Monthly Newsletters for Readers!

Browsing our collection of books can be fun. But sometimes it’s nice to be given a short list of books that come recommended! What if that list were to arrive in your inbox monthly?

newsletter

We want to make it easy for you to quickly add books to your “to read” list, so we’ve created monthly newsletters for adults in 6 themes: Staff Picks, Thrillers, Mysteries, Cookbooks, Historical Fiction and Nonfiction.

 

Asset 1chris-benson-556355-unsplash (1)

 

Each newsletter contains 5 recommended reads per month. Simply clicking on a book’s cover photo within the newsletter takes you right to our online catalogue where you can put the book on hold! All you need is your library card number and PIN code. If you don’t know your PIN code, come on in and we’ll reset it for you. Take a shortcut to some good reads! Sign up here for up to 6 Monthly Newsletters or check out current and back issues of newsletters on our website here! Happy Reading!

P.S. You can also subscribe to our What’s Happening newsletter and get a monthly heads-up on upcoming events and workshops at the library!

STPL does the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge 2019!

Do you do a reading challenge every year, or set a reading goal? If so, we hope you’ll follow along with library staff Jess as she does Book Riot’s Read Harder Challenge 2019! We welcome Jess to the blog to explain why she chose this challenge.

jess-&-fever-dream

Every year I participate in the Goodreads Challenge (check out our Introduction to Goodreads Workshop here!) to help keep me motivated. This year I wanted something to help guide my reading. I am participating in Book Riot’s Read Harder 2019 Challenge. There is a list of 24 categories and people can choose whatever book they like to check off a category. There’s no guide on the length of books or even that books have to be specifically for adults. Remember, it’s okay to read YA! Download and print out the list here.

img_1622

When I first saw the list, I was really impressed by the range and diversity of options. I have never read manga, and it has been years since I read a novel in letters. I know that some of these categories will be a bit of a stretch for me so hopefully I can read outside my comfort zone! I have really enjoyed the books I’ve read so far. Look out for my reviews by following along with me on St. Thomas Public Library’s Instagram as I work through the challenge, and hopefully you will be inspired to challenge yourself as well!

Feel free to post about what you’re reading, and don’t forget to tag @stthomaspubliclibrary and use the #ReadHarder hashtag on your posts so we can see how you’re doing!

 

 

Reading Rewind: What St. Thomas Read in 2018!

Header-Img

It’s almost the end of the year, so we’re taking a look back at what YOU read, watched, and listened to in 2018, based on highest circulation numbers! Take a look at some of the most popular titles this year:

ST. THOMAS READS: TOP 10

 

  1. The 17th Suspect by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  2. The Fallen by David Baldacci
  3. The Midnight Line by Lee Child
  4. Twisted Prey by John Sandford
  5. Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts
  6. Look for Me by Lisa Gardner
  7. After Anna  by Lisa Scottoline
  8. Princess by James Patterson and Rees Jones
  9. The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson
  10. Texas Ranger by James Patterson and Andrew Bourelle

 

Fiction-Header

St. Thomas, you know what you like! The top of our Adult Fiction list is full of thrillers and mysteries, with a few heartfelt reads mixed in.

  1. The Wanted by Robert Crais
  2. The Cafe by the Sea by Jenny Colgan
  3. The Midnight Line by Lee Child
  4. Murder Games by James Patterson
  5. The Distance Home by Orly Konig

 

Nonfiction-Header

Your favourite non-fiction topics this year were true crime, cooking, and books about life!

  1. All-American Murder: The Rise and Fall of Aaron Hernandez, the Superstar Whose Life Ended on Murderers’ Row by James Patterson & Alex Abramovich with Mike Harvkey
  2. Quick & Easy Ketogenic Cooking : Time-saving Paleo Recipes and Meal Plans to Improve your Health and Help You Lose Weight by Maria Emmerich
  3. 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson
  4. Murder City: The Untold Story of Canada’s Serial Killer Capital, 1959-1984 by Michael Arntfield
  5. The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying by Nina Riggs

 

graphic-novels.jpg

Your favourite graphic novels this year focused on a range of subjects, from a memoir about being a refugee from war-torn Vietnam (The Best We Could Do), to the Stranger Things-esque Paper Girls!

  1. The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir by Thi Bui
  2. Something New: Tales from a Makeshift Bride by Lucy Knisley
  3. Paper Girls. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan
  4. Going Into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast
  5. Saga by Brian K. Vaughan

 

kiosk

Our book vending kiosk at the Elgin Centre housed some of the most buzz-worthy books of the year! Check out your favourites below:

  1. Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh
  2. The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman
  3. An Unwanted Guest by Shari Lapena
  4. The Rooster Bar by John Grisham
  5. The Room on Rue Amelie by Kristin Harmel
  6. Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis
  7. Sister of Mine by Laurie Petrou
  8. The Wife by Meg Wolitzer
  9. Less by Andrew Sean Greer
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

 

ST. THOMAS WATCHES: TOP 10

 

It’s no secret that St. Thomas LOVES movies! This year, three Oscar-winning or nominated movies made the Top 10 list! Action and adventure flicks dominated our most-checked out movies of 2018.

  1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 
  2. The Shape of Water 
  3. Justice League 
  4. Murder on the Orient Express 
  5. The Post 
  6. Unlocked
  7. Acts of Vengeance 
  8. Singularity 
  9. The Dark Tower
  10. The Foreigner 

Honorable Mentions: Brawl in a Cell Block, The Lost City of Z, Blade Runner 2049, Baby Driver, 24 Hours to Live, Ladybird, Thor: Ragnarok, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and Black Panther

 

TEENS READ: TOP 5

We saw some fan favourites in our top 5 young adult novels this year! The book that inspired Netflix’s film of the year, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, took the top spot! Lois Lowry’s classic, The Giver, as well as some great thrillers fill out the list, with John Green’s highly anticipated novel, Turtles All The Way Down, ending the list off strong.

  1. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  3. Confessions: The Paris Mysteries by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
  4. The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda
  5. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

 

KIDS READ: PICTURE BOOKS TOP 5

Your top 5 favourite picture books of the year proved that some stories really are timeless! Robert Munsch took 4 out of 5 spots on our list, with romping, stomping kid-favourite How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad? taking the other spot!

  1. Pyjama Day by Robert Munsch
  2. Thomas’ Snowsuit by Robert Munsch
  3. How Do Dinosaurs Say I’m Mad? by Jane Yolen
  4. Murmel, Murmel, Murmel by Robert Munsch
  5. Playhouse by Robert Munsch

 

KIDS WATCH: TOP 10

  1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  2. The Boss Baby
  3. Paddington
  4. The Emoji Movie
  5. The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature
  6. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  7. Zootopia
  8. Trolls
  9. Ferdinand
  10. Inside Out

 

KIDS LEARN: STEAM AND LITERACY KITS

 

This year’s most popular literacy kits were all about wildlife! Under the Sea, Rumble in the Jungle, and Dinosaurs were the most checked-out kits, with STEAM Kits about Construction and The Human Body following closely behind!


 

We hope you enjoyed this year-end wrap up! Let us know on our social media what you’ve read or watched on this list, or what you read and watched instead!

Introducing cloudLibrary!

social1

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 .

IMG-1129

IMG_1138

 

 

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 info@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca

Looking for help using the cloudLibrary App or website? Visit our website: https://stthomaspubliclibrary.ca/ebooks-and-eaudiobooks/

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.

Justice

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.

Posthumous

Starlight

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.

Genre-Benders

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!

IHM1

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.

IHM2

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!

Untitled-1

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!

WHAT DOES THE LIBRARY BOARD DO?

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.

HOW OFTEN DOES THE BOARD MEET?

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.

WHO SITS ON THE BOARD?

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.

HOW DO I GET ON THE BOARD?

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.

HOW MUCH ARE BOARD MEMBERS PAID?

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.

HOW DOES THE BOARD KNOW IT’S DOING A GOOD JOB?

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.

WHAT MAKES A GOOD LIBRARY BOARD MEMBER?

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: https://stthomaspubliclibrary.ca/library-board/