By Kim Brawn

Uncertainty has become the uninvited houseguest who never leaves. Two years of a pandemic, another crazy Maine winter, the ups and downs of everyday life, “Um, Uncertainty, we need to take a break from each other. The party’s over, it’s time to go home. Here’s the door.” Thankfully, on the cusp of spring, the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft has creative new programs that will give all ages, especially kids, a time to play and a sense of routine. A hopeful respite from the unpredictable.

TFL Director Jon Knepp is announcing a major shift, “In line with changes at both of our local schools, Thompson Free Library will be recommending, but no longer requiring, masks starting on March 1. We recognize that all of us will have different reactions and responses to this and we ask simply that patrons practice kindness and courtesy by taking this into account while using the library and interacting with one another.”

Looking for a playful way to unleash your inner artist on a bite-size scale? Join our “Tiny Canvas Art Show.” Pick up a 3- by 4-inch canvas with easel at the library March 1-12, use any medium you’d like, bring back by March 29, and we’ll display it in April. Spring is the theme – think flowers, animals, landscapes, or abstracts. Let’s channel those can’t-wait-for-spring vibes!

Michelle Fagan, our Youth Services librarian, is tapping into the perennially popular Pokémon universe with TFL’s Pokémon Club which will gather on the second and fourth Wednesday of the month (starting March 9) from 3:30-4:30 p.m. “You can play and talk Pokémon with friends. We’ll do a craft sometimes,” said Michelle, who emphasized that registration is required and there will be no card trading in the library. Contact TFL to register.

Another way to bring back the fun, with a side of learning, is at STEAM Time, another brain child of Ms. Michelle. Drop-in time will be Thursdays from 3:30-4:30 p.m. (starting March 10). It’s a chunk of free time to use the STEAM cart that is filled with arts and crafts, as well as science-related stuff. We’ll also bring out Legos and board games. It’s an unstructured hour for the kids to play and experiment. 

Spring means transformation, especially in nature, and we are excited to share new nature backpacks (geared towards families) from the Maine Audubon Society that are ready for check out! Themes are birds, plants, and wildlife. Each bag has books, activities, and tools. What a fun way to explore the natural world. 

Another rite of spring for many is planning and planting a garden. Many find it to be practical and economical, as well as a relaxing stress reliever – and great exercise. Piscataquis Regional Food Center and University of Maine Cooperative Extension Piscataquis County have teamed up to offer a 5-part “Garden in a Box” education series to the public, a resource binder, and a demo garden at the library. “Tips and Tricks for Garden Chores,” the first in the series, will be held Thursday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Learn how to plan your day in the garden, proper stretching and lifting techniques, using ergonomic tools, designing your garden to match your abilities, and more. 

TFL is your reliable source for intriguing programming like “Historic Maine in 3D” slated for Thursday, March 31 at 6 p.m. Maine State Museum Director Bernard Fishman showcases a modern way of looking at the most important form of early 19th-century commercial photography, which used binocular images on cards or glass, called stereoviews today, to allow images to be seen in 3-D when looked at through a viewer. See images from the 1860s and ‘70s, just after the Civil War, as they were meant to be viewed. You’ll discover a Maine of small cities and villages, farmers, shipbuilders, and industrial workers in mines and factories; parades and entertainment, social and life-cycle events, homes with their kitchens and parlors, and family portraits.

Get a sneak peek at what the presentation will be like thanks to Carlson Williams and the Dover-Foxcroft Historical Society, with fascinating stereoscopes (19th-century 3D views of the local area) that you can view now at TFL. 

This March and beyond, think of the library as that friend you can really count on, who will be there for you during the best of times and the worst of times. As we tip toe, run, or dance towards a promising normalcy—or at least a restorative new season—TFL has innovative ways to express yourself, play, and learn. Make us part of your routine again. There are plenty of good times ahead. 

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. For information on events, visit our website (, Facebook page, or contact us at or 207-564-3350. Find us on Instagram @tf_library.