“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

TFL’s Philosophy Circle meets the first Friday of every month at 3:30 pm. Our next meeting is Friday, April 5. Curious? Read this newsletter article by Tom Lyford:

I Think, Therefore I Am:

Socrates, one of our wisest philosophers, left the world to chew on this observation: “The unexamined life is one not worth living.” On a Friday afternoon in January, TFL’s Philosophy Circle (19 down-to-earth, would-be “philosophers”) began by examining that statement. Some assured us and Socrates that hey, they never examine their lives and yet their existence feels “quite worth living, thank you very much.” On the other hand, others admitted that they do examine and search for meaning in their lives to varying extents. But long-story-short the high schooler, the septuagenarian, the clergyman, the atheist, the engineer, the homemaker, the counselor, and the physician who showed up enjoyed a lively, engaging discussion. And it was fascinating, what was offered up.

When it was over, virtually everyone agreed it had turned out to be both an eye-opening and fun experience (no punches thrown!) and all looked forward to the next one. Now, after four monthly meetings, attendance has averaged a satisfying seventeen. So if you were imagining a sophisticated, high-brow affair, one set among marble statues of Zeus and Aphrodite, one that would never apply to you, you can forget it. This is not a Philosophy 101 class where you have to take boring notes and pop quizzes to prove that you learned something. No pie-in-the-sky discussions here. The focus is on my life and yours, right here and now in 2019 Central Maine. We tackle topics like How Can You Know What’s True in a World of Photoshopping and Lying Politicians? or Human Beings: Inherently Benevolent, Malevolent, or What?

In facilitated discussions, we share some of the reasons and personal experiences that have shaped our individual outlooks. Originally the brainchild of patron Diane Boretos, the group models itself after The Socrates Café movement, a philosophy discussion template gaining popularity throughout America and around the globe. The Socratic Method of asking, answering, and discussing simple questions guides our discussions. The Philosophy Circle meets on the first Friday of each month from 3:30 to 5:00. Please join us. Come and dive right in, or simply watch and listen for a while. All are welcome.

Join us for the Philosophy Circle, a lively and informal philosophical conversation held the first Friday of each month.

Our next meeting will be: Friday, January 4 from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m.

This month we will use the first half hour to discuss Socrates and the Socratic Method. The next hour we will explore a question of interest chosen by participants (using the Socrates Cafe model).

Please note, all are welcome and no previous experience is necessary to participate.