by Kim Brawn


“The loons! The loons! They’re welcoming us back,” Katharine Hepburn exclaims, in the opening scene of On Golden Pond. Joyful moments, like nature itself, are unpredictable, but the joy potential is off the charts this August at the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft. You can happily bounce from one program to the next, like a late-summer joy ride. 


First stop, “State of the Loons with Maine Audubon” on Thursday, August 4 at 6 p.m. Nick Lund, Maine Audubon Advocacy and Outreach Manager, gives an in-depth look at the habits and physiology of the Common Loon (including why it’s such an effective underwater hunter). Nick will also update us on what’s being done to protect these iconic birds that have come to epitomize summer in the pine tree state. 


Joy can be found in the unlikeliest of situations, often through the lens of satire and dark humor. Friday, August 5 at 3:30 p.m. TFL’s Philosophy Circle discusses acclaimed author and humanist Kurt Vonnegut, known for his book Slaughterhouse-Five with its anti-war and genre-bending “unstuck in time” sci-fi themes. His 50-year career and social commentary should provide plenty of fodder for the group. (All are welcome.)


Have you ever seen an octopus? Have you wanted to walk on the ocean floor, deep beneath the waves?  Have you watched and wondered about the tide, coming in powerfully on the beach and washing away all the sand castles? Professional storyteller Debbie Bliss raises these questions, and more, in a special storytelling program for children and families at TFL on Wednesday, August 10 at 10:30 a.m. “Stories are the way we set free our sacred imagination,” says Debbie, who writes her own material and has performed on TV and radio for over 30 years. 


None of us enjoy being scammed! “Avoiding Online Scams 101” on Thursday, August 11 at 1:30 p.m. can help. Glen Nicholas from Dr. Dan/Home Technology Help covers various online scams (and some phone ones) during his presentation. He’ll give tips on how to identify scams and stop them from plaguing our computers and other devices—and what to do if we fall victim to one. 


At 6 p.m. on August 11, TFL’s Reading Group turns their focus to The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, a 2019 novel by Kim Michele Richardson. “Book Woman” Cussy Mary was one of the Packhorse Librarians who delivered books to remote areas of the Appalachian Mountains during the Great Depression. She is also a “Blue”—a member of the lost line of blue-skinned people, who suffer from a rare genetic disorder. BookPage calls it “. . . an emotionally moving and fascinating story about the power of literacy over bigotry, hatred, and fear.” (Copies are available at the library.)


TFL’s Teen Book Club is back in session on Friday, August 12 at 3:30 p.m. Choose an age-appropriate book to read and have it count towards FA’s reading requirement. 

The Joy Truck a.k.a. the “Joyous Exploratorium” drives into the TFL parking lot on Sunday, August 14 at 1 p.m. for an afternoon of letter writing for all ages. Supplies will be available or bring your own something special if you like. Come see what Merrilee Schoen’s Mobile Creative Expression + Education Center is all about. 


Thursday, August 18 at 6 p.m. you’ll be marching and tapping and nostalgic for those glory days—football games and parades of the past—as the Harold J. Crosby Band plays music on the library lawn. 


From the wow-time-flies files: TFL will host the “End of Summer Reading Party” on Friday, August 19 at 6 p.m., a fun family time, complete with bounce house, prizes, snacks, and drawings for winners of the kids and adult summer reading challenges. 


Kids will relish listening to great stories and doing simple yoga poses with Ms. Michelle at “Storytime Yoga,” on Saturday August 20 at 10 a.m. 


The final Garden in a Box learning workshop is Thursday, August 25 at 6 p.m. This collaborative effort from Piscataquis Regional Food Center and UMaine Cooperative Extension will center on what to do with your garden at the end of the growing season. Learn how to put your garden to “bed” and prepare for next year.


Undoubtedly, Erma the Reading Dog brings joy wherever she goes. She and her faithful companion, April Taylor, are at TFL on Tuesdays at 2 p.m. through August 30. (Contact the library to schedule a time to Read with Erma.)


We meet August with its busy, end-of-summer vibes determined to squeeze out its last drops before the familiar responsibilities and chilly weather return. TFL has an eclectic tapestry of activities that will (hopefully) spark a little joy before the loons at the lake call their goodbyes. 

TFL hours: Tues & Thurs 9-7, Weds & Fri 9-5, & Sat 9-1. Visit our website, our Facebook page, Instagram @tf_library, or contact us at or 207/564-3350. All programs are free & open to the public.

By Kim Brawn


Curiosity led me to it—a podcast about FOMO, as in Fear Of Missing Out—when you feel anxious about not being in the know or missing out on events, experiences, life decisions, or even new books. Social media is an effective FOMO provocateur (those Amalfi Coast posts trigger me!). While we can’t eradicate FOMO, the Thompson Free library in Dover-Foxcroft can help you tame it!

July has much in store for the kids. Reading with Erma returns Tuesday, July 5 at 2 p.m. Erma, a reading therapy dog, and her human companion April will read with kids every Tuesday afternoon in a quiet library spot for 15 or 20 minutes through August.  It’s a wonderful approach for kids to gain confidence and improve their reading skills.

Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers present “Everybody Loves Pirates” Wednesday, July 6 at 10:30 a.m. at Central Hall Commons. The popular Bar Harbor-based troupe will perform with hand-crafted mouth and rod puppets and an 8-foot paper mache ship. The colorful show features bumbling pirates, a buried treasure, Lobster Boy, and his overgrown sea monkey sidekick.

Wednesday, July 13 brings us back to TFL for the Sparks’ Ark summer program at 10:30 a.m. A huge hit last year, these wildlife experts and rehabilitators return to talk about animal rescue with live animals.

Lobsters are synonymous with Maine, but many of us probably don’t know much about these iconic crustaceans. That will change on Wednesday, July 20 at 10:30 a.m. as the University of Maine’s Lobster Institute teaches children about lobster life cycles and migration patterns.

Switching gears and grades, the Teen Book Club is back in session Friday, July 22 at 3:30 p.m. Participation counts towards FA’s reading requirement, just read an age-appropriate book of your choice and share it with the group.

Learn about “Life at Sea” with folks from the Penobscot Marine Museum on Wednesday, July 27 at 10:30 a.m. The museum, located in Searsport, is known for bringing Maine’s maritime history to life. (TFL’s Summer Series is geared towards children but all ages are welcome.)

The aqua theme continues with “Wild and Crazy Water Play” on Friday, July 29 at 1 p.m. The kiddie pool will be filled, with water toys and games at the ready—be sure to dress to get wet!

At this point, adults may be feeling a little FOMO creeping in—not to worry—we’ve got you covered. The Highlands Chamber Ensemble will play an outdoor concert at TFL on Thursday, July 7 at 6:30 p.m. It’s free and open to the public (though donations are accepted). The playlist includes many genres, from an Argentine Tango to a Scherzo by Anton Arensky. Students with North County Strings Studio will join the ensemble and folk duo, Hunt and Allison Smith, will be special guests.

Next, we travel deep into Maine’s rugged north woods with author and park ranger, Andrew Vietze who stops by Friday, July 8 at 6 p.m. to discuss his book, This Wild Land. It follows his adventures as a park ranger in Baxter State Park. From trail maintenance to midnight search and rescue missions, you’ll see how he transforms from a neophyte to an old hand. His story is filled with humor, action, and an eye for compelling details.

Bring your weather and climate questions on Thursday, July 14 at 1:30 p.m. for “Ask a Meteorologist 101” with Ed Hummel. Ed will start by reviewing how a warming climate is already affecting central Maine and what to expect in the future. Then he’ll take your weather-related questions. He is a Navy vet and former high school teacher who has been a professional meteorologist for over 50 years. He currently runs a weather forecasting service from his home for local clients.

Andrew Whitmer, author and associate professor at James Madison University, visits TFL on Thursday, July 21 at 6 p.m. to talk about his new book, Here and Everywhere Else: Small-Town Maine and the World. From the description: “In 1822, settlers pushed north from Massachusetts and other parts of New England into Monson, Maine. On land taken from the Penobscot people, they established prosperous farms and businesses. Focusing on the microhistory of this village, Whitmer reveals that townspeople fought and died in distant wars, transformed the economy and landscape with quarries and mills, and used railroads, highways, print, and new technologies to build connections with the rest of the country.”

Finally, on Thursday, July 28 at 6 p.m. author Ed Linz presents “The Great Depression: An Intimate View.” Ed, who lives in Greenville, is a U.S. Naval Academy graduate, has three master’s degrees, including one from Oxford University, commanded a ballistic missile submarine, is the grateful recipient of a life-saving heart transplant, and currently teaches physics. In the 1990s, he traveled the country talking to Great Depression survivors which resulted in his book, They Never Threw Anything Away, that provides a blueprint for the current generation to survive their own uncertain economic and social challenges.

Besides being a fun acronym, FOMO is likely a cousin to regret. Libraries like TFL can be a powerful antidote to both—a great way to be in the know, stay connected, and experience memorable (even Instagramable!) events!

TFL is open Tues & Thurs 9-7, Weds & Fri 9-5, & Sat 9-1. Visit our website https://www.thompsonfreelibrary.orgour Facebook page, or contact us at or 207/564-3350. Find us on Instagram @tf_library. Weather permitting most programs will be held under the event tent. They are free & open to the public.

By Kim Brawn

We’ve arrived at June. A time that can feel like the title of that recent movie “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” Everyone is itching to dive into summer – that odd mix of infinite possibilities stuck in a finite three months. At the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft we enjoy seeing old friends and new faces arrive for the summer. Vacation means more time for family activities and, hopefully, more time to read. TFL is your go-to hub for both!

Let’s kick things off with our all-ages 8-week Summer Reading Challenge which is divided into three groups (children: birth to 11, teens: 12-17, and adult: 18-plus) – each will have their own program. Sign-up will be June 21-25. Please pick up reading logs and other items at the library.   Complete the challenge for a chance to win prizes and free books for the kids.

Our Kids Summer Program series starts at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 22 with a multigenerational session featuring bee-friendly activities for the kids with Kacey Weber from PCSWD and pollinator gardening tips for adults with UMaine Cooperative Extension. On Wednesday, June 29 at 10:30 a.m., the always popular nature educators from Chewonki explain tide pools and let children see and touch tide pool animals. Series runs each Weds. through Aug. 10.

Not to worry, our ongoing adult programs are still in session, join TFL’s Philosophy Circle on Friday, June 3 at 3:30 p.m. to discuss “The Philosophy of War.” Questions to contemplate: Is there such a thing as a just war? If so, what wars and why? How do countries justify war and sell it to their citizens? Has there ever been a society without war?

For the arts and crafts crowd, TFL’s former director Greta Schroeder joins us in-person under the tent for “More Block Printing 101” on Thursday, June 9 at 1:30 p.m. Greta shares her skills and enthusiasm for relief printmaking. She’ll walk us through transferring a design, carving the block, and hand printing an image. You can take home your prints and carved blocks, which can be used for many creative projects including greeting cards and textiles. Supplies and a handout will be provided.

At 6 p.m. June 9, TFL’s Reading Group meets to discuss the award-winning 1993 book “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest J. Gaines. From Publishers Weekly, “In this restrained but eloquent narrative, the author of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman again addresses some of the major issues or race and identity in our time. . . Gaines invests the story with emotional power and universal resonance.” Copies are available at the library.

What would summertime be without music? No need to contemplate that thanks to TFL’s summer concert lineup. First up, folk singer Bill Berlinghoff brings his rich, flexible baritone accompanied by banjo and guitar back to TFL on Thursday, June 16 at 6 p.m. His diverse songbook includes Tennessee mountain music, 1960s folk songs, singalongs, and thoughtful, whimsical originals. His website describes it as “Acoustic music in the Pete Seeger tradition.”

The Garden in a Box learning series continues Wednesday, June 22 at 6 p.m. with “When to Harvest your Garden Vegetables.” Get useful, specific information and resources as Piscataquis Regional Food Center and UMaine Cooperative Extension team up again to share tips and tricks to know when and how to harvest various veggies.

“Whoopie!” it’s time for another Ten Cent Book Sale (June 23-25) to coincide with the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival and offer sizzling deals just as summer heats up. Bring your spare change and dollar bills to the downstairs meeting room a.k.a. The Basement, Thursday 12-6 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

As you enter TFL, you’ll be greeted by a new display featuring books set in Maine. It’s always interesting to see places you know through someone else’s eyes and experiences, giving a sense of familiarity as well as novelty.

Which is kind of like summer at the library. New meets old and everything in between. Besides attending the awesome programs, be sure to stock up on beach-porch-lawn-couch-bed-hammock (is that just a TV thing?) reads. TFL has an enviable array of new releases and gems you may have missed. We’re your go-to hub as summer unfurls.

TFL is open 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, Facebook page, or contact us at or 207-564-3350. Find us on Instagram @tf_library. Weather permitting most programs will be held under the event tent. Programs are free and open to the public. When possible, we live-stream our programs via Facebook and later make them available on our YouTube channel (

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, Facebook page, or contact us at 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 ( Tent events may move inside TFL due to weather.