3D Printer Upgrade

St. Thomas Public Library has two brand new 3D Printers! Come in and check out our new Lulzbots. These models are an upgrade from our previous Cube models: You will find them easier to use, they can print using many different filament materials, and more colour options are available. You can even bring in your own filament and 3D print for free! (Prints normally cost 10 cents per gram).

What have people been up to on the new printers? Right now the trend is fidget spinners. Print a cap and a shell and then add your own weights for a custom spinner that no one else will have! You can find hundreds of designs like these ones on Thingiverse:

Also exciting: You can watch what people are printing live on our new Twitch channel! The channel switches between our two printers so you can watch a 3D print in progress. See if you can guess what each print will be!

To learn how to use our Lulzbots, join one of our 3D Printing Certification Sessions. Check our online calendar  for session dates. You can register online with your library card, or drop by the Adult Information Desk to sign up. If you can’t make a Certification Session, we now have the option of booking a One on One Session. Ask at the Adult Information Desk and we’ll find a time for a staff member to assist you!

Stay tuned for more changes to Creators’ Community. We’re currently working on a Creators’ Corner, a welcoming work space to accommodate new classes and allow better access to our resources!

Get to Know: Elgin Children’s Network (ECN)


Did you know?

The St. Thomas Public Library is a member of the Elgin Children’s Network (ECN).

What’s that, you ask?

ECN brings together a number of agencies and individuals from our local education, health and social services sectors.  Through the years, ECN has evolved to become an innovative and collaborative planning table.  As a group, we strive to put children and families at the centre of all discussions, decisions and actions.  The goal is to build communities where every child has the opportunity to be engaged, empowered, and to thrive.
Can you give me an example of something ECN has done?

Yes!  There are two examples, in fact. 

One: ECN was instrumental in the planning and development of the Northside Neighbourhood Hub.  The Hub is a public, accessible space where people can come together to Connect, Celebrate, Discover, Explore and Share. People can easily participate in a variety of free or low-cost activities, seek information about different services and supports in the community, sign up for a program offered right in their neighbourhood or simply drop-in to connect with a friend.  Check it out at 114 Confederation Drive or give them a call at 519-631-5182.  You can also find them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NorthsideHub

Two: ECN has also recently launched a website http://www.elginchildrensnetwork.ca/.  The site is designed to connect parents and caregivers with people, places and resources that can help them.  Check it out today!

Why is it important for the library to be involved with ECN?

Sitting at the ECN table gives us a unique insight into the programs and services available for children and families around Elgin County.  We can share this information with library customers.  We can also use it to make sure our programs and services complement, and don’t duplicate, what’s already available in our community.  It also provides us with opportunities to expand the reach of library services.  For example, stay tuned to hear more about our new holds pick up location at the Hub!

25 Amazing Books for Black History Month

Celebrate diverse stories, voices, and ideas with these Black History Month Book Picks!



The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
The Underground Railroad is a 2016 tells the story of Cora and Caesar, two slaves who make a bid for freedom from their Georgia plantations by following the Underground Railroad, which happens to be an actual underground subway.

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Things Fall Apart tells two overlapping, intertwining stories, both of which center around Okonkwo, a man of an Ibo village in Nigeria.

Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
Dana, a modern black woman, is celebrating her twenty-sixth birthday with her new husband when she is snatched abruptly from her home in California and transported to the antebellum South. Dana is drawn back repeatedly through time to the slave quarters, and each time the stay grows longer, more arduous, and more dangerous until it is uncertain whether or not Dana’s life will end, long before it has a chance to begin.

Out of Shadows by Jason Wallace
For Robert Jacklin – packed off without warning to boarding school in Zimbabwe – everything is terrifyingly new. Branded an outsider from the moment he opens his mouth and unable to decode the subtle power struggles of the classroom, he longs for the safety of his old life in England. And then he meets Ivan, who offers him not only friendship, but power. As Robert is drawn slowly into Ivan’s destructive web, he begins to question things he’d always held true and.

The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill
Abducted from Africa as a child and enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata Diallo thinks only of freedom―and of the knowledge she needs to get home. This captivating story of one woman’s remarkable experience spans six decades and three continents and brings to life a crucial chapter in world history.

Wash by Margaret Wrinkle
In this luminous debut, Margaret Wrinkle takes us on an unforgettable journey across continents and through time, from the burgeoning American South to West Africa and deep into the ancestral stories that reside in the soul.

Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
A collection of stories of rare force and beauty, of hardscrabble lives, passionate loves, and quirky and vexed human connection. The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail.

The Mothers by Brit Bennett
The Mothers is a surprising story about young love, a big secret in a small community – and the things that ultimately haunt us most. It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, 17-year-old. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance – and the subsequent cover-up – will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth.

Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Two girls dream of being dancers–but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, about what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either.

God Help the Child by Toni Morrison
Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child—the first novel by Toni Morrison to be set in our current moment—weaves a tale about the way the sufferings of childhood can shape, and misshape, the life of the adult.


‘Membering by Austin Clarke
In ‘Membering, Clarke shares his own experiences growing up in Barbados and moving to Toronto to attend university in 1955 before becoming a journalist. With vivid realism he describes Harlem of the ’60s, meeting and interviewing Malcolm X, and writers Chinua Achebe and LeRoi Jones.

Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson
As the country grapples with racist division at a level not seen since the 1960s, one man’s voice soars above the rest with conviction and compassion. Michael Eric Dyson speaks out in Tears We Cannot Stop―a provocative and deeply personal call for change. Dyson argues that if we are to make real racial progress we must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted.

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
With humor and levity, Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics.

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly
The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
From his passionate and deliberate breakdown of the concept of race itself to the importance of the Black Lives Matter movement, Coates powerfully sums up the terrible history of the subjugation of black people in the United States. A timely work, this title will resonate with all teens–those who have experienced racism as well as those who have followed the recent news coverage on violence against people of color.

Redefining Realness by Janet Mock
This powerful memoir follows Mock’s quest for identity, from an early, unwavering conviction about her gender to a turbulent adolescence in Honolulu that saw her transitioning during the tender years of high school, self-medicating with hormones at fifteen, and flying across the world alone for sex reassignment surgery at just eighteen. With unflinching honesty, Mock uses her own experience to impart vital insight about the unique challenges and vulnerabilities of trans youth and brave girls like herself.

Steal Away Home by Karolyn Smardz Frost
The story of a fifteen-year-old escaped slave named Cecelia Reynolds, who slips away to freedom in Canada while her Kentucky owners holiday at Niagara Falls. In this compelling work of narrative non-fiction, Governor General’s Award winner Karolyn Smardz Frost brings Cecelia’s story to life.


My Name is Phillis Wheatley: A Story of Slavery and Freedom by Afua Cooper
This is the remarkable story of Phillis Wheatley, who is born into an African family of griots, or storytellers, but captured by slave raiders and forced aboard a slave ship, where appalling conditions spell death for many of her companions.

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson
As a seamstress in the Big House, Clara dreams of a reunion with her Momma, who lives on another plantation–and even of running away to freedom. Then she overhears two slaves talking about the Underground Railroad. In a flash of inspiration, Clara sees how she can use the cloth in her scrap bag to make a map of the land–a freedom quilt–that no master will ever suspect.

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport
This picture-book biography is an excellent and accessible introduction for young readers to learn about one of the world’s most influential leaders, Dr. Martin Luther King.


Martin and Mahalia: His Words, Her Song by Andrea Davis Pinkney
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and his strong voice and powerful message were joined and lifted in song by world-renowned gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. It was a moment that changed the course of history and is imprinted in minds forever. Told through Andrea Davis Pinkney’s poetic prose and Brian Pinkney’s evocative illustration, the stories of these two powerful voices and lives are told side-by-side.

Oh, Freedom! Kids Talk about the Civil Rights Movement with the People Who Made it Happen by Casey King
31 interviews that cover three main areas of the movement: life under segregation, the nonviolent movement, and the black power movement. Everyone is here — regular, ordinary people who dedicated themselves to the cause of freedom and the fight for equality, and even a few of the better known people whose names we hear and associate with Martin Luther King, or with the Freedom Rides, or with other familiar aspects of the movement.


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty.

The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks
In 1919, the 369th infantry regiment marched home triumphantly from World War I. They had spent more time in combat than any other American unit, never losing a foot of ground to the enemy, or a man to capture, and winning countless decorations. Though they returned as heroes, this African American unit faced tremendous discrimination, even from their own government.

Juba! by Walter Dean Myers
This engaging historical novel is based on the true story of the meteoric rise of an immensely talented young black dancer, William Henry Lane, who influenced today’s tap, jazz, and step dancing. With meticulous and intensive research, Walter Dean Myers has brought to life Juba’s story.


A Series of Unfortunate Read Alikes


Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events has received the Netflix treatment and it’s getting great reviews! Are you a fan of this whimsical series? If you’ve explored the books, the movie, and the current series, here are some similar titles you’ll likely enjoy:


The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner

Twelve-year-old twins John and Abigail Templeton, and their ridiculous dog, are kidnapped by a devious adult set of twins who are after their father’s not-so-genius invention.


Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson

Alcatraz Smedry is gifted a bag of sand for his 13th birthday, a strange gift that puts Alcatraz in the path of evil librarians on a quest for world domination! Alcatraz must put a stop to the evil librarians’ bid for power, can he get back his bag of sand and stop them?


Larklight by Phillip Reeve

Art and Myrtle Mumby live with their father in Larklight, a house that travels through space! Join them as they begin a fantastic adventure after Larklight receives a rare visitor, Mr. Webster, and the siblings end up in a battle to save the Known Universe.


The Mysterious Benedict Society

This book puts its characters, as well as its readers, through a series of brain-teasers to see if they are one of the enlightened kids of the world. The most creative and intelligent kids are chosen to complete a top secret mission at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where things are not as they seem!

For more read-alikes, check here!

If you’re looking for a movie or a TV series that has the same feel as A Series of Unfortunate Events, give this list a try! There are even some on the list that adults will enjoy. And remember:

“When trouble strikes, head to the library. You will either be able to solve the problem, or simply have something to read as the world crashes down around you.”

-Lemony Snicket


The Studio at St. Thomas Public Library has exciting new offerings for 2017!

For the musicians out there, we have added an electronic drum set and an electric guitar.  Using the Reaper Digital Audio Workstation, artists can create and record music either ‘live off the floor’ as a group, or can ‘multi-track’ instruments by recording them separately and mixing them together.  Songwriters can use the Studio to compose music, and bands can use the Studio to record ‘demo’ version of their songs.

For the visual artists, we have added a still camera and a digital drawing tablet.  With the still camera and the green screen, customers can place themselves into practically any scene imaginable.  We have had great response to our ‘Green Screen Fun’ events, and it is now easier than ever for customers to practice their Photoshop skills.  The digital drawing tablet allows customers to create graphic novels the same way the professionals do and to apply their freehand drawing skills to the digital realm.

Of course, the Studio still has all of the great hardware and software from 2016.  With the Ableton Push / Live package, customers can create loops and samples using the same tools as the professionals use.  The Arturia Keylab controller is a traditional MIDI keyboard that can trigger hundreds of samples.  Both of these can connect to the Reaper DAW recording system for either live recording, one-at-a-time multi-tracking, or just jamming with friends.  With the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema video camera and Adobe Premiere Pro video editing software, customers have access to the same tools used by professional video editors and post-production experts.  For customers who already have footage, the Studio is also the perfect place to edit and render projects.

Customers who wish to use the Studio must first complete a brief 2-hour training session, which will showcase many of the possible projects that can be done, as well as a quick overview on how to operate the Studio’s hardware and software.  Customers can book time (for free!) at the Studio during regular operating hours when time is available.  You can book Studio time over the telephone (519-631-6050), or in-person.   Bookings are limited to two hours per day.  Please note that Studio bookings do not include a dedicated studio technician.  The purpose of the Studio is to allow customers to explore and learn about video and audio production, and we hope to inspire budding film, photography and music artists to express themselves as part of our Creators’ Community initiative!

Below are some young CC Café-ers using the digital drawing tablet and the electronic drums.

Using the Wacom Tablet in the Studiocapture1


Easy Study Room Booking with Setmore!

Did you know that St. Thomas Public Library has two private study rooms on the upper level – and that you can book them for personal use?

Now, it is easier than ever to reserve the study rooms, when you use our new self-serve room-booking website! You can now reserve either the Elgin or Talbot rooms using our dedicated computer (located on the upper level near the desk) or at home by visiting the following link: http://stthomaspubliclibrary.setmore.com/.

It’s really simple!

First, select a roomChoose a Study Room

Now select a date and time (you can reserve in 1-hour chunks, up to a maximum of 3 hours per day)

Choose a date and time

Enter both first and last names and e-mail, then click “Continue.” You will receive an e-mail confirmation once you have booked your room.

Enter your information

Confirm your information, click on “Book My Appointment”, and you’re done!

Book your appointment

Our rooms are available free of charge for groups of up to 4 people. These rooms are ideal for studying, tutoring, or homework! You can reserve a room for up to 3 hours per day. If you would like to cancel or change your reservation, you can speak to a staff member in Adult Services.

December “Art in the Library”: Gail McNaughton

St. Thomas Public Library is proud to support the community’s culture and talent. Each month, local artists have the opportunity to showcase their work on our “Art in the Library” wall next to the Creators’ Community on the Main Level! Displays are open to the public and it is free for artists to participate. For more information or to request an application, contact the Adult Services Department at the Library at 519-631-6050.

December’s featured artist is Gail McNaughton: Poet, Author, Doodle Artist, Rug Hooker, and Punch Needler! Read Gail’s Artist Profile below:

gail-mcnaughton-corporate-photoGail is a Canadian Poet and Author and has developed into a Doodle Artist.  She resides in St. Thomas with her husband, Bob, and three cats “Panda Bear”, “Poppy” and “Casey” after relocating here from Toronto 18 years ago.  She is co-owner of Dog & Pony Productions Inc., a marketing and video production company helping organizations “Tell their Story to get Noticed”.

She has written 5 books and two books in particular, “To Have A Cup Of Tea With A Cat & Other Cat Tails”, as well as “Garden Memories In The Web Of Life”, show illustrations of her doodle art.  Doodle Art Angels and Fairies can also be found in her most recent book, Angel Witness, which is a coffee-table size book filled with spiritual writings, angel photos and art.  Gail has now finished a trilogy titled “The Red Canoe” which will be published in the near future.

A series of cartoon characters have come to life through Gail, the primary one being Flowercat ™. She has a collection of characters that she calls her cartoon family. They each have individual names and identities.  Fleecy, a Golden Doodle Dog, born on October 1, 2010, became part of Gail’s world after investigating the meaning of “Doodling”. Up popped the Doodle Dog and having such a dog made total sense to inspire her further.  An accident took Fleecy’s life and a new Labradoodle, Truffles, took residence in Gail’s heart.  This chocolate brown dog of 4 years is inspiration for her dog character.

Since February 2004, Gail has been doodling while attending lectures, waiting for appointments, as a passenger in a car, at her cottage, away on vacations, while sitting in bed and at her antique desk in the kitchen.  She has built up quite a collection of artwork! Some doodles have been coloured using magic markers, paint pens and acrylics. In 2007 some were compiled in a Flowercat ™ colouring book, sponsored by local businesses, friends and family and went to the Dominican Republic for children to enjoy.  They have now gone to other countries as well.  In 2015 Gail created another colouring book, “The Doodle Ladies Colouring Book”, appropriate for women of all ages.

Gail has a love of bright, primary colours so her doodle artwork is bold, playful, dramatic and loving.  The cartoon characters all have congenial, loving personalities and interact to help heal the world in the midst of hearts, flowers and other symbols.

Divinely inspired to create, Gail’s doodle characters come to her in many dreams including the Angel-Woman “Angelica”.  By putting a heart behind any figure, they become angels Gail discovered.  Using significant words, phrases and inspiring comments in her work makes the reader think.  She often writes stories about her drawings and paintings.

Her work has been shown at many local venues – St. Thomas Library, Art Wall in Joe Preston, MP’s office, Appreciation of the Arts, Horton Farmer’s Market, Tour of Gardens at her home, The Art Exchange, Inspire Fest, at Rug Hooking annual events and at a special event she planned and organized for her Rug Hooking group and to show “all” of her own work (art and rugs), at Algoma University (former Wellington Street Public School). Her doodle artwork can be purchased as enlargements, greeting cards, bookmarks, T-shirts, paintings, buttons and on mouse pads.  Gail has continually been in the media and in Relish Elgin.  Her doodle art, special for the St. Thomas-Elgin General Hospital hangs in the Patient/Family Resource Centre sitting area.

Gail’s other passion is antique rug hooking whereby she creates her own designs and Flowercat ™ doodle artwork.  She uses a variety of wool fabrics and interprets colour for the pattern that she has created using texture and the melding pot of wools to visually tell a story.  Her rug hookings have been on display locally and at the Trent University Rug Hooking School.


Forever a photographer, Gail takes photos in and around St. Thomas and Elgin County, around the world and at the cottage.  She specializes in angels, statues, flowers, gardens, animals, still-life and sunrises.  Under the brand “The Photographic Heart”, a division of Dog & Pony Productions Inc., she sells photo art greeting cards to retailers, sometimes at the Horton Farmer’s Market to the public, at the cottage, out of her home and from her website.  She has also produced three postcards of Jumbo, “The Fantasy” series – “Pink Jumbo”, “Jumbo Visits Alma College” and “Jumbo Visits the 2010 IPM”. These came about after she created the theory that since Jumbo was painted pink for one weekend, as a primer, he became “magical” and could travel around Elgin County. You know what they say about “pink elephants”!

Gail’s intention is also to bring historical memories to St. Thomas and Elgin County residents and tourists. In a joint effort with the Elgin County Archives, she created reproductions of old photos for art cards from the Scott-Sefton, Alma College, Hugh Sims and Evans archival collections.  Postcard reproductions have also been done from Don Cosen’s and Ken Tuff’s postcard collections.  Additionally, Gail has reproduced greeting cards of several artists’ work including Tom Spatafore, Canadian Wildlife artist; Paul Schleusner (deceased), of Port Stanley and Teresa Marie of Grand Bend.

“The Children’s Seed Project” in 2004 was near to Gail’s heart. She utilized $100.00 given to her at The Women’s Conference in London to do something positive in her community. Ten young artists were selected and had a day with a famous painter, Paul Schleusner, and their artwork was displayed in the St. Thomas – Elgin Public Art Centre. A video was made of the event and Gail presented it at the next Women’s Conference. She also enjoyed her participation in the St. Thomas – Elgin Public Art Centre’s “Banner Art” program where her banner “Spring Thing” was hung downtown St. Thomas during the summer of 2005.

In 2008 Gail initiated another project, “Walk The Chalk” where chalk art was done on the main downtown street, Talbot Street, in St. Thomas as part of the annual Iron Horse Festival.  This was a first for the Festival and the City of St. Thomas.  Sponsorships were sold to companies and individuals and they were matched up with not-for-profit organizations that did the chalk art utilizing the manpower of friends, family, staff and volunteers.  It was a glorious scene to watch the art work magically unfold on the street over two days.  First place went to the Alzheimer Society, second went to The Association for Community Living and third went to the VON.

For two Christmas Parades in St. Thomas, Gail’s artwork was used on the Talbot Teen Centre float as Gail had 8 foot art done for her husband’s special 60th birthday and Jamie McBain used this artwork to make doodles on poles for the teens to hold.

Gail is Past Chair of the Elgin Business Women’s Network and has participated on the administration committees for the United Way, Tourist Association, Port Stanley Festival Theatre & Etobicoke Camera Club.  She is a member of Memories In Wool Rug Hooking Club and is a volunteer on the Patient Experience Council at St. Thomas – Elgin Country General Hospital and volunteers as well at the Information desk.  She works as a part-time Sales Consultant at Bela Booteek in Aylmer.

Her website is www.gailmcnaughton.com.