New! Meet Libby

Did you know your library card lets you choose from thousands of eBook and eAudiobook titles? Let us introduce you to Libby, the brand new app from OverDrive for your phone or tablet that gives you full access to our digital collection!

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Libby is made for mobile, so if you want to download titles to read on the go on your phone, tablet, or eReader, you’ll love it! If you prefer to look at eBooks and eAudiobooks on your computer or need accessibility functions you will still find OverDrive available while Libby continues to grow!

 

Here’s how to get started with Libby:

  1. On your device, go to your app store: Apple App Store, Google Play Store, or the Windows Store. Search for Libby and install the app (it’s free).
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Libby as it appears in the Google Play Store.

2. Open the app and search for St. Thomas Public Library. An easy way to find us is to use your postal code, or use ours: N5P 3Z7

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3. Don’t worry about adding your library card number yet. First browse titles by using the search bar. When you tap the search bar, you’ll see an icon that says MORE: Tap this to add other information to your search such as format, subject, or author (creator).

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After you tap ‘MORE’ this menu appears with more search options.

You can also find more search options after you have searched for a title and your results are listed on the screen. If the title you’d like is checked out to someone else, you’ll see a Place Hold option instead of a Borrow option when you select that title. Tap this to place a hold on the item. You’ll also see a REFINE option with three lines on the right of your search results: You can use this to narrow your results. A good option in this menu is Hide unavailable titles. With this option selected, you won’t see titles that are checked out to others.

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4. Once you’ve located a title you’d like to borrow, just tap Borrow! You’ll see you also have the option to Tag or Read Sample. The Tag option is so you can organize titles any way you like. You could tag items as ‘read’, ‘want to read’, ‘loved’, ‘didn’t love’, etc. Read a Sample lets you try out a section of the book before you borrow it. After you tap Borrow on a title you would like, you will be asked to add your library card number.

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This is where you can add your St. Thomas Public Library card. You can add cards from other libraries too!

5. Once you have borrowed a book, tap the Shelf option at the bottom of the screen to see the books you have checked out. Your items will download automatically over a wi-fi connection.

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Shelf with current loans on an Android device

From your shelf, you can Renew, Return, or Tag your loans. Just tap on the cover of the book and you’ll see these options.

Give Libby a try! We’re here to help you if you need it. We have courses to teach you how to use an eReader or a tablet, drop-in tech help sessions, and by-appointment tech help sessions! Call us at 519-631-6050 to register or book a time. You can also check out this handy guide from OverDrive for help. Enjoy!

 

STEAM Education Centres: Learning and Making in St. Thomas and Elgin

This is a guest blog post by Jessica Moyes, Executive Director of STEAM Education Centres! STEAM Education Centres is one of the Library’s Community Partners. Like us, they offer services that encourage self-directed discovery, community maker spaces and continuous learning. See Jessica’s post below to learn more!

STEAM Educations Centres: Learning and Making in St. Thomas and Elgin

It’s hard to believe but this fall will mark one year since the STEAM Education Centres opened its doors to bring new educational approaches to learning and making to the St. Thomas and Elgin County region. And what a year it has been! We have lead some awesome programming, participated in a variety of community events, opened a temporary pop-up location and have some exciting plans for the near future – and, I can’t wait to tell you all about it!

Programming with the Community

The STEAM Team and guest teachers have designed and lead some amazing workshops and school field trips, both in the Centre and in the community, for learners of all ages on topics ranging from coding, computer rebuilding and animation art using 3D design and printing, to Teen and Adult coding with Raspberry Pi and Maker CNC projects. We also took our programming on the road this summer to a pop-up location at the Elgin Mall! There, we lead four weeks of summer camp for kids – Music Maker Camp and Alien Investigations Camp – as well as a range of teen and adult workshops such as Make your own digital picture frame using Raspberry Pi (shown below).

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Learn to make a Digital Picture Frame using Raspberry Pi – Summer workshop for teens and adults at STEAM Education Centres pop-up location.

 

Making Connections

It was an active summer connecting with people out in the community for the STEAM Team. We kicked off the season with a free BBQ at the STEAM Centre and topped off the night with a screening of Most Likely To Succeed; a film about the future of education and innovation. It was a fantastic evening filled with the sounds of laughter, discovery and summertime spirit.

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STEAM Centre Block Party guests screening Most Likely To Succeed; a film about the future of education and innovation, June 2017
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STEAM Education Centres’ Summer BBQ and Block Party, June 2017

We also participated in the Canada Day festivities in Pinafore Park this summer. Kids of all ages learned how to program, or code, an Ozobot using colours, navigate a Sphero maze and made their own smoke ring machines!

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Kids learning to make smoke and smoke machines with STEAM Education Centres at Canada Day celebration at Pinafore Park, July 2017

Full STEAM Ahead

Looking to the fall, there are no signs of slowing down! We are currently busy organizing our first event called STEAM Mission 150 for September 30th! STEAM Mission 150 is an exciting new event that will test students like never before while honouring the history of the local community, land and Canada’s 150th! This one-day event will see teams of students between 12 and 15 years old diving deep into fun challenges that require creativity and collaboration while tapping into science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) skills. And, just for fun, a handful of brave teachers will be able to enter the Mission as well!  We invite everyone to join us for an unforgettable day, whether to participate, spectate or volunteer! With Mission sites scattered throughout the community and over 165 students, teachers and volunteers participating, Mission 150 is set to turn St. Thomas and Elgin County into a STEAM learning playground with a new adventure around every corner! For more information or to get involved as participant or volunteer, visit www.steameducation.ca/steammission

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We are also busy preparing our workshops for ages 7 and up, starting September 12, 2017. While most will be new themes, there will be a few repeats due to popular demand such as Kid Roboteers and STEAMKids 101! Stay tuned or enroll now at www.steameducation.ca

Finally, this fall we will welcome STEAM School in partnership with Thames Valley District School Board. This project will see seventy grade 10 students and four TVDSB teachers joining the STEAM Team this fall while students work to complete four regular high school credit courses through the lens of ‘making life better for someone else’. Students will undertake community based projects and work closely with the STEAM Education Centres staff to gain needed support throughout the fall semester. You can find more information on STEAM School at www.steameducation.ca/steamschool.

So, as we close out our first year and look ahead to the future, we wish to express our sincere thanks to the community that we support and has supported us, as well as the St. Thomas Public Library staff. It’s been a phenomenal year and we look forward to meeting more people, making more partnerships, and providing greater essential learning opportunities to our rural region of learners and makers!

Jessica Moyes

Executive Director

STEAM Education Centres

 

 

 

 

 

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!

MakerSpaces in Libraries

You’ve probably heard the buzzword before: “Makerspace!” But what exactly is a Makerspace, and why should the library even care about them? Well, I want to answer these questions, and talk about why the “Maker Movement” is important to public libraries.

Put simply, a Makerspace is a community-operated workspace where people with common interests, often in computers, technology, science, as well as digital and electronic art, can meet and collaborate. Makerspaces are often fee- or subscription-based, and this is where some public libraries have been able to meet the needs of their communities: by offering Makerspace equipment, programming, and spaces at low cost to the general public. The themes of lifelong learning and collaboration are present in both the Makerspace and Public Library mission statements, and so they are a natural partnership.

Maker Kids
Maker Kids

Some Makerspaces are stand-alone facilities, such as London’s UnLab and Kitchner’s KwartzLab. These facilities are normally accessible 24/7 and are not actively staffed. Rather, customers pay a subscription fee to use the resources at their leisure. Customers work on self-directed projects, and have their own working knowledge of the tools and technologies available. Another type of stand-alone Makerspace is one that is geared towards children, such as Toronto’s Maker Kids. Maker Kids is also a subscription-based model, but they have staff on-hand at all times to assist the users, and lead programs and activities.

Many libraries are integrating Makerspaces into their services, using different models. The Toronto Public

Innisfil IdeaLab
Innisfil IdeaLab

Library’s Digital Innovation Hub has a technology focus, and requires that their patrons be somewhat self-directed; staff are not there to hand-hold through projects. However, they do have staff who offer “certification” classes, that provide customers with the basics of how to use their resources. Other libraries are more engaged, such as Innisfil Public Library’s IdeaLab. They allow experimentation, but also guidance when using their tools, which include a laser cutter. Another way that libraries are getting involved is by offering programs and activities using “maker kits”. This allows library patrons to experience new technologies, but without forcing the library to set aside a great deal of time and money towards a larger-scale project.

Creators' Community with 3 DsAt St. Thomas Public Library, we have been fortunate to receive a donation of $50,000 from the Palmer Estate to help fund our own “Makerspace”, which we have branded our “Creators’ Community“! We foresee a model that blends together some of the aspects that other libraries are using: we want to offer 3D printers and audiovisual equipment to the public, as well as provide some training on how to use them. In addition, we will also offer in-house programs and activities using maker kits (such as Makey Makey, Arduino, Snap Circuits, etc), as well as integrate these technologies into our outreach activities. We believe that it is important to cultivate a strong sense of digital and technological literacy, as these skills are becoming increasingly important in our modern society.

When can you expect to see some “maker” programming at the library? We hope to have programs up and running as early as June! We want to give the St. Thomas community access to 3D printing technology, and foster some creative collaboration through new tech tools and programs.

Stay tuned for more information!

Want to learn more? Visit our website: http://stthomaspubliclibrary.ca/using-the-library/creators-community/

Have questions or comments? Email us! info@stthomaspubliclibrary.ca

Submitted by: Sarah Macintyre

Maiden Voyage of STPL's 3D Printers
Maiden Voyage of STPL’s 3D Printers

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.

 

Making a Raspberry Pi

(Hint: This is not a baking recipe!)

If you, a friend, or a family member has ever expressed an interest in learning more about computing, this topic may be of interest to you. A nonprofit organization in the UK has designed and built a computer that is about the size of a credit card, with the specific goal of empowering young people and enthusiasts to learn and experiment. Called the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the development of hardware and specific projects has been spurred on by an active and dedicated community of beginners, experts, and even children!

The finished product has been available for just under a year now, and the results have been inspiring. Children as young as eight have programmed games, the device has been used as a controller for homemade robots, and people have found ways to make media players and household automation devices. There are many more examples, and new ideas are always being put forward. For ordinary users, the device should be powerful enough for general web-surfing and media playback.

 Raspberry Pi

In order to make it accessible to as many people as possible, the device itself is fairly inexpensive ($25 or $35 depending on the features you want), and can be powered and setup with things that many people have in the home. A television can be used as a display, a phone charger supplies power, and USB keyboards and mice should have no problem working with it. Free software for the device is available from the Foundation’s website, which also hosts forums for users to ask questions and share ideas.

We have all seen smart phones that pack more power into a (slightly) smaller space, but the hardware and software on them is not always open to modification. Lacking a case and having pins for expansion, the Raspberry Pi was built for people of all ages who want to learn and tinker. Initiatives like these are especially exciting for young people, as technical skills and programming know-how will always be in demand. The initial learning curve may be steep for those without Linux experience, but the forums contain plenty of information for beginners. The open platform and active community provide for an excellent learning opportunity.

More information is at the Foundation’s website: http://www.raspberrypi.org/

-TM