By Kim Brawn

Once, libraries were, to paraphrase Meghan Trainor, all about the books. Now, libraries are the new life hack. They can make your day more productive, efficient, and run more smoothly.

Printer broken? Out of ink? Don’t have one? Visit the Thompson Free Library in Dover-Foxcroft and print via desktop, laptop, or from your own device for 20 cents/page. Need copies? They’re also 20 cents/page. We can even send faxes ($2 for first page, $1 for each page after). Scanning is even easier and free! 

Our books (which warmly surround you) and programs (so varied I run out of adjectives!) can be entertaining and interesting, but many actually contain mini life hacks. You never know what you may learn, intentionally or not. This month and beyond is no exception. 

TFL’s Philosophy Circle meets Friday, Nov. 4 at 3:30 p.m. to discuss Buddhism. Is it more religion or philosophy — or a mix of both? The Buddha’s teachings known as “dharma” focused on wisdom, kindness, generosity, and compassion as important virtues. In addition to meditation and enlightenment, other topics of conversation may include the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. 

“Where the Crawdads Sing,” Delia Owens’ immensely popular bestseller takes center stage at TFL’s Reading Group on Thursday, Nov. 10 at 6 p.m. While Owens is the accomplished co-author of several non-fiction books on wildlife, she won praise for this 2018 novel, including from Kirkus Reviews: “. . . there’s an irresistible charm to Owens’ first foray into nature-infused romantic fiction.” Copies available at the library.

When it comes to lifesaving hacks the American Red Cross remains a gold standard of information. Plan to attend the Red Cross Disaster Preparedness training on Thursday, Nov. 17 at 6 p.m. at TFL. This program is for adults and designed to help people understand, prepare, and respond to disasters such as home fires, floods, hurricanes, and wildfires. Sign up for free in-home smoke alarm installations too.

Ms. Michelle (TFL’s Youth Services Librarian Michelle Fagan) is always coming up with library hacks, craft hacks, kid-friendly hacks–useful tips and tricks to make life a little easier for families. Join her on Kids’ Zone Wednesdays from 3:30-4:30 for STEAM cart, Pokémon time, games, and more!

Before we leave November, some housekeeping notes: TFL will be closed on Veterans Day (Friday, Nov. 11), Thanksgiving and the day after (Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24-25). Please plan ahead.

Maine author Tim Cotton stops by the library on Thursday, Dec. 1 at 6 p.m. to chat about his latest book, “Dawn in the Dooryard: Reflections from the Jagged Edge of America,” a follow-up to his best-selling “The Detective in the Dooryard.” Tim is a retired police officer/detective (although he still manages the Bangor Police Facebook page) who loves to write about his experiences and the people he has met along the way. As it says in the book’s description, “With generous portions of wry Yankee wit and sage wisdom, this new collection will leave you laughing, crying, or maybe both at once.” 

During library hours, the public can use our desktops, laptops, free WiFi, along with services mentioned above. Free WiFi is available 24/7 in the parking lot. Don’t have internet access at home? Traveling and need to stay connected? Patrons can now check out Chromebooks/hotspots for a week at a time thanks to our grant from the Emergency Connectivity Fund. This new program is already proving popular.

According to TFL Director Jon Knepp, “We’ve had zero complaints so far . . . even in the middle of the woods, patrons have reported fast speeds. . . We have had mothers using them for homeschooling, families taking them camping, community members using them in their homes if they can’t get or afford a wired high-speed connection. They’re also great if you’re thinking of switching to a mobile connection and ‘want to take it for a test drive.’”(For details on how to get a library card, contact TFL or stop by.

Don’t let those technology glitches, everyday tasks, or unexpected obstacles get you down. At the Thompson Free Library, we’ll do our best to help make your life a little easier. So come for the life hacks, stay for the books–or vice versa. We’ve got your back. 


TFL hours: Tuesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday and Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit our website https://www.thompsonfreelibrary.org, our Facebook page, Instagram @tf_library, or contact us at thompsonfreelibrary@gmail.com or 207/564-3350. All programs are free and open to the public.