Found in the STPL Staff Lounge

Our staff are a kooky bunch, but the good news is – that’s one of the best things about STPL. One customer, Wendy, says this about our staff:

[Question: Why celebrate St. Thomas Public Library?] The first and foremost would be the is staff. Everyone is so friendly and helpful. You are always greeted with a smile and a see you soon or thanks for dropping in as you leave. All of the staff are very knowledgeable on a number of subjects or authors. They are very willing to look up things for you to guide you in the right direction or to put in a request to order a book, cd, audiotape, movie and the list goes on.


But our friendly staff doesn’t stop on the library floor or behind the desk. They’re a fantastic bunch to work with. The amount of humour, camaraderie, care, and support our staff shows each other makes St. Thomas Public Library a great place to work.


Need proof? This was found in the staff lounge for no apparent reason:


National Post - May 6, 2014
National Post – May 6, 2014


You’re a robot, aren’t you? – Gene Weingarten in Washington, Washington Post

The other day, my phone told me I missed a call but there was no voice mail. So I called the number back, only to be informed in was not a working number. This seemed strange, but not as strange as what happened the following day when I got a call from the same number and answered it.

Perky Woman’s Voice: I have great news from Direct-Buy. You are a finalist for a grand prize of a $50,000 home makeover!

Me: Really?

PWV: Yes! Congratulations!

Me: OK, but how many finalists are there? I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but there’s a difference between being in the Final Four and being in the Round of 64, which includes obscure play-in schools like the Elmer S. Mednick College of Applied Dentistry.

(Suspiciously long pause.)

PWV: It is true you are a finalist. We also have free vacation getaways to Las Vegas and other top destinations.

Me: Uh. Why the… big… pause? Are you a bear? Ha-ha.

(Suspiciously long pause.)

PWV: I am with DirectBuy. Are you a DirectBuy drive-by member?

Me: OK, wait a minute. You are a robot, aren’t you?

PWV: I am a real person.

Me: This is an interesting ontological question. I am thinking you were once a real person when you recited the dictionary into a computer, ergo the “you” I am speaking to can truthfully affirm her realness at the time she uttered the words, but that I am actually speaking to a sophisticated sound-packet analysis and retrieval unit. Are you sure you are not a robot?

(Lo-o-o-ong pause.)

PWV: I am a real person, speaking to you remotely.

Me: What the heck does that even mean? OK, which president freed the slaves?

PWV: Sir, that is irrelevant.

Me: Ooh, you are good!

PWV: Thank you.

Me: I’m thinking you are a robot who is programmed to make the initial approach in a voice that is comfortable and familiar to Americans, not one that arouses suspicions and triggers latent, ugly xenophobia. Once you have qualified me by establishing that I am an adult with discretionary income, you will switch me to a current human who will speak in a perfectly intelligent and cordial way, but also with telltale melodic intonation like that Malaysian transport minister who everyone now hates. AmIrightoramIright?

PWV: Sir, that is irrelevant.

Me: OK, here’s the deal. I promise I will buy six of anything and everything you are selling, but first you have to answer a question of mine, OK?

PWV: I’ll be happy to help you if I can.

Me: Complete this very simple phrase: “Who put the bomp in the bomp sh-bomp sh-bomp, who put the ram in the…”

(Very, very, very long pause.)

PWV: That’s irrelevant, sir.

Me: I think my work here is done.


It’s the little things in life that make this library staff member smile. So thank you fellow library staff members! You make this place a pretty fun place to work and I think our customers know it, too.

Celebrating Community Partners

Community Living Apr 2014 (15)    “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”- Winston Churchill

What is a community?  In simplest terms, a community is a group of people.  A community may share the same city or they may simply share common attitudes, interests, and goals. No matter how we define it, any community improves and grows when people connect with each other in positive ways; for example, through active partnerships that benefit everyone involved.

Such a partnership exists between Community Living Elgin and the St. Thomas Public Library. Launched in 2012, it has been a great success for both partners.  Every other Tuesday, two members of STPL staff (Darlene and Dana) host a fun program for clients of Community Living Elgin.  Participants enjoy presentations on topics chosen by members of the group, as well as stories read aloud and crafts.  Recent topics have included: Koalas, Monkeys, the Arctic, Dinosaurs and St. Patrick’s Day.  Story readings have sometimes turned into sing-a-longs, and crafts have included jointed paper monkeys, polar bears made from cotton balls and rainbows made from Froot Loops.

There are two Community Living groups who participate in this program – one group travels to the library and the other group we visit at the Community Living Elgin building on Talbot Street.  The program provides participants with an interesting break in their day, an opportunity to interact with peers, and the chance to learn something new.  Judging from the smiles, the laughs, the handshakes and the hugs, everyone seems to be enjoying themselves.  However, the benefit is not just one way – we gain a lot from this partnership as well.  It feels great to get a hug from someone who’s had a good time, to hear someone say “This is really fun!” or to watch someone carefully creating a beautiful rainbow from colourful cereal. The STPL mission is to educate, inform and enrich.   With this partnership, the education and enrichment go both ways.

Community Living Apr 2014 (10) Community Living Apr 2014 (7) Community Living Apr 2014 (13) Community Living Apr 2014 (14)  Community Living Apr 2014 (12)

Personalized Service in the Digital Age

The Virtual Library is here.  The technology of personal computers and the internet allow library users to access many of our resources 24/7.  They visit our website to find out what is going on at the library, to browse the catalogue, and to request materials.  They correspond with library staff via email and download electronic books.

However, not everyone is able or wants to connect to their library in this manner and we have not neglected these users.  Our Home Library Service is available to individuals who, due to physical reasons, are not able to visit the library.  Typically, the users of this service are seniors who have been life-long readers and who have supported the library for years.

 The Home Library Service operates at a very personal level.  Individuals are contacted to assess what types of materials are appropriate for them.  We are able to provide books in regular print, large print or in an audio format on compact disc.  These various formats address conditions such as failing eyesight and arthritis.  The second consideration is the interests and likes of the individual.  Staff members talk to the users to find out what authors, genres, and subjects they like.

 Based on the input from the users, a staff member will prepare a selection of materials specialized to their needs. Some individuals have a family member or a friend who is willing to exchange their materials.  If the user cannot make such an arrangement, we have a dedicated and caring group of volunteers who we contact to do this.  Our volunteers are essential to this service and many take a personal interest in the welfare of their “new friends.”  They will often stay and visit when they deliver the new materials.

We have had a very positive response to this program.  The users are pleased that we have not forgotten them.  They love this “wonderful service” and since they are largely homebound they are happy to have books to pass the time, to learn from, and to enjoy.  We also provide reference service to this group and there is no charge for this personalized and valuable service.

If you could use this service or know anyone who could, please contact Adult Services at the St. Thomas Public Library (519-631-6050).

Reading by fire

Best Read of 2012 Staff Picks

Best Read of 2012

St. Thomas Public Library staff have put together another awesome display of “Best Read of 2012 Staff Picks.” The books in the display are ones that library staff have read in 2012 and think are so fantastic that you need to read them too! Most of the recommendations are from the Adult Fiction collection, but some are Teen and Youth fiction. All are well worth the read!

And now it’s YOUR turn! Tell us your favourite read of 2012; we’ll include it in our display and you’ll have a chance to win a library prize pack! Comment on this post or email Ruth at to participate.

You don’t have to come to the library to see what’s on the display. Here’s the complete list of recommendations:

  • The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda by Angelberger, Tom
  • Year of the Flood by Atwood, Margaret
  • Alice I Have Been by Benjamin, Melanie
  • San Miguel by Boyle, T.C.
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Bradbury, Ray
  • A Red Herring without Mustard by Bradley, Alan
  • Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Brunt, Carol
  • Glamping with Mary Jane: Glamour and Camping by Butlers, Mary Jane
  • Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Cabot, Meg
  • Quiet: the Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Cain, Susan
  • A Dog’s Purpose by Cameron, Bruce
  • Enders Game by Card, Orson Scott
  • Graceling by Cashore, Kristin
  • The End of the Line by Cerrito, Angela
  • The Good Father by Chamberlain, Diane
  • Hunger Games by Collins, Suzanne
  • The Drop by Connelly, Michael
  • Book of Lost Things by Connolly, John
  • Little, Big by Crowley, John
  • The Maze Runner by Dashner, James
  • Our Daily Bread by Davis, Lauren B.
  • The House I Loved by De Rosnay, Tatiana
  • The Sisters Brothers by deWitt, Patrick
  • River of Destiny by Erskine, Barbara
  • The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Evison, Jonathan
  • Gone Girl by Flynn, Gillian
  • Love Anthony by Genova, Lisa
  • Heading out to Wonderful by Goolrick, Robert
  • Secret Daughter by Gowda, Shilpa Somaya
  • On this Island by Graves, Tracey Garvis
  • Bloom by Hampton, Kelle
  • Locke & Key by Hill, Joe
  • Alzheimer’s: Finding the Words by Hodgson, Harriet
  • Snow Child by Ivey, Eowyn
  • Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Joyce, Rachel
  • Life of Pi by Martel, Yan
  • Spin by McKenzie, Catherine
  • Forgotten by McKenzie, Catherine
  • Talk Funny Girl by Merullo, Roland
  • Phantom by Nesbo, Jo
  • Birthmarked by O’Brien, Caragh
  • Wonder by Palaccio, R.J.
  • Book of Awesome by Pasricha, Neil
  • Bury Your Dead by Penny, Louise
  • Beautiful Mystery by Penny, Louise
  • Serena by Rash, Ron
  • The Imposter Bride by Richler, Nancy
  • The Shanghai Murders by Rotenberg, David
  • The Placebo Effect by Rotenberg, David
  • Divergent by Roth, Veronica
  • The Goat Woman of Largo Bay by Royes, Gillian
  • The Prisoner of Heaven by Ruiz, Carlos Zafon
  • Wonderstruck and the Invention of Hugo Calret by Selznick, Brian
  • Between Shades of Grey by Sepetys, Ruta
  • Story of Beautiful Girl by Simon, Rachel
  • Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Sloan, Robin
  • The House at Tyneford by Solomons, Natasha
  • The Light Between Oceans by Stedman, M.L.
  • The Help by Stockett, Kathryn
  • The Age of Miracles by Thompson, Karen Walker
  • Cool Water by Warren, Dianne
  • The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Wingfield, Jenny
  • The Book Thief by Zusak, Markus

Book Review Added – December 12 2012

Follow AmeliaFollow Amelia

Meagan has just added a new book review for:


by: Oliver Sacks

Check it out. Don’t forget – many library staff members review books. Find them all on the “Reader’s Advisory” page of this blog!

New Book Review Added – December 11 2012

Follow MeaganFollow Meagan

Meagan has just added a new book review for:

The Diviners

by: Libba Bray

Check it out. Don’t forget – many library staff members review books. Find them all on the “Reader’s Advisory” page of this blog!

Adult Department on Facebook!

The Adult Department is on Facebook!

We’ve all been waiting and the day has finally come…

St. Thomas Public Library – Adult Services is on Facebook!


On the Adult Services Facebook Page:

  • Upcoming event and program information
  • Free Movie Friday movie trailers
  • Book trailers
  • Pictures
  • “Did you know the library has…?”
  • What’s new
  • Library updates & closures
  • Book reviews
  • Discussions
  • Program registration
  • Contact to library staff for any library questions you may have

Go to and search for “St. Thomas Public Library – Adult Services.”


Don’t forget about the St. Thomas Public Library – Children’s and Teens’ Facebook page! It includes:

  • Program and events for children and teens
  • New children and teen material and features
  • Pictures
  • Free Movie Friday movie trailers
  • Children and Teen program registration
  • Library updates and closures
  • Book recommendations and reviews for children and teen materials
  • Contact to library staff for any library questions you may have

Go to and search for “St. Thomas Public Library – Children’s and Teens’.”