Support STPL with GivingTuesday

Black Friday/Cyber Monday are about deals; GivingTuesday is about giving back – “the opening day of the giving season,” if you will. GivingTuesday proves that the holidays can be about both giving and giving back. It celebrates how Canadians can do more with their wallets than just shop– and that we can give as good as we get. (And hey! This community is already pretty good at that! You’ve shown how generous you are by contributing to The Caring Cupboard during Fine Free September.)

On a national scale, GivingTuesday unifies charities, corporations, small business, and individuals from across the globe to show that the world gives as good as it gets. You don’t have to be a world leader or a billionaire to give back. GivingTuesday is about ordinary people coming together doing extraordinary things. The donation size doesn’t matter. What matters is that you get involved. What matters is that you spread the word about local charities and organizations, like St. Thomas Public Library, and how they help the community grow and flourish. GivingTuesday is the perfect time for the world to come together and show how powerful humanity can be when we unite to give on one day and Feel Great Giving.

If you’re interested in making a monetary donation to St. Thomas Public Library (which we’d greatly appreciate!) click the red and white “” image below:



Reason #122 – You’re Invited to Our Anniversary Open House

Reason #122 - Open House

You’re Invited!

Tuesday, December 2, 3014 | 3 – 6 PM | Greetings @ 4 PM

We’re wrapping up our year-long 130th Anniversary celebration with an open house! Join us for our 130th Anniversary “Telling Our Stories” Commemorative Book launch and refreshments provided by Arthur Voaden Secondary School Culinary Class!

Also, we’re giving out SWAG bags (while supplies last.) Hope to see you at the library!

Reason #118 – We’re 100% Accessible

Reason #118 - Accessibility

We are accessible!

Recently, the Province of Ontario passed laws requiring that all companies, organizations and government agencies make their services more accessible. Although the new legislation also applies to libraries, accessibility is nothing new for us! A principle of service for libraries has always been that we serve all ages and levels of abilities. The province has set standards physical buildings, such as requiring wider doorways, ramps instead of stairs, and elevators with raised buttons. There are also guidelines for customer service, such as making sure that our important documents are available in multiple formats.


St. Thomas Public Library has many services for accessibility. With assistance from the Lions Club of St. Thomas, we have an accessibility station, including a special computer with touch screen, a text magnifier, and a text-to-voice reader. We have an audiobook collection of over 1,000 items and a Large Print collection of almost 10,000 items for the visually impaired. Recently, we redesigned our website with new accessibility standards in mind. (Go to and check out the accessibility options in the top left-hand corner of the page.) And for those who are unable to get to the library, our Home Library Service provides selection and delivery of materials to visually impaired and home-bound persons by staff and volunteers.

When it comes to the library building, we’ve been given the “Thumbs Up” certification by the St. Thomas Thumbs Up Committee for being accessible to the community. Some of our accessibility features include: ramps and hand rails at both the main and lower entrances with automatic doors, accessible/family washrooms on all three levels of the library, aisles that meet the 81 cm accessibility code (for walkers, scooters, strollers, etc.) that are free from clutter, an upgraded elevator to include braille, light-up display, and sound communication, and all of our door handles can be opened easily with one hand (among many other standards.)


All our staff and volunteers are trained on the principles of accessibility, and we can help you!

Reason #114 – 2 Hour Long Computer Sessions

Reason #114 - 2 Hour Computer Sessions - Cover Photo

St. Thomas Public Library always tries to meet the needs of our customers, and we are always trying to find ways to provide better services! The use of our public computer workstations is one of the key services that we offer the St. Thomas community – and the library now allows customers to use the computers for a total of 2 hours per day!  Previously, the library allowed only 1 hour per day – that’s an increase of 100%!

We know how important using the computers can be – whether it is for job searching, seeking support, online learning, research, connecting with family and friends, or for entertainment (which is also important in a balanced lifestyle!) We want to meet the needs of all our customers by extending the length of time they can use the computers for each day. Library staff are always on-hand to help troubleshoot simple issues, and provide guidance when using the computers. We hope that by giving customers an additional hour to use the computers we will allow them to complete more projects, and give them better access to the resources we have online.

We hope you enjoy the extra time!


Palmer Donation Means “MakerSpace” for STPL

Sarah Macintyre MakerspaceDorothy Palmer Estate donates $50,000 to St. Thomas Public Library to create a MakerSpace

St. Thomas Public Library announced today that the Dorothy Palmer Estate has donated $50,000 to support the development of a St. Thomas Public Library MakerSpace.

MakerSpaces are part of a growing movement of hands-on, mentor-led learning environments to make and remake the physical and digital worlds. They foster experimentation, invention, creation, exploration, and innovation.

“We are excited about the opportunities that this funding presents to us,” Chief Librarian, Rudi Denham said.

“We are looking forward to creating an environment where our customers can interact with some cutting-edge technologies. The Library continues to be a dynamic community hub, and, with the generous support of the Palmer Estate, I am excited to be able to introduce this new type of service to our customers,” said Sarah Macintyre, Systems and Support Services Librarian.

St. Thomas Public Library will plan, design, and pilot a MakerSpace that will be available to the general public within the Library, located in downtown St. Thomas. The aim is that the MakerSpace will introduce adults, families, teens, and children to technology and equipment, including 3D printers, design software, video and audio recording, and mobile devices.

“This is a wonderful project,” stated Andrew Gunn, Trustee of the Dorothy Palmer Estate. “In the twenty-first century, the concept of literacy has expanded beyond reading and writing, and now includes digital, visual, and mechanical literacy. The new MakerSpace at the St. Thomas Public Library will be a terrific resource for the whole community, and especially for children and young adults who are curious about 3D printing, video and audio recording, and various design applications.”
For additional information, please contact:

Rudi Denham, CEO, St. Thomas Public Library

About St Thomas Public Library

In 2014, St Thomas Public Library is celebrating its 130th anniversary! The Library has been dedicated to meeting the lifelong learning, reading and information needs of St. Thomas residents for well over 100 years now, and our mission to educate, inform, and enrich the community has never been stronger! We look forward to expanding our services with the introduction of a MakerSpace in 2015. For more information, visit


About Dorothy Palmer

Dorothy Palmer was born in 1925 and was the only child of Fred and Ethel Ingram, who operated the Elgin County House of Industry from 1927 to 1942. Mrs. Palmer was a graduate of St. Thomas Collegiate Institute and later taught elementary school in Eden, Sparta, and St. Thomas. A lifelong resident of Elgin County, Dorothy lived for many years in Aylmer with her husband, John. Before her death in June 2010, Mrs. Palmer made a generous contribution to the St. Thomas Public Library, which was recognized with the establishment of the John and Dorothy Palmer Youth Library.

Reason #106 – Walking Tour Helps History Come Alive

Reason #106 - Walking Tour Helps History Come Alive

Do you remember the old card catalogues? Do you remember thumbing through drawers of smudged and worn cards to find a title by a favorite author, or on a subject near and dear to your heart? We now think finding a book in a card catalogue is old-fashioned, but there was a time when there were no catalogues at all. Books were arranged on the shelf in the order in which they were purchased. There was a published list of books, but because of the cost, an update wasn’t printed very often. Nowadays you can instantly find what’s in your local library, or the public library in Madrid, or at UBC;  you can tell if it’s on the shelf or out, and you can access that information from the library, from home, from your cottage at Grand Bend, or beach side in Punta Cana. And the library isn’t just books!


Many of the things we take for granted now didn’t exist in the past. In celebration of St Thomas Public Library’s 130 Anniversary, take a walk back in time with our self-guided historical walking tour (STPL 130 Anniversary Walking Tour – PDF) and gain a sense of who we are, and where we came from.  As you visit some of the landmarks in the Library or the City’s history, imagine the progress and changes that have occurred throughout those 130 years!

– RD

Reason #101- Making a Difference: Teen Advisory Board

Reason #101 - Teen Advisory Board

How does our Teen Advisory Board make a difference? They help us with all sorts of things around the library! Teen volunteers helped us paint faces for our Culture Days program in September. They volunteered their time in the summer to help staff run Summer Reading workshops for younger kids. They will be running our popular annual Haunted Library event on October 17th. Also, our TAB members provide input into how we cater to teens as a library by helping us pick books for our collection, helping us make their space more appealing and by representing the library out in the community.

Teens are powerful members of our community and it is crucial for the library to reach out to them. Their creativity and spirit keep our programs interesting and keep our teen services dynamic! They make a real difference around here, we simply couldn’t run some of our programs without their help!