Have you discovered Historypin yet? Historypin is a website where people can upload their own pieces of local history! Many of us have old photos and stories that have been passed down through generations, and Historypin is a great place to share these memories with others! If you can access a scanner or have digital copies already, all you need to do is create an account and you can upload your photos to start a collection.


There are a few collections for local history enthusiasts to explore. Check out the Elgin Archives collection, the University of Western Ontario’s collection, A Bod’s collection, and watch for St. Thomas Public Library’s collection too! The photo above, a postcard of Elgin County Courthouse from 1907, is from A Bod’s Collection. What can you add to Historypin? Here are a few more photos of places you may recognize!


Indigenous Book Club Month

Did you know that June is Indigenous Book Club Month? Perhaps you’re participating with your book club, but even if you’re not in a book club it’s a good time to check out some Indigenous authors! Here are some picks from our collection:

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!

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.