8th Annual Haunted Library in Review

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On Friday, October 27 the Library held its 8th Annual Haunted Library Event! It was our biggest year yet with just over 420 people in attendance. We had a lot of fun putting on the event, and now that the last of the decorations have finally been put away in the closet until next year, we want to take a look back at the big night!

This year the event took place on both the Main Level and the Lower Level of the Library. Entry was through the Main Level doors of the Library where tickets were handed out and entertainment was provided while groups waited for their turn to tour the Haunted Lower Level. One of the main attractions was our Library House Band: Bruise Springscream and the Eek-Street Band!

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Families could work on a Hallowe’en Scavenger Hunt on the Main Level, and there was also a Guess How Many Candies in a Jar contest and a Guess the Weight of the Pumpkin contest, run by these two charming Spice Girls:

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The Library was also a stop on the Downtown Development Board’s Pumpkin Prowl this year, so Prowl participants were able to get their passports stamped at our event, even if they were just stopping in!

For those brave enough to ride the elevator down to the Haunted Pumpkin Kingdom on the Lower Level, a tour of delightful horrors was waiting.

 

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The greeter!
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These spooky characters were playing a theremin at the entrance to the Pumpkin Kingdom.
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Dr. Jekyll’s Laboratory

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If you made it past this last terrifying character, you made it to the end!

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The hard work of Haunted Library is largely done by the Library’s Teen Advisory Board, or TAB. The characters are all TAB volunteers and all the props and the story line is put together by TAB! They put many hours of work into the event every year and it’s a great way for them to give back to the community. TAB members also earn community volunteering hours for all the work they do for us here, and they develop great skills in areas like event planning, group work, and interacting with the public! Here they are in their post-event group shot:

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We had a great time this year, and we can’t wait to do it all again in 2018!

Virtual Tour

St. Thomas Public Library’s website has a brand-new feature: a VIRTUAL TOUR!

If you haven’t been into the Library for several years now, and are curious what it looks like today, here is your chance to get a sneak peek before you even set foot in the door!

In April, we had photographer Aaron Burns come into the Library early in the morning before we opened to the public. Once here, he took over 5000 photos of the building – pictures were taken from every angle, so that, once stitched together, they give us a complete 360 degree view of the space. Every detail is included – all around, the floors, the ceilings, everything! We placed the camera in the central areas of many of our rooms – so that you can get a good idea of the layout of the building.

When you click the link on our website (https://stthomaspubliclibrary.ca), here is a screenshot of what you will see:Virtual tour

You begin the tour at the front of the building, outside. You can click and drag your mouse anywhere on the image, effectively pulling the pictures around you; this is what gives you the 360 degree feel! In addition to viewing up, down, and all around you, you can navigate to different areas of the building; between floors and to the east and west areas of the building, by clicking the arrows. There is also a menu in the upper-right hand corner, helping you switch between levels quickly. If you want to see a floorplan of the level you are looking at, just click the little “floorplan” icon at the bottom of the page.

We had a lot of fun bringing this tour to life, and we feel as though it shows off our best side! But really, the library rarely looks like the way it does in the virtual tour – we are never empty! You’ll have to use your imagination to picture the more than 800 library members who walk through our doors each day!

Have you checked out our virtual tour yet? We think it’s worth your while!

 

Questions, comments? Email info@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca.

 

– Sarah Macintyre, Systems & Support Services Librarian

Local History and Geneology Fit into the Big Picture of National History

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In April, St. Thomas Public Library was contacted by a Forensic Genealogy Coordinator working for the Canadian National Defense.  They were seeking to identify a recovered WWII soldier who they believed to be Pte. Kenneth Donald Duncanson, killed in action September 14, 1944.  The Coordinator had searched the Elgin OGS (Ontario Genealogical Society) online index for the St. Thomas Times Journal and found a marriage announcement for his sister, Lyla Patricia Duncanson.  The Coordinator was looking for a copy of this announcement, other family information, and the existence of any children, and asked us if we could help!

In our research, we found the marriage announcement for a woman named Iyla Patricia Duncanson.  Though we could not find an obituary for Pte. Donald Duncanson, we did find that he was buried (presumably without remains) in the Fairview Cemetery in Dutton.  The inscription on the tombstone reads “Their Son   Kenneth D.  1915 – 1944   Killed in Action, Belgium.”   We forwarded this information to the Coordinator, and directed her to the Elgin Archives, and their holdings of the  Dutton newspaper the Dutton Advance. The Forensic Genealogy Coordinator must have taken our recommendation, and found additional information which substantiated the identity of the remains, because on May 17, 2016 local newspapers carried an article that an “Elgin Soldier’s Remains Found in Belgium” were indeed those of Pte. Kenneth Donald Duncanson of Dutton. Read more from the St. Thomas Times Journal: http://www.stthomastimesjournal.com/2016/05/16/elgin-soldiers-remains-found-in-belgium

We are so pleased that we got to be a small part of solving this mystery!

Learn more about our Local History collections on our website!

Questions? Email us at info@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca

By Donna Hanson, Technical Services Coordinator

New Programs for Tweens and Teens!

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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 #46: Go Further with NoveList Plus!

Reason #46: Go further with NoveList Plus!

  • Looking for a good book?
  • Do you enjoy Science Fiction, but don’t know what to read next?
  • Do you like Alexander McCall Smith’s books, and want to find similar reads by different authors?
  • Do you want to learn more about a certain series?

 

If so, then NoveList Plus is just what you need!

 

St. Thomas Public Library has a subscription to the online database NoveList Plus – an amazing reader’s advisory database where you can learn about titles, series, authors, and genres, find read-alikes, book reviews and recommendations, discover Award-winners and book lists, check out discussion guides, and much, much more!

You can search among hundreds of thousands of popular fiction and readable nonfiction titles – NoveList has a staff of book experts, including over 25 librarians, who write all the recommendations! You know that you can trust a review from NoveList, and since it’s so easy to use, you’ll be finding new favorite books in no time at all!

The main page is easy to navigate. There is a simple search box on the top, where you can do a search by Keyword, Title, Author, Series, or Narrator.

Along the left-hand side, there are categories you can browse in, including: Audiobooks, Best of 2013, Canadian Fiction, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Horror, Mysteries, Romance, etc. Once you select a category, you can explore some of the titles and authors.

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As an example, I clicked the category “Mystery” and selected “Cozy Crime”.

Here we see a short description of what a “Cozy Mystery” is, as well as some books from that genre. One feature that could be helpful is that you can see the “popularity” of each book.

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To continue our example, I’ve selected the book “As the Pig Turns”. On this page, you get all kinds of information about the book, including: when it was published, if it’s in a series, a brief description, the pace, the genre, the tone, the writing style, as well as both NoveList reviews and Goodreads reviews. On top of all that, on the right-hand side of the page, we see recommended read- alikes.

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Now I want to learn more about the author, M.C. Beaton. So I will click on her name (it is hyperlinked).

We now see a page with all kinds of information about the author, the different books and series she has written, her writing style, etc. A really handy tool appears on the right-hand side of the page: a list of author read-alikes.

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As you can see, this is a very powerful database with tons of information! So the next time you have a reader’s advisory question, the first place to start your search should be NoveList Plus!

Give it a try, and let us know how you like it!

Reason #39: Busy Parents Can Grab, Scan & Go!

Reason #39 - Busy parents can grab scan & goIf you don’t have time to browse the picture book shelf with your choosy toddler, and also don’t have time to hand-pick the very best books to develop your tots’ literacy skills, don’t despair! We have done that work for you. Just pick up a pre-filled Ready Set Read Backpack! Inside you’ll find six specially selected books that each focus on a different literacy skill. Here are the six skills that the Ready Set Read Backpacks focus on:

I Like books! (Print Motivation Skills): Books to foster a love of reading.

I Hear Words! (Phonological Awareness Skills): Books to develop the ability to hear and play with the sounds of words.

I Know Words! (Vocabulary Skills): Books that introduce new words in a fun way.

I Can Tell a Story! (Narrative Skills): Books that focus on describing and storytelling skills.

I See Words! (Print Awareness Skills): Books to encourage children to notice print everywhere and help them learn to follow words on a page.

I Know Letters! (Letter Knowledge Skills): Books that show how letters are different from each other and each make a different sound.

These skills are also what teachers like to see when your child begins school, so if you have a little one starting in the fall you may want to check out some backpacks this summer. There are three levels of backpacks available: “Early Talkers” for newborn to 2 years old, “Talkers” for ages 2-3 and “Pre-Readers” for ages 4-5. Just check on the tag to see what age and books are in the backpack. We recently refreshed our Ready Set Read Backpacks with all new books, so if you haven’t checked out our selection in a while you may want to visit it again!

 

Reason #37: We’re Open 24/7 With Downloadable eBooks.

Reason #37 - Available 24-7 with eBooks

Do you have an eReader? A tablet? Cell phone? Mp3 player? Laptop or desktop computer? Then you might be interested to know that many of these devices, from the smallest mp3 player to the most powerful laptop computer, can be used to borrow electronic books and audiobooks directly from the St. Thomas Public Library. You can borrow up to 10 electronic items at a time, for periods between 14 and 21 days. If there is an eBook or eAudiobook that you want but it is out on loan, you can place a hold on it, just like at the library, and you will be emailed when it becomes available. With only a valid library card and PIN number you can access thousands of new titles and classics!

In order to provide you with eBooks and eAudiobooks, the St. Thomas Public Library relies on a third-party vendor, OverDrive, to manage our electronic collection. Using OverDrive’s resources and technology, the library is able to purchase materials and loan them out, just as we would with traditional printed books or audiobooks on CD, which all takes place at Ontario Library Service Download Centre. Just find St. Thomas Public Library and sign in using your library card number and your Personal Identification Number (PIN). If you don’t know your PIN number, just give us a call or drop-by and we’ll tell you what it is (your library card automatically has one assigned to it). Once you have signed into your account, you can place holds, check-out titles, and even create lists of titles you want to check-out in the future.

The eBooks and eAudiobooks that you can borrow from the Ontario Library Service Download Centre come in a variety of different formats and lending rights. Before borrowing an eBook or eAudiobook, it is important to check that the item you will be downloading is in a compatible format for your particular device. Come in and pick up a copy of our free how-to booklet for a little extra guidance, or visit OverDrive’s handy help page if you get confused.

That’s all you need to pack your device full of free eBooks or eAudiobooks! If you finish your book at 3 am and the library is closed, just sign into OverDrive and download something new to read. You’ll never have to get caught without a book again!