By Kim Brawn

A different perspective can be a breath of fresh air, challenge your thinking, or spark your creativity. Almost every autumn, I take the same shots of Borestone and Barren mountains. So, when I saw beautifully divergent photos* of these local monoliths, taken on Lake Onawa or high above it, I let out an awestruck, Keanu-like, “Whoa!” This February at the Thompson Free Library. you’ll find programs to broaden your perspective and books to expand your point of view.

Animals are not just furry little humans, they possess an intelligence of their own. Perhaps both similar and different from ours. TFL’s Philosophy Circle delves into “Animal Intelligence” at their next meeting on Friday, Feb. 4 at 3:30 p.m. Upon hearing the topic, chimpanzees or Koko the gorilla might come to mind, but invertebrates are getting a fresh look too, as noted on orionmagazine.org: “. . . researchers who study octopuses are convinced that these boneless, alien animals – creatures whose ancestors diverged from the lineage that would lead to ours roughly 500 to 700 million years ago – have developed intelligence, emotions, and individual personalities. Their findings are challenging our understanding of consciousness itself.” Time to buckle up for a fascinating discussion!

TFL’s Reading Group convenes on Thursday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. to tackle “American Dirt” by Jeanine Cummins. The book centers on Lydia and her son Luca who must flee their middle-class life in Acapulco, Mexico because of a murderous drug cartel. They instantly become migrants, riding la bestia – freight trains that make their way north to the U.S. “This tense, gripping novel takes off like a rocket …” says People Magazine (Book of the Week). While highly praised, this Oprah Book Club Pick also received intense criticism, becoming a lightning rod in terms of power and privilege in publishing and who should be telling what stories. Copies available at TFL.

Attention book lovers and bargain hunters: make room in your schedule – or come out of hibernation – for the next Ten Cent Book Sale to be held in TFL’s downstairs meeting room Feb. 17-19. Thursday 12:30-6 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Remember to wear a mask and follow COVID protocols.

Author Kerri Arsenault joins us via Zoom on Thursday, Feb. 17 at 6 p.m. to talk about her award-winning book “Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains.” The book melds different perspectives – narrative nonfiction, investigative memoir, and cultural criticism. As Kerry explains on her website: “I grew up in the small, rural town of Mexico, Maine, where for over 100 years the community orbited around a paper mill that provided jobs for nearly everyone in town, including three generations of my family. I had a happy childhood, but years after I moved away, I realized the price I paid for that childhood. The price everyone paid. The mill, while providing the social, cultural, and economic cohesion for the community, also contributed to its demise.”  Kirkus Reviews calls it a “. . . masterful debut, the author creates a crisp, eloquent hybrid of atmospheric memoir and searing exposé.”

Like us, Kerri is looking forward to the online event. “This sounds perfect and flexible. I’ll read a little, chat a little with folks, have them be part of the conversation – like a book club,” she told Library Director Jon Knepp. Zoom link available via our Facebook, website, or contact TFL.

Meanwhile, TFL’s Shannen Rhoda shares her special take on Presidents’ Day with a distinctive display that offers up inspiring landmarks and the best of both worlds (fiction and non-fiction). It’s bound to leave you humming “Hail to the Chief” and quoting Lincoln. 

Switching gears, you may have heard of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts, well, keep an eye on our social media for more details about TFL’s Tiny Canvas Art Project (all ages can channel their inner Wyeth, Frida, Banksy, or Mo!). 

February may be shorter, but it sure can feel longer, especially as the Maine winter and the pandemic drag on. Now is a great time to jump in and get connected, energized, and just maybe, gain a new perspective thanks to our diverse programming and dynamic collection. 

*For incredible photography with a unique POV, find @edwardmuennich & @northwoodsaerial on Instagram.

TFL is open to the public Tuesday to Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m to 1 p.m. We currently require masks. For information on events, visit our website (https://www.thompson.lib.me.us), Facebook page, or contact us at thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com or 207-564-3350. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.