Introduction to Goodreads


Looking for a way to keep track of what you’ve read? Want to find new books and get personalized recommendations? There’s an app for that! We now offer a Goodreads Workshop and we’ll show you how to make the most of this free app.

Here’s an outline of what you can do with Goodreads, and what you’ll learn if you drop in for our workshop!

What is Goodreads?

Goodreads is a free database of millions of books. You can receive book recommendations and read reviews by other readers. If you ever wish there was a Summer Reading Club for adults, you can do the yearly Goodreads challenge or join an online reading group/discussion group!

You’ll get the most out of Goodreads by creating an account for yourself. If you choose to share your account, you can see what your friends are reading and let them know what’s on your bookshelf. *This is optional.* You do not have to connect your Goodreads account to Google, Facebook, or any other platforms.

Goodreads is also useful without an account. If you want to see book reviews but you don’t want an account, type “book title goodreads” into your search engine. Example: “Da Vinci Code goodreads” will show you all reviews and star ratings for a book. You can also visit the link to the author’s Goodreads page.

Get Started with the App!

Go to your app store or Google Play store on your device and search for Goodreads. It’s free! You can create an account using your email address.

After you create your account and sign in, you will see the Reading Challenge screen.

reading challenge

You can create a reading goal for the rest of the year, or you can skip this step by pressing the button in the top right corner.

find friends
Option to link to Facebook

You can choose to link your Goodreads account to Facebook or invite friends by allowing Goodreads to access your email account. We recommend you skip this step and check out the privacy settings before sharing your information.



We also recommend selecting “Not Now” when you see the “Allow Notifications” pop up.


The next screen shows different genres of books. Choose your favourites and swipe up for more options. You can change these options later if you want!


Now it’s time to rate books. This is so that Goodreads can give you personalized book recommendations. You can skip this step if you want or come back to it later.

rate books
Rate books that you have already read.

Swipe left to see more options on the book rating screen. When you see a book you have read, give it a rating. This will also add the book to your “Read” shelf. If you see a book you want to read, press “want to read” and the book will be added to your “To Read” shelf. If you do not see any books you have read, or want to read, click the drop down next to “biography” (or a genre you chose) and pick a different genre.

Once you have rated 20 books, you will a menu appear at the bottom of the screen. The home button takes you to a feed of the most recent reviews posted on Goodreads.

recommendations bar

Searching for Books

Recommendations screen
My Books Screen

You can search Goodreads for books using the book title, author, or ISBN. In the My Books screen, you will see the books you rated when you set up the app and any that you selected as “want to read.” You can also create shelves to organize your books. You can organize your bookshelves any way you want! Maybe you want a shelf for mystery books, or a shelf for your favourite books, or a shelf for books you want to read on your vacation, or a shelf for books that your friend Sharon recommended to you.

Scanning Books

You can scan books with your phone or device using the Goodreads app! Go to the Scan screen and use your camera to scan the barcode on the back of a book. This will link to the reviews and book information on Goodreads. This is great if you’re not sure about a book and want to check out some reviews before you buy it or check it out from the library!


And More!

The More icon contains a number of different options that will lead you to groups, your reading challenge, events around the globe, the option to add friends, settings, and your profile.

Keep in mind that Goodreads is a public site. Any books you rate, or reviews you write can be seen by others. You might want to choose a username that is different than your real name or use only your first name. Example: Maplebooks or just Malcolm.

Be sure to read the settings and choose the options that are right for you. It is also important to decide which emails you want to receive from Goodreads. For an in depth discussion of privacy settings, join our Goodreads Workshop on August 4!

If you have questions when using the app, explore the Help section. Here’s an example of a question:

Remove a book

If you cannot find the answer, you can contact the Help team. They respond quickly and efficiently.

Enjoy exploring Goodreads! Have fun making and organizing your bookshelves and discovering new books to love. Happy reading!

2nd Annual Seedy Saturday!

We may still be feeling the cold, but this is the time of year to start thinking about planting seeds and planning what you want to see sprouting up in your garden beds, patio containers, or kitchen windowsills. With that in mind, we held our 2nd Annual Seedy Saturday this past Saturday, March 17th!


So what is a “Seedy Saturday”? It’s a community gathering where you can trade your seeds with other people, buy unique ones from vendors, gather and talk with master gardeners able to help answer questions. We even had a craft for kids, to allow the littlest gardeners some fun, too!


This year, along with the seed swap, we hosted special guests including :

Angela Bobier, from Backus-Page House Museum, presenting “Colonel Talbot: The Man, The Myth, The Gardener?” Learn about heritage gardening in the early Talbot Settlement.


Chris DeVries, from Common Ground Farm and CSA:


Master Gardeners from the St. Thomas Horticultural Society:


Jolanta Dabrowski from Natural Instincts Beekeeping, who discussed understanding the relationship between honeybees and flowers, and how we can help by creating bee-friendly gardens:


The day was a great success with just over 120 people in attendance, and we are already looking forward to next year! Happy gardening!



3D Printer Upgrade

St. Thomas Public Library has two brand new 3D Printers! Come in and check out our new Lulzbots. These models are an upgrade from our previous Cube models: You will find them easier to use, they can print using many different filament materials, and more colour options are available. You can even bring in your own filament and 3D print for free! (Prints normally cost 10 cents per gram).

What have people been up to on the new printers? Right now the trend is fidget spinners. Print a cap and a shell and then add your own weights for a custom spinner that no one else will have! You can find hundreds of designs like these ones on Thingiverse:

Also exciting: You can watch what people are printing live on our new Twitch channel! The channel switches between our two printers so you can watch a 3D print in progress. See if you can guess what each print will be!

To learn how to use our Lulzbots, join one of our 3D Printing Certification Sessions. Check our online calendar  for session dates. You can register online with your library card, or drop by the Adult Information Desk to sign up. If you can’t make a Certification Session, we now have the option of booking a One on One Session. Ask at the Adult Information Desk and we’ll find a time for a staff member to assist you!

Stay tuned for more changes to Creators’ Community. We’re currently working on a Creators’ Corner, a welcoming work space to accommodate new classes and allow better access to our resources!

New Programs for Tweens and Teens!

Blackout Poetry - April Party Crowd

Do you have tweens or teens at home in need of a creative outlet? We have a program for that! Two new programs are starting in April for older kids to get together and be creative  at the library.

Tween Scene is for ages 9-12 and will run from 4-5 pm on the fourth Wednesday of the month. Join Darlene and Amelia to make crafts and play fun games like Minute to Win-It. No registration required, all supplies will be provided. On April 22nd we will be making Plywood Paintings, so come out and make a masterpiece to jazz up your bedroom!

Drop-In Youth Cafe is for teens ages 12-19. It runs from 4-5 pm on the first Wednesday of the month. Join Cindy and Amelia to make things, learn new skills, and hang out in a relaxed and friendly place. On Wednesday April 1st we’ll be making book page art, including black-out poetry that we would like to display in the Teen Lounge for poetry month!

Reason #64: Library Programs Create Friendships

Reason #64: Library programs create friendships
Zoe (left) and Zanna (right) participating in our Young Writers’ Club.

We could tell you that library programs for children, teens, and adults create meaningful friendships, but anyone can claim that! When people attend one of our programs, workshops, or events, that common interest brings people together, breaks down barriers, and allows people to interact with each other. If these programs were not offered, it isn’t likely that two strangers would suddenly break into conversation and become fast friends. Yes, any business or organization can claim that their programs or events create friendships, but St. Thomas Public Library can show you through a story written by two young ladies who participate in our Young Writers’ Club.

Once upon a time, there were two extraordinarily creative mice. These two particular mice wrote many stories alone. Little did they know that the two were on the path to meeting each other and would learn the power of their combined skills. This path was the Young WritersClub at their mice town’s library. The first day, the two tentatively scurried in and sat down across from each other, completely unaware that they would soon be great friends. Amelia Mouse and Rosy Mouse encouraged the two to work together for the first time. The two were surprised at how well they worked together. Days later, the young mice were shocked to see each other again, out of the club. They were at a sports activity that one of the mice had just switched times for. The next few writers’ club sessions, the two continued to work together and realized their writing styles and ideas were nearly identical. The two mice fit together like pieces of a two-piece puzzle. They had a way of working together finishing each other’s sentences and building off one another’s ideas to make wonderful stories from enchanting mysteries to hilarious, unrealistic fantasies. Contrary to what you might think, this is a true story. In fact, the two mice are not mice at all. They are two 11 year-old girls by the names of Zanna and Zoe. The two girls are now fantastic friends. And all because of the Young WritersClub at St Thomas Public Library.

– written collaboratively by Zoe (age 11) and Zanna (age 11) – unedited


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.


Discover at your Library

The library is often thought of as a place to gather information, research, and read. Information is stored in our books and on our computers and librarians are traditionally thought of as the gatekeepers and the guides. But is this really how libraries look now? Libraries are becoming more about giving people access to resources that they may not be able to access privately.

pynekingslibrarybuckinghamhouse_editedlibrary makerspace

This includes technology! It has become important to have experience with different types of technology to help us in our schools and workplaces. The student who has experience using apps, for example, will have an advantage with potential employers over a student who has never used one. The same goes for computers, email and tablets. This is where the library can help: If you don’t have access to this technology you can come here and learn! You don’t need your own tablet or iPhone in order to experience the technology.


Over the next year, you will see a theme emerge in the services we offer here at St. Thomas Public Library. We now have computer classes for adults, iPads available for the public to use, and Kobos that you can borrow just like a library book. Our summer activities in Children’s and Teens’ Services will include a lot of self-directed discovery, like our Tech Take-Apart Day. A great way to learn is to tinker. Sometimes it’s better than a classroom or a lecture! We are also exploring options for a maker-space, so stay tuned for more on that. It will offer technology that adults and kids alike can use to develop new skills and make their way in the ever-changing technological world!