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 3, 2021


Aerial View of the Central Square Branch Library
Hello Patrons,
Happy New Year! I hope that 2021 brings all of us much-needed joy and reconnection!
Contactless holds pickup unavailable January 2 - 18
To ensure the safety of the public and staff, all personal services at City buildings, including contactless holds pickup at the Cambridge Public Library, are suspended through at least Monday, January 18, 2021. Thank you for understanding.
  • Contactless holds pickup: All holds at the Main Library, Central Square Branch, O’Neill Branch, and Valente Branch will be inaccessible during this period but will be made available when holds pickup resumes. 
  • Library returns: Patrons are encouraged to keep their borrowed items until pickup service resumes. Due dates will be extended to February 1, and no fines will be charged. The Main Library book drop outside will be open for returns. No returns will be accepted at branches. Please note that takeout technology (laptops, wi-fi hotspots) cannot be returned in the outside book drop. 
  • Phone service: Patrons may call the Main Library at 617-349-4040 for assistance Monday-Friday. There will be no phone service at branches during this time.
Virtual programs and services will continue as scheduled. Patrons may check the calendar on the Library website for the most up-to-date information. 
MLK, Jr. Day Celebration: Kiese Laymon in conversation with Jesse McCarthy
Our annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration will take place virtually on Thursday, January 14, at 7 p.m. Join us to celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King with Kiese Laymon in conversation with Professor Jesse McCarthy.
Kiese Laymon is the author of the best-selling Heavy: An American Memoir, which won the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. He is the Hubert H. McAlexander Chair of English at the University of Mississippi and the recipient of a 2020-2021 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. 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 and a distinguished U.S. 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 awaiting 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.
Book Groups in January
Book groups are an excellent way to join neighbors and friends around the joy of reading! The Library offers a number of virtual book groups this month:
Or join a book group at your branch library:
Registration is required for these events.
Virtual ESOL Classes Resume
After the holiday break, our virtual English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes will resume on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Introductory ESOL takes place at 11 a.m., beginner ESOL at 1 p.m., and intermediate ESOL at 3 p.m. Registration is required for each class. Please see the Library’s online events calendarfor more details.

Tinkercad 101: Customized Earsavers
Make a personal earsaver to wear with your mask! Join us for thisnew virtual workshop from The Hive makerspace on Tuesday, January 5, from 3:30-5 p.m. or Thursday, January 7, from 6-7:30 p.m.
Learn the fundamentals of Tinkercad to design and edit objects for 3D printing. Participants may share a completed design file to be printed in The Hive and arrange to collect it via contactless pickup.
Registration is required for each event. See the Library’sonline events calendarto register.
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 with those intentions inscribed upon it with the guidance of our local, socially engaged artist Elisa H. Hamilton. 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. Please cancel your registration if you cannot attend.
There’s Still Time! Give the Gift of Stories You Love!
This holiday season, we are partnering with Porter Square Books to provide new books to children and teens living in transitional housing. Donate books by shopping in the store or online through our Donation Wish List. Porter Square Books is offering 20% off all books purchased for this program from now through the end of January.

Stay Connected
To keep up with what’s happening at the Library, please subscribe to our email list, follow us on TwitterInstagram,and Facebook, and visit our website.
Wishing you happiness, health, and prosperity,
Maria McCauley, Ph.D.
Director of Libraries