Reason #41: Anyone Can Start a Book Club

Reason #41: Anyone can start a book club

A few years ago, when you wanted to organize a book club this is what would happen. You would find two or three copies of one book, and everybody in the group would hurry up and read it and then pass it on to the next member to give everyone a chance to read it. Whew – a little stressful! Alternatively, you would find 10 people who were willing to buy a new book for each meeting. Yikes – a bit expensive! So we thought we could help. We borrow extra copies from other libraries of the title that you select and have them ready for your book club each month. We now assist 17 book clubs this way.

If you would like us to help you with your book club, talk to us at the Information Desk. We’ll ask you to provide us with the name of a contact person, the number of copies you will require for each meeting, and the name of your book club. Choose a “fun” name for your club – it makes life more interesting for us! Provide us with a yearly schedule of your meeting dates and the book selections. Since new books are not available through interlibrary loan, the titles should be ones that have been on the market for a year or more. There are two ways for the book club members to pick up their books. The contact person can pick up a bag of books and distribute them to the members, or we place the books on a designated shelf, and each club member signs out their own copy.

Extras – we always want to do more! We can help you choose titles that have been popular book club choices, or provide a list of titles/authors that are similar to what you have liked in the past. We may be able to get the title as an audio book or in large print.

We find that each book club takes on a life of its own. Some groups read only “light” fiction. Some read only science fiction. Some provide guest speakers to lead the discussion. There is one thing that they all have in common though – a love of reading.

To register your book club, contact Susan Andrews at the Information Desk by phone, 519-631-6050 ext. 8013, or by email,


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 #36: We Do Custom Orders!

Reason #36 - We place custom ordersIs there a book you need to get your hands on that we don’t have? A missing volume in a series, or an older book by a favourite author?  Perhaps you heard about an upcoming book by your favourite celebrity chef, or you’ve developed an urgent need to learn about the latest crafting trend. Or maybe you’re a hobbyist of some sort, say a quilter, and you know of some magnificent quilting books that we don’t carry. These are all good reasons to come to the information desk and place a request with us. We will do our best to order in the item you’re looking for. When you request an item and we order it, we’ll put it on hold for you so that when it arrives you get first dibs on it.

This process helps us improve our collection and stay on top of trends. It’s likely that if you’re asking for something, someone else would enjoy it as well. So don’t be shy, ask! There’s nothing like picking up a brand new book off the holds shelf and being the first to crack it open, and you can take pride knowing that it’s in our collection because you asked for it!