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:


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.

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!


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.



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.


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.


3. It Follows (2014)


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.


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,



Season-tastic Displays for December 2014

Have a holly, jolly read with the help of St. Thomas Public Library! Our staff have been at it again and the creative book displays are finishing on a rather high and awesome note this year. We have two displays in the Adult Department on the main level of the library.

Season's Readings - small

In the mood for a little festive reading? First is “Season’s Readings!” This display includes books about Christmas, Hanukkah, winter, snow, angels, etc. Items on this display include general fiction, mysteries, romance, Christian Fiction, large print, audiobooks, and magazines. What more could you ask for on your reading list?

Secret Santa Display - smallOur second display in the Adult Department is our “Secret Santa” display.

You better not shout.

You better not cry.

Give our Secret Santa books a try!

This kind of display is always so popular, that we had to impose a one “Present” per customer per visit rule. (Don’t be a Grinch! Spread the joy!)

Our library elves have selected books from the collection, from EVERY genre, fiction and non-fiction, wrapped them up, and put Secret Santa Sign - smallthem on the Secret Santa display near the main entrance. You don’t know what book you’re getting until it’s checked out! And, just like real-life Secret Santa gifts, you might really enjoy it, or you might need to return it.

Fa-la-la-la-la, Please read some books!

Books & Brews – November 2014 Meeting

Books & Brews

Our first book discussion for our NEW “Books & Brews” Book Club is quickly approaching! Join us on Wednesday, November 19 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at Midtown Tavern (701 Talbot Street, St Thomas, ON) for a discussion on “Wind, Sand & Stars” by Atoine de Saint-Exupery.

We currently have 4 copies of this book available, thanks to Interlibrary loan, on our Holds Shelf on the main level of the library. We’re very excited for our first official book discussion!

Please note that this book club does take place in a bar, so we ask that only those 19 and older participate. Please note that you are by no means obligated to purchase alcoholic beverages to take part in this book club. We leave that choice to the discretion of the participants.

Have questions about the Books & Brews Book Club? Give the library a call at 519-631-6050 ext. 8013 or email Trish, the Books & Brews Book Club coordinator, at Hope you can join us!

Reason #54: Documentaries Open Your Mind!

Reason #54 - Mind opening DocumentariesOpen your mind to our selection of documentaries. Be educated and entertained all at once! Documentaries can open your eyes to the many corners of the world and issues that don’t always reach you through the mainstream news. Here is a list of recommended documentaries curated by our in-house documentary expert!

Far out isn’t Far Enough


Forks Over Knives

Holes in my Shoes

Real Injun: on the Trail of the Hollywood Indian


Mister Rogers & Me

Searching for Sugar Man

Cutie and the Boxer

Waste Land

The Garden


Reason #53: Fun and Creative Programs for Adults

Reason #53 - The library has fun and creative programs for adults


St. Thomas Public Library has really been working hard at offering new, interesting, enriching, informative, educational, and entertaining programs for adults. We are planning many things for “Culture Week” in September and other special programs during October’s Canadian Public Library Month. This summer is no exception! STPL is offering a FREE “How to Create a Fairy Garden” workshop!

How to Create a Fairy Garden

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 | 2:00 to 3:30 PM

Free admission | Registration required at the Adult Info Desk or call 519-631-6050 ext. 8013

St. Thomas Public Library | Carnegie Room | lower level

Fairy gardening is about inviting a little magic into our lives. Anyone who encounters a fairy is blessed with good luck, but as any fairy hunter will tell you, finding these elusive creatures on their own turf is far from easy. The secret to meeting a fairy is to lure it in with a little garden so inviting she can’t resist exploring it. Canadale Nurseries is coming to the library to demonstrate how to build your own! This program is open to everyone – teens, families, and adults!

Be sure to check back with the library via Facebook, our online newsletter, or this blog to find out what programs are coming up!

A special “Thank you” to Canadale Nurseries for making this program possible.

Reason #40: Can’t Find It? We’ll Borrow It!

Reason #40 - ILLOs - We'll borrow it

Did you know that libraries borrow from other libraries? If you’re looking for something that we don’t have, make a request at the information desk and we can search other libraries for it! We do it all the time, especially for rare or older books that may be difficult to purchase.

When we order from another library for you (this is called an inter-library loan, or ‘ILLO’ as we say), the item will come to us on the SOLS (Southern Ontario Library Service) van that travels around to all libraries in Southern Ontario, or by post if the item is coming from a library outside of Southern Ontario. Your inter-library loaned item may come from as close as London, or as far away as Thunder Bay, but you get to pick it up right here at your own library! Borrowing times for inter-library loans vary depending on the lending library, but you normally get to keep the item for three weeks, just like any books you borrow from us. So ask us for that book you’ve been trying forever to track down; we just might be able to connect you with it!

A lot of local book clubs order their books through us, but that’s a whole different reason to celebrate the library. You’ll have to wait for the details!

On a similar note: St. Thomas Public Library is a “lending” library, which means we do the same thing for other libraries. People request books from us, and we ship them around the province (if not further.) In 2013, St. Thomas Public Library LENT 1,415 items and we BORROWED 1,404 items. So far this year (from January to May 2014,) we’ve LENT 1,274 items and we’ve borrowed 1,128 items. Looks like we’re on a role!

Reason #38: Learn and Train in our Computer Lab!

Reason #38 - Learn & Train in our Computer Lab

Have you seen our computer lab? Located on our lower level across from the circulation desk, the computer lab is a quiet room equipped with ten new computers. It’s an ideal space for holding group computer classes or doing online training. In fact, we use the computer lab for our popular new computer skills workshops. Feel like you want to sharpen your computer skills? Check out our June workshop offerings:

Tuesday, June 17, 10 am-noon: Microsoft Word Basics

An introduction to word processing functions such as pagination, font, inserting graphics, printing and keyboard shortcuts. Includes information about creating PDF files for publication and distribution.

Thursday, June 19, 6-8 pm: Safe & Savvy Web Browsing

An introduction to basic network architecture, web browsing, web addresses, and web domains. Students discover various types of malware, how to mitigate against malware, and best password practices.

Registration is required for workshops. Register by calling 519-63106050 ext. 8013 or in person at the Adult Information Desk, main level.

The computer lab has also become home to a new Lego Mindstorm Robotics program. Students from St. Joseph’s Catholic High School Renaissance Robotics Team volunteer with kids ages 9-11 to build and program Lego Mindstorms NXT robots. The volunteers bring the robots and we supply the computers and space. We’ll be running this program July 15th and 16th, and again on August 11th and 12th. Register your child by calling 519-631-6050 ext. 8015 or drop by the Children’s & Teens’ Information Desk.

Do you have a meeting that requires access to several computers? You can book our lab! The rates can be free, $25 per hour or $50 per hour depending on how you will use the room. For more information about booking the computer lab, call us at 519-631-6050 ext. 8011.