, and the rest is history!


6. Tell us about a hidden talent or a top secret that no-one no one would know about you. 

I once nannied for a family who was friends with the Royals. One night I had to look after their boys and Prince Harry. We played Boggle and he tried to cheat but I put him in his place!


7. Which five people would you invite to a dinner party, dead or alive? 

Given the current pandemic, I would have to say my family because I miss them terribly.

But, if it is to be famous people, I would go with Jacinda Ardern, Nelson Mandela, John Wood  (the founder of Room to Read), Dame Judi Dench and Graham Norton because he would draw brilliant and amusing stories out of everyone.


8. Are there any creative ways you’ve used to encourage students to pick up reading? 

This is what all of the library team spend so much time doing and we are constantly coming up with new ideas. The main thing is to talk about a book in such a way that students will feel that they are missing out if they don’t read it. The last few weeks we have been doing some speed book tasting. The students are given a basket of five books and they have three minutes to decide which one has the best cover, blurb and start. Lots of new titles have been discovered as a result of this.


9. Do you have a memorable moment whilst working in the College?

Book character dress-up day is always my favourite day of the year. Not only do I love seeing what the students come dressed as, but the staff costumes are such a highlight.


10. Do you have a motto or saying that really resonates with you?

Treat others as you wish to be treated. Short and simple and so important.