Informational Alert | Coronavirus Updates
NOTICE: Contactless holds pickup is suspended effective Jan. 2, 2021. The Library's virtual programs and services and digital collections continue to be available. For assistance, call 617‑349‑4040 or email

Director's Update, January 10, 2021


Aerial View of the Central Square Branch Library
Dear Patrons,
We are experiencing a turbulent time with last week’s attack on the U.S. Capitol, our raised awareness of the disparity of the treatment of Black and Brown persons due to structural racism, the transition from one presidential administration to another, and the rollouts of the various stages of COVID-19 vaccinations. I want to invite you to upcoming related and timely talks by Kiese Laymon and Nicholas Burns. I hope to see you there!
MLK Day Celebration: Kiese Laymon in conversation with Jesse McCarthy
Our annual MLK Day Celebration will take place virtually on Thursday, January 14, at 7 p.m. Join us to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with the author Kiese Laymon in conversation with Jesse McCarthy.
Laymon is the author of the award-winning Heavy: An American Memoir. He is the Hubert H. McAlexander Chair of English at the University of Mississippi and the recipient of the 2020-21 Radcliffe Fellowship at Harvard.
Jesse McCarthy is an assistant professor jointly appointed in the Department of English and the Department of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.
Registration is required. A Zoom link will be sent out before the event. Presented with support from the Cambridge Public Library Foundation.
U.S. Foreign Policy in the Biden-Harris Administration with Ambassador Nicholas Burns
Ambassador Nicholas Burns, the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Relations at Harvard University and a distinguished diplomat, will speak at this Cambridge Public Library virtual event on January 19 at 6:30 p.m. He will discuss the foreign policy challenges facing the Biden-Harris administration as part of the Library’s Our Path Forward series, which examines issues important to the health of our democracy. Registration is required.
Service Updates
We appreciate your patience and understanding as our contactless holds pickup service remains suspended until at least Monday, January 18, to ensure the safety of the public and library staff.
Patrons are encouraged to keep their borrowed items until pickup service resumes. Due dates are extended to February 1; no fines will be charged. The Main Library book drop outside will be open for returns, however, our branches will not accept any returns. Please note that takeout technology (laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots) cannot be returned in the outside book drop.
Martin Luther King Jr. Day
All Cambridge Public Library locations will be closed on Monday, January 18, to observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There will be no email or phone service.
Remote Staff Services, Your Next Great Read, and CPL Online Services
Library staff will continue to help patrons remotely:
  • Call the Main Library (617-349-4040) for assistance Monday-Friday. (There will be no phone service at branches during this time.)
  • Email the library staff at
  • Virtual programs and services will continue as scheduled on our events calendar.
Our librarians are happy to help you find Your Next Great Read. Fill out a short form about your favorite books and genres, and we'll email you personal recommendations of books we think you'll enjoy.
Our Resource Guide lists all of the online services available through the Cambridge Public Library. Updated frequently, the guide includes links to our online collections such as Hoopla and Overdrive, our databases such as Ancestry,, and Mango Languages, virtual programs, booklists, and so much more!
The Hive Open House
On Tuesday, January 12, at 3:30 p.m., join us for a virtual tour of the new makerspace, recording studios, and extended reality lab at the Main Library. See what is possible in this exciting space and learn about upcoming virtual workshops where you can design projects to be produced and picked up from The Hive. Registration is required.
Tween/Teen Virtual Hangout
Tweens, teens, and their caregivers are invited to drop in on Wednesday, January 13, at 4 p.m. Say hello to your librarians, get book recommendations and research assistance, learn about the library's virtual offerings, and bring your suggestions! Registration is required.
CPL CRAFTS: Celebration of Intentions with Elisa H. Hamilton
In the Celebration of Intentions virtual workshop on Wednesday, January 13, at 6:30 p.m., participants will identify the personal intentions they would like to honor in the new year and celebrate them by creating a festoon of artful paper bunting inspired by those intentions with the guidance of the local, socially engaged artist Elisa H. Hamilton. Registration is required.
Google Drawing 101: Sticker Design
On Thursday, January 14, at 6 p.m., learn the fundamentals of Google Drawing to design and edit images for customized vinyl stickers. You'll also be introduced to our in-house vinyl cutter machine. Participants may share a completed design file to be made into a sticker in The Hive and arrange to collect it via contactless holds pickup. Registration is required.
Join Us for Story Time
We invite children and their grownups to join us from home for 20-25 minutes of engaging stories. Plan to sing along and move around! Caregivers are asked to participate in the program with their children.
STEAM Story Times include hands-on activities to explore science, technology, engineering, the arts, and math; please gather your activity materials before the event.
We are happy to offer these Story Time programs this week:

Registration is required for each event.
Stay Connected
To keep up with what’s happening at the Library, please subscribe to our email list, follow us on TwitterInstagramand Facebook, and visit our website.
I hope that you and your loved ones are okay and hanging in there.
Sending my best,
Maria McCauley, Ph.D.
Director of Libraries