New! Meet Libby

Did you know your library card lets you choose from thousands of eBook and eAudiobook titles? Let us introduce you to Libby, the brand new app from OverDrive for your phone or tablet that gives you full access to our digital collection!

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Libby is made for mobile, so if you want to download titles to read on the go on your phone, tablet, or eReader, you’ll love it! If you prefer to look at eBooks and eAudiobooks on your computer or need accessibility functions you will still find OverDrive available while Libby continues to grow!

 

Here’s how to get started with Libby:

  1. On your device, go to your app store: Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or the Windows Store. Search for Libby and install the app (it’s free).
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Libby as it appears in the Google Play Store.

2. Open the app and search for St. Thomas Public Library. An easy way to find us is to use your postal code, or use ours: N5P 3Z7

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3. Don’t worry about adding your library card number yet. First browse titles by using the search bar. When you tap the search bar, you’ll see an icon that says MORE: Tap this to add other information to your search such as format, subject, or author (creator).

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After you tap ‘MORE’ this menu appears with more search options.

You can also find more search options after you have searched for a title and your results are listed on the screen. If the title you’d like is checked out to someone else, you’ll see a Place Hold option instead of a Borrow option when you select that title. Tap this to place a hold on the item. You’ll also see a REFINE option with three lines on the right of your search results: You can use this to narrow your results. A good option in this menu is Hide unavailable titles. With this option selected, you won’t see titles that are checked out to others.

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4. Once you’ve located a title you’d like to borrow, just tap Borrow! You’ll see you also have the option to Tag or Read Sample. The Tag option is so you can organize titles any way you like. You could tag items as ‘read’, ‘want to read’, ‘loved’, ‘didn’t love’, etc. Read a Sample lets you try out a section of the book before you borrow it. After you tap Borrow on a title you would like, you will be asked to add your library card number.

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This is where you can add your St. Thomas Public Library card. You can add cards from other libraries too!

5. Once you have borrowed a book, tap the Shelf option at the bottom of the screen to see the books you have checked out. Your items will download automatically over a wi-fi connection.

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Shelf with current loans on an Android device

From your shelf, you can Renew, Return, or Tag your loans. Just tap on the cover of the book and you’ll see these options.

Give Libby a try! We’re here to help you if you need it. We have courses to teach you how to use an eReader or a tablet, drop-in tech help sessions, and by-appointment tech help sessions! Call us at 519-631-6050 to register or book a time. You can also check out this handy guide from OverDrive for help. Enjoy!

 

Let’s Talk About Books!

Let’s talk about BOOKS.

St. Thomas Public Library is full of books, but not just the books you see on our shelves – we get a lot of gently used books donated to us from members of the community. We truly appreciate that people think of us as a place to support with donations, but the truth is that we simply cannot take all the donated books and put them on our shelves. Sometimes we don’t have enough room! Sometimes we already have a copy of the book in our collection, and don’t need a second one! Sometimes the book is older and out of date, or is in too poor condition. For times like these, we are happy to lean on our fundraising group, Friends of St. Thomas Public Library.

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The Friends of St. Thomas Public Library are a volunteer group who help raise funds for the library and promote the library as a cultural institution in the community. They began in 1994, and have so far donated over $200,000 to St. Thomas Public Library. They accept donated books on behalf of the library, and have a permanent book shop located at the Elgin Mall. Many of the donated books we receive at the main library end up being brought to the Friends’ Shop, so that they can be sold. All the proceeds from sales are distributed back to the Library, to support collections, programs, and services. You can learn more about the Friends’ of the Library here: https://stthomaspubliclibrary.ca/friends/

 

St. Thomas Public Library buys nearly 10,000 new items every year – but our physical building does not expand accordingly! That’s why we have to be mindful about the books we remove from our collection – if 10,000 new books come in, then a similar amount of old books must come out! We use a variety of methods to select the books we discard; we look at things like poor condition or damage, whether or not anyone has checked out the book recently, how many checkouts it has had since we bought it, etc. All of this is taken into consideration. But at the end of the day, that’s a lot of books to get rid of! We send the books in the best condition over to the Friends of the Library Shop at the Mall, so that they can sell them and generate revenue for us. But a lot of the items we pull from our shelves won’t make for great local sales – so we use a company called Better World Books as a backup plan.

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Better World Books is a company that works with libraries to make good use of the books they don’t need any more. They send us boxes and shipping labels, and all we have to do is pack up the books we aren’t sending to the Friends’ Shop, and ship them off to Better World Books instead (shipping is even free!) Once Better World Books receives our boxes, the items are sorted and scanned, and each saleable item is listed on over 50 channels for sale online. If an item is determined not to be “saleable”, meaning it isn’t a good candidate to sell online, Better World Books has a recycling program set-up. They never, ever, throw away a book. In fact, when we log in to their site with our Library Account, we can see exactly how many of our books have been recycled, and see a real-time review of the positive impact we are having on the environment.

Below I’ve included a screenshot from our Better World Books account, where you can see how many of our books have been reused or recycled, and how many trees we have saved by using their recycling program!

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We have only been using Better World Books for a little over 2 months now, and already we can see great results!

If you have any questions or comments about how St. Thomas Public Library deals with discarded library books, or if you would like to learn more about the Better World Books metrics seen here,  please send an email to: info@stthomaspubliclibrary.

STEAM Education Centres: Learning and Making in St. Thomas and Elgin

This is a guest blog post by Jessica Moyes, Executive Director of STEAM Education Centres! STEAM Education Centres is one of the Library’s Community Partners. Like us, they offer services that encourage self-directed discovery, community maker spaces and continuous learning. See Jessica’s post below to learn more!

STEAM Educations Centres: Learning and Making in St. Thomas and Elgin

It’s hard to believe but this fall will mark one year since the STEAM Education Centres opened its doors to bring new educational approaches to learning and making to the St. Thomas and Elgin County region. And what a year it has been! We have lead some awesome programming, participated in a variety of community events, opened a temporary pop-up location and have some exciting plans for the near future – and, I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Programming with the Community

The STEAM Team and guest teachers have designed and lead some amazing workshops and school field trips, both in the Centre and in the community, for learners of all ages on topics ranging from coding, computer rebuilding and animation art using 3D design and printing, to Teen and Adult coding with Raspberry Pi and Maker CNC projects. We also took our programming on the road this summer to a pop-up location at the Elgin Mall! There, we lead four weeks of summer camp for kids – Music Maker Camp and Alien Investigations Camp – as well as a range of teen and adult workshops such as Make your own digital picture frame using Raspberry Pi (shown below).

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Learn to make a Digital Picture Frame using Raspberry Pi – Summer workshop for teens and adults at STEAM Education Centres pop-up location.

 

Making Connections

It was an active summer connecting with people out in the community for the STEAM Team. We kicked off the season with a free BBQ at the STEAM Centre and topped off the night with a screening of Most Likely To Succeed; a film about the future of education and innovation. It was a fantastic evening filled with the sounds of laughter, discovery and summertime spirit.

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STEAM Centre Block Party guests screening Most Likely To Succeed; a film about the future of education and innovation, June 2017
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STEAM Education Centres’ Summer BBQ and Block Party, June 2017

We also participated in the Canada Day festivities in Pinafore Park this summer. Kids of all ages learned how to program, or code, an Ozobot using colours, navigate a Sphero maze and made their own smoke ring machines!

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Kids learning to make smoke and smoke machines with STEAM Education Centres at Canada Day celebration at Pinafore Park, July 2017

Full STEAM Ahead

Looking to the fall, there are no signs of slowing down! We are currently busy organizing our first event called STEAM Mission 150 for September 30th! STEAM Mission 150 is an exciting new event that will test students like never before while honouring the history of the local community, land and Canada’s 150th! This one-day event will see teams of students between 12 and 15 years old diving deep into fun challenges that require creativity and collaboration while tapping into science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) skills. And, just for fun, a handful of brave teachers will be able to enter the Mission as well!  We invite everyone to join us for an unforgettable day, whether to participate, spectate or volunteer! With Mission sites scattered throughout the community and over 165 students, teachers and volunteers participating, Mission 150 is set to turn St. Thomas and Elgin County into a STEAM learning playground with a new adventure around every corner! For more information or to get involved as participant or volunteer, visit www.steameducation.ca/steammission

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We are also busy preparing our workshops for ages 7 and up, starting September 12, 2017. While most will be new themes, there will be a few repeats due to popular demand such as Kid Roboteers and STEAMKids 101! Stay tuned or enroll now at www.steameducation.ca

Finally, this fall we will welcome STEAM School in partnership with Thames Valley District School Board. This project will see seventy grade 10 students and four TVDSB teachers joining the STEAM Team this fall while students work to complete four regular high school credit courses through the lens of ‘making life better for someone else’. Students will undertake community based projects and work closely with the STEAM Education Centres staff to gain needed support throughout the fall semester. You can find more information on STEAM School at www.steameducation.ca/steamschool.

So, as we close out our first year and look ahead to the future, we wish to express our sincere thanks to the community that we support and has supported us, as well as the St. Thomas Public Library staff. It’s been a phenomenal year and we look forward to meeting more people, making more partnerships, and providing greater essential learning opportunities to our rural region of learners and makers!

Jessica Moyes

Executive Director

STEAM Education Centres

 

 

 

 

 

25 Books for Pride 2017

STPL is celebrating Pride Week! Come in and browse our Rainbow List display, or check out this staff-curated list of  25 Books for Pride 2017! There’s something for everyone!

Adult Books

 Long Red Hair by Meags Fitzgerald

In this graphic memoir, Fitzgerald paints a childhood full of sleepovers, playing dress-up, amateur fortune-telling and renting scary movies. The book navigates a child’s struggle with mediocrity, a preteen’s budding bisexuality and a young woman’s return after rejection.

All I Love and Know by Judith Frank

Told with the storytelling power and emotional fidelity of Wally Lamb, this is a searing drama of a modern American family on the brink of dissolution, one that explores adoption, gay marriage, and love lost and found. Are there limits to honesty or commitment—or love?

 The Gods of Tango by Carolina de Robertis

February 1913: seventeen-year-old Leda, clutching a suitcase and her father’s cherished violin, leaves her small Italian village for a new home (and husband) halfway across the world in Argentina. Upon her arrival in Buenos Aires, Leda is shocked to find that her bridegroom has been killed. She develops a passion for playing her violin that her father sent oversea with her. She even convinces an elderly Italian immigrant to teach her to play. Leda knows, however, that she can never play in public as a woman, so she cuts off her hair, binds her breasts, and, as a young man, joins a troupe of musicians bent on bringing tango into the salons of high society.

Queer City: Gay London from Romans to the Present Day by Peter Ackroyd

In Queer City, Ackroyd looks at the metropolis in a whole new way – through the history and experiences of its gay population. He takes us to the heart of this hidden city, celebrating its diversity, thrills and energy on the one hand, but reminding us of its very real terrors, dangers and risks on the other. In a city of superlatives, it is perhaps this endless sexual fluidity and resilience that encapsulate the real triumph of London.

How to Survive a Plague: the Inside Story of How Citizens and Science Tamed AIDS by David France

Suspenseful, devastating, and finally inspiring, this is the story of the men and women who watched their friends and lovers fall, ignored by public officials, religious leaders, and the nation at large.  Expansive yet richly detailed, How to Survive a Plague is an insider’s account of a pivotal moment in the history of civil rights.

A Two Spirit Journey: the Autobiography of a Lesbian Ojibwa-Cree Elder by Ma-Nee Chacaby

From her early, often harrowing memories of life and abuse, Chacaby’s story is one of enduring obstacles. After finding support, she achieved sobriety and then trained and worked as an alcoholism counselor, raised her children and fostered many others, learned to live with visual impairment and came out as a lesbian. In 2013, Chacaby led the first gay pride parade in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Surpassing Certainty: What My Twenties Taught Me by Janet Mock

Riveting, rousing, and utterly real, Surpassing Certainty is a portrait of a young woman searching for her purpose and place in the world—without a road map to guide her. Despite her disadvantages, fueled by her dreams and inimitable drive, Janet makes her way through New York City while holding her truth close. She builds a career in the highly competitive world of magazine publishing—within the unique context of being trans, a woman, and a person of color.

Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote

Ivan Coyote is a celebrated storyteller and the author of ten previous books, including Gender Failure (with Rae Spoon) and One in Every Crowd, a collection for LGBT youth. Tomboy Survival Guide is a funny and moving memoir told in stories, about how they learned to embrace their tomboy past while carving out a space for those of us who don’t fit neatly into boxes, identities or labels.

Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham by Emily Bingham

Raised like a princess in one of the most powerful families in the American South, Henrietta Bingham was offered the helm of a publishing empire. But her love affairs with women made her the subject of derision and caused a doctor to try to cure her queerness. For the biographer and historian Emily Bingham, the secret of who her great-aunt was, and just why her story was concealed for so long, led to Irrepressible: The Jazz Age Life of Henrietta Bingham.

“You’re in the Wrong Bathroom!” And 20 Other Myths and Misconceptions about Transgender and Gender Nonconforming People by Laura Erickson-Schroth and Laura A. Jacobs

This book unpacks the twenty-one most common myths about transgender people. Authors Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD, a psychiatrist, and Laura A. Jacobs, LCSW-R, a psychotherapist, address myths about trans identity (all trans people are trapped in the wrong body ), sex and relationships (most trans people do sex work and have HIV), health and safety (trans people are mentally ill and therapy can change them), and history and community (trans people and feminists don t get along).”

When Your Child is Gay: What You Need to Know by Wesley C. Davidson and Jonathan L. Tobkes

Emphasizing communication and unconditional love, Davidson and Tobkes help parents untangle their own feelings, identify and overcome barriers to acceptance, encourage strong self-esteem in their child, handle negative or hostile reactions to their child’s sexual identity, and more. Filled with case studies and interviews, along with useful action plans and conversation starters, this is a positive, progressive guide to raising healthy, well-adjusted adults.

The Gender Creative Child: Pathways for Nurturing and Supporting Children Who Live Outside Gender Boxes by Diane Ehrensaft

In her groundbreaking first book, Gender Born, Gender Made, Dr. Diane Ehrensaft coined the term gender creative to describe children whose unique gender expression or sense of identity is not defined by a checkbox on their birth certificate. Now, with The Gender Creative Child, she returns to guide parents and professionals through the rapidly changing cultural, medical, and legal landscape of gender and identity.

Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood by Eric Rosswood

Journey to Same-Sex Parenthood provides a unique combination of inspirational firsthand accounts combined with the critical information, tips and advice needed to help couples successfully navigate the complex road to parenthood. Each section includes a description of the specific family-building approach, followed by personal stories from same-sex couples and individuals who have chosen and gone through that particular journey.

Children and Teen Books

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard

All Pen wants is to be the kind of girl she’s always been. So why does everyone have a problem with it? “This is a fresh title in the growing sea of LGBTQ YA literature. There is no sugarcoating in this very real portrayal of an aspect of teen life that many experience. Recommended for fans of YA urban fiction as well as those who prefer grittier LGBTQ lit.” — School Library Journal

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime.

Georgia Peaches and other Forbidden Fruit by Jaye Robin Brown

Joanna Gordon has been out and proud for years, but when her popular radio evangelist father remarries and decides to move all three of them from Atlanta to the more conservative Rome, Georgia, he asks Jo to do the impossible: to lie low for the rest of her senior year. And Jo reluctantly agrees. Joanna meets the perfect girl for her and must decide whether to break a promise that could change everything for her and her family or lose out on love.

When the Moon was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore

To everyone who knows them, best friends Miel and Sam are as strange as they are inseparable. Roses grow out of Miel’s wrist, and rumors say that she spilled out of a water tower when she was five. Sam is known for the moons he paints and hangs in the trees and for how little anyone knows about his life before he and his mother moved to town. Atmospheric, dynamic, and packed with gorgeous prose, When the Moon was Ours is another winner from Anna-Marie McLemore.

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister Hattie’s pregnancy, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

Stonewall: Breaking Out in the Fight for Gay Rights by Ann Bausum

In 1969 being gay in the United States was a criminal offense. It meant living a closeted life or surviving on the fringes of society. People went to jail, lost jobs, and were disowned by their families for being gay. Most doctors considered homosexuality a mental illness. There were few safe havens. Ann Bausum’s riveting exploration of the Stonewall Riots and the national Gay Rights movement that followed is eye-opening, unflinching, and inspiring.

One Man Guy by Michael Barakiva

Alek Khederian should have guessed something was wrong when his parents took him to a restaurant. Everyone knows that Armenians never eat out.  Alek’s parents announce that he’ll be attending summer school in order to bring up his grades. Alek is sure this experience will be the perfect hellish end to his hellish freshmen year of high school. He never could’ve predicted that he’d meet someone like Ethan.

History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

When Griffin’s first love and ex-boyfriend, Theo, dies in a drowning accident, his universe implodes. Even though Theo had moved to California for college and started seeing Jackson, Griffin never doubted Theo would come back to him when the time was right. But now, the future he’s been imagining for himself has gone far off course. If Griffin is ever to rebuild his future, he must first confront his history.

The Other Boy by M.G. Hennessey

Twelve-year-old Shane Woods is just a regular boy. But Shane is keeping something private, and when a classmate threatens to reveal his secret, Shane’s whole world comes crashing down. It will take a lot of courage for Shane to ignore the hate and show the world that he’s still the same boy he was before. And in the end, those who stand beside him may surprise everyone, including Shane.

Lily and Dunkin by Donna Gephart

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade.  Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.

My Mixed-Up Berry Blue Summer by Jennifer Gennari

Twelve-year-old June Farrell is sure of one thing—she’s great at making pies—and she plans to prove it by winning a blue ribbon in the Champlain Valley Fair pie competition. But a backlash against Vermont’s civil union law threatens her family’s security and their business. Even when faced with bullying, June won’t give up on winning the blue ribbon; more importantly, she won’t give up on her family.

Pride: Celebrating Diversity and Community by Robin Stevenson

Pride Day is a spectacular and colorful event. But there is a whole lot more to Pride than rainbow flags and amazing outfits. So what exactly are we celebrating on Pride Day? How did this event come to be? And what does Pride mean to the people who celebrate it?

Enjoy celebrating Pride Week! If you’d like a comprehensive list of all of our LBTQ+ materials, check out our Rainbow List online!

 

 

 

St. Thomas Public Library’s Community Engagement Survey

This year, St. Thomas Public Library is working on finishing up the new Strategic Plan, which will take effect January 2018. One of the steps in the strategic planning process is to gather feedback and information from your local community. We wanted to know who our library customers are, and what the library means to them as part of the greater St. Thomas community. To do this, we undertook a public survey, which ran for 5 weeks through March and April 2017.

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The survey gathered both quantitative and qualitative data, including questions about personal passions, the importance of the library in the community, barriers to using the Library, frequency of use, and a number of demographic questions.

 

Data was collected using a variety of methods.  The survey was available online for the entirety of the five weeks it was live. Additionally, we had a table set up on the main floor in the Library, and then moved it downstairs to the lower level,  to allow for personal engagement with library customers, and to have paper copies available. We wanted to make sure that we gathered feedback from a wide a variety of community members, so not only was the survey made available at the Library itself, but the online version was also shared via email to several community partners.

Once the data was gathered, we assembled a team to analyze it.  This team consisted of a mix of management and library staff. The group met twice to discuss data analysis methods and share their findings. Overall, we received 616 responses from the community.  While we are pleased with the response, it is important to recognize the limitations of our sample size.  The results of this survey should not be seen as an exhaustive sampling of our community.  Rather, it simply offers a glimpse of opinions and highlights the need for us to be continually mindful of the changing needs and interests of the entire community.

The following graphs provide an overview of the demographics and responses represented by those who responded to our survey:

Demographics:

GenderAge

Employment Status

Location (by postal code)Location by Postal Code

Why do you use the Library?Why do you use the libraryFrequency

What prevents you from using the Library?What prevents you

 

We also asked some open-ended questions about passions and interests in order to get to know our respondents a bit better.  The responses gave the picture of a group of people very keen on connecting with their community through people, places, and the outdoors.  This word cloud gives just a glimpse of some of the most common keywords included in the responses:

 

Library heart

Finally, we asked why the library is important to the community.  To this, the response was largely centered around the provision of free access to books, people, and space for research, education, and togetherness.

People Heart

Next Steps

Now that we have completed the survey, we are looking to our next steps in the strategic planning process. We recognize that the data we collected is not exhaustive, and does not fully represent our entire community. We will be taking into consideration the trends we observed and reported here, but will also be incorporating the 2016 census data, which was made available in May 2017.

 

Historypin

Have you discovered Historypin yet? Historypin is a website where people can upload their own pieces of local history! Many of us have old photos and stories that have been passed down through generations, and Historypin is a great place to share these memories with others! If you can access a scanner or have digital copies already, all you need to do is create an account and you can upload your photos to start a collection.

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There are a few collections for local history enthusiasts to explore. Check out the Elgin Archives collection, the University of Western Ontario’s collection, A Bod’s collection, and watch for St. Thomas Public Library’s collection too! The photo above, a postcard of Elgin County Courthouse from 1907, is from A Bod’s Collection. What can you add to Historypin? Here are a few more photos of places you may recognize!

 

Indigenous Book Club Month

Did you know that June is Indigenous Book Club Month? Perhaps you’re participating with your book club, but even if you’re not in a book club it’s a good time to check out some Indigenous authors! Here are some picks from our collection: