The newest issue of our quarterly newsletter is out! April’s edition details what we’ve been up to during the winter and early spring. Featured are: the seed library, two author talks, a nature program featuring owls, STEAM programs and kits, a Story Slam, increased hours, and an improvement to the website! Click here or on the picture to the right to read the latest issue

For anyone who missed the programs detailed in the newsletter, please check out our Youtube channel:

We have recorded videos of the author talks with Greg Brown and Claire Ackroyd/Laurie Chandler, the first 101 Series with Alicia Millette, and the January Story Slam. We also have event recordings from earlier in the year. I intend to post recordings of Zoom events there as well going forward, so subscribe if you want to know when we post new ones.  Thank you all for your continued support of the library.  We hope to see you again soon!

By Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

April is our bridge to spring. Possibilities grow and bloom. Bright vibrant colors replace the hazy monotones of winter. Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft is bursting with activities and programs to capture your imagination and engage your mind. It’s time to click that collective refresh button.

Like the air after a driving rain, youngest-ever inaugural poet Amanda Gorman placed fresh optimism alongside raw realism as she reflected our conflicted emotions in her stirring poem, “The Hill We Climb.” On Friday, April 2 at 3:30 p.m. (online via Zoom) TFL’s Philosophy Circle revisits the intersection of poetry and philosophy with the focus on Amanda Gorman.

Maine authors Claire Ackroyd (“Murder in the Maple Woods”) and Laurie Chandler (“Through Woods and Waters”) join TFL’s Reading Group at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 8 online via Zoom to discuss their respective books. It promises to be an interesting session with behind-the-scenes stories and glimpses into how they approach the writing process. Both books are set against rugged Maine backdrops: Claire’s takes place in the maple sugar camps above Jackman while Laurie’s chronicles her solo canoe adventure through Maine’s newly established Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. All are welcome to attend, including those who haven’t read the books.

Heads up stargazers and sky watchers: Librarian Michelle Fagan is excited to announce TFL’s Star Gazing Party with Northern Stars Planetarium and other possible guests. The event will be held Friday, April 16 at 8:30 p.m. outdoors at Charles A. Chase Jr. Memorial Airport located on Pine Street in Dover-Foxcroft. Learn fun facts and intriguing information about different stars and planets. Feel free to bring binoculars. Masks & physical distancing required.

Before the next Story Slam, TFL will host a virtual storytelling workshop led by Bobby Keniston on Tuesday, April 20 at 2 p.m. During this online program called Express Yourself, the local playwright, director, actor — and Story Slam host/contributor — will offer up tips, ideas, and direction to help you find your own voice and tell your story in a meaningful, entertaining way. This workshop is geared towards teens and young adults but is open to everyone.

Look for Alicia Millette’s new STEAM kits for kids and families next to the circulation desk. Find out how water can be used to move objects by creating your own Hydraulic Lift; learn about potential and kinetic energy by making a Zipline Racer and Pyramid Slingshot; and make Seed Bombs (which make a great Mother’s Day gift!).

Speaking of seeds, TFL’s Seed Library debuts this month! Card catalogs — those iconic fixtures of libraries past — have been transformed into drawers filled with a variety of seeds for patrons and visitors to take home, plant, and to eventually bring back the new seeds. Details soon!

Along a similar vein, the Piscataquis Regional Food Center and UMaine Cooperative Extension are shining a spotlight on their Garden in a Box program and providing resources on successful gardening, including a binder filled with printed materials and DVDs, that we will share with you.

TFL is open to the public Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information (including Zoom links to our free virtual public programs), visit our website https://www.thompson.lib.me.us, Facebook page, or contact us at thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com or 207-564-3350. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.

By Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

DOVER-FOXCROFT — Characters are central to stories. But so is place. As we stare down a more hopeful March, the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft is highlighting writers who have etched a memorable sense of place — including distinctive pockets of Maine — onto their pages.

Friday, March 5 at 3:30 p.m. TFL’s Philosophy Circle continues to examine the intersection of poetry and philosophy, focusing on Langston Hughes, the famed poet, social activist, novelist and playwright. Many believe that Hughes, more than any other black poet or writer, faithfully recorded the nuances of black life and its frustrations, especially in Harlem. His poems, as he put it, are about “the workers, roustabouts, and singers on Lenox Avenue in New York, or Seventh Street in Washington or South State in Chicago — people up today and down tomorrow, working this week and fired the next, beaten and baffled, but determined not to be wholly beaten…” (https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/langston-hughes) So many possibilities for a compelling conversation. All are welcome. Prior attendance not required.

TFL’s Reading Group chats about Claire Ackroyd’s book “Murder in the Maple Woods” on Thursday, March 11 at 6 p.m. Claire, an independent organic farm inspector based in Orono, has written a murder mystery involving a boy’s suspicious death, that is set in and around the maple sugar camps in the remote woods that lie along the Canadian border above Jackman. She captures the unique sense of place from her own first-hand experience inspecting those camps.

Jon Knepp, TFL’s director, calls the March discussion “a preamble for our meeting in April, where Claire, along with another Maine author, Laurie Chandler, will join us to talk about Murder in the Maple Woods and Laurie’s book ‘Through Woods and Waters,’ about her solo canoe exploration of the recently-created Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument.” For copies of the books, contact TFL.

Monday, March 29 at 6 p.m. TFL will host a virtual author talk with Gregory Brown whose just-released debut novel “The Lowering Days” is winning national acclaim with an emotionally powerful saga, set in 1980s Maine, that explores family love, the power of myths and storytelling, survival and environmental exploitation, and the ties between cultural identity and the land we live on. Kirkus Reviews calls it “a gripping tale. . . in Brown’s hands, the Penobscot region of the 1980s and 90s — with its eccentric cast of Vietnam veterans, hippy fugitives, gruff lobstermen, and Penobscot tribal members — comes wonderfully to life.”

And Greg knows this area well, having grown up in Belfast, along the Penobscot Bay. He refers to his hometown — the whole area — as Penobscot Nation territory. “No matter where your feet take you in this country, you are on indigenous land,” he writes on his website. Sharing the early stages of his creative process, “My work often starts with the interaction of place and people…The clearing nestled in a pine grove where a half-finished and fully forgotten wooden boat sits on stocks and has become a kind of feral jungle gym for kids.”

He told the Bangor Daily News that the book’s backdrop “is a mixture of all the various pockets of the midcoast and along the Penobscot River that I absorbed growing up. . . the fiction that often interests me the most is that kind that lets the mythology and folklore of a place shine out from behind the recognizable, real-life details.” “The Lowering Days’” narrative centers on the conflicts that erupt as a shuttered paper mill on the verge of reopening is set on fire as an act of defiance to prevent further harm to the land. Others see the mill as a working-class lifeline.

Finally, back at the library, our STEAM guide Alicia Millette has added an Arduino Kit to the collection for those who want to learn how to code and build mechanical creations, including robots. Arduino is an open-source electronics platform based on easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s available for a two-week check out (for those ages 10 and up) or you can use it on a library computer. Alicia has also created new STEAM kits for the kids (including a firefly LED & an origami project). Please share your project photos with us on Facebook!

March may signal spring, but we know Maine is a place that holds many surprises. Thankfully TFL has a deep bench of powerful and evocative reads and stimulating discussions to help us through the mud, potholes, and ever-shifting landscapes.

TFL is open to the public Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information (including Zoom links to our free virtual public programs), visit our website (https://www.thompson.lib.me.us), Facebook page or contact us at thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com or 207-564-3350. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.

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Our bookshelf app has been updated again! Now, you can see what the most popular Adult Books, Kids Books, and DVDs!

Murder in the Maple Woods