Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

Remember to put your oxygen mask on first before trying to help anyone else. That’s what flight attendants always tell us to do in case of an in-flight emergency. But don’t wait for an emergency to start practicing self-care. Taking care of yourself, especially during the pandemic, is more important than ever for physical and mental health. Reading a book or participating in an online program are simple ways to take time for yourself. This October, visit the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft in person (with special COVID-19 precautions) and attend engaging live events via Zoom.

To get the most out of your TFL membership be sure to set up your online account through our website. It’s a great way to keep track of what materials you have out, renew them, and put items on hold. Browse the online catalog to find books to read next. If you need help setting up an account, contact the library and we can help.

TFL’s Philosophy Circle meets online via Zoom on Friday, Oct. 2 at 3:30 p.m. for a lively discussion that delves into deeper topics and age-old questions that are still-relevant in today’s turbulent times. Prior attendance is not necessary but an open, curious mind and a willingness to listen and contribute are welcome. 

Celebrated and influential poet and Maine resident Richard Blanco’s “The Prince of Los Cocuyos” is the subject of the TFL Reading Group’s next meeting via Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. Blanco shares his experiences growing up in Miami as the gay son of Cuban immigrants. Kirkus reviews calls it a “warm, emotionally intimate memoir” (contact the library for a copy).

TFL’s Movie Club meets on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. online via Zoom to discuss Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” a 2012 coming-of-age comedy-drama set in 1965 on an island off the coast of New England where 12-year-olds Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) have fallen in love and decide to run away. The film, which has been called charming, whimsical and poignant, is filled with quirky characters played by Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton. The DVD is available at the library (or contact us for more ways to watch). 

Voices from Home presents an Online Story Slam on Friday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. The theme is “Rise.” Maya Angelou’s iconic poem “And Still I Rise” leapt to mind for me but there are so many directions to take that one word. When did you rise to the occasion/challenge or rise up against injustice however large or small? Rosa Parks took a stand by taking a seat. Will we come out of 2020 like a phoenix rising from the ashes? Maybe simply rising out of bed is a major accomplishment on bad days. Practice a 4- to 8-minute true story to share. Or come and listen and see what rises up in you. 

The Maine Bicentennial Speaker Series continues Thursday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. with UMaine history professor Liam Riordan’s “Commemorating Maine Statehood: What can we learn from the Bicentennial?” This illustrated presentation and discussion explores the statehood process in Maine that culminated in 1820 with formal separation from Massachusetts. Learn about sharp partisan conflict and the “two Maines,” as well as Wabanaki sovereignty, among other topics. 

Michelle Fagan, TFL’s youth services librarian, reminds parents and teachers to learn more about the text sets available at the library. A text set is a collection of related texts organized around a unique topic, theme, concept, or idea (such as dinosaurs; friendship & kindness; art; fairy tales, folk tales, tall tales; autumn & winter; ocean; nature; poetry; spring & summer; friendship & kindness; geography). Michelle hand-picked each book. Text sets can be checked out just like books. 

“With 24 hours or more notice we can also bundle together books on a topic or theme of your choice for you to pick up. We can also order from other libraries but please give as much notice as you can. Planning ahead — especially now — is a good thing,” Michelle says. 

“Remember to take advantage of our parent and teacher section with helpful books on behavior, education, and more,” Michelle adds, “And don’t forget we’re still offering take home crafts for kids so keep looking for those during library visits.”

Speaking of visits, please put your mask on first and come see us in person Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with special precautions in place. We want to keep everyone as safe as possible while still sharing the library’s incredible collection and services. Make TFL a fun stop on your errand route. Books are definitely a basic supply and reading is the best self-care out there. 

Curbside service is also available during business hours. For more information (including Zoom links to our free virtual public programs), visit our website, Facebook page or contact us at thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com or 207-564-3350. WiFi is available 24/7 in the TFL parking lot. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month

Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

September often feels bittersweet. The end of summer, back to school, seasons shifting. And this year, the intensity may leap from italics to bold. Nobody knows for sure. What I do know is that the Thompson Free Library (TFL) in Dover-Foxcroft hopes to make your September memories a little sweeter with an interesting mix of programs to entertain, engage and educate.

If you don’t have a library card, September is the perfect time to get one since it’s ALA Library Card Sign-up Month. AT TFL, SeDoMoCha and Foxcroft Academy students and educators can get free cards, as can Dover-Foxcroft residents. It’s $20/year for non-residents. What do Wonder Woman and a library card have in common? They both have superpowers! The DC Comic legend is the ALA’s sign-up ambassador and a great reminder how empowering and transformative libraries can be, especially during this global crisis. The card allows you to access ebooks and audiobooks online, place items on hold, use our interlibrary loan service, and check out materials from our expansive collection, including exciting new releases. Added bonus: we are fine-free!

Eating Better on a Budget (https://www.thompson.lib.me.us/eating-better-on-a-budget-sept-3-24/) returns each Thursday in September. This free 4-class online series offers skills to shop, cook and eat healthy foods while staying within your food budget. This virtual workshop, taught by nutrition professional Amanda Junkins, features recipe demonstration, budgeting activities, and time for questions throughout these fun, interactive sessions. You’ll even get a free cookbook! Two time slots will be offered for each class, choose what works best for you: 9:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. (Contact Greta at TFL to register and get the Zoom link).

Moving to cyberspace has not dampened the spirited discussions and contemplative conversations of TFL’s Philosophy Circle. They meet next on Friday, Sept. 4 at 3:30 p.m. via Zoom. It’s like driving without a map or GPS, you never know where you’ll end up. 

It’s not too late to participate in the Women’s Suffrage Discussion Project. “The Movement in Maine” focuses on the book “Voting Down the Rose” (about Maine suffragist Florence Brooks Whitehouse) at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 8. Then on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 5:30 p.m. “Bringing it Home” takes a look at the local suffrage movement. 

“Mary Annis of the D-F Historical Society has done amazing research and compiled it for us,” said TFL Director Greta Schroeder. To get readings & Zoom link, please contact Greta at TFL.

TFL’s own Tom Lyford is the perfect sentimental journey tour guide. Join us online for “Bittersweet Glimpses 101: A Tom’s of Maine Scrapbook” at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 10 via Zoom. Travel back through time with Tom as he shares some of his still-vivid Maine memories. “Don’t be surprised if yours come tip-toeing back too,” Tom said.

Movie Club (via Zoom) premieres Thursday, Sept. 24 at 6 p.m. Since we are currently unable to show films at the library, you can watch the selected movie at home (stream it or rent the DVD from the library or elsewhere), then grab some popcorn or other tasty snack for a fun online get together to talk about the movie. First up, “What We Did On Our Holiday” a 2014 British comedy-drama that’s funny, touching and bittersweet with a terrific cast including David Tennant, Rosamund Pike, Billy Connolly and some wonderful young actors. Contact TFL to reserve the DVD or find out how to stream online.

Ever-inventive, youth services Librarian Michelle Fagan, is bringing back Legos and Art Time — now via Zoom — at 3:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. “On art weeks, we will have supplies for people to pick up the Friday or Tuesday before,” Michelle explained. “And on Lego weeks, people will have to supply their own Legos.” If there is enough interest, it will become a recurring program. Stay tuned to Facebook for more announcements from Ms. Michelle. The schedule so far: Legos, Sept. 16 and 30; Art, Sept. 23 — remember to pick up your art supplies beforehand.

What you did over the summer? How was it different this year? How do you feel going into the new school year? Send in a photo or a few thoughts to the online Heart of Maine Community Stories archive project (https://heartofmaine.omeka.net). Imagine a future “Tom Lyford” sharing your stories and pictures from 2020 at some library program in 2050. 

Visiting the library, like most places, is a different experience than it used to be but you can still check out books and movies, use free Wi-Fi and computers and ask reference questions. We are finding new ways, like online programs, to help patrons learn and escape, be creative, have fun and connect. Libraries are rising to the challenge and meeting the moment, however bittersweet those moments may be. Stay safe and hopeful. 

TFL is open — with special COVID-19 precautions — 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday-Friday. Curbside service is also available during those hours. For more information (including how to participate in our free virtual public programs), visit our website, Facebook page or contact us at thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com or 207-564-3350. Wi-Fi is available 24/7 in the parking lot. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.

Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

“Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” Many of us are familiar with philosopher Edmund Burke’s quote (or variations/paraphrases thereof). But Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano has a more colloquial twist: “History never really says goodbye. History says, ‘See you later.’”

This August, Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft takes us back in time to explore a monumental societal shift, local landmarks and landscapes, and brings awareness to our history-making present. Also on tap, a wide variety of activities and programs to expand the mind and move the body.

If you like your discussions deep, don’t miss TFL’s Philosophy Circle Friday, August 7 at 3:30 p.m. and Friday, August 21 at 3:30 p.m. Both sessions will be online—and (hopefully) invigorating.

It’s hard to disentangle the past from the present. Current events and history are intertwined. Exploring the past can give today at least some context and understanding. The three-part Maine Humanities Council Summer Discussion Project, “From DC to Dover-Foxcroft: The Long Road to Women’s Suffrage” will focus on important but lesser known chapters in the history of suffrage, addressing themes of power, inequality, and resilience through readings and film clips. TFL, D-F Historical Society, and facilitator Cindy Freeman Cyr have teamed up to bring you this free online program via Zoom. This group will meet Tuesdays, 5:30-7 p.m. on August 11, 25, and September 8. (To register, please contact TFL.)

Did you realize that Tai Chi combines concentration with slow, gentle, continuous movement to improve balance, strength, coordination, and a general sense of well-being? Join us outdoors at TFL on Wednesday, August 12 at 1:30 p.m. (rain date: August 19 at 1:30) for Tai Chi 101 as certified instructor Lilian Mahan guides us through breathing exercises, meditation, and basic Sun and Yang style forms. Participants should be independently mobile, wear face coverings, and will be asked to sign a liability form. No prior experience is needed.

Thursday, August 13 at 4 p.m. The Maine Community Archives Collaborative will host a statewide public Zoom event, All in This Together: Preserving Maine’s COVID-19 Memories to share information about our libraries’ COVID-19 collecting projects and answer questions from community members. It’s a great way to see items that have been collected and learn how to contribute. (For the Zoom link, visit: https://mainestatelibrary.omeka.net)

At 6 p.m. on August 13, TFL’s Reading Group will meet online to talk about The Maine Woods by Henry David Thoreau. Imagine yourself climbing up the “cloud factory” (a.k.a. Katahdin) in 1846. New members are welcome, contact the library for the Zoom link and a copy of the book. TFL’s Teen Book Club will meet outside at 3 p.m. on Thursday, August 20. Come prepared to discuss a book you’ve recently read. (Participation counts towards FA’s reading requirement; rain date is August 21 at 3).

In celebration of Maine’s Bicentennial, Penobscot Marine Museum photo archivist Kevin Johnson hosts an online interactive presentation on the Eastern Illustrating & Publishing Company at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 20. He will share photographs from Dover-Foxcroft (& some nearby towns) and ask the audience to share their stories and insights about the local scenes, filling in details about these distinctive images.

We have extended the deadline for our TFL Community Zine. Submissions (via email or snail mail) are due by Friday, August 28 so channel your creativity and send us art, short stories, photos, reviews, poetry, etc. that reflect or reveal your passion.

Summer reading continues until Monday, August 31. This year’s program is a virtual challenge using the website Beanstack and it’s open to all ages. If you are a participant and have earned an award (ice cream or farmer’s market), please stop by the library and pick up your coupon.

Have fun family adventures across from SeDoMoCha and at The Law Farm where story walks are still up (through August 31) and waiting to be read and enjoyed as you stroll through nature.

We’re all in this together. The pandemic’s impact on each person is different. The peaks, surges, plateaus, and declines vary. But all over the planet we are living and breathing this unfolding experience. The shopkeeper where I worked before COVID hit was fond of saying, “Everyone has a story.” Now we each have a unique treasure trove of them worth telling. No matter how big or small, mundane or tragic, direct or indirect. Future historians will appreciate it.

Balancing opening the library with keeping everyone as safe as possible is a challenge. Thank you to all our patrons and visitors for their cooperation, patience, understanding, and sense of humor. Quite honestly, we never thought we’d be asking people to spritz with hand sanitizer made at a Maine distillery known for their gin as they step into the library…but here we are. SYL.

TFL is open—with special COVID-19 precautions—Tues.-Fri. 9-5. Curbside service is also available during those hours. For more info (including how to participate in virtual programs), visit our website (https://www.thompson.lib.me.us), Facebook page, or contact us at thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com, 207/564-3350, or 186 E. Main St. Dover-Foxcroft, ME 04426. WiFi is available 24/7 in the TFL parking lot. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.

Interested in philosophy, Hindu spirituality, or how to plan for a successful life and smooth transition to end of life? Join us on Tuesday, December 10 at 5:30 pm as Dr. Krishna Bhatta speaks on the topic of “Achieving Higher Purpose” and his new book Journey from Life to Life. Dr. Bhatta is an author, surgeon and an inventor, currently practicing as chief of urology at Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine.

About the Book:

Journey from Life to Life demystifies the underlying principles of life and death, one of the world’s most thought about existential questions. Dr. Krishna Bhatta meets Western readers where they are, providing an accessible, easy entry into even the most sophisticated aspects of eastern teachings.

In this book, Dr. Bhatta offers:

  • Insights into the nature of the human soul and its journey
  • Practical advice on what to do with our spiritual understanding
  • An understanding of the importance of planning for a successful life, smooth transition to end of life and the journey beyond
  • Answers to the question, “Can I plan for the next life too?”

Journey from Life to Life is an open hand extended in invitation. Join the expedition and let Dr. Krishna Bhatta be your guide. Seek the unseen world and find joys in this life and beyond.

About the Author:

Dr. Bhatta began his life in a small Indian village, attended Patna Medical College in India, continued his education in the UK, and completed his research & medical training at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Dr. Bhatta is equal parts practical and spiritual; he speaks and writes on meditation and spiritual topics, and frequently travels across the globe to meditate at holy sites and speak with luminaries from various spiritual traditions. He lives in Maine with his wife, Nayantara, who is an OB/GYN and their two children, also physicians.

 

Curious about the world and your place in it? The Thompson Free Library Philosophy Circle meets Friday, June 7 at 3:30 pm. We will begin by discussing the Roman emperor and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius, and follow with exploration of a philosophical question chosen by the group. No previous experience is needed; all are welcome to attend!

The TFL Philosophy Circle meets on the first Friday of each month. This discussion group uses he Socrates Cafe model, which embraces “the idea that we learn more when we question and question with others.” To find out more, visit: https://www.philosopher.org/Socrates_Cafe.html