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Winter Olympics 2022

posted: , by Raminta Moore
tags: Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture

Unlike the Summer Games, the Winter Olympics have fewer events and fewer competitors. The sports played during the Winter Games are Alpine Skiing, Biathlon, Bobsleigh, Cross-Country Skiing, Curling, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Ice Hockey, Luge, Nordic Combined, Short Track Speed Skating, Skeleton, Ski Jumping, Snowboard, and Speed Skating. Given that these events generally take place on snow or ice, the majority of the participating countries come from places where it’s cold enough.

Beijing Winter Olympics Logo

Beijing Winter Olympics Logo Creative Commons

From 1928 the Winter Games were held every four years in the same calendar year as the Summer Games. In 1986 IOC officials, in response to concerns over the increasing cost and logistic complications of the Olympics, voted to alter the schedule. Only two years separated the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France, and the 1994 Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Thereafter, the Winter and Summer Games were each held quadrennially, alternating in even-numbered years.  

History of Boycotts and why…. 

 If you watched the opening ceremonies or have seen the news, the United States did not send any kind of governmental/political visitors to the Games in Beijing. The current US administration has decided against sending delegates due to supposed Human Rights violations against the minority Uyghur population. This is the FIRST year of boycotts where athletes from boycotting countries are participating and only the governmental agents are not attending. 

The first boycott of the games occurred in 1956 when the Games were held in Melbourne, Australia. Four teams boycotted that year, in response to invasion of Egypt, now called the Suez Crisis or the Second Arab-Israeli War. Three countries boycotted due to the Soviet invasion of Hungary and the final country boycotted due to the presence of the Republic of China participating in the Games.  

In 1964, the first Games to be televised, China, North Korea and Indonesia did not participate in these games due to issues surround the GANEFO (Games of the New Emerging Forces) held the previous year. These Olympics were held in Tokyo, Japan.  

 1932 Winter Olympics - Opening ceremony

1932 Winter Olympics – Opening ceremony – Wikimedia Commons

The 1976 Games held in Montreal, Canada had a whopping TWENTY-NINE countries due to issues surrounding the New Zealand national Rugby team. The team had broken the embargo on Apartheid South Africa. 

In 1980, at the height of the Cold War, the Games were held in Moscow, Russia. While 80 nations participated, 66 countries, led by the United States, boycotted the Games due to the Soviet-Afghan war. 

In 1984, the Games were held in Los Angeles, California. Fourteen Eastern Bloc including East Germany and the Soviet Union, boycotted the games in response to the boycott of the 1980 games.  

The Games in 1988 were the last Olympics with any major boycott. The Games were held in Seoul, South Korea and allies of North Korea including Cuba, Albania, Ethiopia and the Seychelles did not return the invitations of the IOC (International Olympic Committee). Nicaragua and Madagascar did not participate due to financial difficulties.  


Maine Links to the Games: 

Frank Del Duca

Two-man and four-man bobsled

Del Duca, a 30-year-old Bethel native, is a graduate of Telstar High School and the University of Maine.

Person coming off a ski jump

Digital Commons Identifier G547-343234-D99 Person Coming Off A Ski Jump – George W. French, photographer

Del Duca is scheduled to compete in the two-man bobsled on Feb. 14 and 15. He is scheduled to compete in the four-man bobsled on Feb. 19 and 20. 

James Reed

Two-man and four-man bobsled

Born in Indiana and raised in Germany, Reed has a degree in exercise science from the University of Maine, where he was a member of the track and field team.
Reed, 30, is scheduled to compete in the two-man bobsled on Feb. 14 and 15. He is scheduled to compete in the four-man bobsled on Feb. 19 and 20. 

Emily Sweeney


Sweeney, 28, was born in Portland and lived in Windham and Falmouth before moving to Connecticut at age 10. She said her sister, Megan, also a Team USA Olympic luger, got her into the sport. In 2010, Emily lost the final Vancouver Olympic team berth to sister Megan in a special race-off.
Sweeney competed in her first Olympics in 2018 in Pyeongchang, South Korea, crashing during her final run.
She’s scheduled to compete on Feb. 7 and 8. 

Clare Egan


Egan, 34, graduated from Cape Elizabeth High School in 2006 before attending Wellesley College and the University of New Hampshire.
Egan could potentially compete in the following biathlon events: 

  • Mixed relay, Feb. 5 
  • 15K individual, Feb. 7 
  • 7.5K sprint, Feb. 11 
  • 10K pursuit, Feb. 13 
  • 4×6 relay, Feb. 16 
  • 12.5K mass start, Feb. 19 

Sophia Laukli

Nordic skiing/Cross-Country Skiing

Laukli, 21, graduated from Yarmouth High School in 2018.
She is scheduled to compete in the 30K Nordic ski event on Feb. 20. 

Amalie Andersen and Rahel Enzler 

Defenseman Amalie Andersen and forward Rahel Enzler, both current University of Maine women’s hockey players, are playing for Denmark and Switzerland, respectively.
Denmark will play in Group B and take on China in its Olympic women’s ice hockey debut on Feb. 4. Switzerland will play the United States on Feb. 6. 

Tereza Vanisova, Vendula Pribylova, and Michelle Weis 

Vanisova and Pribylova are on the Czech Republic women’s hockey team and Weis plays for Denmark. 
All three are former members of the UMaine women’s hockey team. 

view down a steep toboggan slide in the area of Dexter, Maine

1939 An image scanned from a black and white negative of the view down a steep toboggan slide in the area of Dexter, Maine. (Notice that it lands in a lake). Bert Call, photographer. From DigitalCommons@UMaine

Wayne Lamarre and Dr. Allyson Howe  

Two Maine sports medicine professionals are treating the U.S. women’s hockey team in Beijing. 

Dr. Allyson Howe is the team physician. She works at InterMed in South Portland as a family and sports medicine doctor. This is her third trip to the Olympics. Her first was to Sochi in 2014 with the Olympic Committee. In 2018, she traveled with the U.S. women’s hockey team to Pyeongchang as the team physician, a role she is taking on again in Beijing. 

Wayne Lamarre is the director of the University of New England’s athletic training program and a clinical professor. He also worked with the U.S. Women’s National Team at the USA Hockey Women’s Winter Training Camp in Blaine, Minnesota, in December 2015, and has more than 30 years of sports medicine experience. The 2022 Winter Olympics will be Lamarre’s first Olympic experience. 

 Maine ties section information is from News Center Maine. Please follow this link for interviews and more information


Portland Public Library Speaks Out Against Hate

posted: , by Sarah Campbell
tags: About the Library | Director's Updates | Adults

Portland Public Library supports the democratic process of civil discourse. As an institution with a mission to respect all citizens, we do not tolerate hate speech or threats directed against individuals and groups who choose to participate in the democratic process.

Free speech is a bedrock of the democratic process. Voting is a bedrock of the democratic process. Civil service is a bedrock of the democratic process. Libraries provide information and experiences to promote conversation and learning, and engage multiple perspectives in support of the democratic process.

In response to recent personal attacks and threats against Councilor Zarro, the Mayor, and other Councilors, we remind the Portland community that these are civil servants who were elected, and they are individuals who have a right to free speech — just as those who disagree with their proposals and decisions have the fundamental right to express that disagreement as part of civil discourse. Threats and hate speech serve only to undermine the democratic process.

Andrew Zarro serves on the Portland Public Library Board of Trustees as the Mayor’s designee where he demonstrates his knowledge of the City and its stated priorities, his curiosity and fairness to listen and understand issues, and his commitment to deeply thoughtful decision-making. We thank Councilor Zarro for his role on City Council and as a vital member of the Portland community.

Sarah Campbell, Executive Director
Anne Dalton, President, Board of Trustees

The Mitten: December Staff Picks

posted: , by Elizabeth
tags: Library Collections | Recommended Reads | Adults | Seniors | Readers Writers
A photo of a library display featuring a fox, owl, hedgehog, and other animals in celebration of the story "The Mitten."

Aprill celebrates The Mitten’s winter coziness with a wonderful display at Burbank.

Welcome, readers! If you would like nothing more than to curl up in a giant warm mitten with a stack of books for the rest of the winter, read on! Our staff shares a heap of reading ideas and resources for you to ponder.

And most of all, thanks so much for stopping by the Main Library, Peaks, Riverton, Burbank and the Bookmobile in 2021. We’ve loved seeing you this year and look forward to 2022 at the library.

This image shares the covers of the books "Wink," "Soul Lanterns," "Being Clem," and "Too Bright to See."

Vicky’s Picks

If you’re a kid, one of the most awesome things about December is that here in Maine there’s a week off from school at the end of it, and what’s better to do during a cold winter week than read? Here are some great books for middle-grade readers looking to while away some time with one…or two…or three….

Being Clem, by Lesa Cline-Ransome. The final volume in the author’s “Finding Langston” trilogy about Black boys in World War II–era Chicago, this outing follows Clem as he grapples with the loss of his father in the Port Chicago Disaster, with living under the thumbs of older sisters with big personalities, with his fear of water. He wants to be a Navy man like his dad; how can he do that if he can’t swim?

Soul Lanterns, by Shaw Kuzki and translated by Emily Balistrieri. In Hiroshima, every August 6 the people float lanterns down the river to remember loved ones lost in “the Flash.” Twenty-five years after the bombing, 12-year-old Nozomi starts to wonder about the lanterns her family releases, a question that turns into a heartbreaking and heart-mending journey for the wounded city and its children.

Too Bright to See, by Kyle Lukoff. Bug, an 11-year-old white Vermonter, is getting ready to start middle school. That would be hard enough on its own, but doing it without Uncle Roderick, who’s just passed away, makes it extra tough. Then there’s the ghost, who seems to be trying to tell Bug something. Could it be Uncle Roderick? Uncle Roderick was gay, but maybe he was also transgender…or maybe Bug is?


Cindy’s Pick

“I’m lying on a steel table, all too aware of the giant ray gun pointed in my direction.  It looks like one of those room-sized five-ton laser things supervillains use in movies.  The kind they threaten to destroy the planet with.” 

My favorite middle grade book of 2021 was Wink: A Novel by Rob Harrell.  I listened to it using the wonderful cloudLibrary app, but I’ve also thoroughly perused all the illustrations in our print copy of the book because they’re important: Ross is a budding artist.  In the book Ross (a seventh grader) has a rare form of eye cancer called Lacrimal cancer, which is cancer of the tear duct, and the story begins with his first radiation treatment.  But Wink is about so much more than his cancer.  It’s a story about best friends and new friends and dealing with bullies and cyber-bullying in particular.  Someone is making terrible memes about Ross, so part of the novel is figuring out who the culprit is.  It was touching, sweet, often laugh-out-loud funny, and shocking all at once.  I highly recommend this book and wish that I could un-read it so I could read it all over again for the first time! 

Becca’s Pick

Early 2021 was a dark time, and the distractions were no longer working. Our kitchens had an extra bag of flour. Our closets had new hiking boots that were on the verge of being properly broken in. Our bedside tables were full of bookmarked fantasy series, apocalypse novels, Russian tomes, and the same picture books read aloud again, again, again. We shopped for groceries while worrying about sick loved ones. We tried to shove our hardened hearts into the Play-Doh mold of Normal Life Activities. We were exhausted, depressed, anxious, and alone.

In May, six of us gathered in Congress Square Park for our first Blurb Club, our new informal book club where attendees can talk about any book. We sat in an appropriately distanced circle with masks over our mouths. While isolation made us trepidatious and awkward, there was also palpable relief behind doing the thing, that thing we couldn’t do for so long – gathering with other humans in a physical space! 

Almost every week, I experience the phenomenon of meeting someone at their first in-person outing with other non-familial humans since March 2020. Some people come with a pile of books they devoured in isolation, while others arrive with nothing. One small social gathering on a calendar is a gift I feel honored to help bring to the park every other Thursday. Now, as we pack it in for the winter and move over to Mechanics’ Hall, early 2022 feels a little less daunting.

Scandalously, I don’t love Blurb Club because of the books. I love it for the basest of reasons: the warm buzz of being surrounded by others, listening to the soothing sound of real people talking and laughing. I hope you can join our cozy circle in 2022.

Stephanie’s Picks

My December picks are favorites for different reasons. For example, Jessica Anthony’s Enter the Aardvark was original, hilarious, and an enjoyable satire. The Searcher by Tana French has wonderful Irish prose and characters wrapped around a strong plot. Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce offered very adventurous women. Julia Claiborne’s Better Luck Next Time is set in Reno where I grew up. (Divorce ranches were still around long after the novel’s 1938 setting). Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Cluband The Man Who Died Twice celebrate believable seniors who are kind and funny and clever enough to solve some difficult murders.


Zoë‘s Pick

My December pick is Middlemarch by George Eliot. I started reading this classic (nearly 900 pages) in October thinking I would finish it in, yes, in middle March 2022. But no! It is now the end of November (as I write this) and I am bereft after finishing it. The writing is dazzling, the characters hilarious, the entire read a charm-and-a-half. Something about the “adultness” of it is just wonderful…people and their misbegotten loves, foibles, their human-ness all drawn to perfection.

Ann’s Picks

One of my favorite resources from this year is Kai Cheng Thom’s So You’re Ready to Choose Love. This free online workbook digs into the themes of Thom’s I Hope We Choose Love, giving us tools to grow as we navigate conflict and harm. Another resource I’m just getting into as this year draws to a close is Resmaa Menakem’s My Grandmother’s HandsRacialized Trauma and the Pathway to Mending Our Hearts and Bodies. Menakem’s book includes exercises for grounding while exploring white supremacy’s traumatic impact on bodies, and I look forward to reading and reflecting on his work in the new year.

Hannah’s Pick

Robin Marty’s New Handbook for a Post-Roe America is an essential resource for any household—as legal and practical barriers to reproductive healthcare proliferate, U.S. statistics are such that each and every one of us knows (and probably loves) someone who will, at some point in their lifetime, need help accessing said care.

Regardless of the inevitable legislative or judicial sea changes coming our way, our bodies and our families will remain our own—unpredictable, ungovernable, and connected to communities of support. Information about those communities, and about the many other resources and tools that will be needed for American families to survive and thrive in the coming years, is crucial. And Marty situates her reader on the map of science, medicine, policy, and direct care in a way that is digestible, galvanizing, and full of heart. 

I’ve taken notes from nearly every page!

Elizabeth’s Picks

The truth is I loved dozens of books this year, of all kinds—fantasy, memoir, nature writing, poetry—books like The Thirty Names of NightLand of Big NumbersThe Space Between WorldsThe Watchmaker of Filigree StreetThe Fox’s Tower and Other TalesWe Have Always Been HereWalking on Cowrie ShellsThe Carrying, and Field Study

Two luminous books have stuck with me—the language, humor, and beauty of Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s Noopiming, and the incredible look at people, place, and the sea in Lamorna Ash’s Dark, Salt, Clear: The Story of a Fishing Town. A story I keep thinking of is “The Kite Maker” in Brenda Peynado’s wonderful collection The Rock Eaters. On the surface it’s a tale about a kite maker and her encounters with an alien who loves to fly kites, and in the depths it’s about much more. A sci-fi classic. 

Honorée Fanonne Jeffers’ The Love Songs of W.E.B. Dubois was a tome I curled up with for days that went by in a flash, its family story dipping between the past and present. A powerful short novel I just read this week is Claire Keegan’s Small Things Like TheseIt’s alyrical, heartfelt tale of an Irish man in 1985 who—in the midst of Christmas—stumbles across the terrible truth of the Magdalene Laundries and wonders what to do:

“He found himself asking was there any point in being alive without helping one another?”

Victoria Chang’sDear Memoryis a new book I’m still poring through—her prose poems shine. “We often say night falls,” she writes. “I think the night rises. I think the bright falls.” I’m reading it thinking of Camille Dungy and her recent writingon how many are needing the space to grieve right now, and how a poem can offer that place for grief and feeling. 

This summer, I found a welcome solace in Poetry as An Art of Survival with Portland Poet Laureate Maya Williams and Poetry Unbound host Pádraig Ó Tuama. I’m so looking forward to Maya’s writing workshops with PPL in 2022, kicking off on January 8! Ey and Myri U. will focus on poetry and self-care.

Sarah S’ Pick

I’m focusing on joy and light this month, and I think Everything I Need to Know I Learned From Betty White will match that spirit. I’m looking forward to learning more about the spunk and grit behind this beloved legend…who will turn 100 in January!

Eileen’s Pick

“When whittling, your mantra should be: ‘Always cut away from yourself.’”

Sound advice whether whittling or not, I’d say.

It is likely that the very last thing I need is a hobby that will litter the house with wood shavings and require me to grasp a sharp implement in my dilettante’s grip, but that isn’t stopping me from thinking maybe I could learn something from Frank Egholm’s book The Danish Art of Whittling: Simple Projects for the Home. It is geared for rank beginners and amply seasoned with photos of Danish children crafting toys in pastoral settings. Worth noting: not one of the children is bleeding. You can practically feel the thin Scandinavian sunshine feeding hope that your forked branch could be transformed into a rustic bird-shaped whistle, too, with some concentration, a well-applied whittling knife and Frank Egholm’s wise tutelage.

In closing, I ask this unrelated question: have you seen the movie Waking Ned Devine? I find it impossible to feel bad while anticipating watching it, actually watching it, or recollecting watching it. I do not make this claim lightly. In fact, why am I not watching it right this instant?

My Year’s End wish for you is that you make time for a movie, or music, or a book that you know makes you happy.

I think that’s pretty good advice, too.

As ever, thanks for reading! You can find all the books discussed or pictured here compiled in one list: The Mitten: December Staff Picks.

If you are looking for more reading ideas for kids, teens, and adults, that is our very favorite thing. Try our Your Next (Great!) Read service to get a personalized list of books just for you (or a reader you know).

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