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Library Receives Funding for New STEAM Learning Lab and Preservation Assessment of Historical Collections


The Cambridge Public Library was recently awarded federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grants for $19,200 from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC). “This year’s grants illustrate the vibrant and dynamic ways that libraries connect with their communities, “said Robert Favini, Head of Library Advisory and Development at the MBLC. “The grants help libraries expand service offerings, impact lives and demonstrate why libraries continue to be a vital part of the civic landscape. We are proud of the work that is done by Massachusetts libraries through the LSTA grant program.”

The Cambridge Public Library (CPL) is the proud recipient of two LSTA grants. The CPL was awarded a $15,000 grant that will be used to transform a traditional computer lab at the Main Library into a flexible learning and innovation space for STEAM programming. The Library will focus on enhancing its service to youth and emerging adults from diverse backgrounds, especially for populations that are underrepresented in STEM fields. Funding will be used for professional fees and to purchase technology and equipment. It will also be used to update the space for more flexible use. The Friends of the Cambridge Public Library is also generously providing funding for this space.

The CPL was also awarded a $4,200 grant that will be used to conduct a preservation assessment of the collections housed in the Cambridge Room, the library’s archives and special collections.  After several years of sustained growth and use of the historic collection, the Library is in a perfect position to reflect upon past preservation efforts and create a plan for the future.  The preservation assessment, which will be conducted by the Northeast Document Conservation Center, is the first step in this process so that the Cambridge community, as well as a growing number of global users, can benefit from exploring and accessing the city’s history.

“I am delighted that the Cambridge Public Library will benefit from funds awarded by the MBLC,” stated Maria McCauley, Director of Libraries. “We continuously strive to serve the needs of the Cambridge community, and I believe we will be better able to do so by improving our spaces to offer more STEAM programs, as well as preserving and making available the collections that document Cambridge’s rich history.

The MBLC developed this direct grant program using federal funding to help libraries meet local community needs including projects that help jobseekers with career development and job information, programs that help New Americans learn English and become citizens, STEM and STEAM projects, programs that serve teen needs, and projects that preserve valuable historical documents. The MBLC also offers grants to increase access to library services for people with disabilities.

LSTA is administered on the federal level by the Institute of Museum and Library Services and in the Commonwealth by the MBLC. More information about LSTA can be found on Board's website at

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The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary. The IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s approximately 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Its mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. Its grant making, policy development, and research help libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook, Twitter  and Instagram.