DOVER-FOXCROFT — Despite all the changes and uncertainty, the Thompson Free Library (TFL) in Dover-Foxcroft continues to offer resources and information to our patrons and the community especially through our Facebook page and website (thompsonfreelibrary.lib.me.us).
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the library closed its doors to the public on Tuesday, March 17 until further notice. This includes all scheduled programs and meeting room uses. Patrons are asked to keep any currently checked-out library materials at home until we reopen. All due dates will be extended.
Regarding reopening, TFL director Greta Schroeder said, “We will wait for guidance from the Maine State Library and Maine CDC. Maine State Library is hosting weekly meetings to check in with the library community about COVID-19.”
“I have created a page on our website (thompson.lib.me.us/covid-19-resources/) with recommended resources for the latest, most accurate information on COVID-19,” said Schroeder.
In the meantime, Wi-Fi access is available in the library parking lot 24/7 (sometimes the router needs to be reset; when staff are onsite, they are doing their best to remember to do this).
Patrons can take advantage of online services like ebooks and audiobooks from Cloud Library and TumbleBooks. Patrons and the public can access Digital Maine Library resources, Piscataquis Observers online via our website and email-a-librarian reference services at email@example.com.
Children’s librarian Michelle Fagan is now livestreaming storytime on Facebook at 11 a.m. on Thursdays. Her animated, comforting style will keep the little ones entertained and many will be reassured to see Ms. Michelle’s familiar face.
Fagan also plans to post book talk videos for all youth ages and has other offerings in the works. She is adding new ideas and links frequently and urges all to, “Stay tuned to our Facebook page.”
A neat idea she posted was for kids to follow her lead and put a rainbow in their home window and then walk around Dover-Foxcroft (other towns could adopt it as well) to find these rainbows–like an outdoor scavenger hunt. A great way to get fresh air and have fun.
Children’s authors like Maine’s own Chris Van Dusen have taken to social media to read their books aloud. Many zoos and aquariums are doing animal talks and showing their animals while museums around the world are offering virtual tours.
If you don’t have Internet access (or even if you do) Fagan suggests helping your children with the schoolwork that teachers have worked hard to put together; reading books; doing puzzles, arts and crafts; playing games; and going outside to see signs of spring.
Schroeder has compiled an impressive list of free learning resources you can access on our website or via Facebook and staff will continue to add more online resources/fun things to do online, including Tom Lyford’s favorite podcast picks.
Now is the perfect time to take a deep dive into the Digital Maine Library. This incredible tool provides every resident of Maine with access to online resources that include a collection of full text articles and abstracts from magazines, newspapers, journals and references. It also provides students, businesspeople, library patrons and higher education students and educators the ability to use online learning tools. And don’t worry, there are tutorials to help you navigate this comprehensive resource.
Behind the scenes, the library itself is getting a deep clean, as is the library catalog (thanks, Val!). “A top priority,” said Schroeder, is “staying in conversation with other librarians to see what other services and ideas are available.” We are also focusing on inventory, staff development/continuing education, and developing online services. If you have any questions, you can email us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To our regulars and the new faces, Lyford summed it up best, “I miss the library. I miss everyone.” We will reopen as soon as we are able to. After this, we may have a new appreciation for one another and the simpler joys of life, like small talk.
For now, remember to take breaks from the news and technology, step into nature and watch wildlife, and love your pets — whenever possible keep your sense of humor (keep those cute animal videos & TP memes coming!), and listen to music—think of it as physical distancing instead of social distancing. Keep connected, especially with those who are more isolated or vulnerable. Reach out if you need help — or if you can help (through friends, family, social media, dialing 211 or going to 211maine.org).
Even though we are apart, we are in this fight together. To paraphrase Irish poet, theologian, and philosopher John O’Donohue*, our everchanging new normal makes us feel marooned on unsure ground but now is the time to take refuge in our senses, open up to all the small miracles we rushed through before.
Stay healthy and hopeful.
(* “For One Who is Exhausted, A Blessing” from John O’Donohue’s book To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings, Doubleday, 2008)