Summer reading has begun! Use the Beanstack app or come into the library to pick a tracking calendar or bingo sheet for teens and adults. Read books, come to programs, and get prizes! At the end of the summer people who completed the program will get put in for a fun drawing.

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By Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

Our goal this June at the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft is to eliminate the words “I’m bored” from your vocabulary. Yes, we can deliver the goods.

Out of the gates, summer reading sign up begins Tuesday, June 1. Open enrollment continues until the end of June and the program runs until Aug. 31. Use the Beanstack App or keep track on paper. The first 25 kids who sign up (app or paper) will get a special logbook to track their progress. An alternative for adults and teens who participate is a bingo sheet available at the library. “Free ice cream, books, and other prizes will be given to readers of all ages,” said Youth Services Librarian Michelle Fagan (a.k.a. Ms. Michelle).

Thursday, June 3 at 6 p.m. under the TFL tent Jim Nelson, award-winning author of maritime fiction and nonfiction and a Lewiston-native, presents “Blusters, Bunglers & Boneheads” a talk about the naval battles in Maine during the Revolutionary War and how each ended in disaster. Nelson a UCLA film & TV grad, whose enthusiasm for Hollywood waned while his passion for the nautical world deepened, spent six years exploring the high seas. He worked on traditional sailing ships like the Golden Hinde where he met Lisa, his shipmate turned soulmate. Nelson has appeared on the History and Discovery channels and written over 20 books that run the gamut from Vikings to piracy in Colonial America, naval action in the Revolutionary War, and the Civil War.

Join TFL’s Philosophy Circle on Friday, June 4 at 3:30 p.m. under the tent to contemplate Mary Wollstonecraft, the 18th-century English writer, philosopher and advocate of women’s rights.

TFL’s 101 Series reconvenes in-person under the tent on Thursday, June 10 at 1:30 p.m. for “Practicing Good Forestry on Your Own Land” co-sponsored by Piscataquis County Soil & Water Conservation District. Jim Ferrante, Maine Forest Service district forester, shares what landowners can do to enhance their property and achieve their homesteading goals. He’ll focus on strategies like harvesting wood products such as firewood and sawlogs, techniques to strengthen wildlife habitats, small scale sugar bush management, and touch on silvopasture and invasive plant control.

“Anxious People” by Fredrik Backman is the featured book for TFL’s Reading Group that meets Thursday, June 10 at 6 p.m. under the tent. People Magazine calls it “[A] quirky, big-hearted novel…Wry, wise, and often laugh-out-loud funny, it’s a wholly original story that delivers pure pleasure.” Copies available at TFL.

Maine author Matt Cost stops by on Tuesday, June 15 at 6 p.m. under the tent to talk about his book ”Mainely Power,” a mystery set in Brunswick, which has been selected as the Maine Humanities Council’s Read ME book of the year. Find out how this former teacher, coach, and video store, bookstore, and gym owner came to create his well-received Goff Langdon detective series and what new characters are on the horizon.

TFL partners with Spirit Warrior and Winds of Change Ranch on Thursday, June 17 at 2-4 p.m. for an Introduction to Horsemanship Basics for ages 6-9. Spirit Warrior is located at the Winds of Change Ranch (186 Garland Line Road) and offers classes in therapeutic horsemanship, equine experiential learning and riding instruction. Space is limited so registration is a must. Contact Ms. Michelle at TFL by phone or email (mfagan534@gmail.com).

Attention Sasquatch believers, skeptics and the curious, writer Michelle Souliere joins us online via Zoom on Thursday, June 24 at 7 p.m. to discuss her new book “Bigfoot in Maine” which explores the history of sightings and encounters of the cryptid kind in the state’s dark woods. Souliere is an illustrator who owns Green Hand Book Shop in Portland. Her fascination with “anomalous stuff” led to her popular 2010 book “Strange Maine.” Find the Zoom link on our Facebook page or contact TFL.

Kids will enjoy the sounds of science in a two-part Sound Science program (held under the tent) from Hunt and Allison Smith. During the first session on Tuesday, June 29 at 2 p.m., the Smiths will play a variety of instruments and conduct interactive science experiences. Part Two (Friday, July 2 at 2 p.m.) finds the pair working with participants to create “invented musical instruments” culminating in a group “jam session.” Sign up required, contact Ms. Michelle.

STEAM guide Alicia Millette has been a busy bee creating more take-home kits to captivate the kiddos. This month’s line-up features: Rubber Band Car, Owl Lifecycle Activity, Make Your Own Barometer and Steam Boat. Plans are in the works for larger theme-related kits that can be checked out. Subjects include the human body, geology and Maine nature. Each plastic tote will contain a collection of hands-on activities as well as a book and field guides. Stay tuned.

Finally, Story Walks — fun times for the whole family — return to SeDoMoCha’s Dot Warren Nature Trail and the Law Farm. Follow our Facebook page for updates.

To recap: history, mystery, forestry, horses, Mary Shelley’s mom, science, a bestseller with 8 strangers in a Swedish apartment, more science, reading in nature, and … wait for it … Bigfoot! Case closed, receipts brought, boredom banished!

Please note: The Thompson Free Library will still require face coverings inside the library in order to balance patron privacy with the new CDC guidance. However, masks for outside events only will be optional, though we ask you to distance from those not in your party. We will continue to update our policies as new guidance comes out.

TFL is open to the public Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. For more information, 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, Thompson Free Library

If you’ve been in close proximity to the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft recently, you’ve seen the large white tent outside. No, it’s not for “Wedding Crashers 2” or a destination wedding, it’s our new spring and summer event tent made possible by a grant from the Maine Public Library Fund (thanks to those of you who donated through your taxes!). Let’s put it to good use!

TFL’s Philosophy Circle will meet in person under the tent at 3:30 p.m. on Friday, May 7 to discuss American novelist, short story writer and essayist Flannery O’Conner, known for her sardonic Southern Gothic style. Maybe you caught the PBS “American Masters” documentary, are already a fan, or want to find how she and her work tie into philosophy, you’re welcome to attend.

The TFL Book Sale is back by popular demand! This modified version will be held May 13-15 in the downstairs meeting room. Please enter through the side door (by the outside book drop) and leave through the downstairs exit (onto the sidewalk). Thursday 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. will be by appointment only. The rest of Thursday (1-5 p.m.), Friday (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and Saturday (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) are first come, first serve. We are limiting it to two groups at a time. Email nbgrantme@gmail.com or call the library to schedule an appointment.

Interested in block printing? TFL alumna Greta Schroeder shares her passion for this versatile craft on Thursday, May 13 at 1:30 p.m. online via Zoom. Block Printing 101 will cover finding inspiration, drawing and transferring an image, carving a block, printing on fabric, and designing repeating patterns. Ink is available at the library. You will also need: a potato for your block, a sharp knife, a sponge for applying the ink, and some fabric or paper to print on. Feel free to just watch and pick up the basics or participate by creating a simple block print and pattern of your own. Contact the library for Zoom link or find it on Facebook or Instagram.

TFL’s Reading Group reconvenes in person under the big top on Thursday, May 13 at 6 p.m. to discuss Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” that has been described as “a stirring, terrifying, and elegiac fable as delicate as a butterfly’s wing and as menacing as a knife in the dark.” Come join the lively discussion! Books are available at TFL.

If you love hiking and waterfalls, you won’t want to miss Greg Westrich’s appearance on Thursday, May 20 at 6 p.m. under the tent to talk about his book “Hiking Waterfalls Maine: A Guide to the State’s Best Waterfall Hikes.” Greg, who lives in Glenburn, has written seven Falcon hiking guides. Catch his expertise and insights and find new trails to explore. Space is limited. Contact the library or follow the Facebook link to preregister.

Maine author Sandy Neily (https://www.authorsandraneily.com) revisits TFL, this time under the tent, on Thursday, May 27 at 6 p.m. to give us the inside scoop on her latest book “Deadly Turn.” “My page-turner goal is to take people on a deep, deep field trip into the Maine woods in a way they cannot put the book down or look away. I want readers to lean into the full ride of the novel, even as it lurches toward looming loss,” says Sandy.

From an Amazon review: “Ms. Neily has done it again… another fast-moving mystery grounded in both gritty and endearing truths of human behavior, based in the Maine’s north woods that she clearly knows so well, starring her gutsy, no-frills protagonist, Cassandra Patton Conover and her canine sidekick Pock…Neily weaves in plenty of personal insights on the political and economic realities behind subjects as diverse as predator control, wind power projects, industrial forest management, stream ecology, Maine sporting camps and more! Loved every minute of it!” Space is limited. Contact TFL or follow the Facebook link to preregister.

A Cricut has landed at TFL. It’s a machine that can cut, draw and emboss a wide variety of materials to make cards, wall art, customized mugs, T-shirts, etc. Details are available at the library and Cricut has easy-to-follow YouTube videos to help you get started. Our STEAM Guide Alicia Millette is the Cricut Queen and, whenever possible, can answer questions and offer assistance in your creative pursuits. We have white & colored card stock and patterned paper on hand for 20 cents/each. Imagine a card for less than $1!

We are wizards who can adapt inside, online and now outside. This May brings a marvelous mix of fresh ideas and familiar favorites to TFL. We hope our tent serves as a wonderful backdrop to enjoy engaging and diverse programming.

Please note: masks and physical distancing are required for all indoor and outdoor library activities.

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. For more information, 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! April’s edition details what we’ve been up to during the winter and early spring. Featured are: the seed library, two author talks, a nature program featuring owls, STEAM programs and kits, a Story Slam, increased hours, and an improvement to the website! 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:

We have recorded videos of the author talks with Greg Brown and Claire Ackroyd/Laurie Chandler, the first 101 Series with Alicia Millette, and the January Story Slam. We also have event recordings from earlier in the year. I intend to post recordings of Zoom events there as well going forward, so subscribe if you want to know when we post new ones.  Thank you all for your continued support of the library.  We hope to see you again soon!

By Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

April is our bridge to spring. Possibilities grow and bloom. Bright vibrant colors replace the hazy monotones of winter. Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft is bursting with activities and programs to capture your imagination and engage your mind. It’s time to click that collective refresh button.

Like the air after a driving rain, youngest-ever inaugural poet Amanda Gorman placed fresh optimism alongside raw realism as she reflected our conflicted emotions in her stirring poem, “The Hill We Climb.” On Friday, April 2 at 3:30 p.m. (online via Zoom) TFL’s Philosophy Circle revisits the intersection of poetry and philosophy with the focus on Amanda Gorman.

Maine authors Claire Ackroyd (“Murder in the Maple Woods”) and Laurie Chandler (“Through Woods and Waters”) join TFL’s Reading Group at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 8 online via Zoom to discuss their respective books. It promises to be an interesting session with behind-the-scenes stories and glimpses into how they approach the writing process. Both books are set against rugged Maine backdrops: Claire’s takes place in the maple sugar camps above Jackman while Laurie’s chronicles her solo canoe adventure through Maine’s newly established Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument. All are welcome to attend, including those who haven’t read the books.

Heads up stargazers and sky watchers: Librarian Michelle Fagan is excited to announce TFL’s Star Gazing Party with Northern Stars Planetarium and other possible guests. The event will be held Friday, April 16 at 8:30 p.m. outdoors at Charles A. Chase Jr. Memorial Airport located on Pine Street in Dover-Foxcroft. Learn fun facts and intriguing information about different stars and planets. Feel free to bring binoculars. Masks & physical distancing required.

Before the next Story Slam, TFL will host a virtual storytelling workshop led by Bobby Keniston on Tuesday, April 20 at 2 p.m. During this online program called Express Yourself, the local playwright, director, actor — and Story Slam host/contributor — will offer up tips, ideas, and direction to help you find your own voice and tell your story in a meaningful, entertaining way. This workshop is geared towards teens and young adults but is open to everyone.

Look for Alicia Millette’s new STEAM kits for kids and families next to the circulation desk. Find out how water can be used to move objects by creating your own Hydraulic Lift; learn about potential and kinetic energy by making a Zipline Racer and Pyramid Slingshot; and make Seed Bombs (which make a great Mother’s Day gift!).

Speaking of seeds, TFL’s Seed Library debuts this month! Card catalogs — those iconic fixtures of libraries past — have been transformed into drawers filled with a variety of seeds for patrons and visitors to take home, plant, and to eventually bring back the new seeds. Details soon!

Along a similar vein, the Piscataquis Regional Food Center and UMaine Cooperative Extension are shining a spotlight on their Garden in a Box program and providing resources on successful gardening, including a binder filled with printed materials and DVDs, that we will share with you.

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. For more information (including Zoom links to our free virtual public programs), 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.