Congratulations Dr. Maria McCauley!


Maria McCauley PhD

Congratulations to Maria McCauley, our Director of Libraries, on obtaining her PhD from the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College!

Our Director answers a few questions here:
How has your doctoral work and research added to your role as the Cambridge Public Library Director of Libraries? 
My program, which focused on leadership in the library and information professions, helped me to learn about leadership theory and concepts, which I apply to my work. I was also taught by leading library practitioners from around the country and learned from a dynamic cohort of other senior managers.

What inspired your research topic on Community Leadership? 
In thinking about how people can make a real difference in the community, I came across Rural Communities: Legacy and Change by Cornelia Butler Flora and Jan Flora in which they discuss the importance of building community capitals to support a healthy, vibrant, happy community and works by Robert Putnam about the importance of building social capital and including people from various segments of the population.

Read her abstract titled “Community Leadership: The Role of Public Library Directors." 

This study explores the role of public library directors as community leaders: how they form community networks, solve community problems, and build a range of community capital assets that can be reinvested into the community. Research methodologies included content analysis and narrative inquiry that elicited the study participants’ recall of critical events. The study revealed the perceptions of 14 public library directors about what it means to be a community leader and, through narrative storytelling, how the library directors played a leadership role in their communities. The study participants identified diverse opportunities that could make a difference in their community and used various approaches to address complex community issues. The participants provided 45 examples of initiatives, programs, or service changes that helped to build human, social, political, built, cultural and natural community capitals. The programs and activities included supporting youth, fostering cultural understanding and the humanities, and building the knowledge economy. The study results illustrated how public library directors are helping to build sustainable, holistic communities that foster social inclusion, increase human knowledge, and promote healthier, stronger, more inclusive communities. The results confirm that the work of public library directors in holistic community building was grounded firmly in the community development literature. This study built upon a definition of community leadership; created a typology of community leadership characteristics; provided a linkage to the “greater good” work of public libraries; and extended the concepts of community leadership and community building. The results of this study may help to inform the national dialogue and directives on community leadership and public libraries by adding empirical research on holistic, sustainable community leadership and public libraries to the civic agenda.