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Thompson Free Library will offer curbside pickup service for books, movies, and other library materials beginning on Wednesday, June 3. Pickup hours will be Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday morning pickups can be arranged by appointment.

Library staff will be available Tuesdays through Fridays to provide information and assistance by phone or email. Library patrons are encouraged to use the online catalog to make requests. Contact the library if you need to set up a username and password for an online account.

Please follow these guidelines for curbside pickup:

Allow one day for requests to be processed. Same-day requests will be filled as time allows.

Call the library when you arrive, or let us know what time to expect you.

Open the trunk or a passenger-side door so that a staff member can deliver the materials safely. Please stay in your vehicle or maintain a six foot distance.

The library is also now accepting the return of borrowed materials. Please use the book drop located by the main entrance, which is open 24/7. All returned materials will be quarantined for 72 hours before being re-circulated.

Curbside service is part of the library’s phased plan for reopening safely. The library continues to offer online programs via Zoom and social media, digital resources including e-books and audiobooks, and free WiFi access outside the library building.

The State of Maine and the Ku Klux Klan. It’s an improbable antithesis, but not only did the KKK take root in Maine in the 1920s, the group’s first daylight parade in America was held Sept. 3, 1923, in nearby Milo. The parade made newspaper headlines across the country, heralding the possibility of “klaverns” across the Northern states.

This astonishing time in Maine’s history, left out of textbooks for nearly 100 years, will be explored by author Mark Alan Leslie as part of Thompson Free Library’s Bicentennial Speaker Series at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 18.

“Milo, Dexter, Newport and Bangor-Brewer were hotbeds of KKK activity in the 1920s,” Leslie said. “I’m certain that when the Klan held its first state conclave in a forest outside Waterville in 1923, some from this area were among the 15,000 who attended.”

Indeed, the Klan reached such heights that it helped elect Governor Ralph Owen Brewster, the mayors of Rockland, Saco, Bath and Westbrook, the Speaker of the Maine House and a number of other political and law-enforcement leaders.

An estimated 19 percent of the state’s population supported the Southern-based secret society, Leslie said, adding, “While few African-Americans lived in Maine at that time, the KKK’s targets were French-Canadians, Catholics and Irish and Polish immigrants as well as Jews.

In his talk “Maine Burning: The Ku Klux Klan Invasion” Leslie will tell the tale of the extraordinary rise and fall of this organization which, now and again, still makes headlines in Maine today.

This event is free and open to the public. To participate, join the Zoom meeting online at: https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/84237161160 (Meeting ID: 842 3716 1160) You can also dial in by phone at: 1-646-876-9923.

The Crossing by Mark Alan Leslie

The Monmouth resident’s fictional novel, The Crossing, is a sweeping — and ultimately uplifting — look at the KKK’s impact on a small western Maine town in 1923.

The AFA Journal called Leslie “a seasoned wordsmith…in the class of John Grisham” and the Midwest Book Review termed his insights into world politics and culture “staggering and frighteningly realistic.”

Leslie earned Featured Book status from Publishers Weekly for his 2015 book, True North: Tice’s Story, a novel about the Underground Railroad in Maine.

Since washing our hands is more important than ever, now is the perfect time to learn how to make soap. Join us Tuesday, June 16 at 1:30 pm for Soap Making 101.

Brooke Isham of Lomah Farmstead in Sangerville will teach us how to make beautiful, cold processed natural soap from ingredients that can be found locally, using simple equipment. She currently sells her soap online and at various Farmer’s Markets. She specializes in soaps that are free of synthetic fragrances & colorants.

Feel free to ask questions & share your own soap making tips!

This program is free & open to the public. To participate, join the Zoom meeting at: https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/88370670600 (Meeting ID: 883 7067 0600). You can also dial in by phone at: 1-646-876-9923.

Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

Curbside pickup begins June 3. While it won’t bring order to the current chaos, it may bring some comfort as books and movies often do. Get new picture books to read to your kids, the next in a series you love, a comedy that makes you LOL or non-fiction resources to motivate and inspire.

If you miss deeper conversations and a sense of connection, join TFL’s Philosophy Circle via Zoom on Friday, June 5 (and Friday, June 19) at 3:30 p.m. Despite the virtual format, the discussion is still interesting and engaging. You never know quite where it will lead. Prior attendance is not required but curiosity and an open mind are definitely welcome. 

Youth Services Librarian Michelle Fagan is excited to introduce two story walks that will be up through August 31. The first is a partnership between TFL and SeDoMoCha School and literacy teacher Carolyn Clark that features the book “A Nest is Noisy” by Dianna Hutts Aston. The walk is located across the road from SeDoMoCha, around the picnic tables near the nature trail. 

TFL and the Piscataquis County Soil & Water Conservation District have teamed up to create a story walk at the Law Farm that starts Friday, June 5 and offers the chance to read “Because of an Acorn” by Adam and Lola Schaefer. Story walks make for great family fun time, combining reading and being outdoors. “They will be set up with easy to follow page numbers as well as activities for kids to try plus prompts to make them think about the books, nature and what is around them,” Michelle said. “We would love to see your story walk posts on social media. Use #D-Fstorywalk2020 or tag TFL and our partners.”

Like everything else, summer at TFL will not be the same. “Sadly, we will not be offering our Wednesday children’s programs this year and summer reading is going to look different as we host an online summer reading for all ages even adults — we want everyone to keep reading,” said Michelle. Plans in the works: using the Beanstack site and focusing on Maine’s Bicentennial. Have no fear, Ms. Michelle keeps finding inventive ways to connect kids and reading. Stay tuned to our website and Facebook page for more info!

TFL’s regular reading group for adults convenes via Zoom at 6 p.m. on Thursday, June 11 to discuss “Campfires Rekindled: A Forester Recalls Life in the Maine Woods of the Twenties” by George S. Kephart. As this was scheduled as part of our Defining Wilderness series, we have 25 copies of the book thanks to Maine Humanities Council so contact the library if you’d like to borrow one. 

In this book, Kephart writes with clarity and humor about the many facets of life in the Maine backcountry he experienced as a young forester, including the rugged individuals who inhabited those woods. He paints a sensitive portrait of the beauties of nature and the sights and sounds of the changing seasons.

Since washing our hands is more important than ever, now is the perfect time to learn how to make soap. Brooke Isham, from Land of Milk and Honey Farmstead in Sangerville, will host Soap Making 101 via Zoom at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16. She’ll teach us how to make beautiful, cold processed, natural soap from ingredients that can be found locally, using simple equipment. Brooke sells her soaps online and at various farmer’s markets, specializing in natural soaps free from synthetic fragrances and colorants. 

Thursday, June 18 at 6 p.m. via Zoom author Mark Allen Leslie presents “Maine Burning: The Ku Klux Klan Invasion” as part of TFL’s Maine Bicentennial Speaker Series. Leslie calls this invasion “an improbable antithesis, but not only did the KKK take root in Maine in the 1920s, the group’s first daylight parade in America was held Sept. 3, 1923, in nearby Milo. The parade made newspaper headlines across the country, heralding the possibility of ‘klaverns’ across the Northern states. This astonishing time in Maine’s history, left out of textbooks for nearly 100 years, will be explored.”  

Another virtual Voices from Home Oral History Project “Story Slam” is in the works, tentatively scheduled for Friday, June 26 at 6 p.m. Theme to be determined.  More details soon. Whether you share a story or just listen, the two previous virtual sessions have been affecting and entertaining and surprisingly satisfying ways to come together during this intense time. 

Rocking on the porch engrossed in a bestseller, driving to work as Michelle Obama reads “Becoming,” or finally binge watching “The X-Files.” It’s the simple things that can give us a sense of normalcy these days—in this hard to pin down “new normal.” 

We look forward to serving you safely as we progress on this phased path to reopening.

Join the Voices from HOME Oral History Project for a live storytelling event on the theme “Together” on Friday, May 22 at 6 pm.

Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

We want to know:

How have you spent time together? Have you worked with your community to make it better? Was there a time when you were feeling totally alone and then, surprise, someone showed up to fill the void? Or vice versa: you were the one who showed up when needed? Did someone or something bring you together with the love of your life? Have you worked to get your life together, alone or with others? Maybe an exciting night with friends is something you still talk about. We want to know what you’ve done together!

The key word here is “together,” and whatever memory or story that conjures up, sharing it with us on story slam night could be entertaining or perhaps inspirational. Come together (but apart on Zoom) to share your 4-8 minute TRUE story, or listen to the stories of others!

Photo courtesy of the Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society

You can join online at: https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/85129257760 or dial in by phone: 1-646-876-9923. (Zoom Meeting ID: 851 2925 7760.)

Voices from HOME is also involved in a regional project to collect stories about life in Central Maine during the COVID-19 pandemic. Help us document this important time in history by contributing a story, image, audio recording, or video to the Heart of Maine Emergency Archive.