By Kim Brawn

In the before times, uncertainty seemed at arm’s length. Today it’s breathing down our necks. Sometimes it feels like we’ve been dropped into one of those dystopian YA novels my colleague Michelle talks about. Whether you’re completely overwhelmed or just dealing with life’s routine frustrations, finding a little comfort can make a big difference. The Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft can be a balm for these trying days, a comfortable place — inside and out — with something for (almost) everyone.

Let’s start with some quirky comfort. TFL’s own Tom Lyford will host “UFOLOGY MYTHOLOGY” on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 6 p.m. under the tent. Tom describes it as “an unusual evening of music, subculture, misinformation, and quirky fun.” Learn about the day UFOs disabled nukes at a Montana AFB in 1967, find UFOs in famous biblical art, debunk conspiracy theories, and hear eyewitness testimony!

After discussing the fate of the planet, take comfort in the multi-instrumental musical stylings of Hunt and Allison Smith at their outdoor concert on Saturday, Sept. 4 at 2 p.m. The talented duo will play traditional tunes, sing songs, tell stories, and keep your toes tapping. TFL’s Director Jon Knepp heard them at Scoopstock at the UU Church in Sangerville, “They played a waltz, a jig, some bluegrass, some original music, at one point Allison played spoons while Hunt was on a fiddle he crafted himself. I don’t think my description even scratches the surface of what they can do, they’re really impressive!”

Listening to a podcast is a great way to take your mind off things. Join us for “Podcasts 101” on Thursday, Sept. 9 at 1:30 p.m. under the tent. Tom Lyford, TFL’s resident podcaster, introduces us to an incredible realm of digital entertainment. Whatever your interest, there’s a podcast. He’ll play samples from his own Boomer Monologues as well as other cool clips, explain how to access them, and maybe inspire you to create your own!

TFL’s Reading Group meets at 6 p.m. on the 9th to discuss “Mill Town” by Kerri Arsenault who grew up in Mexico, Maine, where for over a century the community revolved around a paper mill that provided jobs for nearly everyone in town, including three generations of her family. The Maine Edge’s Alan Adams raves, “For stretches, it is pure memoir — and first-rate memoir at that … In other places, the book is a compelling and taut work of industrial investigation [and] Arsenault is meticulous in her research. Mill Town is haunting and heartbreaking, charming and funny … and utterly exceptional (copies are available at TFL).

If your kids are budding meteorologists or just interested in weather phenomena, they’ll want to attend the National Weather Service’s online event Wednesday, Sept. 15 at 6 p.m. NWS in Caribou hosts this introductory program on weather, science, and the job of a meteorologist. Contact TFL on how to watch.

Quilts, known to provide physical and emotional comfort, take center stage on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m. under the tent. Laureen LaBar, Maine State Museum curator, presents “Maine Quilts: 250 Years of Comfort and Community” which is based on her book by the same name. She will explore the rich history of quilting in Maine, from the colonial era to the present day. Every quilt tells a story, even shining a light on lesser-known aspects of Maine history.

Adults get their own online weather program on Thursday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m. NWS in Caribou highlights regional weather patterns and provides information on weather forecasting, including watches, warnings, and alerts — what they mean and how they decide which one to use. Contact TFL on how to watch.

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. Due to current COVID conditions, we are now requiring masks indoors. For information on events, 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

“Come with me and you’ll be in a world of pure imagination.” Maybe Gene Wilder wasn’t specifically referring to libraries when he sang those lyrics in the 1971 film “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” but the description surely fits. Imagination is connected with creativity, learning, innovation — not to mention a far more colorful life. This August, the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft promises to energize imaginations with programs, activities and books for all ages.

First up, some organized outdoor chaos. Those in grades 6-12 are invited to participate in the “Messy Mayhem Games” on Thursday, Aug. 5 at 3 p.m. Word on the street is that chocolate syrup, shaving cream, and other messy favorites will be involved, so dress to be a mess!

Switching gears, TFL’s Philosophy Circle continues with their education theme on Friday, Aug. 6 at 3:30 p.m. under the tent. If you are a current or former educator, please join the group and share your thoughts on educational philosophy.

“The Guest Room” by Chris Bohjalian combines an explosive premise, a timely social topic, and fast-paced storytelling and is the subject of TFL’s Reading Group on Thursday, Aug. 12 at 6 p.m. under the tent. Copies are available at the library.

A worthy cause (Milo PAWS–Penquis Animal Welfare Shelter) is counting on you to read to your imagination’s content during the Read-A-Thon on Wednesday, Aug. 18 from 10 a.m.- 4 p.m. under the tent. There will be pizza, ice cream, and prizes. April and Erma will stop by with cotton candy. Open to all ages. Pick up your pledge sheet at the library!

Dexter’s popular Harold J. Crosby Community Band will put us in a marching mood with their rousing music on Thursday, Aug. 19 at 6:30 p.m. outdoors at TFL.

Never stop glowing! TFL’s “Glow Party” is set for Saturday, Aug. 21 from 7:30-9 p.m. under the tent. On tap: games, science, art, even glow in the dark cotton candy from April & Erma. School Librarian Carolyn Clark will also announce the SeDoMoCha Summer Reading winners.

Mr. Drew and his Animals Too take center stage outside on Wednesday, Aug. 25 at 10:30 a.m. He’ll bring a dozen cool creatures with him, including reptiles and insects. Drew rehabilitates exotic animals and does educational outreach.

Fascinated by local history? Join us online via Zoom on Thursday, Aug. 26 at 6 p.m. as Northeast Historic Film presents vintage videos and photographs of Dover-Foxcroft and the surrounding area.

One of the best ways to get kids excited about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) is to fire up their imaginations. And that’s just what the new STEM area at the library does. TFL’s STEM guide Alicia Millette has set up permanent shop next to Youth Services Librarian Michelle Fagan, across from the children’s section. There you’ll find a marble run game; OSMO, a fun learning system; Dash-A robot that teaches beginning coding; origami; and lots of supplies for various STEM activities. We also have larger STEM kits that can be checked out for two weeks. Themes are Maine Nature, Geology, All About Magnets, Animal Games and Snap Circuits. These kits include many great books, activities, and games families can enjoy.

Fantasy and sci-fi author Patricia McKillip wrote that “Imagination is the golden-eyed monster that never sleeps. It must be fed; it cannot be ignored.” With an impressive roster, TFL offers up the ultimate buffet to satisfy that glowing, golden-eyed monster. Summer days may sneak away, but imagination inspires us forever.

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. Masks are optional indoors for those vaccinated and strongly encouraged for those who are not. For information on events, 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.

The newest issue of our quarterly newsletter is out! July’s edition details what we’ve been up to this spring and summer (it’s been a busy time!) Featured are: many, many programs, our wonderful new mural, story walks, Irma returning to the library, and more! 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:

Thanks again to all of you for being part of what makes the library great.  We hope to see you again soon!

By Kim Brawn

“Things to do in Dover-Foxcroft, Maine for $500, Alex.”

July sizzles with fun activities and great programs at this family favorite where can you find your summer vibe, relax on vacation, and awaken your mind. 

“What is the Thompson Free Library?” That’s correct!

If you’ve wanted to see what TFL’s Philosophy Circle is like, come join other curious minds on Friday, July 2 at 3:30 p.m. under the tent. The topic is the Philosophy of Education. “I don’t know where the conversation is going to go, but I have readings from ancient Greece to the present,” says library director Jon Knepp.

Weeds can drive anyone crazy this time of year. We’ll try to tame these invasive beasts at “Weed Management 101” on Thursday, July 8 at 1:30 under the tent. Trisha Smith, from UMaine Cooperative Extension Piscataquis County, will lead an interactive discussion and share tools and techniques for minimizing their impact on garden harvests and landscape aesthetics. Bring questions & samples for identification and advice! 

TFL’s Reading Group convenes at 6 p.m. on July 8 under the tent to discuss Maine author Greg Brown’s debut novel, The Lowering Days. The acclaimed book is 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.” (Greg’s author talk from March is on YouTube—well-worth watching!)

Aye, matey! “Capture the Pirate Flag!” sails into TFL’s port on Friday, July 9 at 2 p.m. and is open to families with kids of all ages as we build cardboard pirate ships to hide our flags. Water will be the weapon of choice so please dress accordingly!

The beautiful music of the Highlands Classical Chamber Ensemble will echo through the evening of Thursday, July 15 starting at 6:30 under the tent and beyond as needed. The ensemble’s talented musicians: Margery Aumann, piano; Kathy Hunter, flute; Evelyn Marston, flute; Susan Ramsey, violin; Emelia Grant, violin; Evan Viera, piano; and Ruth Fogg, cello. The playlist may include Gershwin, Brahms, Vivaldi, & a Celtic Suite. (The concert is free & open to the public.)

Kids will love “Wet & Wild Water Play” on Wednesday, July 14 at 10:30 a.m. They’ll play water games and just have fun getting wet. (Aimed at elementary school age & younger.)

Chewonki’s “Scales & Tails” brings four live reptiles under the tent on Wednesday, July 21 at 10:30 a.m. The presentation, geared towards children, will cover the characteristics, adaptations, and ecology of these often-misunderstood creatures. 

Attention history buffs and amateur anthropologists: Maine State Museum director Bernard Fishman presents “A Story of Maine in 112 Objects” based on his book of the same name on Thursday, July 22 at 6 p.m. The museum selected and photographed 112 artifacts and specimens that, together, tell a sweeping story of the land and its people from prehistoric times to the present. Mammoth tusks, Norse coins, and Joshua Chamberlain’s pistol are just a sampling of the objects included. 

Wind down with a good book and get school credit. TFL’s Teen Book Club meets Friday, July 23 at 2 p.m. Come share your thoughts about any book you’ve read. (This program can be used for FA’s reading requirement provided FA rules are followed.)

After a long hiatus, “Family Game Night” returns Tuesday, July 27 at 6 p.m. Play ring toss, ladder ball, and more on the library lawn. Tables will be set up for board games under the tent. Ms. Michelle is planning some yummy special snacks too!

Quick reminder: plan a fun family outing to explore the Story Walks at Law Farm and Sedomocha Dot Warren Nature Trail. 

Finally, get ready for an in-person under the tent “Voices from Home Story Slam” on Friday, July 30 at 6 p.m. with the theme “Encounters.” Perhaps a close encounter, a chance encounter, recurring, positive, or negative. Patti Smith once said, “It was an unexpected encounter that slowly altered the course of my life.” Have you encountered a person, place, or thing that made your inner compass do a 180? Maybe your encounters have not always been of the earthly kind. Share your 4–8-minute true story in a welcoming, supportive environment. (This event is for teens & adults.)

TFL’s July lineup—and an incredible collection of books & more—will help create the best summer vibes and memorable experiences for all ages. 

TFL is open to the public Tues.-Fri. 9-5 & Sat. 9-1. Masks are optional indoors for those vaccinated and encouraged for those who are not. For info on events, 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.