Hindsight is 20/20 and for many of us 2020 has been one hell of a year. Some of us have been lucky enough to have dodged bullets and gotten away unscathed, some of us have the battle wounds to prove it even if the wounds are invisible to the naked eye. For some of us the 2020 resolution went right out the window, and for others it slowed us down and made us focus more on what we wanted and where we wanted to be.

So this got us thinking what are some of your hindsight experiences? Did you miss a job opportunity that looking back was a blessing in disguise? Do you want to share one of your woulda, coulda, shoulda experiences? Maybe life took a Uturn? Maybe that blind date ended up just perfect, or maybe you look back and see just where it went wrong. We want to know what is your hindsight story, and we hope you will join us to hear ours!

Please join us by zoom:
https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/85469007999 We ask if you want to share a story that it be no more then 6 minutes, it must be a true story that happened to you!

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:

Join TFL and the Commons at Central Hall for a World in Your Library program sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council. On Thursday, November 17 at 6 pm Meadow Dibble, of the Atlantic Black Box Project, will present “The Diseased Ship: New England Sea Captains and the Slave Trade.”

This dramatic story features 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.

Following these historical threads into the present day allows us to consider the ways in which our region’s repressed history of complicity with the business of slavery relates to our current national conversations about race, privilege, identity, and access to the “American dream.”

To participate, join the Zoom meeting at: http://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/88900654148 or watch live on Facebook: facebook.com/centralhallcommons

Sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council

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.

Liam Riordan presents: “Commemorating Maine Statehood” on Oct 29 at 6 pm

Thompson Free Library and the East Sangerville Grange will host Liam Riordan, Professor of History at the University of Maine, live via Zoom on Thursday, October 29 at 6 pm for “Commemorating Maine Statehood: What Can We Learn from the Bicentennial?”

This event is free and open to the public. To participate, join the Zoom meeting online at:  https://networkmaine.zoom.us/j/82866765250 You can also dial in by phone at: 1-646-876-9923 with Meeting ID: 828 6676 5250

This illustrated presentation and discussion explores the statehood process in Maine that culminated in 1820 with formal separation from Massachusetts. That struggle engaged a range of challenging public issues that are still recognizable today. Commemorating statehood can help us to better understand:

  • the explosive place of slavery vis-a-vis the Maine-Missouri Crisis
  • the uncertain location of the international border and regional diversity
  • sharp partisan conflict and the “two Maines”
  • Wabanaki sovereignty

Dr. Riordan received his Ph.D. in history at the University of Pennsylvania and has been a faculty member at UMaine Orono since 1997. He is a specialist on the American Revolution with a current research emphasis on Loyalists, those who opposed the Patriot movement. He has also done extensive research and community engagement work about the Maine statehood era and its bicentennial commemoration. He helps to organize National History Day in Maine, the statewide affiliate of a national research program for grade 6-12 students.

For online state bicentennial resources, please visit: https://digitalcommons.library.umaine.edu/me200/

Thompson Free Library’s Maine Bicentennial Speaker Series is supported by a Maine Bicentennial Community Grant and will explore topics and perspectives sometimes overlooked in traditional narratives of our state’s history.