By Kim Brawn, Thompson Free Library

DOVER-FOXCROFT — “I’m beginning to think ‘hindsight is 2020’ was some kind of message from a future time traveler that we all misunderstood,” Victoria Guida, Politico reporter, via Twitter.

Not surpassingly, that quote became a popular internet meme. 2020 was a year we lost our GPS, maps, compass and North Star. We may not be sure what 2021 will bring, but the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft is still here with an incredible collection of books, online programs, services and resources to help you navigate this strange, ever-changing new world.

Friday, Jan. 8 at 3:30 p.m. TFL’s Monthly Philosophy Circle starts the new year (online via Zoom) discussing the intersection of poetry and philosophy. In The Irish Times Rachel Wiseman (from Liverpool University’s philosophy department), talked about how British philosopher Mary Midgley saw similarities in the two. “Poets and philosophers are both engaged with a struggle to understand human life, meaning, and our place in the cosmos…They are both careful observers of others and themselves, and when they are great poets and philosophers, they are able to see things that are invisible to others and make them visible.” Prior attendance and readings are not required, just bring an open, curious mind.

“The Butterfly’s Daughter” by Mary Alice Monroe is this month’s TFL Reading Group selection. They meet online via Zoom on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. The book traces the transformational journey of four very different women as they follow the migrating monarchs across the United States to Mexico. Library Journal says that “Monroe, known for her environmental fiction, skillfully incorporates lore about the monarch butterflies into a rich novel about generations and tradition.” Pick up a copy at the library.

The Voices from Home Story Slam on Friday, Jan. 22 at 6 p.m. examines the concept of hindsight. While the saying hindsight is 20/20 took on a whole new meaning and relevance last year, the idea of hindsight is one of those bittersweet concepts we can all relate to — what are some of your hindsight experiences? Did you miss a job opportunity that looking back was a blessing in disguise? Do you want to share one of your woulda, coulda, shoulda experiences? A decision you’d make differently knowing what you know now. Or maybe how disappointment changed to relief after the fact. Share your true, 4- to 8-minute story. Storytellers and listeners welcome!

During the month of January TFL is taking part in a nationwide reading challenge #WinterRead2021 #BooksLikeUs with Beanstack and Simon and Schuster. Check out our Facebook page for more information. If you don’t want to use the Beanstack App or website, you can stop by the library to pick up paperwork instead. Complete the challenge and your name goes into a drawing for A Movie Night Goodie Basket! Open to all ages.

Alicia Millette, a familiar name and face to many in the area, is joining the staff at TFL. She has worked on increasing the amount of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) opportunities for families in the Dexter and Dover-Foxcroft area for more than a decade. Over 600 students have participated in her programming, including those from the SeDoMoCha School and Foxcroft Academy, who attended her programs at TFL. She has run science clubs and a Teen Science Café. Hands-on activities are her go-to. “They can make even the most complex of science and math concepts easier to understand, and making them fun helps students to better retain the knowledge and apply it in the real world,” Millette explained.

“Alicia, like Alex (Shaffer, our other new hire), is going to be a great fit for the library. Good communication skills and an eagerness to interact with the public, which they both have, are the first prerequisites for the job. Alicia has devoted herself to promoting STEM in the region, created programming and resources in other schools and libraries that I would love to bring here,” said Jon Knepp, TFL’s new director. 

Surrounded by so much unpredictability, it’s nice to have a North Star like the library to help us navigate, find our sea legs, and feel some measure of comfort. As “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’s” Douglas Adams wrote, “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be.”  

May you find many North Stars to guide you in 2021. 

The Thompson Free Library is open to the public with special COVID-19 precautions, Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Curbside service is also available during business hours. For more info (including Zoom links to our free virtual public programs), visit our website (, Facebook page or contact us at or 207-564-3350. Wi-Fi is available 24/7 in the TFL parking lot. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.