From Old Shoe to Cinderella Slipper

When I started my job here four years as Chief Librarian, I described the library as an “old shoe”, comfortable but a little tattered around the edges. Though the building doesn’t function as well as it used to, the decline has been so gradual, no one really noticed.

When the building was built in 1974, it was designed for the St. Thomas Public Library, and the Administration of the Elgin County Library system and its many branches. The name on the front – St. Thomas Elgin Library —  reflects that history. In 1984, Elgin County outgrew the admin space and moved to its current location on Sunset Rd., but little changed here.  Space was sometimes a challenge for us behind the scenes as well and we gradually took over all the extra space the county had vacated for shelving, storage and Friends workspace.

Well, we’re revitalizing the old shoe, and turning it into – I hope – a Cinderella slipper.

Imagine the Revitalized St. Thomas Public Library as a place that is bright, welcoming, colourful, cheerful, and safe.  It invites you to visit often and stay awhile whether to study alone or with others, to curl up in a comfortable chair by the window to read, attend a programme or to research for study or for pleasure.

We are grateful for the City’s million dollar support, which provides for structural upgrades and code-compliance.  All the extra space in the lower level is being added to the children’s and teens area, which will triple in size.  Our Revitalization Project will increase the usable space for public services, improve flow and access and increase the efficiency of the administration, all without increasing the size of the building.

The City funding pays for all the structural parts- the outside shell, and  the stuff that makes the building work, like plumbing, heating/air conditioning and lighting. The Library budget  – and your generous donations  -will provide additional funding required for interior updates, such as  new furniture, carpeting, display units,  technology improvements and shelving.

We’re looking forward to starting on this exciting journey. Stay tuned for further updates.

If you have any questions, or would like to make a donation, please e-mail me at or contact Heather Robinson, at who will be the Library liaison for the project.


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