Introduction to Goodreads

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Looking for a way to keep track of what you’ve read? Want to find new books and get personalized recommendations? There’s an app for that! We now offer a Goodreads Workshop and we’ll show you how to make the most of this free app.

Here’s an outline of what you can do with Goodreads, and what you’ll learn if you drop in for our workshop!

What is Goodreads?

Goodreads is a free database of millions of books. You can receive book recommendations and read reviews by other readers. If you ever wish there was a Summer Reading Club for adults, you can do the yearly Goodreads challenge or join an online reading group/discussion group!

You’ll get the most out of Goodreads by creating an account for yourself. If you choose to share your account, you can see what your friends are reading and let them know what’s on your bookshelf. *This is optional.* You do not have to connect your Goodreads account to Google, Facebook, or any other platforms.

Goodreads is also useful without an account. If you want to see book reviews but you don’t want an account, type “book title goodreads” into your search engine. Example: “Da Vinci Code goodreads” will show you all reviews and star ratings for a book. You can also visit the link to the author’s Goodreads page.

Get Started with the App!

Go to your app store or Google Play store on your device and search for Goodreads. It’s free! You can create an account using your email address.

After you create your account and sign in, you will see the Reading Challenge screen.

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You can create a reading goal for the rest of the year, or you can skip this step by pressing the button in the top right corner.

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Option to link to Facebook

You can choose to link your Goodreads account to Facebook or invite friends by allowing Goodreads to access your email account. We recommend you skip this step and check out the privacy settings before sharing your information.

 

Notifications

We also recommend selecting “Not Now” when you see the “Allow Notifications” pop up.

 

The next screen shows different genres of books. Choose your favourites and swipe up for more options. You can change these options later if you want!

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Now it’s time to rate books. This is so that Goodreads can give you personalized book recommendations. You can skip this step if you want or come back to it later.

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Rate books that you have already read.

Swipe left to see more options on the book rating screen. When you see a book you have read, give it a rating. This will also add the book to your “Read” shelf. If you see a book you want to read, press “want to read” and the book will be added to your “To Read” shelf. If you do not see any books you have read, or want to read, click the drop down next to “biography” (or a genre you chose) and pick a different genre.

Once you have rated 20 books, you will a menu appear at the bottom of the screen. The home button takes you to a feed of the most recent reviews posted on Goodreads.

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Menu

Searching for Books

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My Books Screen

You can search Goodreads for books using the book title, author, or ISBN. In the My Books screen, you will see the books you rated when you set up the app and any that you selected as “want to read.” You can also create shelves to organize your books. You can organize your bookshelves any way you want! Maybe you want a shelf for mystery books, or a shelf for your favourite books, or a shelf for books you want to read on your vacation, or a shelf for books that your friend Sharon recommended to you.

Scanning Books

You can scan books with your phone or device using the Goodreads app! Go to the Scan screen and use your camera to scan the barcode on the back of a book. This will link to the reviews and book information on Goodreads. This is great if you’re not sure about a book and want to check out some reviews before you buy it or check it out from the library!

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And More!

The More icon contains a number of different options that will lead you to groups, your reading challenge, events around the globe, the option to add friends, settings, and your profile.

Keep in mind that Goodreads is a public site. Any books you rate, or reviews you write can be seen by others. You might want to choose a username that is different than your real name or use only your first name. Example: Maplebooks or just Malcolm.

Be sure to read the settings and choose the options that are right for you. It is also important to decide which emails you want to receive from Goodreads. For an in depth discussion of privacy settings, join our Goodreads Workshop on August 4!

If you have questions when using the app, explore the Help section. Here’s an example of a question:

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If you cannot find the answer, you can contact the Help team. They respond quickly and efficiently.

Enjoy exploring Goodreads! Have fun making and organizing your bookshelves and discovering new books to love. Happy reading!

New! ViewScan Microfilm Reader

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Regular patrons of the George Thorman Local History room have already discovered that we have a new ViewScan microfilm reader/printer. This microfilm reader is designed in many ways to function like the old microfilm readers, so that the learning curve to use the new technology is not so steep. The appearance on the screen is similar to the old ones, so scrolling a newspaper is done in a similar manner as well. There is a print button which prints out a screen shot, just like the old one. But of course you can do so much more with the new one!

The only way to save articles on the old reader/printers was to print it. With the ViewScan, you can save pages or articles directly to your USB or send them in your email.

Over the years, people have often asked for a print of the cover page of the newspaper. Since the old reader/printer did not display an entire page, the only way to get an entire front page was to print out several sheets and tape them together. Now the entire page appears on the screen, and can easily be printed on one sheet of paper!

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What was in the news the day you were born? Well, for any whose birthday is June 26, 1986, this was the front page news in the St. Thomas Times Journal:

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Do you want to save just one article? You can now do a digital crop and save that!

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Choose from several file formats such as JPEG, TIFF, or PDF. Photos can be edited using the ViewScan software.

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Our microfilm collection includes the St. Times Journal since it started in 1918, and other local papers that reach as far back as 1859! Come on in and give it a try.

2nd Annual Seedy Saturday!

We may still be feeling the cold, but this is the time of year to start thinking about planting seeds and planning what you want to see sprouting up in your garden beds, patio containers, or kitchen windowsills. With that in mind, we held our 2nd Annual Seedy Saturday this past Saturday, March 17th!

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So what is a “Seedy Saturday”? It’s a community gathering where you can trade your seeds with other people, buy unique ones from vendors, gather and talk with master gardeners able to help answer questions. We even had a craft for kids, to allow the littlest gardeners some fun, too!

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This year, along with the seed swap, we hosted special guests including :

Angela Bobier, from Backus-Page House Museum, presenting “Colonel Talbot: The Man, The Myth, The Gardener?” Learn about heritage gardening in the early Talbot Settlement.

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Chris DeVries, from Common Ground Farm and CSA:

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Master Gardeners from the St. Thomas Horticultural Society:

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Jolanta Dabrowski from Natural Instincts Beekeeping, who discussed understanding the relationship between honeybees and flowers, and how we can help by creating bee-friendly gardens:

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The day was a great success with just over 120 people in attendance, and we are already looking forward to next year! Happy gardening!

 

 

Online Homework Help for All Ages

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Did you know that your library card allows you to access online homework help? St. Thomas Public Library subscribes to an online service called HelpNow, and that means that you have access to professional tutors, writing labs, practice tests and thousands of online lessons if you have a card with us! Whether you’re struggling to help your child with their math skills or you’re working on a university-level essay, HelpNow can be your best friend! You can even access the service from home via our website.

How to Use HelpNow:

From the St. Thomas Public Library website, go to the Collections heading. Under this heading you will see an Online Learning menu, and under that you will click on HelpNow: Homework Help. From this page follow the Homework Help link.

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Now you’re on HelpNow! You can create an account quickly and simply by clicking the Login icon in the upper right corner of the page. Just click the blue ‘sign up’ link and follow the prompts.

Being logged in allows you to create a calendar, keep track of past sessions, save tests, and keep track of your studies on HelpNow.

Now that you have an account, let’s explore! Under the Expert Help heading, you’ll see options for Live Tutoring, Writing Lab, Skill Surfer, Send Question and Language Lab.

Expert Help

Live Tutoring

Paying a tutor is expensive! You can connect with live professionals from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week, from grades K to 12, in a variety of subjects for each grade level. Once you select grade level and subject, you’ll enter a chat session with an expert in that subject. Ask questions and get guidance on assignments!

Live Help

Writing Lab

Writing Lab is a tool to use in the editing stages of your paper or essay. Just upload your document, write any questions or comments in the box provided, and your paper will be sent to a writing expert for review. They will get back to you with their comments within one or two days! This is a great tool for high school, college or university students.

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Skill Surfer

Skill Surfer is an entire learning library for grades 3 and up. Explore each category to see all it has to offer. The Elementary section has grades 3 to 8 lessons on math, reading and language, science and technology, and social studies. The EQAO section has practice tests for grades 3, 6 and 9. The University Applications section will guide you through the process of finding and applying to university. You can see by now what a wide range of help is available on HelpNow…a student can use it for their entire school career!

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Send a Question

This option lets you send a question any time of the day, and you will get a written response back from a tutor in your subject in one business day. You can attach documents or pictures if needed.

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Language Lab

Use Language Lab to connect with a French or Spanish tutor, or use Vocabulary Builder to take quizzes, use flashcards, or work on pronunciation!

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HelpNow can also help you connect to fellow students by setting up online meetings with MEET, use flashcards for studying with Flashbulb, and use LEAP for targeted lessons and courses.

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Explore HelpNow and you’ll be amazed at the many levels of learning support that are available to you for free!

STPL’s Most Popular Reads of 2017!

It’s about that time when we look for that list of the absolute best reads of the year.  You can look at the Globe and Mail Best Sellers, the New York Times Best Sellers or even Amazon Best Sellers. Today we are providing you with a list of the Most Popular Books at the St. Thomas Public Library for 2017! We already know James Patterson and Nora Roberts and John Grisham are popular so we won’t be listing those here. These are titles and authors that may be new to you and we are excited to share!

Here are the Top Fiction Picks for 2017:

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The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all—a loving relationship, a wonderful home and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story. Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years. What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family—a chilling tale of deception, duplicity and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist. Find it here!

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The Alice Network by Kate Quinn

1947: In the chaotic aftermath of World War II, American college girl Charlie St. Clair is pregnant, unmarried, and on the verge of being thrown out of her very proper family. She’s also nursing a desperate hope that her beloved cousin Rose, who disappeared in Nazi-occupied France during the war, might still be alive. So when Charlie’s parents banish her to Europe to have her “little problem” taken care of, Charlie breaks free and heads to London, determined to find out what happened to the cousin she loves like a sister.

1915: A year into the Great War, Eve Gardiner burns to join the fight against the Germans and unexpectedly gets her chance when she’s recruited to work as a spy. Sent into the enemy-occupied France, she’s trained by the mesmerizing Lili, the “Queen of Spies”, who manages a vast network of secret agents right under the enemy’s nose.

Thirty years later, haunted by the betrayal that ultimately tore apart the Alice Network, Eve spends her days drunk and secluded in her crumbling London house until a young American barges in uttering a name Eve hasn’t heard in decades, and launches thme both on a mission to find the truth… no matter where it leads. Find it here!

91gAap1iABLThe Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan’s Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival. Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night. Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything. Find it here!

clare_mackintosh_front_cover_1I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her. It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com. Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose…A discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target, and now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move… Find it here!

my-not-so-perfect-lifeMy (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Everywhere Katie Brenner looks, someone else is living the life she longs for, particularly her boss, Demeter Farlowe. Demeter is brilliant and creative, lives with her perfect family in a posh townhouse, and wears the coolest clothes. Katie’s life, meanwhile, is a daily struggle—from her dismal rental to her oddball flatmates to the tense office politics she’s trying to negotiate. No wonder Katie takes refuge in not-quite-true Instagram posts, especially as she’s desperate to make her dad proud. Then, just as she’s finding her feet—not to mention a possible new romance—the worst happens. Demeter fires Katie. Shattered but determined to stay positive, Katie retreats to her family’s farm in Somerset to help them set up a vacation business. London has never seemed so far away—until Demeter unexpectedly turns up as a guest. Secrets are spilled and relationships rejiggered, and as the stakes for Katie’s future get higher, she must question her own assumptions about what makes for a truly meaningful life. Sophie Kinsella is celebrated for her vibrant, relatable characters and her great storytelling gifts. Now she returns with all of the wit, warmth, and wisdom that are the hallmarks of her bestsellers to spin this fresh, modern story about presenting the perfect life when the reality is far from the truth. Find it here!

The Top Non-fiction picks for 2017:

trevor-noah-born-a-crimeBorn a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle. Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man’s relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother—his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life. The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. Find it here!

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Testimony by Robbie Robertson

Robbie Robertson’s singular contributions to popular music have made him one of the most beloved songwriters and guitarists of his time. With songs like “The Weight,” “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” and “Up on Cripple Creek,” he and his partners in The Band fashioned music that has endured for decades, influencing countless musicians. In this captivating memoir, written over five years of reflection, Robbie Robertson employs his unique storyteller’s voice to weave together the journey that led him to some of the most pivotal events in music history. He recounts the adventures of his half-Jewish, half-Mohawk upbringing on the Six Nations Indian Reserve and on the gritty streets of Toronto; his odyssey at sixteen to the Mississippi Delta, the fountainhead of American music; the wild, early years on the road with rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks; his unexpected ties to the Cosa Nostra underworld; the gripping trial-by-fire “going electric” with Bob Dylan on his 1966 world tour, and their ensuing celebrated collaborations; the formation of The Band and the forging of their unique sound,  culminating with history’s most famous farewell concert, brought to life for all time in Martin Scorsese’s great movie The Last Waltz. Find it here!

58f95fbc6c5e9.imageKillers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

In the 1920s, the richest people per capita in the world were members of the Osage Indian nation in Oklahoma. After oil was discovered beneath their land, they rode in chauffeured automobiles, built mansions, and sent their children to study in Europe. Then, one by one, the Osage began to be killed off. The family of an Osage woman, Mollie Burkhart, became a prime target. Her relatives were shot and poisoned. And it was just the beginning, as more and more members of the tribe began to die under mysterious circumstances. In this last remnant of the Wild West—where oilmen like J. P. Getty made their fortunes and where desperadoes like Al Spencer, the “Phantom Terror,” roamed—many of those who dared to investigate the killings were themselves murdered. As the death toll climbed to more than twenty-four, the FBI took up the case. It was one of the organization’s first major homicide investigations and the bureau badly bungled the case. In desperation, the young director, J. Edgar Hoover, turned to a former Texas Ranger named Tom White to unravel the mystery. White put together an undercover team, including one of the only American Indian agents in the bureau. The agents infiltrated the region, struggling to adopt the latest techniques of detection.  Together with the Osage they began to expose one of the most chilling conspiracies in American history. Find it here! 

imageSapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

100,000 years ago, at least six species of human inhabited the earth. Today there is just one. Us. Homo Sapiens. How did our species succeed in the battle for dominance? Why did our foraging ancestors come together to create cities and kingdoms? How did we come to believe in gods, nations, and human rights; to trust money, books, and laws; and to be enslaved by bureaucracy, timetables, and consumerism? And what will our world be like in the millennia to come? In Sapiens, Dr. Yuval Noah Harari spans the whole of human history, from the very first humans to walk the earth to the radical — and sometimes devastating — breakthroughs of the Cognitive, Agricultural, and Scientific Revolutions. Find it here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8th Annual Haunted Library in Review

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On Friday, October 27 the Library held its 8th Annual Haunted Library Event! It was our biggest year yet with just over 420 people in attendance. We had a lot of fun putting on the event, and now that the last of the decorations have finally been put away in the closet until next year, we want to take a look back at the big night!

This year the event took place on both the Main Level and the Lower Level of the Library. Entry was through the Main Level doors of the Library where tickets were handed out and entertainment was provided while groups waited for their turn to tour the Haunted Lower Level. One of the main attractions was our Library House Band: Bruise Springscream and the Eek-Street Band!

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Families could work on a Hallowe’en Scavenger Hunt on the Main Level, and there was also a Guess How Many Candies in a Jar contest and a Guess the Weight of the Pumpkin contest, run by these two charming Spice Girls:

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The Library was also a stop on the Downtown Development Board’s Pumpkin Prowl this year, so Prowl participants were able to get their passports stamped at our event, even if they were just stopping in!

For those brave enough to ride the elevator down to the Haunted Pumpkin Kingdom on the Lower Level, a tour of delightful horrors was waiting.

 

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The greeter!
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These spooky characters were playing a theremin at the entrance to the Pumpkin Kingdom.
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Dr. Jekyll’s Laboratory

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If you made it past this last terrifying character, you made it to the end!

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The hard work of Haunted Library is largely done by the Library’s Teen Advisory Board, or TAB. The characters are all TAB volunteers and all the props and the story line is put together by TAB! They put many hours of work into the event every year and it’s a great way for them to give back to the community. TAB members also earn community volunteering hours for all the work they do for us here, and they develop great skills in areas like event planning, group work, and interacting with the public! Here they are in their post-event group shot:

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We had a great time this year, and we can’t wait to do it all again in 2018!

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!