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!


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

Fine Free September – FINAL WEEK!

Fine Free September - Michele
Michele from the Circulation Department packages up 15 MORE bags (added to the previous 15) that are being carted off to The Caring Cupboard.

We’ve had great success with Fine Free September, our 80th reason to celebrate St. Thomas Public Library during our 130th Anniversary. We’ve had several different types of people appreciate and participate in this event.

  • Customers who are relieved at having their library account fine-free and are able to use the library again. (We had one mother overjoyed that we could clear $60 from her library account that had accumulated with her children’s overdue DVDs. Kids seem to forget to tell Mom when the DVDs are due. Note: Library accounts are suspended if more than $10 is owing on the account.)
  • Customers that have fines and are willing to pay off the amount by  donating to The Caring Cupboard
  • Customers that pay off their fines AND donate to The Caring Cupboard
  • Customers that don’t have fines, but want to donate to The Caring Cupboard anyway

We’re astounded at the generosity of the community and are excited and very pleased that library customers feel welcome to use the library’s services again, now that their accounts are cleared. (We LOVE it when people come to visit us!)

Just a reminder, there is only one week left for Fine Free September. If you have overdue fines on your account, get to St. Thomas Public Library ASAP! We’ll clear them for no charge, and you are by no means obligated to donate to The Caring Cupboard. We only ask people to donate what they can and are comfortable with.

The Caring Cupboard was very grateful for the first round of donations we delivered. They expressed their current need for donations as their supplies run low during September.

Once again, thank you to everyone who has donated so far. Please spread the word that the library is forgiving all overdue fines on library accounts so that the people who need to use the library feel welcome.


Reason #91 – Anyone Can Join Our Book Clubs

Reason #91 - Anyone Can Join Our Book ClubsSt. Thomas Public Library has three book clubs for adults and every one of them is open to the public, free of charge. Two of the book clubs are new (ish) and one has been going on for over a decade. Public are welcome to join any of them, the Adult Book Club, the “Whodunnit” Mystery Book Club, and – the latest – Books & Brews Book Club. There is no charge to join and no registration is required. Just read the book, and show up!


Let’s start off with the newest – Books & Brews. This book club starts tomorrow, Wednesday, September 24 from 7-8:30 p.m. at Midtown Tavern in St. Thomas, ON. This book club is modeled after a London Public Library book club called “Books on Tap.” The idea is to offer a casual, relaxed atmosphere to discuss good books over good brews to a bit of a younger crowd (but 19+, please! We are meeting in a bar, after all.) For the very first meeting, club members have a chance to discuss how they’d like the book club to run, what kind of books they’ll read, and if they’ll even set a book-to-read, or just discus good books in general. The choice is yours! Don’t miss out on the first meeting – you have the chance to shape a library program and book club history! This book club will typically meet every other month on the last Wednesday of the month. For more information, call the Adult Information Desk at 519-631-6050 ext. 8013 or email Trish at Upcoming meeting dates:

  • September 23, 2014
  • November 26, 2014
  • January 28, 2015
  • March 25, 2015
  • May 27, 2015


Whodunnit – Mystery Book Club. This book club was specially created to target a crowd that cannot make the daytime Adult Book Club meetings. Also, the mystery genre is extremely popular in St. Thomas Public Library with consistently high circulation stats. What does this mean? That a LOT of people in St. Thomas like mysteries, so why not give them a book club to discuss their mysterious passion? The Whodunnit Mystery Book Club typically takes place on the second Tuesday evening of every month from September to June from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. in the Carnegie Room, lower level of the library. The following is the set reading list. Each title links to the library’s catalogue so you can place a hold on the book. (Extra copies of book club books are available on the main level of the library.)


STPL Adult Book Club. This book club has been convening for years! The reading list covers a wide array of genres in fiction and occasionally non-fiction, new and old, classics and cutting-edge. The STPL Adult Book Club typically takes place on the first Tuesday evening of every month from September to June from 10:00 a.m. until noon. in the Carnegie Room, lower level of the library. The following is the set reading list. Each title links to the library’s catalogue so you can place a hold on the book. (Extra copies of book club books are available on the main level of the library.)

We hope you can join us to one or all of our book clubs! There’s certainly something for everyone, regardless of gender, age, favourite genre, availability, or comfort. You don’t even have to participate if you’re not comfortable! Just read the book and enjoy the discussion. (Although participation is always encouraged. Hearing other people’s views and opinions on books is what it’s all about!) And, the best part, they’re all FREE and DROP-IN! No obligation to attend every meeting. You have nothing to lose and so much to gain! See you there!

Reason #87: Diverse Material Suits Community Needs

Reason #87 - Diverse Material

At St. Thomas Public Library, we strive to meet the many needs in our community, not only through programs offered, but the materials in our collection. We have pockets of special groups throughout the community, high demand for particular books due to demographics, and trends that run Canada-wide.

What we’re saying is, our staff pays close attention to what St. Thomas Public Library customers need, want, and demand. (Not the negative kind of demand, but the “We’ve seen an increase in demand in our cookbook section!” kind of way.) Staff at the Information Desks and Technical Services do their best to fill special orders, beef-up certain genres, and hand-pick titles that they know library customers would appreciate.

For example, St. Thomas Public Library takes pride in our large selection of the following books and genres, based on the St. Thomas community:

  • French language books for our French Immersion schools
  • Christian fiction
  • Books for Home Schooling – a rising trend across the country
  • Adult Graphic Novels – which are just plain cool (and A LOT of St. Thomas residence agree)
  • Cookbooks – especially special diets like gluten free and Paleo
  • Mysteries – which has a high circulation rate in the library
  • Large Print
  • Knitting books – we have some crafty folks out there!

All of these categories have hand-picked titles that staff know library users will read and appreciate. Our collection isn’t some generic, run-of-the-mill, cookie-cutter, only-popular-if-it’s-on-Oprah’s-list kind of collection. Our collection is customer driven, crafted to suit YOUR needs and YOUR community’s. Our collection is constantly being monitored for gaps, updates, and books about subjects that we’re missing altogether so that our “St. Thomas driven” collections are always fresh, exciting, and give you something to come back for. Libraries are supposed to be the living room of the community – and we want to make sure everyone is comfortable in ours.