Thompson Free Library Offers Free Cards to Non-Residents Thanks to Generous Donor 

By Jon Knepp, Director, Thompson Free Library

Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft is proud to announce that all Piscataquis and Penobscot County residents will now be able to receive free library cards thanks to a sizable donation left by Paula Willoughby. She grew up in Mexico, Maine and earned a degree in Home Economics from the University of Maine at Orono in 1961, where she became the first woman graduate to be commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps. In her professional life, she lived in various parts of the country, working in food research and development, as a caterer, and an interior decorator before retiring to make and sell jewelry, ultimately settling in Arizona. 

Paula kept her connection to Maine with visits to her family members and by eating blueberry pie and lobster rolls wherever she could find them. She was a generous, fun-loving lady who enjoyed new things; making her an interesting person to know and with whom to share time. That caring for family and her love of books has led to her generous gift to Thompson Free Library. 

Library cards have always been free for residents of Dover and Foxcroft, who have generously supported the library financially. Since 2019, students and staff at Foxcroft Academy and Sedomocha have also qualified for free cards. Non-residents have paid $20/family/year in order to receive a card, but the amount received is a small part of the library’s revenue, more a barrier to entry than a crucial income stream. Any non-residents choosing to continue paying the $20 annual fee will see that money reinvested in the fund, increasing the principle and ensuring this opportunity can continue indefinitely. Likewise, any donations made to the fund will be used in the same way. Unfortunately, non-residents who have already renewed for the year cannot be reimbursed…thank you for your donation to the library! Patrons without a local address (in Piscataquis or Penobscot County) will still have to pay a one-time deposit of $20, which will be returned if the account is closed in good standing. 

By investing Paula Willoughby’s donation and collecting the interest, we will be able to offset (and hopefully soon, surpass) the lost revenue from non-resident fees, while allowing more people in our region to access the library. This is increasingly important to us, as fewer small towns have their own library. Dover-Foxcroft is the shiretown of Piscataquis County and the heart of the region. The things we aim to foster, as written in our vision statement, “the spirit of exploration, the joy of reading, the pursuit of knowledge, and the preservation of the community’s history,” are not just essential to Dover-Foxcroft, they’re needed throughout our region and our world and we are happy to extend this to our neighbors both near and far.

Thompson Free Library, located at 186 E. Main Street in Dover-Foxcroft, is open Tues & Thurs 9-7, Weds & Fri 9-5, & Sat 9-1. Visit our website:, or on Facebook and Instagram or contact us at or (207)564-3350.