All are welcome to join TFL’s Philosophy Circle, which meets on the first Friday of each month at 3:30 pm. No previous experience or knowledge is needed to participate.

Philosophy Circle discusses a wide range of topics and ideas. Past discussions have included: Joseph Campbell, Confucius, René Descartes, John Dewey, Friedrich Nietzsche, Simone Weil, education, ethics, music, mythology, the nature of truth, and much more!

This month, we will be talking about the philosophy and ethics of democracy. For background reading, check out this collection of resources curated by political philosopher Danielle Allen.

This program is free and open to the public. To participate, join the Zoom meeting at: https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/89197120396 or call 1-646-876-9923 and use Meeting ID: 891 9712 0396


Looking for some books about philosophy? Check out one of these titles:

By Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

Marcel Proust, French Novelist

Thanksgiving is close. Quickly followed by that well-lit, well-worn path toward the winter holidays that now seems dimmer and less recognizable. As we downsize our gatherings, hunker down, ride it out, and nest, a little gratitude for simple things goes a long way. Thompson Free Library has a variety of offerings this November to make the days a little brighter, to shift your focus, and engage your mind.

Timing is everything. No matter the topic, there are sure to be interesting exchanges at TFL’s Philosophy Circle on Friday, Nov. 6 at 3:30 p.m. Undoubtedly, there will be some post-election philosophical ponderings during this online session via Zoom. Bring your curiosity, an open mind, and a desire to dig deeper into topics — in a civilized fashion, of course.

TFL’s Reading Group discusses “The Beekeeper of Aleppo” by Christy Lefteri online via Zoom on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. Publishers Weekly describes it as “the haunting and resonant story of Syrian war refugees undertaking a treacherous journey to possible safety” that readers will find “deeply affecting.” Prior attendance is not necessary.

Our friends at Pine Tree Hospice continue their supportive and thoughtful Caregiver and Bereavement Book Club on Thursday, Nov. 17 from 9:30-11 a.m. at the Congregational Church in Dover-Foxcroft. “The Optimist’s Daughter,” a Pulitzer prize-winning novel by Eudora Welty, is this month’s selection. In-person attendance is limited to eight but via Zoom it’s unlimited.  To register, call 207-802-8078 or email info@pintreehospice.org; books are available at TFL.

Travel back to another tumultuous time with speaker Meadow Dibble, director of Atlantic Black Box, as The Maine Humanities Council’s World in Your Library presents “The Diseased Ship: New England Sea Captains and the Slave Trade” on Thursday, Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. Meadow recounts the dramatic story of a prominent Yankee sea captain, a tragedy on the high seas, a viral outbreak, a major political cover-up and a conspiracy of silence that has lasted two centuries surrounding New England’s involvement in the slave trade. The program raises issues that connect to current national conversations. “This online program will be held via Zoom and we will also be working with the Commons [at Central Hall] who will host it live on their Facebook page for those who don’t use Zoom,” said TFL’s Michelle Fagan.

Here’s a great idea: slow down, take a deep breath and join TFL in taking part in the Beanstack #ReadGrateful challenge. It’s a wonderful way for all ages to share an attitude of gratitude with those around you by starting with some gratitude-themed books (e.g., “The Thank You Book” by Mo Willems, “We May Have Enough to Share” by Richard Van Camp, “Gratitude” by Oliver Sacks, & “Wisdom of Sundays” by Oprah Winfrey.) Those who finish the challenge — 11 reading hours total — will have the chance to win a cool new journal and journaling accessories. Visit https://thompson.beanstack.org/reader365 to join or stop by the library to pick up your tracking papers.

A reminder that all Mainers have access to an incredible online resource called the Digital Maine Library. Access multi-subject databases, magazines, and academic journals. Browse the expansive collection of topics including auto repair (ChiltonLibrary), health information (MedLine Plus), reading recommendations (NovelList), Culinary Arts, and Criminal Justice, to name a few. Students, teachers, job seekers, researchers, hobbyists — almost anyone — can benefit from this one-stop digital learning tool. The A-Z index is a good way to start exploring (fyi: for now, access Ancestry.com’s library edition from home due to the pandemic).

Don’t be caught without a good book, a hunker-down essential. TFL patrons can take advantage of the cloudLibrary, a fantastic app for reading or listening to books. See our website for more details or download the cloudLibrary App at the App Store or Google Play (if you have questions, contact TFL). It’s perfect for when the library’s closed. Which is my cue to let you know that TFL will be closed on Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11 and for Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 26 and Friday, Nov. 27.

This year, may you notice and be thankful for the simple things. We are grateful for a bouquet of gorgeous (and hardy!) violet carnations — a recent unexpected kindness from a grateful patron. Last week a woman said to me, “Thank you for keeping us safe,” as she left the library and it felt surprisingly good to hear. Gratitude can cheer up any gloomy forecast. The sun may not come out tomorrow, but you can bet your bottom dollar, it will show up eventually. You’re welcome for that Annie earworm.

The Thompson Free Library is open with special COVID-19 precautions, Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Curbside service is also available during business hours. Wi-Fi is available 24/7 in the TFL parking lot. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.

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.

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.

Calm | Calm Together Free meditations, sleep stories, movement exercises, journals, and music.

Centers for Disease Control | Stress and Coping Includes suggestions for parents, people at higher risk for serious illness, people coming out of quarantine, and first responders.

Child Mind Institute | Supporting Families During COVID-19 Topics include supporting children with autism, remote learning, managing anxiety, discipline and behavior, and dealing with loss.

Fred Rogers Center | Support for Helpers During Coronavirus Talking with children about coronavirus, caring for children and yourself, learning with children through play and digital media.

FrontLine WarmLine A new volunteer phone support service for Maine’s first responders and health care workers. Available from 8 am to 8 pm, 7 days a week by calling (207) 221-8196 or 866-367-4440.

G.E.A.R. Parent Network | Parents of youth with behavioral health needs are invited to visit the website or call 1-800-264-9224 for emotional support, resources and referrals, and educational workshops via webinar.

Good Therapy | Psychology, Therapy, and Mental Health Podcasts Suggestions for podcasts on mental health topics to stream during coronavirus. (For more recommended listening, visit Tom of Podcasts.)

NAMI Maine | NAMI Maine’s Response to COVID-19 Info about NAMI Maine’s programs including helplines and support groups, as well as mental health tips. |LGBTQ Resources A collected list of local and national LGBTQ resources. | Teen Text Support Line A peer support text line for youths 12-20 years old available daily 12pm – 10 pm by texting (207) 515-8398.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network | Parent/Caregiver Guide to Helping Families Cope with COVID-19 [pdf] Tips on preparing your family and reducing risk, coping with stress, helping children cope by age group, and seeking additional help.

Psych Central | Coping with Coronavirus: Your Anxiety and Mental Health Links to articles, services, podcasts and videos on how to keep mentally and emotionally healthy. Psych Central also hosts a weekly “Coping with Coronavirus” livestream on their Facebook channel every Friday from 1-2 pm.

Suicide Prevention Lifeline | Emotional Well-being During the COVID-19 Outbreak Coping tips, helpful resources, and info about lifeline crisis centers.

University of California, SF | Emotional Well-Being and Coping During COVID-19 Includes resources for dealing with grief, maintaining sleep and physical activity, and stress reduction.