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 http://stthomaspubliclibrary.ca/ 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 #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.

Reason #44: We Have a New Website

Reason #44: We have a new website!

St. Thomas Public Library is happy to announce that we now have a new website: http://www.stthomaspubliclibrary.ca

We hope that you find the new site to be more user-friendly than our old site!

Some of our new features include:

  • A calendar function
  • Responsive design (Mobile-friendly display)
  • Improved Social Media interaction
  • Better access to eResources

 

Here is a tour of some of the new features and functions:

Accessibility Bar:  At the very top of the website, you can see that we have added an Accessibility Bar. This is to help make our website more accessible for individuals with vision impairments. Using the buttons, you can increase or decrease the size of the text, change the font, print the page, transfer the text to speech, change the toolbar, text, and link colors, and send any feedback you may have.

Accessibility Bar

Social Media: Right underneath the Accessibility Bar, you can see that we now have all of our Social Media sites in one place. You can simply click each icon go visit our Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Flickr, or Blog pages. It’s never been easier to find us online!

Social Media Buttons

Search the library’s online catalog: Like on our old site, we have included a handy search box that allows you to search for books and movies directly in our online catalog. Simply type in the title or author you are interested in, and you will be brought right to the search results. Another way to access your library account (so that you can review your loans, place holds, and renew items) is by clicking the yellow tab item called “Your Account”.

Catalogue

New Books Slideshow: Don’t know what you should read next? Want to know what books have recently been added to our collection? Take a look at our “New Books” slideshow! Our Adult Information staff have selected a number of new titles that                 might just be your next favorite read! Simply click the image of the book and you will be redirected right to our online catalog, where you can place a hold!

Check out our Facebook feed: Now you can check out all of our activity on Facebook, directly on our website! Take a quick glance to see if we’ve posted anything new, and see what we’re up to!

All our information – in one handy place:  We have added a “footer” to our new website, so that you can access all of our key information no matter what page you are on! You can send us a donation through CanadaHelps.org, subscribe to our fantastic newsletter, as well as verify our opening hours and contact information! it doesn’t get more convenient than that!

Footer

 

Updated Tabs for Improved Navigation 

Drop Down Menus

ABOUT US: In our “About us” section, you can find out information about:

  • 130th Anniversary
  • Library Board
  • Library Policies
  • Strategic Plan and Annual Report
  • How to support the library through donations and “Friends of the library”
  • Our History
  • Our Library Accreditation
  • Our Roger TV Library Lounge Spots
  • Career Opportunities
  • Location and Contact Information

USING THE LIBRARY:  In our “Using the library” section, you can find out information about:

  • Getting a library card
  • Borrowing items
  • Library services, including: Information for teachers and parents, our wifi & public computers, room booking & rentals, recommending an item for purchase, our eReader lending service, and Home Library Service
  • Genealogy and Local History
  • Accessibility

eRESROUCES: Our eResources tab brings you to information about accessing our eBooks & eAudiobooks, as well as our Online Databases.

  • For our eBooks and eAudiobooks: You can access our OverDrive page (the Ontario Library Service Download Centre) by clicking the image on the right-hand side of the screen. From there, you can search for eBooks and eAudiobooks, borrow them, and download them to your eReader, tablet, smartphone, or other device!

If you need any help to do this, take a look at our detailed “How-to” instructions provided on the lower part of the page! Don’t forget that you can give us a call if you get stumped – our staff are happy to help you!

  •  For our Online databases: You can see that our online databases can be viewed either as an alphabetical list, or else sorted by subject. With easy to use tabs, and detailed descriptions for each database, you will be sure to find the resources you need!

PROGRAMS & EVENTS: We have a new feature on the website: a calendar function! Here you can see at a glance what programs and events the library is hosting at any given month. The example above is July 2014. One great feature of this calendar is that you can change the display, simply by clicking the “month” icon at the upper left-hand side. Here, you can choose to display the calendar by day, or by week, whatever your preference!

As well, notice that the events are color-coded: Red indicates a library closure, Blue indicates an activity for Children, Green indicates an activity for Adults, Yellow indicates an activity for All Ages, and Pink indicates an activity for Teens. The default display is to show all events, regardless of age group. However, you can display only activities for adults, if you want. You do this by clicking the “categories” at the upper left-hand side of the calendar.

CHILDREN: Our new website has a page dedicated just to Children! Here, you can find information for children and parents, as  well a slideshow of new books, a public poll, and a calendar of events just for kids!

TEENS: Like the dedicated Children’s page, our new website also has a page just for Teens! Here, teens can find information for research & homework, teen life & health, reading recommendations, and information about the Teen Advisory Board (T.A.B.). This page also has a slideshow of new and popular YA books, a poll, and a calendar of events just for teens!

 

Take some time to try out our new site today, and please do not hesitate to send us your comments and feedback to let us know how you like it! We are always looking for new ways to serve you better!

 

– Sarah Macintyre