Cambridge Public Library Strategic Framework

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Planning Process

Learn about the public process that the Library conducted to develop the new strategic framework

Process Overview and Timeline

Community Insights



Strategic Planning Team

Maria McCauley

Our New Strategic Plan

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

Dear Cambridge Community Members,

It has been a productive year at the Cambridge Public Library as we completed our process to update our Strategic Plan! I’m thrilled to report that our new plan was approved by the CPL Board of Trustees at their September meeting.

As a member of the community, your input and ideas were a vital part of this process. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about our collections, services, staff, programs and spaces, as well as for your ideas for improving this great library system. Almost 1300 folks responded to our online survey! Many of you attended our in-person community forums or shared your thoughts on our popular Idea Walls, posted throughout the city.

In the survey results, we learned there is a high level of satisfaction with library services and that there are sustained high levels of library use. Community members praised the patron experience of the Cambridge Public Library, especially the welcoming atmosphere and the high caliber of service provided by attentive, knowledgeable staff. The Library was also identified as a critical community hub and social connector.

While community feedback was generally very positive, respondents also identified some opportunities for improvement, such as expanding the hours at branch libraries. We also learned that people don’t know all the library offers. Respondents often shared suggestions for services that already exist or described how they’d only recently become aware of some long-standing offerings.

We used your valuable input to clarify our mission: welcoming all, inspiring minds, and empowering community. We want to support a Cambridge where everyone has equitable opportunities to learn, people live their best lives, and democracy thrives.

We have identified our strategic priorities as follows:

  • Welcome and Inclusion: We are your free public library- a place where everyone belongs.
  • Arts and Ideas: We celebrate the cultural and intellectual vitality of our community.
  • Learning and Literacy: We foster your self-development and discovery of the universe of ideas.
  • Community and Democracy: we connect our community and promote our shared democratic traditions.

All of our work over the next several years will fall under these four areas.

Again, I thank the CPL community for your participation that enabled us to define these critical areas of work. I also wish to extend an enormous thank you to the Cambridge Public Library Foundation and Friends of the Cambridge Public Library for their support of the strategic planning process.

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