By Kim Brawn

“In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights the way,” Yoda

OK, so the diminutive Jedi Master was probably not talking about libraries, but he could have been. Knowledge – reading, learning – has a way of opening windows not shutting doors. The sunshine counteracts fear and ignorance and helps us understand the twists and turns of life. May’s diverse lineup at the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft is about discovery, be it otherworldly or terrestrial.

Getting in shape can feel like a hero’s journey in itself, but a few sessions with a personal trainer may help you discover a better approach. Local fitness professional Adrienne Clarke will share her knowledge and experience during “Personal Trainer Tips 101” on Thursday, May 12 at 1:30 p.m. under the tent. It promises to be a unique and interactive hour as Adrienne walks us through the benefits of working with a trainer, how to begin, and what to expect. Bring your questions!

Next, we leave the body realm to focus more on the spiritual one at “The In-Betweens” with author Mira Ptacin and medium Angie Butler Welch on Thursday, May 19 at 6 p.m. under the tent. This event focuses on Mira’s history/memoir “The In-Betweens: The Spiritualists, Mediums, and Legends of Camp Etna.” The camp was founded over 135 years ago, is located on 27 acres in Etna and has been home to talented mediums, healers, and others who aim to bring “spiritual understanding and harmony to all.”

Mira, who will discuss her “genre-bending book,” is a Maine-based award-winning creative nonfiction writer, memoirist, and New York Times bestselling ghostwriter. Angie is a full-time psychic medium, pranic healer, and intuitive artist. She is also a recognized Cape Etna medium, and on their board of directors. She’ll update us on current programs and workshops at the Camp and give a brief demonstration of mediumship.

Back in this dimension, it might be time to ask ourselves, “Dude, what’s up with my veggies?!” Well, UMaine Cooperative Extension and Piscataquis Regional Food Center are standing by to help with their next free Garden in a Box Workshop, “What’s Wrong with My Vegetable Plant?” on Wednesday, May 25 at 6 p.m. Join us for an overview of cultural practices to prevent disease in your garden, how to diagnose a problem, common vegetable plant diseases, and how to submit your plant to the diagnostic lab.

Here’s one for those who at least try to learn from history (Yoda is whispering in my ear again: do or do not, there is no try, but I digress…): The Maine Humanities Council presents “Maine Speaks: The Webster-Ashburton Treaty and the Northern Border with Paul Buck” on Thursday, May 26 at 6 p.m. under the tent.

Paul, a historian and educator who teaches at UMaine Fort Kent, is passionate about cross-cultural communication and proficient in six languages. His presentation examines the different perspectives of Maine statehood and Maine culture as seen through the prism of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty of 1842, which definitively established the boundary between British North America and the United States. He’ll use images from the Osher Map Library at the University of Southern Maine to explore the treaty itself and its impact on the singular Acadian and Francophone community of the St. John Valley, which found itself split into two countries.

Libraries like TFL have the books and programming to prepare you for whatever the goblins throw at you – or try to take away. May is a colorful maze of discoveries, with exciting possibilities around every corner.

TFL is open to the public Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit our website https://www.thompsonfreelibrary.org, Facebook page, or contact us at thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com or 207-564-3350. Find us on Instagram @tf_library. When possible, we live-stream our programs via Facebook & later make them available on our YouTube channel (http://bit.ly/TFLyoutube). Tent events may move inside TFL due to weather.

We had a great time at Historic Maine in 3D with the Maine State Museum last night! Thanks to everyone for attended. If you missed out, here are a few pictures that capture the spirit, if not the content, of the event.

 

 

By Kim Brawn

DOVER-FOXCROFT – Audiobooks and podcasts can be the saving graces of long car trips or cross-country flights. We listen to escape, learn, and connect. With each other, it’s a dance of give and take, a chance to know someone better. Sometimes all people need is for someone to listen. April’s lineup at the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft includes presenters and programs, returning favorites and new additions, worth listening to and engaging with as spring (hopefully!) unfolds.

The Maine State Museum wants to hear from you on Thursday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. online via Zoom as part of their Listening Tour, in partnership with TFL. They’re reaching out to communities across the state to learn what residents care about, what exhibits and collections they’d like to have in the museum, as well as ideas for public events and student activities. No prior knowledge or experience with the museum is necessary to join this fun, informal, and thoughtful discussion. Please contact TFL to register.

This year’s 101 Series kicks off with “Declutter 101” on Thursday, April 14 at 1:30 p.m. at TFL. Kim Corey, from Finely Sorted Organizing in Bangor, will give us timely tips to get organized, downsize, and make more space with less clutter. She’ll show us how to categorize, edit, and create new systems to claim victory over chaos. We’ll learn how to decide what to keep, toss, or donate – and how to sort through those piles of paperwork. Kim draws upon her two decades as a professional organizer to get us energized to get organized!

The people of Ukraine are in our hearts and minds. What better time to listen to someone who has extensive knowledge of the region? Steve Grammont (known locally from his work at the Piscataquis Regional Food center and as a member of the Dover-Foxcroft Selectboard) has a day job as a military simulation designer at battlefront.com, designing virtual wargames. As a life-long student of history, particularly Soviet and post-Soviet, Steve will give us his take on “The War in Ukraine” on Thursday, April 21 at 6 p.m. He’ll explain why it’s unfolding as it is, how it’s likely to continue, and what has surprised him about this conflict versus others during Putin’s reign.

Switching gears, “Middle School Game Night” on Friday, April 22 from 6-8 p.m. is a fun way for kids to channel their oh-no-vacation-is-ending energy! “They can play board games, eat pizza, and hang out with friends,” says Youth Services Librarian Michelle Fagan.

Think you can’t garden if you’re short on space, think again! UMaine Cooperative Extension teams up with Piscataquis Regional Food Center for “Small Space Gardening” (another in their free workshop series!) on Thursday, April 28 at 6 p.m. Learn to grow a variety of veggies in containers by following just a few basic guidelines.

Another sign of spring is the return of TFL’s Seed Library. Come in and pick up a packet or two. Then, after growing season, bring in your own seeds to share, helping us keep this project sustainable and diverse.

We’ll be rocking the visual arts too with our Tiny Art Show display. Artists of all ages share their unique and vibrant expressions of spring. Wait till you see how those tiny blank canvases have been transformed!

Good news: TFL’s Story Time is coming back on Friday mornings at 10 a.m. starting April 29. It’s aimed at toddlers and early school age children. The little ones will love to listen to Ms. Michelle read wonderful picture books. There will also be music, fingerplays, and more!

Everyone’s talking about the Tonies – not the Broadway awards – but the Toniebox, a kid-friendly, screen-free digital audio player with content already downloaded onto it. Play the books with the help of fun figurines (Tonies) like LeVar Burton who reads his book “The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm” or National Geographic Kids’ Penguin with biologist Dr. Lucy Alice Hawkes. Designed for ages 3-plus. Visit/contact the library for more info).

We’ve been listening to your feedback and the needs of the community, and are extending the library’s hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Starting Tuesday, April 5, TFL’s hours will be Tuesday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. “Hopefully this will give those who work until five, families – and everyone – more time to come in,” said Library Director Jon Knepp.

With so many things vying for our attention and focus, we at TFL strive to bring you programs that cut through the noise and offer good information, enjoyment, and a chance to participate. TFL is a place where conversations and connections matter – whether you’re listening to Tom Lyford tell a story, catching up with a neighbor, finding out how to declutter your life, or better understand current events.

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. through April 2. See above for new hours starting April 5. For information on events, visit our new website address https://www.thompsonfreelibrary.org, Facebook page, or contact us at thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com or 207-564-3350. Find us on Instagram @tf_library. Masks are recommended but not required.

By Kim Brawn

Uncertainty has become the uninvited houseguest who never leaves. Two years of a pandemic, another crazy Maine winter, the ups and downs of everyday life, “Um, Uncertainty, we need to take a break from each other. The party’s over, it’s time to go home. Here’s the door.” Thankfully, on the cusp of spring, the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft has creative new programs that will give all ages, especially kids, a time to play and a sense of routine. A hopeful respite from the unpredictable.

TFL Director Jon Knepp is announcing a major shift, “In line with changes at both of our local schools, Thompson Free Library will be recommending, but no longer requiring, masks starting on March 1. We recognize that all of us will have different reactions and responses to this and we ask simply that patrons practice kindness and courtesy by taking this into account while using the library and interacting with one another.”

Looking for a playful way to unleash your inner artist on a bite-size scale? Join our “Tiny Canvas Art Show.” Pick up a 3- by 4-inch canvas with easel at the library March 1-12, use any medium you’d like, bring back by March 29, and we’ll display it in April. Spring is the theme – think flowers, animals, landscapes, or abstracts. Let’s channel those can’t-wait-for-spring vibes!

Michelle Fagan, our Youth Services librarian, is tapping into the perennially popular Pokémon universe with TFL’s Pokémon Club which will gather on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month (starting March 9) from 3:30-4:30 p.m. “You can play and talk Pokémon with friends. We’ll do a craft sometimes,” said Michelle, who emphasized that registration is required and there will be no card trading in the library. Contact TFL to register.

Another way to bring back the fun, with a side of learning, is at STEAM Time, another brain child of Ms. Michelle. Drop-in time will be Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m. (starting March 10). It’s a chunk of free time to use the STEAM cart that is filled with arts and crafts, as well as science-related stuff. We’ll also bring out Legos and board games. It’s an unstructured hour for the kids to play and experiment.

Spring means transformation, especially in nature, and we are excited to share new nature backpacks (geared towards families) from the Maine Audubon Society that are ready for check out! Themes are birds, plants, and wildlife. Each bag has books, activities, and tools. What a fun way to explore the natural world.

TFL is your reliable source for intriguing programming like “Historic Maine in 3D” slated for Thursday, March 31 at 6 p.m. Maine State Museum Director Bernard Fishman showcases a modern way of looking at the most important form of early 19th-century commercial photography, which used binocular images on cards or glass, called stereoviews today, to allow images to be seen in 3-D when looked at through a viewer. See images from the 1860s and ‘70s, just after the Civil War, as they were meant to be viewed. You’ll discover a Maine of small cities and villages, farmers, shipbuilders, and industrial workers in mines and factories; parades and entertainment, social and life-cycle events, homes with their kitchens and parlors, and family portraits.

Get a sneak peek at what the presentation will be like thanks to Carlson Williams and the Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society, with fascinating stereoscopes (19th-century 3D views of the local area) that you can view now at TFL.

This March and beyond, think of the library as that friend you can really count on, who will be there for you during the best of times and the worst of times. As we tip toe, run, or dance towards a promising normalcy—or at least a restorative new season—TFL has innovative ways to express yourself, play, and learn. Make us part of your routine again. There are plenty of good times ahead.