Informational Alert | Coronavirus Updates
NOTICE: Contactless holds pickup is available at the Main Library. Request items and schedule pickup appointments online, by phone at 617-349-4040 or by email at library@cambridgema.gov.

Director's Update, June 29, 2020


6/30/2020

O'Connell Branch

Dear Library Patrons,

During our closure due to COVID-19, the Library has initiated outreach efforts for book distribution and technology access. Jointly with the City of Cambridge and Vice Mayor Mallon, we distributed 50 boxes of donated books to Cambridge youth via free lunch sites and books and magazines to community members staying at the temporary emergency shelter. Books were made available due to a collaboration with Urban Libraries Council and Book Rich Environments, as well as through funding from the Cambridge Public Library Foundation. We have plans to distribute more free books to children later this summer, thanks to additional philanthropic support.

Additionally, we have shipped 100 Chromebook devices and 15 hotspots to students and teachers at the Community Learning Center (CLC), part of Cambridge’s Department of Human Services Program that promotes education, skills development, and community participation. These devices will be used for virtual learning and will be returned to the Library for patron use when our operations resume. We also loaned 14 MacBook computers to students enrolled in the Cambridge Public Library STEAM Academy, a partnership with non-profit organization Innovators for Purpose, to support immersive spring and summer courses for Cambridge youth. We have also lent 5 Chromebook devices to a nearby senior home. These distributions were supported in part by the Nord Family Fund and Google via the Cambridge Public Library Foundation

I know that many of you are eager for our next phase of reopening. We are planning a series of pop-up events at branches where we will offer “grab-and-go” bags of library materials for youth. We hope to begin piloting this service in mid-July.

In partnership with the Office of Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale, the CPL is hosting a virtual Communal Reading of "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July" by Frederick Douglass and the U.S. Declaration of Independence on Thursday, July 2, beginning at 5:30 PM. Please register for this event and indicate whether you would like to read an excerpt or just observe. Zoom links will be emailed to registrants one hour before the program begins.

Adults and children can now register to participate in our Summer Reading 2020 program, which runs from June 22 to August 28. Participating youth and adult readers can collect badges for any activities they choose. Anyone who obtains at least half the available badges completes their summer reading challenge. Try to collect as many badges as you can throughout the summer!

You can now register for virtual kids’ events happening soon: Queer Kid Stuff Live!Jenny the JugglerDinoman Presents DinosaursPineapple ProjectStorytelling with MokotoRosalita’s Puppets and Jay Mankita’s Playful Engineers.

In addition to our Virtual Family Storytime, held every Thursday at 11:00 AM, we invite children and their grownups to join us for Cambridge Book Bike Virtual Story Time on Tuesday, July 7 at 11:00 AM for 20-25 minutes of songs, stories, and rhymes. Plan to join in, sing along, and move around! Registration is required. A Zoom link will be emailed to registrants one hour before the program begins.

I also wanted to remind you that the Cambridge Public Library and Lamplighter Brewing Co. will co-host a virtual #BlackLivesMatter Solidarity Book Club on Monday July 6 at 7:00 p.m. Participants are invited to read Me and White Supremacy by Layla M. Saad and then join our virtual session. This eye-opening book "challenges readers to unpack their biases and dismantle the privilege within themselves in order to stop inflicting damage on people of color." The ebook is available on OverDrive and Hoopla with a Cambridge Public Library card. (If you do not have a library card, you can register online.) Registration is required.

Please note that our contactless holds pick-up service will be suspended on Friday July 3 and Saturday July 4, but we will resume appointments next week. The book drop at the Main Library will remain open over the holiday weekend for patrons who wish to return materials.

Wishing everyone a safe and fun July 4th!

Dr. Maria McCauley
Director of Libraries