Introducing cloudLibrary!


St. Thomas Public Library is excited to offer a brand new way to download eBooks and eAudiobooks to your smartphone, tablet, or eReader!

You’ve been able to borrow eBooks and eAudiobooks through Overdrive and the Libby App for several years already, but now there is a second place to look for those books you can’t wait to read or listen to – cloudLibrary!

CloudLibrary works a lot like Overdrive – you can find popular eBooks and eAudiobooks by visiting the cloudLibrary website, or by downloading the App for iOS, or the App for Android .





Capture 4

Once you are on the cloudLibrary website, or have downloaded the App, you can browse our collection of eBooks and eAudiobooks, place holds, and borrow items!

All you need is a library card!

How do our two eBook and eAudiobook services compare?

cloudLibrary Overdrive & Libby App
Borrow items for 3 weeks Borrow items for 2 weeks
Place holds on up to 25 items at a time Place holds on up to 10 items at a time
Check out 10 items at a time Check out 10 items at a time

Here’s a testimonial from one of our staff members who has started using cloudLibrary:

“This is a new app that allows us to provide popular titles, many without holds. You heard me, very few holds! The platform is really similar to Libby with many features. You can tag books to read later, browse by category, and check out curated lists. You can also tag books that haven’t even been published yet! That’s right, cloudLibrary knows what you will be wanting to read in the new year!”

-Jess, Library Assistant

Have questions? Please reach out via email at

Looking for help using the cloudLibrary App or website? Visit our website:

STPL Diverse Reads 2018

As we near the end of 2018, we are reflecting on a year of wonderful diverse books! We’ve put together a list of #stpldiversereads that features a number of debuts and one title published after the loss of a great Canadian author, Richard Wagamese, in 2017. Instead of the usual end of year reading lists, we’ve compiled ours according to topics and genres. We’ve also created a tagged list of these titles in our catalogue, just search #stpldiversereads!

Pride and Prejudice Reboots

PrideAyesha at last

Pride by Ibi Zoboi

Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

Both Pride and Ayesha at Last are inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Why read the classic when you can read a 2018 #ownvoices reboot? Like Austen, Zoboi and Jalaluddin both examine class and social structure in their novels. Unlike Austen, these reboots also highlight what it means to be Muslim (Ayesha at Last) and Haitian-Dominican (Pride). These re-tellings offer us a chance to read an updated version of Austen’s well-loved story that includes the diversity of our world.


American MarriageBeneath a ruthless sun

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Beneath a Ruthless Sun by Gilbert King

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Beneath a Ruthless Sun is non-fiction that reads like a novel and American Marriage is a fictional tale that seems entirely possible. Both books offer a nuanced approach to what it means to be black and facing criminal charges. Beneath a Ruthless Sun also explores what occurs when special needs adults are institutionalized without due process. Both Jones and King present problems from a variety of angles and offer the reader the chance to decide for themselves.

Past and Present

Map of salt and starsLast Watchman

A Map of Salt and Stars by Zeynab Joukhadar

The Last Watchman of Old Cairo by Michael David Lukas

Maps, scrolls, and adventure, oh my! On the surface, these two books could not be more different: one is about a family struggling to decide whether to stay in Syria or take their chances as refugees and the other is about a student who receives a mysterious package on his doorstep. These books are examples of how historical adventures can reveal the connections between past and present. Both books explore gender roles, faith, history, family, sexuality, and community. Whether they’re read together or separately, these are two books not to be missed.



Starlight by Richard Wagamese

A year after Richard Wagamese died, his agents and publishers released his final book. Unlike other posthumous novels, Starlight remains unfinished. All we have is what Wagamese wrote and his intentions for the ending. Wagamese writes with a quiet passion about the healing possibilities of nature and the lingering effects of trauma. This is a beautiful book about haunting pasts and new beginnings.


Split Toothheart berries

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot

This is a year of genre-bending debuts and both Split Tooth and Heart Berries fit the bill. Juno award-winning singer Tagaq writes about the far, and sometimes forgotten, north. Terese Marie Mailhot offers a very personal memoir in essay form. Both Mailhot and Tagaq take risks in their writing and offer readers books that push boundaries and boldly tackle difficult truths.

Sci/Fi and Fantasy

Children of bloodBlackfish City

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller

Children of Blood and Bone is an epic quest narrative that had a film deal before its publication. Blackfish City, not headed for the screen yet, involves some fascinating creatures in a futuristic society grappling with climate change. Adeyemi and Miller are both strong world-builders and readers can envision themselves in these fantastical spaces. Even though both are fictional and thousands of miles apart, the themes of resistance hit close to home.

Exploring Marriage

MarriageAmerican Panda

Marriage of a Thousand Lies by SJ Sindu

American Panda by Gloria Chao

At first glance, these books may seem like an odd pair: one involves an arranged marriage of two people trying to hide their sexuality and the other is a young adult novel about trying to find your place in the world. Sindu and Chao’s books have more in common than they seem. Both examine what it means to live in a Western society with careers and dreams while managing familial expectations around arranged married. In both cases, characters have to navigate what happens when someone deviates from “the plan” or subverts traditional conventions.

Stories of Our Fathers

I've been meaning to tell youthe storm

I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You: A Letter to my Daughter by David Chariandy

The Storm by Arif Anwar

Storytelling takes pride of place in these books by David Chariandry and Arif Anwar. I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You features an emotional record of a father trying to raise his daughter in a complicated and divisive world. The Storm contains intersecting stories of a number of people preparing for catastrophes in their lives. In one of these stories, Shahryar is losing his visa status in the US and must make the most of his remaining weeks with his American-born daughter. Both books are compelling and revealing reads.

Looking for more diverse books? Check out our list by searching #stpldiversereads!


Islamic History Month Canada

As we wrap up October, we’d like to acknowledge our Muslim Community and all they do for us locally! We’re welcoming guest blogger Iffat Farooqui, a 30-year resident of St. Thomas and a member of St. Thomas-Elgin Local Immigration Partnership’s Cultural Diversity Committee. She wrote us a great blog post about Islamic History in Canada and what our local Muslim Community has been up to!


What is Islamic History Month?

The Government of Canada first established October as Islamic History Month (IHM) in 2007, recognizing “the important contributions of Canadian Muslims to Canadian society, the cultural diversity of the Canadian Muslim community, and the importance of Canadians learning about each other to foster greater social cohesion.” On June 22, 2016, the month of October was designated as Islamic Heritage Month in Canada.

“Islamic history and culture encompasses a broad range of individual and collective experiences, as well as important contributions to literature, math, science, art and history” – Bill 23, Islamic Heritage Month Act.

Islamic History in Canada

Muslims in Canada go back to 1854 when there were 4 Muslims in the country. The population grew to 13 Muslims by 1871, 47 by 1900, and 478 by 1921! Many of the migrants came from the collapsing Ottoman Empire and were looking for work by heading west where land was cheaper and labour was needed. In Ontario, the oldest Muslim community is in London, according to Hassam Munir, an Islamic history researcher and founder of iHistory.


In his article in the Hamilton Spectator, The Long and Forgotten History of Muslims in Canada, Munir says that among the first Muslim settlers was a man from West Africa, enslaved as a young man in Brazil and shipped to the United States. As a free man he eventually made his way to Chatham, where in 1854 a local man helped him document his life in a biography. Also among the earliest known Muslims (or Mohomadens as the census at the time called them) to arrive were James and Agnes Love, who were belived to have converted to Islam in Scotland before coming to Canada. According to Munir, many of these first Muslim immigrants in Canada developed good relationships and even married the Indigenous peoples where they settled.

Munir recounts the story of Hilwi Hamdon, a Muslim woman who led the call to see the first mosque built in Canada (in Edmonton), and Bedouin Ferran, who came from Lebanon in 1910 and overcame much discrimination to become a successful fur trader and then a politician, and later changed his name to Peter Baker.

During the First World War, twenty two Muslims fought for Canada. After WWI, the Muslims who immigrated to Canada were skilled labourers and professionals, and many French speaking Muslims from North Africa had settled in Quebec. The Muslim population continued to grow from 645 in 1931 to 33,000 by 1971, and today there are more than one million.

In Ontario, 12 immigrant families settled in London and were the pioneers in building the London Muslim Mosque on Oxford Street about 50 years ago, and about 25 years later the Islamic Centre of Southwestern Ontario was founded.

Not only in the past but today, the Muslim community is a vital part of the fabric of Canada. There are many famous Muslims who have made their mark in sports, entertainment, politics, business, and many more areas important in our society.

Our Local Islamic Community

In St. Thomas, thanks to the St. Hilda’s Street Luke’s Anglican Church, the Muslim Community has a place to pray on Fridays. The church has opened their doors and has been very hospitable. On June 11, 2018, the Muslim Community hosted an Eid Dinner for the Church Community and St. Thomas. London Mosque Imams, Imam Jamal and Imam Tawakkal, attended the event along with Naj Mankal, President of the Islamic Centre,  and prominent Muslim community leaders Dr. Munir El Kassem and Professor Yahya Kharrat.

The Muslim Community invites everyone to visit the Mosque on Oxford Street during their open house every year. Come and see the beautiful mosque from the inside, see how Muslims pray, enjoy the display items, ask questions and enjoy the variety of yummy snacks!

October is now celebrated in many places all throughout Canada as Islamic History Month. On behalf of the Muslim Community in St. Thomas, I would like to thank the St. Thomas Public Library for putting up a display of books written by Muslim authors.


-Iffat Farooqui.

Library Board 101: Applications Now Open!


The municipal election is over, and we look forward to working with the new council to strengthen our community! Council Committee applications are now open, and that includes our very own Library Board! The St. Thomas Public Library is governed by the St. Thomas Public Library Board, which provides oversight and guidance to the Library. We welcome you to consider applying for a place on our Library Board and make a difference in your community. Read on to learn more about the Library Board!


A Library Board is created under a provincial law – called the Public Libraries Act – and the Act says that the library board’s role is:

  • to act as a spokesperson in support of the library
  • to develop a budget and monitor expenses
  • to hire, supervise, and evaluate a CEO
  • to develop the policies required for the operation of the library

The Board is a governance board, so they make sure the budget is approved, monitor expenditures, and review and approve policies. The Board is not involved in the day to day operations of the library, except to set the overall budget and policies.


As a whole, the Board meets 10 times a year, every month except July and August. In addition there are committees of the Board – a Finance Committee, a Personnel Committee, and a Public Relations and Fundraising Committee and they may meet 3 or 4 times per year.


The Board has nine members – two City Councillors, up to three members recommended by the School Boards, and four volunteer members from the community. All members are appointed by City Council.


All the members are appointed to the Board after a municipal election (usually October). In November, the City places an ad in the newspaper, asking for applications for all its local and community Boards including the hospital, the police board, or the library board. Vacancies may also arise following a resignation of a board member. All Board members have to live in the City of St. Thomas, be Canadian citizens, and be over 18.


Board members are volunteers, and the only payment they receive is reimbursement of expenses on Board-related business. For example, a board member may attend an out-of-town library meeting, library conference, or workshop with expenses paid by the library.


Every four or five years, during a strategic planning process, we meet with the public to make sure that the Board sets a plan for the library that meets community needs. The development of this plan is one of the most important functions of the Board. Our annual report to the community measures our success in terms of numbers and community impact.


A passion for libraries! Board members typically represent all segments of the community, such as seniors, parents, business entrepreneurs, and educators. Other skills and characteristics include:

  • Open-minded
  • Works well with others
  • Listener
  • Time to commit
  • Personally involved in the community
  • Able to talk to community members
  • Knows community issues
  • Passion for libraries and their role in the community
  • Understands library customers and their needs
  • Has creative ideas for making the library better

Sound interesting? If you want to become a Library Board member, start by getting to know your library! Visit us and learn about what we do! We would love to chat with you.

For more information or to download the application form, visit our website:

Summer Reading Club 2018

Lazenby family

Another Summer Reading Club just wrapped up and we can’t believe how fast it went! The numbers are in and it was a great summer for reading. We had so much fun with new summer programs like Community Helper Storytime, and the return of some classics from last year like Meet A Maker and #STPLBookishSummer Teen Instagram Challenge. Here’s what our summer looked like this year:

Total Registrations for Summer Reading Club: 569

Total Books Read: 7121

That’s 116 more registrations and 1071 more books read than last year!

Kids got to colour in a line on the rocket ship for every 100 books read. Here we are in July just above the halfway mark!IMG_0562

Summer Programs

Meet a Maker

Meet a Maker returned for its second year with all new community makers! Kids got to learn about local makers and their crafts, ask questions, and get some hands-on experience! We hosted six sessions this year featuring Sarah Van Pelt and her miniature dioramas, Terry Lanning and his handmade pens, Andie of Bracelets for Brains, Cindy Bircham of Elgin Harvest, Grayden Laing of Grayden Laing Studios and Greg Wight of Harbour Guitars.


Community Helper Storytime

We had five storytimes hosted by community helpers this year! Kids got to learn about their various jobs and the equipment they use, and of course listen to a story. We featured a public health nurse, a dentist, a firefighter, police officers, and a paediatric ICU nurse.


#STPLBookishSummer Teen Instagram Challenge

We held our second annual #STPLBookishSummer Teen Instagram Challenge this year and we had some beautiful entries! Every week we posted a new bookish challenge on Instagram and participants took a picture and added the hashtag #STPLBookishSummer to be entered into the grand prize draw. At the end of the summer we held an Instagram Art Gallery party featuring the entries and the winner received her prize!

We had many other programs and drop-in crafts and activities all summer, including Stuffie Sleepover, Sensory Play, Young Writers’ Club Workshops, Family Movie Fridays, Life-Size Games, Minecraft Challenges, and an End of Summer show by Mad Science.

Special thanks to our sponsors who provided great prizes this year! Thank you Van Pelt’s Business Solutions, Rail City Recreation, Shaw’s Ice Cream, Legoland Discovery Centre, Fan of the Sport, YMCA St. Thomas-Elgin, and the STEAM Centre!

We hope you had as much fun as we did this summer!

Introduction to Goodreads


Looking for a way to keep track of what you’ve read? Want to find new books and get personalized recommendations? There’s an app for that! We now offer a Goodreads Workshop and we’ll show you how to make the most of this free app.

Here’s an outline of what you can do with Goodreads, and what you’ll learn if you drop in for our workshop!

What is Goodreads?

Goodreads is a free database of millions of books. You can receive book recommendations and read reviews by other readers. If you ever wish there was a Summer Reading Club for adults, you can do the yearly Goodreads challenge or join an online reading group/discussion group!

You’ll get the most out of Goodreads by creating an account for yourself. If you choose to share your account, you can see what your friends are reading and let them know what’s on your bookshelf. *This is optional.* You do not have to connect your Goodreads account to Google, Facebook, or any other platforms.

Goodreads is also useful without an account. If you want to see book reviews but you don’t want an account, type “book title goodreads” into your search engine. Example: “Da Vinci Code goodreads” will show you all reviews and star ratings for a book. You can also visit the link to the author’s Goodreads page.

Get Started with the App!

Go to your app store or Google Play store on your device and search for Goodreads. It’s free! You can create an account using your email address.

After you create your account and sign in, you will see the Reading Challenge screen.

reading challenge

You can create a reading goal for the rest of the year, or you can skip this step by pressing the button in the top right corner.

find friends
Option to link to Facebook

You can choose to link your Goodreads account to Facebook or invite friends by allowing Goodreads to access your email account. We recommend you skip this step and check out the privacy settings before sharing your information.



We also recommend selecting “Not Now” when you see the “Allow Notifications” pop up.


The next screen shows different genres of books. Choose your favourites and swipe up for more options. You can change these options later if you want!


Now it’s time to rate books. This is so that Goodreads can give you personalized book recommendations. You can skip this step if you want or come back to it later.

rate books
Rate books that you have already read.

Swipe left to see more options on the book rating screen. When you see a book you have read, give it a rating. This will also add the book to your “Read” shelf. If you see a book you want to read, press “want to read” and the book will be added to your “To Read” shelf. If you do not see any books you have read, or want to read, click the drop down next to “biography” (or a genre you chose) and pick a different genre.

Once you have rated 20 books, you will a menu appear at the bottom of the screen. The home button takes you to a feed of the most recent reviews posted on Goodreads.

recommendations bar

Searching for Books

Recommendations screen
My Books Screen

You can search Goodreads for books using the book title, author, or ISBN. In the My Books screen, you will see the books you rated when you set up the app and any that you selected as “want to read.” You can also create shelves to organize your books. You can organize your bookshelves any way you want! Maybe you want a shelf for mystery books, or a shelf for your favourite books, or a shelf for books you want to read on your vacation, or a shelf for books that your friend Sharon recommended to you.

Scanning Books

You can scan books with your phone or device using the Goodreads app! Go to the Scan screen and use your camera to scan the barcode on the back of a book. This will link to the reviews and book information on Goodreads. This is great if you’re not sure about a book and want to check out some reviews before you buy it or check it out from the library!


And More!

The More icon contains a number of different options that will lead you to groups, your reading challenge, events around the globe, the option to add friends, settings, and your profile.

Keep in mind that Goodreads is a public site. Any books you rate, or reviews you write can be seen by others. You might want to choose a username that is different than your real name or use only your first name. Example: Maplebooks or just Malcolm.

Be sure to read the settings and choose the options that are right for you. It is also important to decide which emails you want to receive from Goodreads. For an in depth discussion of privacy settings, join our Goodreads Workshop on August 4!

If you have questions when using the app, explore the Help section. Here’s an example of a question:

Remove a book

If you cannot find the answer, you can contact the Help team. They respond quickly and efficiently.

Enjoy exploring Goodreads! Have fun making and organizing your bookshelves and discovering new books to love. Happy reading!

New! ViewScan Microfilm Reader

Microfilm 5

Regular patrons of the George Thorman Local History room have already discovered that we have a new ViewScan microfilm reader/printer. This microfilm reader is designed in many ways to function like the old microfilm readers, so that the learning curve to use the new technology is not so steep. The appearance on the screen is similar to the old ones, so scrolling a newspaper is done in a similar manner as well. There is a print button which prints out a screen shot, just like the old one. But of course you can do so much more with the new one!

The only way to save articles on the old reader/printers was to print it. With the ViewScan, you can save pages or articles directly to your USB or send them in your email.

Over the years, people have often asked for a print of the cover page of the newspaper. Since the old reader/printer did not display an entire page, the only way to get an entire front page was to print out several sheets and tape them together. Now the entire page appears on the screen, and can easily be printed on one sheet of paper!

Microfilm 4

What was in the news the day you were born? Well, for any whose birthday is June 26, 1986, this was the front page news in the St. Thomas Times Journal:

Microfilm 3

Do you want to save just one article? You can now do a digital crop and save that!

Microfilm 2

Choose from several file formats such as JPEG, TIFF, or PDF. Photos can be edited using the ViewScan software.


Our microfilm collection includes the St. Times Journal since it started in 1918, and other local papers that reach as far back as 1859! Come on in and give it a try.