A Grateful November with TFL

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.