By Kim Brawn

We’re swimming in the season of giving once again. Whether it’s Christmas, a birthday — or any special occasion — some variation of this quote (source unknown) comes to mind, “Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.” This holiday-heavy December, come experience what the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft has to offer.

Festive times make fodder for fun stories but so do thoughtful, in-depth discussions. We start things off with TFL’s Philosophy Circle on Friday, Dec. 2 at 3:30 p.m. as the group tackles Eastern vs. Western philosophy. They’ll compare and contrast the two philosophies and how they have shaped their respective cultures. Prior attendance is not necessary.

The Hometown Holidays elves arrive Saturday, Dec. 3 to share three wonderful activities with all ages. Ms. Michelle crafts ornaments and Christmas cards from 9:30-11:30 a.m. while Phyllis Lyford, from the Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society, creates Christmas popcorn and cranberry garland. Ms. Shannen joins the festivities from 10:30-11:30 a.m. to make pizzelles, an Italian waffle cookie. These events are free and open to the public.

Escape the holiday haze with Teen Game Night on Tuesday, Dec. 6 from 5:30-6:30. Play games, answer trivia questions, and enjoy snacks! Ages 13-18 welcome.

TFL’s 10 Cent Basement Book Sale returns Dec. 8-10 (Thursday 12-6 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.). Connect with fellow book lovers and bargain hunters while browsing table after table of incredible deals (DVDs too!). It’s the perfect place to find unique presents for family and friends that won’t break the bank.

Treat yourself to expert tips and information and reap the rewards next growing season. Donna Coffin and Laurie Bowen with UMaine Cooperative Extension will lead “New to Gardening in Piscataquis County” from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 15. Those attending this interest group will learn what grows well in the area, how much to plant, when to plant, etc. There will also be a “make-it and take-it” microgreen project so you can actually grow something this winter! Bring your vegetable and landscape gardening questions for Donna and Laurie to this free program. For more information, please contact TFL.

Lead elf Michelle Fagan recently unloaded her sleigh carrying all our Christmas and holiday books and DVDs. They’re on display as you walk into the library, an easy way to get comfy, cozy, and capture the spirit of the season. Many patrons love the experience of perusing the shelves, picking up old favorites and new releases. Even steadfast Scrooges and Grinches secretly love Michelle’s deck-the-halls festive flourishes throughout TFL.

To add an extra dash of holiday cheer, we are raffling off a $50 Barnes and Noble gift card. When patrons check out items at the library, they can fill out a raffle ticket to win the gift card.

Open to all ages. Drawing will be held Tuesday, Dec. 20 (one ticket per account, per visit).

Please plan ahead as TFL will be closed Saturday, Dec. 24 and Saturday, Dec. 31.  We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.

This month, may you strike a balance between things and experiences, with the scale tipped towards the latter. Books offer some of the best, most accessible experiences. At TFL, we share our diverse programming, wide-ranging collection, and helpful services year round. Libraries really are the gift that keeps on giving.

TFL hours: 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.. See holiday closures above. Visit our website, our Facebook page, Instagram @tf_library, or contact us at or 207-564-3350. All programs are free and open to the public.

By Kim Brawn

Once, libraries were, to paraphrase Meghan Trainor, all about the books. Now, libraries are the new life hack. They can make your day more productive, efficient, and run more smoothly.

Printer broken? Out of ink? Don’t have one? Visit the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft and print via desktop, laptop, or from your own device for 20 cents/page. Need copies? They’re also 20 cents/page. We can even send faxes ($2 for first page, $1 for each page after). Scanning is even easier and free!

Our books (which warmly surround you) and programs (so varied I run out of adjectives!) can be entertaining and interesting, but many actually contain mini life hacks. You never know what you may learn, intentionally or not. This month and beyond is no exception.

TFL’s Philosophy Circle meets Friday, Nov. 4 at 3:30 p.m. to discuss Buddhism. Is it more religion or philosophy — or a mix of both? The Buddha’s teachings known as “dharma” focused on wisdom, kindness, generosity, and compassion as important virtues. In addition to meditation and enlightenment, other topics of conversation may include the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

“Where the Crawdads Sing,” Delia Owens’ immensely popular bestseller takes center stage at TFL’s Reading Group on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. While Owens is the accomplished co-author of several non-fiction books on wildlife, she won praise for this 2018 novel, including from Kirkus Reviews: “. . . there’s an irresistible charm to Owens’ first foray into nature-infused romantic fiction.” Copies available at the library.

When it comes to lifesaving hacks the American Red Cross remains a gold standard of information. Plan to attend the Red Cross Disaster Preparedness training on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. at TFL. This program is for adults and designed to help people understand, prepare, and respond to disasters such as home fires, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Sign up for free in-home smoke alarm installations too.

Ms. Michelle (TFL’s Youth Services Librarian Michelle Fagan) is always coming up with library hacks, craft hacks, kid-friendly hacks–useful tips and tricks to make life a little easier for families. Join her on Kids’ Zone Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30 for STEAM cart, Pokémon time, games, and more!

Before we leave November, some housekeeping notes: TFL will be closed on Veterans Day (Friday, Nov. 11), Thanksgiving and the day after (Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24-25). Please plan ahead.

Maine author Tim Cotton stops by the library on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. to chat about his latest book, “Dawn in the Dooryard: Reflections from the Jagged Edge of America,” a follow-up to his best-selling “The Detective in the Dooryard.” Tim is a retired police officer/detective (although he still manages the Bangor Police Facebook page) who loves to write about his experiences and the people he has met along the way. As it says in the book’s description, “With generous portions of wry Yankee wit and sage wisdom, this new collection will leave you laughing, crying, or maybe both at once.”

During library hours, the public can use our desktops, laptops, free WiFi, along with services mentioned above. Free WiFi is available 24/7 in the parking lot. Don’t have internet access at home? Traveling and need to stay connected? Patrons can now check out Chromebooks/hotspots for a week at a time thanks to our grant from the Emergency Connectivity Fund. This new program is already proving popular.

According to TFL Director Jon Knepp, “We’ve had zero complaints so far . . . even in the middle of the woods, patrons have reported fast speeds. . . We have had mothers using them for homeschooling, families taking them camping, community members using them in their homes if they can’t get or afford a wired high-speed connection. They’re also great if you’re thinking of switching to a mobile connection and ‘want to take it for a test drive.’” For details on how to get a library card, contact TFL or stop by.

Don’t let those technology glitches, everyday tasks, or unexpected obstacles get you down. At the Thompson Free Library, we’ll do our best to help make your life a little easier. So come for the life hacks, stay for the books–or vice versa. We’ve got your back.

TFL hours: 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, our Facebook page, Instagram @tf_library, or contact us at or 207/564-3350. All programs are free and open to the public.

by Kim Brawn

To paraphrase poet Nicholas Gordon: In October, witches come true; wild ghosts escape from dreams. Each monster dances in the library. So put on your boogie shoes and head to the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft. We plan to fill the crisp autumn air with spooky moments, stories that need telling, and voices that must be heard.

Brush up on all things ghostly, eerie, and haunting for High School Game Night: Spooky Trivia Edition on Tuesday, Oct. 4 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Ages 14-18. Snacks provided. This program runs the first Tuesday of the month.

Philosophy is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of famed writer Jane Austen but, undoubtedly, TFL’s Philosophy Circle will connect the dots on Friday, Oct. 7 at 3:30 p.m. Some see her books as serious morality plays underneath the veneer of romantic comedy. Come share your perspective.

Stutzman’s Farm Stand and Bakery (891 Douty Hill Road in Sangerville) is the perfect setting for the next Voices from Home Story Slam, “Routes to Roots,” on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 6 pm. Ideas to get your wheels turning: we take to the road to discover and learn — about ourselves, our travel companions, the people we meet along the way. These discoveries can lead us to the roots of our world, our communities, maybe even our ancestors.

We’d love you to share a true personal “routes to roots” story (4-8 minutes in length). Do you have a road trip to remember? A vacation of a lifetime with family or friends? A move that changed your life? Maybe a surprising family discovery story? Don’t have a story? Come listen to the stories of others with an open mind and heart in a welcoming environment (program will be recorded).

Enter the Mushroom Kingdom for Super Mario Brothers Trivia on Middle School Game Night, Tuesday, Oct. 18 from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Flex your knowledge of Princess Toadstool, Koopa Troopas, and more, while enjoying tasty snacks! Ages 11-14. This program is held on the third Tuesday of the month.

TFL’s Reading Group discusses “Sigh, Gone” by Phuc Tran on Thursday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. The publisher describes the book as “. . . an irreverent, funny, and moving tale of displacement and assimilation woven together with poignant themes from beloved works of classic literature.” Tran and his family immigrated to America in 1975 during the fall of Saigon. Copies available at the library.

Maine author Theresa Sneed, who was born and raised in Dover-Foxcroft, stops by TFL on Thursday, Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. to talk about her “Salem Witch Haunt” series. These works of speculative fiction and fantasy have drawn readers in, especially this trilogy, which includes realistic time travel steeped in suspense and intrigue, with a touch of sweet romance, and twists and turns from beginning to end. As the ninth great-granddaughter of one of the women hanged as a witch in Salem, Theresa has a vested interest in being as accurate as possible. Her books are thoroughly researched, all interactions with real people from that era are based on primary sources.

Moving on to monsters of the speculative kind, Maine author Chris Packard (“Mythical Creatures of Maine”) visits TFL in person on Thursday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. with plenty of “Maine Monster Tales.” He’ll ratchet up the spooky vibes and keep you looking over your shoulder on your next walk in the woods (kid-friendly).

Trick or treaters, it’s time to channel your inner goblins and prowl the streets to the original front entrance of the library (the East Main Street side) as Ms. Michelle (a.k.a. Youth services librarian Michelle Fagan) gives out free books on Halloween (Monday, Oct. 31) starting at 4:30 p.m. “We will go until we run out of books — or run out of trick or treaters,” she says.

And don’t forget about Story Time (10 a.m. every Friday). “We do stories, coloring, occasional crafts, and play time. It’s great for kids to be with other kids,” says Michelle. “It’s geared towards early school learners, but all children are welcome.”

Special reminder: We’re very excited about “Night of the Living Rez” author Morgan Talty in conversation with Lisa Sockabasin on Thursday, Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. It marks the official return of the James Brown Lecture Series.

This month features an incredible array of recurring programs, special events, and invaluable resources (ask about our new laptop/hotspot bundles!). Just like Anne of Green Gables, we’re so glad to live in a world where there are Octobers!

TFL hours: 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, our Facebook page, Instagram @tf_library, or contact us at or 207-564-3350. All programs are free and open to the public.

The Thompson Free Library, located in Dover-Foxcroft, is excited to announce that we have received an Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF) grant through the Federal Communications Commission. Through this grant, focused on school districts and public libraries, we have purchased five mobile hotspots and five Chromebooks which patrons will be able to borrow for one week at a time. These devices will allow those without reliable internet service at home to access the internet and all of its vital services, increasing their engagement in an increasingly digital world.

The Franklin T10 mobile hotspots purchased by the library will provide mobile internet access over much of our region, often with speeds faster than typical broadband connections. Much like a cellphone, they run on a lithium battery, so they can even be used off grid or on road trips. Connecting to the hotspots is as easy as any other wifi network and both the network ID and password are attached to the device.

The ECF was created in 2021 in order to address the unequal distribution of digital connectedness in our country, especially when it comes to students and library patrons. In Piscataquis County, many households do not have reliable broadband internet options avilable. Even more cannot afford the cost associated with traditional internet. Especially since the start of the pandemic, the library has noticed a need in our community for better internet access and has worked to meet it. We have increased our Wifi reliability and reach at the library so that it is available to anyone 24/7, including outside the library. We have also worked to promote programs like the Affordable Connectivity Program and others which reduce the costs of internet access. This ECF grant is the latest, but definitely not the last, step we have taken to promote and bring affordable, reliable internet to our community.

We look forward to utilizing this grant to bring connectivity to our patrons. If you are interested or would like more information, please contact us! Thompson Free Library is open Tuesday and Thursday 9-7, Wednesday and Friday 9-5, and Saturday 9-1. We can be reached at 564-3350 or Visit us on Facebook, Instagram, or ask to join our mailing list to stay connected with everything happening at the TFL.