Cambridge Public Library

Notes from First Meeting of Central Square Work Group

11/1/1996

A meeting was held in the Central Square Library hosted by Fran Wirta with a large number of neighborhood residents to discuss the Central Branch and the Main Library and obtain input for future planning by Library 21.

1. When & How do you use the Central Square Branch?

  • Borrow, rather than buy

  • Also checks out CD's

  • Librarian can find it if item is not at branch

  • Location is important

  • Books on tape

  • Size fosters intimacy

  • Wishes library was open on Saturday in summer

  • on-line connects to main branch only, wishes it could serve this branch

  • Meeting room good and is only such location in the Square

  • Book signings

  • Computer terminal--need additional link to main on-line

  • Want wider range, particular of popular fiction

  • Computer/word-processing, particularly for children

  • Staff knows users personally, can make recommendations

  • Uses book request and reserve services

  • Walk in services

2. When do you use the Main Library? How accessible is it to you? What new materials are needed?

  • Tax forms available there

  • In fair weather -- she's a bike rider

  • Seldom in Cambridge, MA

  • Pick up videos

  • Magazine reading

  • Seats could be more comfortable

  • User finds wait list too long for popular new work

  • Reference use for high school students, helpful staff

  • Uses stacks

  • Author signings attended

  • Circulation is an issue

  • Main library has archival information on City

  • Teacher borrowing privileges on at Main

  • CD borrowing not as well-established in inter-library system

  • Magazines and newspapers in closed stacks

  • Opera music and scores should be together

  • Isolated location, not near T or busses

  • In winter, especially hard to reach

  • Telephone books, internationally

  • Newspaper collections better, more languages

  • FUTURE needs for knowledge; citizens use library as place for participation in govt.

  • Communications center, video hook ups to other cities

  • Teleconferencing

  • Community gathering place

  • Intercity communications

3. What would you like to see in children’s' services?

  • Latch key children not in regular after school programs

  • Literacy

  • Free programs are important

  • Enrichment

  • Safe local neighborhood place for local kids

  • International cooperation

  • Summer reading club, after school

  • Computers needed for success in completing homework

  • Facilitate volunteer participation and contributions

  • Where should children's services go?

  • --all branches

  • High school kids not allowed in library during the day

  • Better partnership needed with schools

4. How do we attract non-users

  • Attract through kids

  • Meeting spaces get people in the door; parking permits and other services bring people in

  • Community learning centers, ESL, adult education

  • Small business support: conference centers, etc.

  • Need for more information: health, pensions, etc.

  • Boring environment: design is important

  • Lack of knowledge about what is in the library

  • Kids: what would they like to hear, see -- lectures, authors

  • Depository for free or loaner books

  • Cable hook up so neighborhood can see local functions: City Council, School Comm

  • Cable broadcasts in general; use earphones? (Don't want to go to a bar)

  • Career resource center -- on-line workforce development

5. What kind of computer services do you want?

  • Internet connections bring many libraries around world to you

  • New technology: librarians have to deal with it

  • More electronic information: CD RAM, etc.

  • Computer terminals can be used as cable TV's

  • Hook ups of all city buildings are coming

  • How many terminals? Lots; hardware low cost space, training

  • Kids are falling behind if they're not computer literate

  • Schools open for community to use after 2:30; community sharing of resources; can health centers, public housing, schools, youth centers all be viewed as computer/library sites?

  • Sentiment for dispersing wealth of information, knowledge and access throughout the city

6. Functions: branch or main or both?

  • Heart (main branch) pumps stuff out to the hands (branches)

  • Branches are the preferred delivery spot

SUMMARY THOUGHTS

  • How do kids think? This is open door to using knowledge

  • Need a second catalogue terminal

  • More summer hours

  • Give up on big buildings

  • Library uses located close to where people are living

  • Branches have maximum services

  • Kids, close to home

  • Use non-profits to provide Internet training

  • Employment link to education to computer training

  • Computers, education

  • Cooperation with other organizations

  • $15 million could be used for staff development instead of a building

  • No bricks and mortar except to provide disabled access

  • Staff and equipment are most important

  • Weave library with non-profits and businesses, etc.

  • Give up main branch idea

  • Exciting shift in thinking about libraries

  • Kids of the future will be the smartest and most comfortable in the 21 century if the library has prepared them adequately.

  • Put library where use is lowest -- that's where people need it the most

  • Operations $ -- not bricks and mortar; staff need to run programs, instruct users

  • Allocate resources to neediest neighborhoods, e.g. Area 4

  • Bring back the Bookmobile

NEXT MEETING: November 7th

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