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.

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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

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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:

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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3. It Follows (2014)

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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.

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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

Local History and Geneology Fit into the Big Picture of National History

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In April, St. Thomas Public Library was contacted by a Forensic Genealogy Coordinator working for the Canadian National Defense.  They were seeking to identify a recovered WWII soldier who they believed to be Pte. Kenneth Donald Duncanson, killed in action September 14, 1944.  The Coordinator had searched the Elgin OGS (Ontario Genealogical Society) online index for the St. Thomas Times Journal and found a marriage announcement for his sister, Lyla Patricia Duncanson.  The Coordinator was looking for a copy of this announcement, other family information, and the existence of any children, and asked us if we could help!

In our research, we found the marriage announcement for a woman named Iyla Patricia Duncanson.  Though we could not find an obituary for Pte. Donald Duncanson, we did find that he was buried (presumably without remains) in the Fairview Cemetery in Dutton.  The inscription on the tombstone reads “Their Son   Kenneth D.  1915 – 1944   Killed in Action, Belgium.”   We forwarded this information to the Coordinator, and directed her to the Elgin Archives, and their holdings of the  Dutton newspaper the Dutton Advance. The Forensic Genealogy Coordinator must have taken our recommendation, and found additional information which substantiated the identity of the remains, because on May 17, 2016 local newspapers carried an article that an “Elgin Soldier’s Remains Found in Belgium” were indeed those of Pte. Kenneth Donald Duncanson of Dutton. Read more from the St. Thomas Times Journal: http://www.stthomastimesjournal.com/2016/05/16/elgin-soldiers-remains-found-in-belgium

We are so pleased that we got to be a small part of solving this mystery!

Learn more about our Local History collections on our website!

Questions? Email us at info@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca

By Donna Hanson, Technical Services Coordinator

The Studio is OPENING!

St. Thomas Public Library’s very own recording studio is opening its doors on THURSDAY MARCH 31st!

A project in the making for the past six months…. St. Thomas Public Library is excited to finally launch ‘The Studio’, a fully-functional audio/video production suite equipped with state-of-the-art recording and editing hardware and software that will enable library cardholders to create professional-quality projects and gain valuable hands-on experience with industry-standard equipment!

Join us on Thursday March 31st, from 6-8pm, for a walk-through of the facilities, and get information on our upcoming training sessions.

What is The Studio?studio 2

The Studio will be a place where Library customers can create and edit audio, video, and photographic material.  Customers will be able to book time and use the room to learn how to use the multimedia tools.  It’s important to note that the room will not be soundproofed, so we will not be able to record drum kits or guitar amplifiers. However, drum sounds can be created using a sequencer, and guitars can be recorded ‘direct’.  The main focus is to provide library customers with the chance to learn how to use these tools.

What are some potential projects someone could do at The Studio?

  • Video Blogs (VLOGS), e.g. How-to videos, Unboxing videos, Podcasts
  • Promotional videos for small businesses or non-profit organizations
  • Family Photos
  • Photo colour correction, editing
  • Photoshopping, e.g. greeting cards, calendars, funny stuff
  • Editing / Compiling old home movies

What equipment will The Studio have?studio 1

Hardware:

  • Black Magic HD video camera
  • DSLR still camera
  • LCD lighting
  • Ableton Push drum sequencer
  • Arturia MIDI keyboard
  • Rode condenser microphone
  • Yamaha studio monitors
  • Zoom Portable Audio Recorder
  • Scarlett Audio I/O
  • 2 mic/line ins (for connecting microphones, guitars, etc)

Software:  We are excited to offer industry-standard software platforms for customers to learn on!

  • Abelton Live
  • Cuckos Reaper
  • Adobe Premiere Pro
  • Photoshop
  • The Entire Adobe CC Suite!

When will customers be able to book Studio time?

Once you have completed our 90-minute certification session, library cardholders who are above the age of 18 will be able to book The Studio for blocks of 2 hours at a time.

Questions? Comments? Let us know!

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