STEAM at the Cambridge Public Library

Photo of two people wearing VR headsets

What is STEAM?

STEAM education targets the STEM fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math -- but adds an Arts dimension, to engage more students, and to recognize the creative and artistic habits of mind in STEM professions.

Learn more


STEAM Spaces

We are creating two new spaces at the Main Library to support STEAM activities, in addition to programs happening across all branches.

See proposed STEAM spaces


Keep Informed

See Oct 2 Public Trustees Meeting Slides

See July 19 Public Meeting Notes and Slides

Read about Planned Collection Shifts

Maria McCauley

What is STEAM at the Library?

A Note from the Director, Dr. Maria McCauley
Maria McCauley

In addition to our important work championing reading and learning through our early literacy and youth programs, lectures and public forums, adult literacy, ESOL, genealogy, and creative aging programs, I am pleased to announce that the Cambridge Public Library will become the public hub for STEAM learning in the city. In partnership with the City’s STEAM Initiative and the Department of Human Services, the STEAM at the Library and Citywide Initiatives will advance the work already accomplished by both entities and the Cambridge Public Schools in engaging families and the public in quality science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) learning experiences.

We will expand our offerings to build a robust STEAM at the Library program, plans which include:

  • Staffing shared between Human Services and the Library including relocating the STEAM Director, to the Main Library, as well as hiring two managers and three part-time staff.
  • Physical improvements at the Main Library to support STEAM learning, access to technology & equipment including redesigning the Learning Lab, creating a Technology Bar, and ‘The Garage,’ a makerspace environment.
  • Curriculum and programs designed to meet patron learning goals and support City STEAM goals including STEAM activities at the branch libraries, which are close to the elementary and upper schools, and to community organizations that provide out of school time programming.
  • Outreach to provide access to underrepresented populations. We will partner with community organizations and city departments to bring services and an awareness of STEAM opportunities into the community and to broaden interest in STEAM learning and careers.

Some of the exciting STEAM programs the CPL is partnering on include understanding satellites via the PLIX Space Initiative with MIT Media Lab and Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; a project-based learning course in partnership with Innovators for Purpose in which students will design interactive wayfinding signs for public installation in Cambridge parks; and expanding the Library’s coding classes in conjunction with the American Library Association’s Libraries Ready to Code program.

Read the Director's Full Vision Document

Planned Collection Shifts

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