A Big Win for Everyone at Thompson Free Library

By Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

The text we were hoping for arrived at 12:46 p.m. on a Monday: “Michelle won!” It was immediately followed by “Yay’s” and “Hooray’s” and a whirlwind of social media posts and emails. 

Jon Knepp, director of the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft, had just shared the news that TFL’s Michelle Fagan was named Maine Librarian of the Year at the annual Maine Library Association conference on May 20.  So of course, everyone shouted it from the rooftops—well, the sandwich board in front of the library and even the Center Theatre marquee! 

Many of Michelle’s current and former coworkers, patrons, friends, and fellow librarians from around the state and here at home wrote glowing accounts of Michelle’s dedication to the library and her community. “It was such a lovely surprise; I had no idea! I am humbled and a little overwhelmed by all the love and support. So thankful. This award is great for our community. Our library is awesome, and it makes others take notice,” said Michelle who is our youth services librarian.

But she’s not resting on her laurels. June marks the start of TFL’s Read and Feed Program—a combination of bookmobile and mobile food distribution, which was made possible through funding from Good Shepherd Food Bank’s Community Driven Strategies to End Hunger Initiative. Michelle will travel around the area distributing free books and produce at designated stops once a week on Wednesdays through September 25. The program will alternate between two routes, the Monson/Dover Route and the Eastern Route. (For more details, contact TFL.)

Wednesdays will also see the return of “Reading with Erma” on June 5 at 2:00 p.m. Reading with a therapy dog is a great way to help kids learn how to read in a comfortable, nonjudgmental environment. 

Learn how to safely preserve all those delicious locally grown foods at “Canning 101” on Thursday, June 13 at 1:30 p.m. Laurie Bowen from UMaine Cooperative Extension will give an overview of how to safely preserve food with methods such as freezing, dehydration, boiling water bath canning as well as pressure canning. After the program she will do free dial gauge pressure testing. (Free & open to the public.)

At 6 p.m. on June 13, TFL’s Reading Group will discuss The Road to Dalton, the impressive debut novel by Shannon Bowring. (Copies available at the library.)

Summer is the perfect time to relax and read. Be sure to sign up for TFL’s independent summer reading program June 18-22. All ages welcome! Birth-teens can earn a free book and raffle tickets for a chance to win a prize. Adults can also get raffle tickets to win their own prize. 

We’re excited for Night of the Living Rez author Morgan Talty’s return to TFL on Thursday, June 20 at 6 p.m. Morgan, who has received numerous awards, will talk with Jon about how his life has changed since his last visit and discuss his new novel Fire Exit featuring a protagonist haunted by guilt and shame. Booklist gives it a starred review calling it, “Tender and heartbreaking. . . . sweetened with touches of humor, the novel raises important questions about human connection and belonging.”

If we had the chance, we’d ask the world to dance—whether you boogie down with friends, family, a partner, or by yourself—come have fun at our “Summer Kickoff Community Dance Party” 6-9 p.m. on Friday, June 21 under the TFL Pavilion. DJ Bobby Hartford spins cool tunes as we welcome those hot summer nights! (All ages welcome.)

The Summer Kids’ Series starts Thursday, June 27 at 10:30 p.m. with Mad Science of Maine. Their “Radical Reactions” program offers up some kooky, crazy chemistry with science experiments that are fun and informative. 

“Some Reel People” will wow the crowd on June 27 at 6 p.m. They describe themselves via Facebook as “a joyous ever-evolving traditional country dance band from the Dexter area, playing jigs, reels, waltzes and polkas, their combined sound of fiddles, guitars, mandolin, banjo, bass, cello, accordions, and recorder will make you want to dance!”

Libraries with their great reach are like motherships that sends smaller vessels near and far to serve the needs of the community. We hope to catch you at our home base—186 E. Main St.—or on the road with Maine’s Librarian of the Year. Let the summer vibes begin!