Thompson Free Library’s many ‘escape’ routes

By Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

Escapism often gets a bad rap or is too narrowly defined. But it can serve as a great endurance booster. What seemed finite last March has turned into an ultramarathon of sorts with an uncertain finish line. Escapism comes in many forms, is wonderfully subjective and the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft contains multitudes, from pure entertainment to engaging and thoughtful discoveries that will divert and grab your attention, energize your mind, and keep you movin’ right along.

TFL’s Philosophy Circle meets online via Zoom on Friday, Feb. 5 at 3:30 p.m. to discuss Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem, “Renascence” (www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/55993/renascence). Millay, an award-winning lyrical poet and playwright, was born in Rockland and grew up in Camden. Many believe that she is describing the view from Mt. Battie in the poem’s opening lines:

All I could see from where I stood
Was three long mountains and a wood;
I turned and looked another way,
And saw three islands in a bay.

“Renascence,” whose title is synonymous with rebirth, explores immediacy and perspective and has been described as broadly encompassing the relationship of an individual to humanity and nature. Sounds ripe for a thoughtful, philosophical conversation! All are welcome — prior attendance is not required.

TFL’s Reading Group meets on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 6 p.m. via Zoom to talk about “The Night Watchman” by National Book Award-winning author Louise Erdrich. It’s a fictional tale based on the extraordinary life of Erdrich’s grandfather who worked as a night watchman and carried the fight against Native American dispossession from rural North Dakota to Washington, D.C.

Elizabeth Toohey, in her Christian Science Monitor book review, wrote that “Erdrich’s blend of spirituality, gallows humor, and political resistance is at play … It may be set in the 1950s, but the history it unearths and its themes of taking a stand against injustice are every bit as timely today.” Copies of the book are available at TFL.

TFL’s STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art Math) Guide Alicia Millette has created two new STEAM-themed displays at the library. They contain a collection of books that feature natural science including fossils and bones, 3D printing astronomy, coding with scratch and more.

Free Science Activity Kits (aimed for children 8-12) will be available to take home starting Tuesday, Feb. 16. Alicia has invented four different kits: Lungs (build a model that demonstrates how your lungs work), Hovercraft (learn how to make things move across the floor using just air), Fingerprints (use a balloon and some air to look at their fine details & unique features), and Yeast (learn why we put yeast in bread by experimenting with yeast, sugar, and water). There will be five of each kit. Each contains directions, all materials needed, and is yours to keep.

Kids can also escape into the fascinating world of Owls with Chewonki on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 11 a.m. via Zoom. This renowned school, camp and environmental education organization based in Wiscasset is known for their incredible children’s programs that teach appreciation and stewardship of the natural world. Learn identifying calls and characteristics of these amazing creatures of the night. Space is limited so please contact the library to reserve a spot.

If you can’t make it to the library during our weekday hours (Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), TFL is now open Saturdays (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) with all the usual COVID safety precautions and protocols to keep patrons, staff and visitors as safe as possible.

More good news: we have a Wi-Fi extender that allows you to access TFL’s Wi-Fi from anywhere in the parking lot at any time of day.

Are you obsessed with new books? Then visit the Bookshelves page on our website (https://www.thompson.lib.me.us/bookshelves/). Library Director Jon Knepp has updated this cool feature so you can see new arrivals ASAP and browse by category. Click on a cover to check availability and place a hold — all from the comfort of your couch.

A patron told me that she likes to read compelling stories where the characters face tremendous and complicated challenges, with plots that surpass the current tumult. Others prefer the twists and turns of an edge of your seat mystery, binge watching “Downton Abbey” or being carried away by an audiobook’s expressive narration. From our ever-evolving collection, to ongoing and special programs, to kids’ take-home kits, TFL offers an array of imaginative escape routes.

Curbside service is also available during business hours. 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.