Making Progress at the Thompson Free Library

by Kim Brawn

Technology is a form of progress and a double-edged sword, a perpetual one step forward, two steps back. For all that we can do with a smartphone, tablet, or laptop — for all the convenience, information, and connectedness it gives us — it has created inequities and incredible challenges, like the ability to spread misinformation at startling speed.

Those of us at the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft do our best every month to level that playing field by offering free public access computers and Wi-Fi. Printing, copying, faxing, and scanning services are also available. Our website features many great resources including a Wakelet collection that Librarian Michelle Fagan compiled early in the pandemic, to help recognize and combat misinformation. Sinan Aral’s (MIT data scientist and entrepreneur) Ted Talk is especially eye-opening, leaving the audience with this powerful warning: “We have to be vigilant in defending the truth against misinformation … with our individual responsibilities, decisions, behaviors and actions.”

Progress is generally forward moving and takes many forms which makes it an engaging topic for TFL’s Philosophy Circle on Friday, Oct. 1 at 3:30 p.m. under the tent. Library Director Jon Knepp says the focus will be on, “What actually is progress? How do we measure it? What is its end goal? I thought it might be a good way to tie some of our other discussions together.”

Time to trade in your Thinker pose for the ultimate in head banger moves! Heavy metal fans — and those who dare to explore – are invited to “Exit Light: Metallica’s Black Album at 30” with author Ben Apatoff online via Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 7 at 6 p.m. Apatoff will discuss his new book “Metallica: The $24.95 Book” (a playful nod to The $5.98 Metallica EP!).

Metal Life calls it, “an incredibly well written history of the band, told in chapters dedicated to each album, each band member and influences. Each chapter tells a story instead of just rehashing dates and events like a calendar … this book allows you, fan or not, to understand and appreciate who Metallica is and more importantly, WHAT Metallica is.” While working on his book during the pandemic, Apatoff found comfort and inspiration in watching the Metallica Mondays shows (concerts the band released on YouTube), “It kept me grounded and helped me.” Contact TFL for the Zoom link or find it in our Facebook event.

A sharp turn finds us back under the tent on Thursday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. for TFL’s Reading Group. This month’s featured selection is “Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero” by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory. From Kirkus Reviews: “The chilling account of how the two (Hingson and his guide dog Roselle) worked in tandem to safely descend 78 stories and 1,463 steps, while simultaneously helping others remain calm is truly-awe-inspiring. . . a tragic, inspirational and enlightening memoir.” Copies available at TFL.

Switching gears again, let’s have some ghostly and bewitching fall fun as TFL Under the Tent presents a classic movie about getting slimed and chasing paranormal entities with Bill, Dan, Harold, and Ernie on Friday, Oct. 22 at 6 p.m.

Next up: what if The Rose, Carrie Bradshaw, and Sister Mary Patrick made a Halloween-themed movie together? Abracadabra, they did! And you can watch it on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. under the tent. Both films are free, open to the public, and family friendly. Michelle told me, “There will be snacks” (possibly hot cocoa). Be sure to check the forecast and dress accordingly. We do have blankets though.

Random acts of kindness are awesome but let’s start an intentional acts of kindness movement with the focus on what we can do to keep each other safe and healthy while recognizing each other’s humanity. Please get vaccinated, mask up where required and when recommended, and be mindful of others. Many of us who work with the public have been thrust into an unenviable yet necessary public health role during the pandemic. Thank you to our patrons and visitors — the vast majority of whom follow our protocols and policies and appreciate us (and don’t even get mad when we remind them to put their mask over their nose!).

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. We currently require masks indoors. For info on events, visit our website (, Facebook page, or contact us at or 207-564-3350. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.