Let’s Talk About Books!

Let’s talk about BOOKS.

St. Thomas Public Library is full of books, but not just the books you see on our shelves – we get a lot of gently used books donated to us from members of the community. We truly appreciate that people think of us as a place to support with donations, but the truth is that we simply cannot take all the donated books and put them on our shelves. Sometimes we don’t have enough room! Sometimes we already have a copy of the book in our collection, and don’t need a second one! Sometimes the book is older and out of date, or is in too poor condition. For times like these, we are happy to lean on our fundraising group, Friends of St. Thomas Public Library.

friends logo

The Friends of St. Thomas Public Library are a volunteer group who help raise funds for the library and promote the library as a cultural institution in the community. They began in 1994, and have so far donated over $200,000 to St. Thomas Public Library. They accept donated books on behalf of the library, and have a permanent book shop located at the Elgin Mall. Many of the donated books we receive at the main library end up being brought to the Friends’ Shop, so that they can be sold. All the proceeds from sales are distributed back to the Library, to support collections, programs, and services. You can learn more about the Friends’ of the Library here: https://stthomaspubliclibrary.ca/friends/


St. Thomas Public Library buys nearly 10,000 new items every year – but our physical building does not expand accordingly! That’s why we have to be mindful about the books we remove from our collection – if 10,000 new books come in, then a similar amount of old books must come out! We use a variety of methods to select the books we discard; we look at things like poor condition or damage, whether or not anyone has checked out the book recently, how many checkouts it has had since we bought it, etc. All of this is taken into consideration. But at the end of the day, that’s a lot of books to get rid of! We send the books in the best condition over to the Friends of the Library Shop at the Mall, so that they can sell them and generate revenue for us. But a lot of the items we pull from our shelves won’t make for great local sales – so we use a company called Better World Books as a backup plan.


Better World Books is a company that works with libraries to make good use of the books they don’t need any more. They send us boxes and shipping labels, and all we have to do is pack up the books we aren’t sending to the Friends’ Shop, and ship them off to Better World Books instead (shipping is even free!) Once Better World Books receives our boxes, the items are sorted and scanned, and each saleable item is listed on over 50 channels for sale online. If an item is determined not to be “saleable”, meaning it isn’t a good candidate to sell online, Better World Books has a recycling program set-up. They never, ever, throw away a book. In fact, when we log in to their site with our Library Account, we can see exactly how many of our books have been recycled, and see a real-time review of the positive impact we are having on the environment.

Below I’ve included a screenshot from our Better World Books account, where you can see how many of our books have been reused or recycled, and how many trees we have saved by using their recycling program!


We have only been using Better World Books for a little over 2 months now, and already we can see great results!

If you have any questions or comments about how St. Thomas Public Library deals with discarded library books, or if you would like to learn more about the Better World Books metrics seen here,  please send an email to: info@stthomaspubliclibrary.

Attention Writers!

The Friends of the St. Thomas Public Library are creating a book – and they want YOUR submissions! Friends of St. Thomas Pulblic Library

The still-currently-unnamed publication will be a collection of works by St. Thomas residents, for St. Thomas residents. We want to showcase your talent!

The book itself will act as a fundraiser for the Friends of the Library, which is a registered non-profit organization, comprised of dedicated volunteers who help raise funds for the library and promote the library as a cultural institution in the community. They have raised approximately $250,000 for St. Thomas Public Library since they were incorporated in 1994.

Are you a poet? Do you love writing? If so – this is for you!

Quick Facts:

  • There is no “theme” – chose your topic and let your words flow!
  • Every piece submitted must include your name and address, and the title of the work.
  • Multiple submissions are welcome! (to a maximum of 3 prose and / or poetry submissions)
  • 750 word limit
  • Don’t worry – the author retains copyright
  • Electronic submissions only, in Microsoft Word
  • Please send submissions via email: friendssubmissions@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca
  • Deadline: midnight July 31st, 2016

Participants will be advised if their submission have been selected by August 31, 2016.

Selections for publication will be made by the Friends of the Library Board.  The decision of the Friends Board is final.

Free copies of the finished publication will not be provided. All copies will be sold (approximately $25 each), proceeds to the Friends of St. Thomas Public Library.

Questions or comments about this exciting project? Please email us at friendssubmissions@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca!


130 Reasons to Celebrate: We Have Amazing Volunteers!

Reason #11 - Amazing VolunteersWe really do.

As we wrap up National Volunteer Week 2014, April 6-12, we need to give a mention to the amazing people that help us run the library. Our volunteers do everything from making important library decisions like our strategic plan (St. Thomas Public Library Board) to helping us run our annual Haunted Library (Teen Advisory Board). We have the Friends of the St. Thomas Public Library to thank for running the Friends Shop in Elgin Mall and seasonally selling books at the Horton Farmer’s Market.  Our Home Library Service volunteers deliver books to patrons’ homes, allowing them to use the library’s services without having to make a trip.

Without volunteers, our services to you wouldn’t be what they are today.  Thank-you.

For more information on what volunteers do, and how they make life better for all of us, check out http://volunteer.ca/nvw2014.

April is Poetry Month!


If you’ve never explored poetry before, April is a good time to give it a try! Why read poetry? It’s elevated, it can say things that are hard to express, and it can be a cathartic emotional experience. It can be very fun, sad, angry. Pure expression. As Robert Service said, “Poetry is what gets lost in translation.” Come and check out your favorites from childhood like Shel Silverstein. Sample a book of poetry from the adult department, like Leonard Cohen’s Book of Longing, or tackle the classic Paradise Lost by John Milton.

Shel SilversteinBook of Longingparadise-lost-and-paradise-regained







If you want to try your hand a writing poetry, drop into our Teen Lounge and check out the Book Title Poetry display. Rearrange the titles of books into a poem!

DSCF4453  DSCF4455

Seniors’ Picnic in the Park 2013

Once again, St. Thomas Public Library and Friends of St. Thomas Public Library will be at the Seniors’ Picnic in the Park at Pinafore Park in St. Thomas! The Elgin St. Thomas Public Health Unit puts together this open-air event every year for seniors


Event Details:

Seniors’ Picnic in the Park

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Pinafore Park, St. Thomas

Free admission | Door Prizes | Live Entertainment | Food Carts

Seniors' Picnic in the Park
Seniors’ Picnic in the Park

St. Thomas Public Library will be there with information on library services and programs for seniors and grandparents. The Friends of St. Thomas Public Library will be selling books by donation. (Come early for best selection!) Other institutions, vendors, companies, and organizations are also in attendance to show seniors the services and products available in St. Thomas and surrounding area. This event is rain or shine, so come prepared!

Hope to see you there!

HUGE Friends Shop Sale – December 2012

Attention all book lovers and gift givers!

Christmas Sale

The Library Friends Shop is having a HUGE sale just in time for Christmas…

All Hardcover Books

1/2 Price!


For the entire month of December 2012, all Hardcover books (excluding Christmas books) are 50% off.

Hardcover Books: Regular Price – $2.00

Hardcover Books: Sale Price – $1.00!


Hardcover books make excellent presentsbecause, unlike paperbacks, you often cannot tell that they’ve been previously read. Save yourself money and support a good cause at the same time. It’s WIN-WIN! (All proceeds from the Library Friends Shop is donated back to St. Thomas Public Library.) New donations arrive daily, so check back often.


Library Friends Shop Location:

Elgin Mall, 417 Wellington Street, St. Thomas (near Charm Jewellers)


Shop Hours:

Monday to Saturday – 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Closed on Sundays

Volunteer Elgin – Volunteer Fair 2012

About the Volunteer FairVolunteer Elgin - A Great Way to Grow

Attention to all who would like to learn about volunteering opportunities in Elgin County! Is your teen looking for ways to fill their 40 hours of community service? Are you looking for a way to help your community?

Volunteer Elgin is hosting a volunteer fair in the Community Room at the Elgin Mall on Tuesday, September 18 from 5 to 7 p.m. Find your perfect volunteer fit! There will be a number of agencies present with information about volunteering for each organization. Find out what kind of volunteering opportunities are available and what is required for volunteering at particular agencies, and sign up to volunteer that night! All ages are welcome.

We would love to see you there!

Volunteer Fair with Volunteer Elgin

Tuesday, Sep 18th, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Where: Elgin Mall, St. Thomas, ON, Canada

417 Wellington Street, St. ThomasWhat more information on the organizations who will be there?
Visit: www.volunteerelgin.org

Societies in attendance:

  • Alzheimer Society
  • Canadian Red Cross
  • Second Stage Housing
  • Elgin Community Nutrition Partnership
  • VON
  • Port Stanley Theatre
  • St. Thomas Elgin General
  • St. Thomas Elgin General Auxiliary
  • Victim Services
  • St. Thomas Public Library
  • Big Brothers / Big Sisters
  • Elgin County Railway Museum
  • Serenity House
  • Canadian Cancer Society (Relay for Life 2013)
STPL Proud Volunteer Elgin Memeber