Virtual Archive

Virtual Talks

Did you miss a virtual program? You can still watch our virtual presentations using the links below. Click on a presenter’s name to expand their profile and to watch their talk.


Comparing the Impacts of Climate Change Upon Maine and Greenland with Jeff Thaler

York Public Library will once again participate in The Annual Camden Conference, now in it’s 34th year. As part of our partnership, YPL is excited to present programming related to this year’s Camden Conference topic, The Geopolitics of the Arctic: A Region in Peril.

Even while most people are focused upon COVID-19, ongoing climatic changes fueled by our reliance upon fossil fuels are continuing to cause significant, long-term changes to economies and the environment. Maine and Greenland are each on the frontline of those climate changes, and have more in common than we realize. This talk will provide an overview of the impacts of change both in Greenland and Maine, and how each is attempting to plan and respond. 

Jeff Thaler is a professor of practice at the University of Maine School of Law, and the associate university counsel for environmental, energy, and sustainability projects for the University of Maine System. He is also an associate faculty member of the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute.

Professor Thaler currently teaches Administrative Law, the Environmental and Administrative Law Practicum, and Energy Law. In 2020, he created and taught a new course, Environmental and Climate Litigation, which compared trends in the U.S., China, and Europe. He serves as chair of Maine Law’s Curriculum Committee, and serves on the Bar Task Force and Clerkship Committee.

Before joining the University, Professor Thaler developed over several decades a wide-ranging legal practice focused on environmental and energy permitting, compliance, enforcement, and litigation; as well as litigation for clients with commercial, medical and legal disputes, and insurance coverage, personal injury and toxic tort problems.

Professor Thaler graduated magna cum laude from Williams College and received his law degree from Yale Law School. He clerked for Chief Justice Vincent McKusick and Senior Associate Justice Sidney Wernick of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court. He is married to Karen Massey, and has two sons, Greg and Kai, who are both professors.

Suggested Readings:

Other titles of note:

Camden Conference: Arctic Observations with Photographer Peter Ralston

York Public Library will once again participate in The Annual Camden Conference, now in it’s 34th year. As part of our partnership, YPL is excited to present programming related to this year’s Camden Conference topic, The Geopolitics of the Arctic: A Region in Peril.

Join photographer Peter Ralston as he shares photographs and stories from the West Coast of Greenland and the Northwest Passage, featuring the landscape and wildlife of the Arctic and the people who live there. 

In Ralston’s own words:

“In the summer of 2016 I had the trip of a lifetime; up the west coast of Greenland and then over into the high Canadian Arctic . . . the Northwest Passage. It was a trip of epic proportions aboard a friend’s extraordinary yacht, a privileged front-row seat in the most dramatic theater of rapid climate change on the planet. While there, I was profoundly moved by the austere and severe beauty of the landscape, the wildlife, and by the people in the Inuit villages. Virtually every day we encountered undeniable indicators of climate change, and those constitute the core of the message I have since been widely sharing.”

Peter Ralston grew up in Chadd’s Ford, Pennsylvania, worked for a decade as a freelance photojournalist, and then began photographing the coast of Maine in 1978, drawn especially to the working communities that define the coast’s enduring character. 

Instrumental in forming the Island Institute in 1983, Peter Ralston served as its executive vice-president until 2010. Until then he contributed most of the photography and served as art director for the Institute’s Island Journal since its inception. He continues to spend as much time as he possibly can on and around islands.

Peter and his wife, Terri, opened Ralston Gallery in Rockport, Maine, in 2011, selling his photographs as well as the work of his lifelong friends, Andrew and Jamie Wyeth. He is currently working on a major book about the Maine coast.

Learn more and see Peter’s work at
Learn more about the Camden Conference
Learn more about The Island Institute 

Peter’s Recommended Resources

 (other participants mentioned some of Kolbert’s other work including Field Notes from a Catastrophe (2006) and The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014))


Old Age, Retirement, and the Pandemic: New Poetry from Tom Carnicelli

On Thursday December 17 at 7:00 PM Tom Carnicelli gave a reading of poems from his latest collection, Older Still, at the York Public Library via Zoom. 

This is his third poetry collection, and his third reading hosted by the York Public Library. In his first two collections, Old Guy, Part One, and Older Guy, he explores his thoughts and feelings about old age and retirement. In the new book, he continues in that vein, but branches out to explore the experiences of other people too, such as this year’s high school seniors.

There are also ten poems about the pandemic. As he writes in his preface, Carnicelli does not write “seriously depressing poems” and writes about even the most serious topics “with not too heavy a touch.” Coronavirus presents quite a challenge, but he manages to take a lighter look at things like social distancing and hand washing.

Although he was an academic for many years, Carnicelli tries not to write like one here. These poems are meant to be accessible, understood and enjoyed by everyone.

Purchase his latest book, Older Still, here

Tom Carnicelli taught English at UNH for 46 years, retiring in 2013. He has lived in York since 1971, and has served on a number of town and local organizations, including the York School Board, the York Budget Committee, the York Tax Task Force, the York Library Board of Trustees, and the York Community Service Association. In 2019, he received a lifetime service award from the Town of York.

Remembering Malaga in 2020: Race and Eugenics in Maine’s History and Future
Malaga Island, in Phippsburg, Maine, was once home to a mixed-race fishing community from the mid-1800s until 1912, when Governor Frederick Plaisted evicted island residents following complaints that the poor conditions of Malaga Islanders’ homes would affect summer tourism. The state conducted an assessment of each resident’s home and their physical, mental, and financial conditions, ultimately forcing 47 residents from their homes and committing eight to the new Maine School for the Feeble-Minded in New Gloucester (now Pineland). The state then exhumed and relocated their buried dead to Pineland grounds.
Join Dr. Hannah Marcus, Assistant Professor of the  History of Science at Harvard University, for a discussion about Malaga Island and Maine’s complicated history with race, eugenics, and xenophobia. How can we reckon our legacy with the future we want to create here in Maine?  Her presentation will be followed by a conversation about how science directs our social narrative and how history remembers it. Questions for discussion are encouraged.
More about Malaga Island can be found on Maine Coast Heritage’s website.

Suggested Reading on Eugenics and Malaga Island
Press HeraldPress Herald
Ruthless, racially motivated actions by Maine’s government a century ago expose biases that are still with us..
The 2020 Elections: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly, a Talk with Alan R. Gitelson
There is no question that in 2020 we have witnessed one of the most contentious and  challenging elections in U.S. history. What will be the outcome on November 3 (assuming we know)? How will that outcome impact U.S. domestic and foreign policy? How has the Trump presidency impacted the political and governmental culture of our nation? These questions and others will be discussed by Gitelson followed by what we anticipate will be an engaging question and answer period.

Alan R. Gitelson
Ph.D., Political Science, The Maxwell School, Syracuse University
Professor Emeritus, Dept. of Political Science, Loyola University Chicago
Author, numerous professional articles and conference papers on political parties, campaigns and elections, political socialization. Author of four books including American Government: Myth & Reality (Oxford University Press), Political Parties: Stability &Change (Houghton Mifflin Publications), American Elections: The Rules Matter (Pearson Publishers). Lectures in England, Scotland, Tunisia. and El Salvador.
Virtual Author Talk: Sandell Morse and L. Annette Binder

York resident Sandell Morse will discuss her acclaimed book of THE SPIRAL SHELL, A French Village Reveals its Secrets of Jewish Resistance in World War II. She will be in conversation with L. Annette Binder, award-winning short story writer and author of The Vanishing Sky, inspired by her family’s experiences living in Germany during the Second World War.

visit our YouTube page to watch more videos.

To learn more about Sandell Morse and to purchase her book, click here: Learn more.

THE SPIRAL SHELL: In this haunting memoir, Morse uncovers long silenced stories of bravery and resistance among the civilians of a small town in France during WWII, and in turn finds deeper meaning and understanding of her own Jewish heritage. After the war, as the author describes, “truth went underground” and the stories of those who resisted and escaped were left buried and unheard. Morse gradually befriended and gained the trust of several individuals who shared their stories of bravery and resistance during that harrowing time. In a narrative that unfolds and overlaps both past and present, the author in turn discovers truths about her own life and Jewish history, denied her in childhood, and that she now more fully comprehends in light of the brave and selfless actions of those who chose to fight against bigotry, oppression, and genocide.

SANDELL MORSE is the author of THE SPIRAL SHELL, A French village Reveals its Secrets of Jewish Resistance in World War II. She has published widely in literary magazines including Ploughshares, the New England Review, ASCENT, Fourth Genre, Solstice, and Brevity. Morse has won awards from the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance, been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and for Best of the Net. She has been an associate artist at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, a Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and been awarded residencies from Wildacres and Hewnoaks. She lives in Maine.

To learn more about L. Annette Binder and to purchase her book, click here: Learn more.

THE VANISHING SKY : In 1945, as the war in Germany nears its violent end, the Huber family remains in its grip. Etta, a mother from a small town, struggles to keep her family together. Etta’s older son Max has come home from the front suffering from a mental breakdown. Etta strives to hide Max’s condition from the authorities, even as her husband Josef becomes more nationalistic and intent on protecting Germany from invasion.

ANNETTE BINDER was born in Germany and immigrated to the United States as a small child. The Vanishing Sky, her first novel, is inspired by events from her family history. Her father was required to serve in the Hitler Youth. Family lore has it he ran away from his post near the end of the war. Annette’s father died when she was sixteen, and writing The Vanishing Sky gave her the chance to imagine the stories he didn’t get to tell her. Annette holds degrees from Harvard, Berkeley and Harvard Law School. She has an MFA from the Programs in Writing at the University of California, Irvine. Her story collection Rise (Sarabande 2012) received the Mary McCarthy Prize and her stories have appeared in the Pushcart Prize Anthology, the O. Henry Prize Anthology and Public Radio’s Selected Shorts. She lives in New England with her husband and daughter.


Transforming Perspectives of Disability with Cindy Clough

Transforming Perspectives of Disability: This session will provide participants with a transformative perspective of disability that promotes the humanity, dignity, and civil rights of those who live with disabilities. Debunking the myths of disability will include an active examination of the historical and contemporary representation of disability across multiple public platforms. Participants will differentiate between traditional medicalized perspectives of disability and social perspectives that center advocacy, activism, and inclusivity.

Cynthia Clough, Ph.D., OT/L is an Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy at Mount Mary University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Having spent over 30 years in the profession of occupational therapy, she has developed an unwavering commitment to building equity and inclusivity for all people who experience social and institutional marginalization. This commitment is realized in her leadership and teaching pertaining to the historic and current marginalization of people with disabilities, accessibility of educational and community systems and structures, institutionalized racism and racial biases, and disparities in education, health, and life outcomes.