Director's Update, July 31, 2022


Director of Libraries and Sindu Meier

Dear Patrons, 

The Library will be hosting award-winning author Imbolo Mbue in a reading and discussion of her latest novel How Beautiful We Were. Mbue will be in conversation with Dr. Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman, associate professor of American Studies and English at Brown University. Registration is required to participate in this event. The event is supported by the Cambridge Public Library Foundation. 


The City of Cambridge, the Cambridge Public Library, and William Rawn Associates were short-listed for a prestigious Green Library Award for the design and development of the Valente Branch Library by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA). Although we did not win the top prize (our friends at the Choa Chu Kang Library in Singapore did for their splendid mall branch library with interior gardens), it was wonderful to showcase the Cambridge Public Libraries to a global audience. Thank you to the City of Cambridge and the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library for making this possible.
Photo: Sindu Meier and I presenting at the IFLA Green Award Ceremony.


We are also pleased to offer the following programs this week.

Outdoor Programs for Kids 

This week, these programs will be offered (weather permitting) at our Boudreau, Central Square, Collins, Main, O’Connell, O’Neill, and Valente locations: 

  • Outdoor Baby Lapsit: Just for you and your baby! Enjoy time with other parents, caregivers, and babies to play and develop language and motor skills. 
  • Preschool Story Time: Recommended for children ages 3-5.
  • Sing-Along: All ages are invited to sing and dance!
  • Songs and Stories: All ages are invited to sing, dance, and share a story!
  • Story Time: All ages are invited to join us for a half hour of stories!     

Please see the events calendar for further details. Registration is not required. 

Book Groups 

Learn more about our Book Group offerings this week.

Summer Reading Crafternoon (O’Neill)
Monday, August 1
3-5 p.m.

Visit the O'Neill Branch to make and take a hands-on project. This week we'll make crafts with recycled toilet paper rolls. Bring your creativity and imagination for Crafternoon fun! Recommended for children ages 5-10 and their caregivers. Learn more.

Vinyl Cutting 101 (Main) 
Monday, August 1
3:30-4:30 p.m. 

Would you like to make your own vinyl signs, stickers, or images to transfer to T-shirts and other textiles? In this workshop, you can learn how to use our Roland Camm-1 GS-24 vinyl cutter. You can then design a sticker and cut it with our vinyl cutter! You must complete The Hive Safety Training before registering for this workshop. Registration is required

Summer ESOL Class (Valente)
Monday, August 1
6-7:30 p.m.

Join us for an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) class this summer! This class will be taught at a beginner level. No testing is needed. Everyone is welcome. For more information, call Maria Balestrieri at 617-349-4013. Learn more.

Summer Reading: Exploring China Through Music and Story with Shaw Pong Liu (Valente)
Tuesday, August 2
2-3 p.m.

From the grasslands of Mongolia to the high mountain of Yunnan, master musician Shaw Pong Liu takes audiences on a musical journey through historical and contemporary China. Her suitcase packed with languages and musical instruments, Shaw Pong weaves history, geography, the Mandarin language, and Chinese folk music in a dynamic exploration of China. This program can accommodate 50 people. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis on the day of the program. The entire party must be present to receive a ticket. This program starts promptly, and unfortunately, we cannot accommodate latecomers. Unclaimed seats will be offered to someone waiting. We appreciate your patience and understanding. Please call 617-349-4015 for more information. Learn more.

Summer Reading: Teen Book Discussion (O'Neill)
Tuesday, August 2
6-7 p.m.

Attention teen readers! Join other students to talk about Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds, the CRLS "One School One Story" read. There are some heavy themes here! Let's talk. Refreshments will be provided. Learn more.

Knitting Group (Boudreau)
Tuesday, August 2
6:30-7:30 p.m.

Bring your project and enjoy an hour in the company of other crafters. Learn more

Summer Reading: Card Making (Boudreau)
Wednesday, August 3
3-7 p.m.

Drop in on Wednesdays to create cards for our neighbors at Cadbury Commons. Learn more.

Summer Reading: Stuffed Animal Story Time (O’Connell)
Wednesday, August 3
3-3:30 p.m.

Bring your favorite cuddly toy companion and snuggle up in the O'Connell Reading Garden for some cozy stories and songs. For children of all ages and their grownups. Learn more.

Summer Reading: Make a Mini Zine (Valente)
Wednesday, August 3
4-5 p.m.

Got something to say and want to get it in print? Join fellow teens at the Valente Branch for a workshop on how to create your own zine, or homemade magazine, using just one piece of paper! Materials will be provided. This program is recommended for ages 12-18. Learn more.

Summer Reading: Family Game Night (O'Neill)
Wednesday, August 3
6-7:30 p.m.

Challenge your family or meet new friends over board games and puzzles. Play an old favorite or learn a new game. The Library will supply games. All ages welcome. Learn more.

The Hive Safety Training (Virtual)
Wednesday, August 3
7-7:30 p.m.  

In this workshop, you will learn about our makerspace, how to use our resources, and how to keep safe in The Hive. Before attending workshops in The Hive, all makers must bring signed copies of The Hive User Agreement and Waivers. Registration is required

Fiber Crafts Group - Drop-In (O’Connell)
Thursday, August 4
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Bring your project and enjoy the company of other fiber crafters! Drop in with this informal group to work on your craft, get inspired, pick up skills, and socialize. Knit, embroider, crochet, spin, mend, cross stitch, and more. All crafts are welcome! Learn more.

Imbolo Mbue Presents How Beautiful We Were (Main)
Thursday, August 4
6-7:30 p.m.

Join award-winning author Imbolo Mbue in a reading and discussion of her latest novel How Beautiful We Were, a sweeping tale about the collision of a small African village and an American oil company. This event will be moderated by Aliyyah Abdur-Rahman, associate professor of American Studies and English at Brown University. Registration is required.

Equipment and Studio Reservation (Main) 
Thursday, August 4
6-8:30 p.m.
Saturday, August 6
1-4:30 p.m. 

At this time, anyone who has completed The Hive Safety Training and is badged to use equipment or studio(s) can reserve The Hive’s equipment or studio spacesLearn more about becoming a badged maker. Staff will assist participants as they are able. Learn more

XR Lab (Main)
Friday, August 5
3:30-4:30 p.m.

Extended reality (XR) opens the door to worlds and experiences outside the everyday through virtual reality, augmented reality, and mixed reality equipment. Test drive our Microsoft HoloLens augmented reality glasses, Structure Sensor 3D scanner, Merge headsets, and more. You must complete The Hive Safety Training before registering for this workshop. Registration is required.

Sewing 101 (Main)
Saturday, August 6
10-11:30 a.m. 

Here you’ll learn the basics of sewing machine operation and safety. This session will cover setting up a machine, its basic functions, threading the machine, reloading the bobbin, sewing straight stitches, and recognizing when the stitch tension has gone awry. We’ll also cover some safety best practices when operating a sewing machine. As we learn together, we’ll work on a simple sewing project—a drawstring bag—which most students will be able to complete by the end of the class.

You must complete The Hive Safety Training or The Hive Safety Training & Glowforge 101 before registering for this workshop. Registration is required.

Plant Parents: Terrarium Workshop (Main)
Saturday, August 6
Noon-2 p.m.

Do you want to create your own terrarium of mini plants to green up your space? Join us in Joan Lorentz Park for a terrarium workshop! Learn the best methods from Emerald City Plant Shop to design and care for your new terrarium and connect with other plant parents. We will provide the materials and plants. In the case of rain, this event will be held in the Community Room. Registration is required.

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All the best,

Maria McCauley, Ph.D.
Director of Libraries