By Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

Remember to put your oxygen mask on first before trying to help anyone else. That’s what flight attendants always tell us to do in case of an in-flight emergency. But don’t wait for an emergency to start practicing self-care. Taking care of yourself, especially during the pandemic, is more important than ever for physical and mental health. Reading a book or participating in an online program are simple ways to take time for yourself. This October, visit the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft in person (with special COVID-19 precautions) and attend engaging live events via Zoom.

To get the most out of your TFL membership be sure to set up your online account through our website. It’s a great way to keep track of what materials you have out, renew them, and put items on hold. Browse the online catalog to find books to read next. If you need help setting up an account, contact the library and we can help.

TFL’s Philosophy Circle meets online via Zoom on Friday, Oct. 2 at 3:30 p.m. for a lively discussion that delves into deeper topics and age-old questions that are still-relevant in today’s turbulent times. Prior attendance is not necessary but an open, curious mind and a willingness to listen and contribute are welcome. 

Celebrated and influential poet and Maine resident Richard Blanco’s “The Prince of Los Cocuyos” is the subject of the TFL Reading Group’s next meeting via Zoom on Thursday, Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. Blanco shares his experiences growing up in Miami as the gay son of Cuban immigrants. Kirkus reviews calls it a “warm, emotionally intimate memoir” (contact the library for a copy).

TFL’s Movie Club meets on Thursday, Oct. 15 at 6 p.m. online via Zoom to discuss Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom,” a 2012 coming-of-age comedy-drama set in 1965 on an island off the coast of New England where 12-year-olds Sam (Jared Gilman) and Suzy (Kara Hayward) have fallen in love and decide to run away. The film, which has been called charming, whimsical and poignant, is filled with quirky characters played by Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton. The DVD is available at the library (or contact us for more ways to watch). 

Voices from Home presents an Online Story Slam on Friday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m. The theme is “Rise.” Maya Angelou’s iconic poem “And Still I Rise” leapt to mind for me but there are so many directions to take that one word. When did you rise to the occasion/challenge or rise up against injustice however large or small? Rosa Parks took a stand by taking a seat. Will we come out of 2020 like a phoenix rising from the ashes? Maybe simply rising out of bed is a major accomplishment on bad days. Practice a 4- to 8-minute true story to share. Or come and listen and see what rises up in you. 

The Maine Bicentennial Speaker Series continues Thursday, Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. with UMaine history professor Liam Riordan’s “Commemorating Maine Statehood: What can we learn from the Bicentennial?” This illustrated presentation and discussion explores the statehood process in Maine that culminated in 1820 with formal separation from Massachusetts. Learn about sharp partisan conflict and the “two Maines,” as well as Wabanaki sovereignty, among other topics. 

Michelle Fagan, TFL’s youth services librarian, reminds parents and teachers to learn more about the text sets available at the library. A text set is a collection of related texts organized around a unique topic, theme, concept, or idea (such as dinosaurs; friendship & kindness; art; fairy tales, folk tales, tall tales; autumn & winter; ocean; nature; poetry; spring & summer; friendship & kindness; geography). Michelle hand-picked each book. Text sets can be checked out just like books. 

“With 24 hours or more notice we can also bundle together books on a topic or theme of your choice for you to pick up. We can also order from other libraries but please give as much notice as you can. Planning ahead — especially now — is a good thing,” Michelle says. 

“Remember to take advantage of our parent and teacher section with helpful books on behavior, education, and more,” Michelle adds, “And don’t forget we’re still offering take home crafts for kids so keep looking for those during library visits.”

Speaking of visits, please put your mask on first and come see us in person Tuesday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m., with special precautions in place. We want to keep everyone as safe as possible while still sharing the library’s incredible collection and services. Make TFL a fun stop on your errand route. Books are definitely a basic supply and reading is the best self-care out there. 

Curbside service is also available during business hours. For more information (including Zoom links to our free virtual public programs), visit our website (https://www.thompson.lib.me.us), Facebook page or contact us at thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com or 207-564-3350. WiFi is available 24/7 in the TFL parking lot. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.