Living It Up at Elgin Mall

St. Thomas Public Library officially opened its doors at Elgin Mall just over 2 months ago on April 4th and we’re settling in quite nicely.  As with any move, not everything went quite as planned, but our staff have been working diligently at smoothing out the kinks so we can continue to offer our best service to the people of St. Thomas. Since the space is so different from that at our 153 Curtis St. location we’ve had to adapt and change how we’ve been offering these services to the public.

Library moved to Elgin Mall

This move has proved to be an adjustment for everyone, as one young customer pointed out – “This isn’t the library. There’s no naked person out front.” Of course, he was correct, we didn’t bring the Mother and Child statue with us, but we are the library none the less with the same services, materials and smiling faces behind the desks. Initially we opened with 3 public locations and 1 administrative location. The public locations consisted of The Marketplace, Adult Services and Children’s and Teens’ Services.

The Marketplace was located across from the food court and housed the library’s DVD and CD collections from both Adult Services and Children’s and Teens’ Services as well as magazines, new releases and audio books. Holds were also available for pick up at the Marketplace. The Marketplace here at Elgin Mall was created in order to prepare both staff and customers for the new Revitalized St. Thomas Public Library space on Curtis St. which will house a Marketplace which has been designed to provide better customer service for those customers who access our high circulating materials like the DVDs and CDs.

The Marketplace didn’t quite work out as planned here at the Elgin Mall location, so in the interest of offering the best possible service to the public, the materials from the Marketplace have since been relocated to our 2 existing public locations. The previous Marketplace location has been changed into a second, much needed, Administration space.

Adult DVDs, CDs, magazines, audio books, New Releases and holds are now located in the Adult Services Department. All other adult materials including newspapers, hardcover fiction, paperbacks, non-fiction, resource materials, Local History and internet stations are also available in the Adult Services Department which is located in the former Trad’s Furniture storefront. This department houses a Circulation Desk and Information Desk where you will see familiar faces waiting to help with your library-related inquiries.  This space is a bright, welcoming area with space to sit, read and relax. Grab a coffee, sit down and unwind while reading a good book or bring along your laptop since we offer free Wireless Internet for public use.

The same Children’s and Teens’ materials are available in the Children’s and Teens’ Services Department located next to Hallmark. In an effort to provide faster service, Children’s and Teens’ Services now has its own circulation desk so materials can be returned and checked out all in one convenient location. The Children’s and Teens’ area is warm and inviting with friendly faces and familiar furnishings. We brought along the puzzles, the interactive bead maze table and our herd of friendly dinosaurs who love to play. Our young customers are excited to see our Early Literacy Station computer is up and running as are the Teen and Children’s internet workstations.

An exciting addition to our Children’s and Teens’ collection is the introduction of the Ready, Set, Read! Backpacks.  Each Backpack contains 6 books which represent the 6 early literacy skills: Print Motivation, Phonological Awareness, Vocabulary, Narrative, Print Awareness and Letter Knowledge. The Backpacks have been created for 3 age groups: Early Talkers (Newborn to 2 years), Talkers (2 to 3 years) and Pre-Readers (4 to 5 years) and include books with colourful illustrations, and engaging stories that emphasize these 6 early literacy skills. The Backpacks have been flying off the shelves and are being enjoyed by both children and their parents. St. Thomas Public Library thanks The Retired Teachers of Ontario, Elgin District 41 for who supported the acquisition of the Ready, Set, Read! Backpacks.

St. Thomas Public Library has always offered an array of programming to appeal to all ages and we’re maintaining that dedication to service here at Elgin Mall. We have been using Elgin Mall’s Community Room for some programming, like the Mastering the Garden program and ‘Tween Scene programs, and have recently acquired the former H&R Block storefront between Stitches and the Library Administration space for library programs and events. This location is called the Library Meeting Place and we will be holding our Books and Bounces, Preschool Storytime, Tales for Twos and the exciting TD Summer Reading Club, SPLASH!, programs at this location come fall.

Miss the book sales? Don’t fret; The Friends of St. Thomas Public Library have opened up shop here at Elgin Mall! Located next to Ardene, the Library Friends Shop offers an eclectic selection of gently used books and videos at affordable prices. Open Monday to Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm, the Library Friends Shop offers a variety of sales and specials including “Bag for a Buck” romance and mixed paperback grab bags and weekly “Buy One, Get One” specials. Stop in, browse through the shop, you may find a treasure. Of course, the real treasure is the support you’ll be giving to your library with each purchase made at the Library Friends Shop.

We’ve been seeing many familiar faces that have made the move to the Elgin Mall with us and have been meeting new people and welcoming back customers from years gone by. The next few months promise to be a thrilling time for St. Thomas Public Library and the people of St. Thomas. Construction at 153 Curtis Street is now underway and before we know it November will be upon us and we’ll be preparing to move back into the renovated, renewed and revitalized St. Thomas Public Library.

-HM

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