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!

oL

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).
Screenshot_20170928-095159
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

Screenshot_20170928-095239

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).

Screenshot_20170928-102908
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.

Screenshot_20170928-102936

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.

Screenshot_20170928-095258
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.

Screenshot_20170928-095338
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!

 

Let’s Talk About Books!

Let’s talk about BOOKS.

St. Thomas Public Library is full of books, but not just the books you see on our shelves – we get a lot of gently used books donated to us from members of the community. We truly appreciate that people think of us as a place to support with donations, but the truth is that we simply cannot take all the donated books and put them on our shelves. Sometimes we don’t have enough room! Sometimes we already have a copy of the book in our collection, and don’t need a second one! Sometimes the book is older and out of date, or is in too poor condition. For times like these, we are happy to lean on our fundraising group, Friends of St. Thomas Public Library.

friends logo

The Friends of St. Thomas Public Library are a volunteer group who help raise funds for the library and promote the library as a cultural institution in the community. They began in 1994, and have so far donated over $200,000 to St. Thomas Public Library. They accept donated books on behalf of the library, and have a permanent book shop located at the Elgin Mall. Many of the donated books we receive at the main library end up being brought to the Friends’ Shop, so that they can be sold. All the proceeds from sales are distributed back to the Library, to support collections, programs, and services. You can learn more about the Friends’ of the Library here: https://stthomaspubliclibrary.ca/friends/

 

St. Thomas Public Library buys nearly 10,000 new items every year – but our physical building does not expand accordingly! That’s why we have to be mindful about the books we remove from our collection – if 10,000 new books come in, then a similar amount of old books must come out! We use a variety of methods to select the books we discard; we look at things like poor condition or damage, whether or not anyone has checked out the book recently, how many checkouts it has had since we bought it, etc. All of this is taken into consideration. But at the end of the day, that’s a lot of books to get rid of! We send the books in the best condition over to the Friends of the Library Shop at the Mall, so that they can sell them and generate revenue for us. But a lot of the items we pull from our shelves won’t make for great local sales – so we use a company called Better World Books as a backup plan.

bwb

Better World Books is a company that works with libraries to make good use of the books they don’t need any more. They send us boxes and shipping labels, and all we have to do is pack up the books we aren’t sending to the Friends’ Shop, and ship them off to Better World Books instead (shipping is even free!) Once Better World Books receives our boxes, the items are sorted and scanned, and each saleable item is listed on over 50 channels for sale online. If an item is determined not to be “saleable”, meaning it isn’t a good candidate to sell online, Better World Books has a recycling program set-up. They never, ever, throw away a book. In fact, when we log in to their site with our Library Account, we can see exactly how many of our books have been recycled, and see a real-time review of the positive impact we are having on the environment.

Below I’ve included a screenshot from our Better World Books account, where you can see how many of our books have been reused or recycled, and how many trees we have saved by using their recycling program!

metrics

We have only been using Better World Books for a little over 2 months now, and already we can see great results!

If you have any questions or comments about how St. Thomas Public Library deals with discarded library books, or if you would like to learn more about the Better World Books metrics seen here,  please send an email to: info@stthomaspubliclibrary.

STEAM Education Centres: Learning and Making in St. Thomas and Elgin

This is a guest blog post by Jessica Moyes, Executive Director of STEAM Education Centres! STEAM Education Centres is one of the Library’s Community Partners. Like us, they offer services that encourage self-directed discovery, community maker spaces and continuous learning. See Jessica’s post below to learn more!

STEAM Educations Centres: Learning and Making in St. Thomas and Elgin

It’s hard to believe but this fall will mark one year since the STEAM Education Centres opened its doors to bring new educational approaches to learning and making to the St. Thomas and Elgin County region. And what a year it has been! We have lead some awesome programming, participated in a variety of community events, opened a temporary pop-up location and have some exciting plans for the near future – and, I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Programming with the Community

The STEAM Team and guest teachers have designed and lead some amazing workshops and school field trips, both in the Centre and in the community, for learners of all ages on topics ranging from coding, computer rebuilding and animation art using 3D design and printing, to Teen and Adult coding with Raspberry Pi and Maker CNC projects. We also took our programming on the road this summer to a pop-up location at the Elgin Mall! There, we lead four weeks of summer camp for kids – Music Maker Camp and Alien Investigations Camp – as well as a range of teen and adult workshops such as Make your own digital picture frame using Raspberry Pi (shown below).

Untitled
Learn to make a Digital Picture Frame using Raspberry Pi – Summer workshop for teens and adults at STEAM Education Centres pop-up location.

 

Making Connections

It was an active summer connecting with people out in the community for the STEAM Team. We kicked off the season with a free BBQ at the STEAM Centre and topped off the night with a screening of Most Likely To Succeed; a film about the future of education and innovation. It was a fantastic evening filled with the sounds of laughter, discovery and summertime spirit.

Steam 2
STEAM Centre Block Party guests screening Most Likely To Succeed; a film about the future of education and innovation, June 2017
Steam 3
STEAM Education Centres’ Summer BBQ and Block Party, June 2017

We also participated in the Canada Day festivities in Pinafore Park this summer. Kids of all ages learned how to program, or code, an Ozobot using colours, navigate a Sphero maze and made their own smoke ring machines!

Steam 1
Kids learning to make smoke and smoke machines with STEAM Education Centres at Canada Day celebration at Pinafore Park, July 2017

Full STEAM Ahead

Looking to the fall, there are no signs of slowing down! We are currently busy organizing our first event called STEAM Mission 150 for September 30th! STEAM Mission 150 is an exciting new event that will test students like never before while honouring the history of the local community, land and Canada’s 150th! This one-day event will see teams of students between 12 and 15 years old diving deep into fun challenges that require creativity and collaboration while tapping into science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) skills. And, just for fun, a handful of brave teachers will be able to enter the Mission as well!  We invite everyone to join us for an unforgettable day, whether to participate, spectate or volunteer! With Mission sites scattered throughout the community and over 165 students, teachers and volunteers participating, Mission 150 is set to turn St. Thomas and Elgin County into a STEAM learning playground with a new adventure around every corner! For more information or to get involved as participant or volunteer, visit www.steameducation.ca/steammission

Steam 4

We are also busy preparing our workshops for ages 7 and up, starting September 12, 2017. While most will be new themes, there will be a few repeats due to popular demand such as Kid Roboteers and STEAMKids 101! Stay tuned or enroll now at www.steameducation.ca

Finally, this fall we will welcome STEAM School in partnership with Thames Valley District School Board. This project will see seventy grade 10 students and four TVDSB teachers joining the STEAM Team this fall while students work to complete four regular high school credit courses through the lens of ‘making life better for someone else’. Students will undertake community based projects and work closely with the STEAM Education Centres staff to gain needed support throughout the fall semester. You can find more information on STEAM School at www.steameducation.ca/steamschool.

So, as we close out our first year and look ahead to the future, we wish to express our sincere thanks to the community that we support and has supported us, as well as the St. Thomas Public Library staff. It’s been a phenomenal year and we look forward to meeting more people, making more partnerships, and providing greater essential learning opportunities to our rural region of learners and makers!

Jessica Moyes

Executive Director

STEAM Education Centres

 

 

 

 

 

Historypin

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.

20170620145111

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!

 

A Series of Unfortunate Read Alikes

maxresdefault

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:

templeton-twins

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

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

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.

mysterious-benedict

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

Save

Stranger Library Things

library-thingsStranger Things! This show is everything. The eight episode Netflix series has made many of our lives complete this summer as we soaked it in, and then left a void in our hearts as black and empty as the Upside Down when we finished watching the last episode. This emotional roller coaster is a sign of true love, no? Now we have entered a sort of purgatory of boredom waiting for season 2, due in 2017 at some point. That’s next year! But it doesn’t have to be a meaningless existence until then, just come to the library to find some Stranger Library Things to tide you over! There are many lists like this one on the internet, but I have tailored this list to include items you can borrow from the library. Vetted by a true horror fan, these books and movies will contain the nostalgic feel and elements of strangeness that we love so much about the series. Here we go:

Books

1. It by Stephen King (1986)

Stephen King’s It has a definite Stranger Things feel: A group of misfit kids up against a supernatural horror. If you are only an occasional horror consumer, this novel may be too terrifying for you. The enemy in It is far more manipulative than the sentient piranha-plant-head demi-gorgon of Stranger Things, and the kids have much less of a Spielbergien glow. The group faces real life monsters such as abuse, alcoholism, and severe bullying that are nearly as terrifying as the novel’s ancient shape shifter that most often appears as Pennywise the Clown. If you want Stranger Things but with deeper character studies and darker horror, It will leave you satisfied.

it
We all float down here…

2. Paper Girls volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughan (2016)

Paper Girls is Brian K. Vaughan’s newest graphic novel series, illustrated by Cliff Chiang in a vibrant neon colour palette straight out of the 1980s. The story takes place on the morning after Halloween in 1988 and follows a group of twelve-year-old newspaper delivery girls as they band together to solve a supernatural small town mystery. The dialogue gives the characters perfect depth and also feels true, much like the dynamic between the kids in Stranger Things. Read volume 1 now, and you’ll only have to wait until December for volume 2!

PaperGirls_Vol01-1

3. The Shadow Year by Jeffery Ford (2008)

The Shadow Year is pure nostalgic gold. While the story takes place in the 1960s, anyone who grew up in the 60s-80s will have their memories of childhood stirred up by the imagery in the novel. The three kids in the story, two brothers and their younger sister, build a model of their town in their basement. When Mary, the strange, Eleven-like younger sister, makes changes to the model, a corresponding strange event happens in the town. The supernatural is understated but has such an eerie feel to it that you’ll wonder if the kids are living close by a portal to the Upside Down.

The Shadow Year

4. Locke and Key by Joe Hill (2009)

Locke and Key is a six volume series of comics by Joe Hill, son of horror icon Stephen King. Gabriel Rodriquez brilliantly illustrates the comics with complex, beautiful scenes you can get lost in. Like It, do not tackle Locke and Key expecting the levity of Stranger Things. It is a relentlessly dark story featuring three siblings who find keys that unlock supernatural powers, and they soon raise a demon from a well who wants to collect the keys in order to unleash a hellish dimension into our own. Like Stranger Things, the Locke children fight with the armor of childhood that seems to give them an advantage over the adults in the story. Check it out if you have a strong constitution for visual horror.

lk-alpha02-covd

Movies

1. Super 8 (2011)

Super 8 takes place in a small Ohio steel town in 1979. A group of young teenage friends are filming a super 8 movie when they catch an epic train crash on video, and strange things begin to happen in their town. This movie shares a lot with Stranger Things: small town, young friendships taking on more mature dynamics, kids against an enemy they seem to understand better than the adults do, and the inevitable return of buried grief.

poster-super8

2. Stand By Me (1986)

Based on Stephen King’s short story The Body, available here, Stand By Me follows four boys on their quest to locate the body of a local kid who was struck and killed by a train. Again, it is the dynamic of the friendship as the boys mature that is reminiscent of our five young heroes in Stranger Things. There isn’t anything supernatural at play in the movie, but everything is rumbling beneath the surface of the sleepy everyday with a sort of phantom energy that is embodied by the Upside Down in Stranger Things. In Stand By Me, the disappearance of a boy also drives the action, and the innocence of the group of friends is lost when they confront the mortality of their young lives.

Stand_By_Me_1986_American_Theatrical_Release_Poster

3. It Follows (2014)

itfollowsposter01

It Follows makes the list because it seems to have kicked off the recently growing trend of 1980s nostalgia in movies. The film isn’t explicitly set in the 80s, but it has that feel to it. The story follows a group of teens as they try to help their friend, Jay, fend off an enemy that can take any form and is always walking towards her. The premise is strange and simple, yet makes for a terrifying, paranoid atmosphere. The soundtrack to It Follows will remind you of the opening of Stranger Things, as will the settings and dialogue among the friends. This entry comes with a warning, there is considerable gore and adult content in this one!

4. Something Wicked This Way Comes (1983)

The Disney movie of the classic Ray Bradbury novel is surprisingly terrifying, and conveys a definite nostalgic feel, perhaps because it was produced in 1983 before Disney began to really churn out its canon of sickly sweet animated fairy tales. It’s hard to pin down why this one comes so close to Stranger Things, but fans of the show will eat this movie up. It has a supernatural enemy in the form of Mr. Dark and his phantasmic Pandemonium Carnival, and two young boys with a complicated friendship that must expose the carnival for what it is before it overtakes their small town.

SomethingWicked

That wraps up the list of read and watch- alikes, but if you don’t already know, Stranger Things is full of references to classic horror and sci-fi movies. Here are some of referenced titles that are available at STPL:

Alien, The Thing, Pan’s Labyrinth, Needful Things, The Shining, Rambo, Firestarter, Altered States, Twin Peaks, Jaws.

Happy horror-ing!

*We will be discussing The Shining by Stephen King for our October STPL Book Club on Tuesday, October 4th at 10 am in the Carnegie Room! If you enjoyed this post, join us to discuss this deliciously terrifying horror novel! Open to all, extra copies available at the circulation desk.

-Strangely yours,

Amelia

 

Virtual Tour

St. Thomas Public Library’s website has a brand-new feature: a VIRTUAL TOUR!

If you haven’t been into the Library for several years now, and are curious what it looks like today, here is your chance to get a sneak peek before you even set foot in the door!

In April, we had photographer Aaron Burns come into the Library early in the morning before we opened to the public. Once here, he took over 5000 photos of the building – pictures were taken from every angle, so that, once stitched together, they give us a complete 360 degree view of the space. Every detail is included – all around, the floors, the ceilings, everything! We placed the camera in the central areas of many of our rooms – so that you can get a good idea of the layout of the building.

When you click the link on our website (https://stthomaspubliclibrary.ca), here is a screenshot of what you will see:Virtual tour

You begin the tour at the front of the building, outside. You can click and drag your mouse anywhere on the image, effectively pulling the pictures around you; this is what gives you the 360 degree feel! In addition to viewing up, down, and all around you, you can navigate to different areas of the building; between floors and to the east and west areas of the building, by clicking the arrows. There is also a menu in the upper-right hand corner, helping you switch between levels quickly. If you want to see a floorplan of the level you are looking at, just click the little “floorplan” icon at the bottom of the page.

We had a lot of fun bringing this tour to life, and we feel as though it shows off our best side! But really, the library rarely looks like the way it does in the virtual tour – we are never empty! You’ll have to use your imagination to picture the more than 800 library members who walk through our doors each day!

Have you checked out our virtual tour yet? We think it’s worth your while!

 

Questions, comments? Email info@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca.

 

– Sarah Macintyre, Systems & Support Services Librarian