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Director's Update, May 12, 2024


5/12/20242 weeks ago

Neel Mukherjee

Dear Patrons,

On Wednesday, May 15, from 6-7:30 p.m., join Neel Mukherjee, the author of the Man Booker Prize-nominated novel The Lives of Others, for a reading and conversation from his new novel Choice. A Professor of English at Harvard, Mukherjee has been called “one of the most original and talented authors working today” (NPR) and, in a pre-publication blurb, Tracy K. Smith called Choice “searing, poetic and beautifully brutal.” The novel is composed of three thematically linked sections, across which Mukherjee “showcases his ability to inhabit different perspectives” (Booklist). Registration is required

Join us on Saturday, May 18, from 1-3 p.m. at Joan Lorentz Park for a special session of Sacred Songs and Rituals in celebration of Haitian Flag Day with the band Tjovi Ginen. Tjovi Ginen is the preeminent interpreter of Vodoun music in the New England Area for over 25 years. The band’s high octane fusion of vodoun music characterized by pulsating rhythms and call and response, with reggae, ska, dub, and a variety of African traditional sounds will highlight Haiti's dynamic culture while paying homage to its African roots. This program is cosponsored by the Office of Mayor E. Denise Simmons.

 

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Activities for Kids       
This week, these programs will be offered at our Boudreau, Central Square, Collins, Main, O’Connell, O’Neill, and Valente locations.               

Sing-Alongs Story Times                 

Book Groups
Learn more about our Book Groups.

Baby Lapsit (Main)
Monday, May 13
10-10:20 a.m.
             
Just for you and your baby! Enjoy time with other parents and caregivers to help babies learn, play, and develop language and motor skills. Recommended for 0-12 months. Come prepared to sit on the floor with your baby in your lap. This program can accommodate 15 babies and their caregivers. 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. Unclaimed seats will be offered to someone waiting. We appreciate your patience and understanding. Please call 617-349-4038 for more information.

ESOL Classes (Central Square)
Monday, May 13, Tuesday, May 14, and Thursday, May 16
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 1-2:30 p.m., and 3-4:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 15, and Friday, May 17
10:30 a.m.-Noon

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes occur every weekday. On Mondays, High Beginner ESOL is from 10:30 a.m.to noon and on Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, Intermediate ESOL is at 11 a.m., High Beginner ESOL is at 1 p.m., and Advanced ESOL is at 3 p.m. Beginner ESOL is at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. Registration is not required.

Wellness for Seniors: Zumba Gold (Virtual)
Monday, May 13 (Virtual), and Thursday, May 16 (in-person)
11-11:45 am.    

Put on your dancing shoes to improve flexibility and balance, strengthen muscles and have fun! Certified Zumba Gold instructor Emily B. will lead you through 45 minutes of low-impact and easy-to-follow choreography in your own home through Zoom. Join us!

Registration for each session is required. This workshop is full; a waitlist is available. This is a virtual event. A Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants 1 hour before the event.

STEAM Academy: iFp Studio (Main)
Monday, May 13, and Thursday, May 16
 3:30-7 p.m.

Innovators for Purpose (iFp) Studio is a teen-powered design and innovation program where teens channel their energy and creative vision to imagine and build a better world. Blending art, design, science, technology, and storytelling within a social justice framework, teens engage in real-world client-sponsored projects. Teens are invited to learn more and apply on the iFp website: Innovators for Purpose.

Sewing 101 (Main)
Monday, May 13
3-4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, May 14
1-2:30 p.m.

In this workshop, you’ll learn the basics of sewing machine operation and safety. This session will cover machine setup, basic functions, threading the machine, reloading the bobbin, sewing straight stitches, and recognizing when 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 project—a drawstring bag—which most students will be able to complete by the end of the class. 
Registration is required. You must complete The Hive Safety Training before registering for this workshop. This workshop is full; a waitlist is available.   

Meet an Animal with Mass Audubon (Central Square)
Monday, May 13
3-4 p.m.

Meet live wildlife as you compare their physical and behavioral adaptations and how these relate to their roles within an ecosystem. Learn where they live and how climate change may be affecting them. This program can focus on an animal group, habitat, energy flow, or seasonal adaptations. Registration for every child is required

LEGO Time (Main)
Monday, May 13
4-4:45 p.m.     
            
It’s a weekly block party! Bring friends to design and build amazing LEGO structures. Let your imagination run wild! The Children's Room has plenty of LEGO pieces, so you don’t need to bring your own. Be aware that LEGO pieces are choking hazards for young children, so this program is for children ages 5+ and their caregivers. It can accommodate 30 builders. Children under age 7 must be accompanied by a caregiver. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis on the day of the program. This program starts promptly, and any unclaimed seats will be offered to someone waiting. We appreciate your patience and understanding. Please call 617-349-4038 for more information. 

Free Drop-in Tutoring for Teens (Main)
Monday, May 13, and Wednesday, May 15
5-6 p.m.       

Need help with a class? Have a question before an exam? Tutors are available to help you! Cambridge School Volunteers and the Library are pleased to offer tutoring services in the Teen Room on Mondays and Wednesdays. Please contact us with any questions at 617-349-4027 (voice) or via relay at 711.         

ESOL Conversation Class (Valente)
Monday, May 13
6-7 p.m. 

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

The Call Is Coming from Inside the House: A Personal Essay Workshop with Alysia Abbott (Main Library)
Monday, May 13
6-8 p.m.

Do you suspect the most urgent story you have to tell is your own but fear being self-indulgent or upsetting family members? How do you evoke the past in ways that will feel alive and meaningful to readers? In this an instructor-facilitated, peer-driven workshop we’ll explore the complexities of writing about family--the opportunities, the challenges, and the benefits.

Drawing on work by Grace Talusan, Justin Torres, Victoria Chang, Jonathan Letham, and others, we’ll investigate how different writers achieve the distance necessary to bring themselves and family members to life while also making meaning out of these stories. Then we’ll use a mix of generative exercises and on the spot feedback to write our own. The two-hour course meets once a week for three weeks and is designed both for those who are just beginning to write nonfiction and those who have drafts they want to deepen. Registration is required. This workshop is full; a waitlist is available.

Note: This is a 3-week series. Please plan to attend all 3 sessions.

Alysia Abbott is the author of Fairyland, A Memoir of My Father, which was a New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice and an ALA Stonewall Award winner, a winner of the Madame Figaro Prix Heroine, and was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Awards. She's written for The Boston Globe, The Guardian, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Vogue, Marie Claire, TheAtlantic.com, TriQuarterly and Psychology Today, among other publications. She holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from New School University and was a contributing producer at WNYC Radio.

Estate Planning for All (Virtual)
Tuesday, May 14
10-11:30 a.m.

The Cambridge Public Library and Legal Services Center of Harvard Law School are excited to offer Estate Planning for All on Tuesday, May 14 from 10-11:30 a.m.  Estate plans can help you prepare for unexpected changes, offer a sense of security in uncertain times, and ensure that your wishes will be carried out if you become ill, incapacitated, or die unexpectedly. Everyone—regardless of background or financial situation—can have an estate plan. 

We will discuss:

  • Financial issues during our lifetimes: power of attorney, homestead declaration, and trusts
  • Health and medical issues: health care proxy, medical directives, and HIPAA authorization
  • Preparing for death: wills and declaration as to remains

Estate planning issues specific to veterans and individuals with disabilities will also be discussed.

This webinar will be presented on Zoom. Registrants may phone in if preferred. Zoom information will be sent to registrants before the session. Questions? Contact Lucy at LFlamm@CambridgeMA.gov or call 617-349-4022. Registration is required.

Sit 'n' Knit (Main)
Tuesday, May 14
2:30-3:30 p.m.

Bring your project and enjoy the company of other fiber crafters as you work, get inspired, pick up skills, and socialize. Knit, embroider, crochet, spin, and mend. Refreshments will be provided.

Equipment and Studio Reservations (Main)
Tuesday, May 14, 3:30-8:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 16, 3:30-8:30 p.m.
Saturday, May 18, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

During this period, anyone who has completed The Hive Safety Training and is badged to use equipment or studio(s) can
 reserve equipment or studio spaces. Staff will assist participants as they are able.  

Drop-in Tech Help (Central Square)
Tuesday, May 14
4-6 p.m.
 
Looking for some basic computer or mobile device guidance? Want help using an online resource? Need someone to read your résumé and help with navigating online job applications? Join us for our drop-in hours. No registration is required. If you have any questions, please contact
library@cambridgema.gov.

STEAM Academy: iFp Labs (Main)
Tuesday, May 14
4:30-6:30 p.m.

Innovators for Purpose (iFp) Labs start with students' interest in building a better world and introduce them to the underlying science and math principles that will bring their solutions to life. Youth in 7th and 8th grades are invited to join iFp on a journey into the world of artificial intelligence with “Smart Cars AI: Driving Innovation for All.” This 13-week adventure invites students to dive into the world of self-driving cars at the intersection of technology and innovation.

Art of Translation: Collaboration with Martha Collins and Nguyen Ba Chung (Valente)
Tuesday, May 14
6:30-7:30 p.m.

Co-translators Martha Collins and Nguyen Ba Chung will read and discuss their translations of poems from Dreaming the Mountain (Milkweed, 2023) by Vietnamese Buddhist poet Tuệ Sỹ (1943-2023), who was imprisoned for fourteen years and at one point condemned to death. The reading will trace the poet’s journey from his student and professor years in Saigon, through a time of solitude following the end of war in 1975, and into and beyond his years of imprisonment. Collins and Chung will also discuss their translation process, and read poems in both English and Vietnamese. Registration is required.

Knitting Group (Boudreau)
Tuesday, May 14
6:30-7:30 p.m.             

Bring your project, yarn, and needles to enjoy an hour in the company of other crafters. 

Family STEAM Night (O'Neill)
Tuesday, May 14
6:30-7:15 p.m.

Families with elementary school age children join us for hands-on activities focused on Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering, and Math. Adults and children will learn and play together! This month we will be starting seeds!

CPL Nature Club: Fresh Pond Nature Walk (Collins)
Wednesday, May 15
10:15-11:30 a.m.

Join us for a relaxing walk of Fresh Pond with Park Ranger Tim Puopolo! No two weeks are the same in nature, and Tim will share his insights about what's growing, changing, and blooming in the neighborhood. This walk is not on a paved path. We will walk on uneven terrain, down hills, and over roots. 

Registration is required. This event can only accommodate a certain number of participants. One registration is good for one person. If you do not register, you cannot participate. Those on the waitlist will be contacted if space becomes available.

Fiber Crafts Group - Drop-in (O’Connell)
Wednesday, May 15
11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Bring your project and enjoy the company of other fiber crafters. Work on your craft, get inspired, pick up skills, and socialize. Knit, embroider, crochet, spin, mend, and cross stitch.    

Résumé and Job Application Support (Central Square)
Wednesday, May 15
1-3 p.m.    
     
Looking for assistance creating a résumé or finding jobs? Join us for assistance with job hunting and online applications. No registration is required. For more information, call Maria Balestrieri at 617-349-4013.

3D Printing 101: Game Piece Design (Main)
Wednesday, May 15
1-2:30 p.m.

Learn how to create your favorite game piece in digital space and print it out using our Sindoh 3D printers. In this workshop, you will get hands-on experience running the 3D printer, gain fundamental 3D modeling skills using Tinkercad, and earn your 3D Printing badge for future reservations in The Hive. Before taking this workshop, you will need to complete The Hive Safety Training and create a free Tinkercad account at 
www.tinkercad.com. Parents may need to assist users under the age of 18 to create an account. Register here.

English Conversation Practice, Intermediate (O'Neill)
Wednesday, May 15
1-2:30 p.m. 
 
Join us for an English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Conversation Practice. This group is for those with an intermediate or high level of English language skill. No testing is required. For more information on other ESOL classes, please call Maria Balestrieri at 617-349-4013. 

DNA Testing for Genealogical Research (Main)
Wednesday, May 15
2-3 p.m.

An in-depth look at DNA testing, the pros and cons, and its value for genealogical research.
Registration is required.

Maze Making for Teens (Valente)

Wednesday, May 15
3-4:30 p.m.

Design and create mazes out of shoeboxes at the Valente Branch! All materials will be provided by the library while supplies last. For more information, call 617-349-4015.

Wednesdays of Wonder—WOW! (O’Neill)
Wednesday, May 15
3-4:30 p.m.

Come for games and a different activity each week! Kids of all ages can hang out and do crafts or STEAM activities. No registration is required.


Internet Safety (Main)
Wednesday, May 15
3-4 p.m.

Learn how to be safer online with accounts and passwords. We will provide an overview of frauds and scams. To view and register for other Basic Tech Classes at the Library, please go to tinyurl.com/basictechclass

Nintendo Switch Party for Ages 7-9 (Main)
Wednesday, May 15
3:30-4:30 p.m.

Join our Nintendo Switch party! We'll have two multiplayer games available to play on our library consoles. This program is for ages 7-9. This program can accommodate 16 gamers. Tickets are available on a first come, first served basis on the day of the program. The gamer must be present to receive a ticket. This program starts promptly, and any unclaimed spots will be offered to someone waiting. We appreciate your patience and understanding. Please call 617-349-4038 for more information. 

CPL Nature Club: Plant a Seed, Grow a Flower (Boudreau)
Wednesday, May 15
4-5 p.m.

Spring is in full swing, so it’s time to plant seeds! Join us to plant your very own marigolds, learn about the lifecycle of a plant, and check out some books about gardening. You can even help plant some seeds in Boudreau’s big planter that will become flowers for all to enjoy throughout the summer! 

This event is open to children ages 5 and up and their caregivers. Registration is required for child participants - caregivers need not register.

Free Drop-in Tutoring for Teens (Main)
Wednesday, May 15
5-6 p.m.
 
Need help with a class? Have a question before an exam? Tutors are available to help you! Cambridge School Volunteers and the Library are pleased to offer tutoring services in the Teen Room on Mondays and Wednesdays. Please contact 617-349-4027 with any questions.

Sewing Circle (Main)
Wednesday, May 15
5:30-8:30 p.m.

Continue building your machine-sewing skills AND receive support as you work on your own sewing projects with our Library sewing community. Participants must register but may drop-in any time during the program.
Registration is requiredThis program is designed for patrons who know the basics of how to use our Janome sewing machines. 

Songs and Stories with guest author Ellen Mayer (Valente)
Wednesday, May 15
5:30-6:30 p.m.

Stories, songs, and activities with author Ellen Mayer celebrating her new book Gift & Box (Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2023).

Families with children of all ages can join us for a story time, plus singalong with a bluegrass trio - The Incorrigibles! Children can explore and touch the instruments, and do an activity that lets them experience what it's like to be the story character Gift inside of story character Box.

CPL Presents: Neel Mukherjee, author of CHOICE (Main)
Wednesday, May 15
6-7:30 p.m.

Join NEEL MUKHERJEE, author of the Man Booker Prize-nominated novel The Lives of Others, for a reading and conversation from his new novel Choice. A Professor of English at Harvard, Mukherjee has been called “one of the most original and talented authors working today” (NPR) and, in a pre-publication blurb, Tracy K. Smith called Choice “searing, poetic and beautifully brutal.” The novel is composed of three thematically linked sections, across which Mukherjee “showcases his ability to inhabit different perspectives” (Booklist).
Registration is required

Wednesday Word Puzzles (O'Connell)
Wednesday, May 15
6:30-7:30 p.m.

Drop in to try some fun puzzles every week: word searches, riddles, and variety crosswords! You can come alone or bring a grown-up. Recommended for ages 11 and up. No registration is required. E-mail cmeisler@cambridgema.gov for more details.

Vinyl Cutting 101 (Main)
Thursday, May 16, 10-11 a.m.
Saturday, May 18, 9:30-10:30 a.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! 
Registration is requiredYou must complete The Hive Safety Training before registering for this workshop. 

One-on-One Tech Help at Main Library (by appointment)
Thursday, May 16
11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Looking for some basic computer or mobile device guidance? Want to learn how to access audiobooks and eBooks? Sign up for tech help! Appointment will be limited to 30-minutes for each patron. Registration is required.

We can help you with: 

  • accessing library eBooks, audiobooks, and other eResources on your devices
  • e-mail and searching the web
  • smartphone and mobile app questions

We are not able to help you with: 

  • installing advanced software programs
  • completing online transactions for you
  • computer hardware and technical maintenance 

Puzzle Party (Main)
Thursday, May 16
2:30-3:30 p.m.

Join our librarians for tea, cookies, and a jigsaw puzzle—an hour of fun and conversation.

Hive Safety Training (Virtual)
Thursday, May 16
2:30-3 p.m.

In this workshop, you will learn about our makerspace, how to use our resources, and how to keep safe in The Hive. Registration is required. The Zoom link will be sent out an hour before the workshop starts. Before taking in-person workshops in The Hive, all makers must bring signed copies of The Hive User Agreement and Waivers.

CPL Nature Club: Garden Story Time (O'Connell)
Thursday, May 16
3-4 p.m.

We invite children and their grown-ups to join us for 20-25 minutes of songs, stories, and rhymes about gardens and growing things! No registration is required. Please call (617) 349-4019 for location and details.

Crafternoon: Paper Eyeglasses (Collins)
Thursday, May 16
4-5 p.m.

May is Healthy Vision Month. Join the Collins Branch in celebrating by decorating your own unique pair of paper eyeglasses. Color, cut and assemble an imaginative style to take home.  Recommended for children ages 5-12 and their caregivers.

Digital Discovery: Exploring Fun and Practical Artificial Intelligence Tools (Main)
Thursday, May 16
4-5 p.m.

Learn about artificial intelligence (AI) tools, including DALL·E and ChatGPT, through fun and engaging exercises. AI technology can be used to plan a garden, assist with crosswords, create art, write poetry and more.
Registration is required.

Yoga Nidra:  Deep Relaxation for Stress Relief (Main Library)
Thursday, May 16
7:15-8:30 p.m.

Join us for a session of deep relaxation. Suitable for all levels, no yoga or meditation experience required. Please bring a yoga mat, wear comfortable clothes and bring any props that will make you comfortable while lying on the floor – blanket, bolster, eye pillow, etc. Registration required.

Series: Collage Studio (Valente)
Friday, May 17
4-5:30 p.m.

Collage is an art form that uses many different materials to create a picture! We will study books that use collage, plan and create our own projects, and host an art opening to share our creative work with family and friends!  Session begins Friday, April 26 and runs on Fridays through May 17. This four-week art workshop is for kids ages 8-11. No experience necessary! Participants must attend all sessions and have read “Scraps” by Lois Ehlert before the first session. Stop by the Valente Branch Library to pick up a copy or call 617-349-4015. Registration is required. For questions about Collage Studio, please email mfrench@cambridgema.gov.

Kids' Zine Collective (O'Neill)
Friday, May 17
4-5 p.m.

What's a zine? And how do you make one? Come find out! Kids are invited to explore making, copying, sharing, and swapping zines. Making zines will include activities like writing, drawing, and collage. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Snacks are provided!

Isha Kriya at the Cambridge Public Library (Main)
Saturday, May 18
11 a.m.-12 p.m.

In this one-hour session, you will learn Isha Kriya, a simple 12-18 minute practice, to help you become meditative effortlessly. For beginners and experienced meditators alike! 

Daily practice of Isha Kriya meditation offers:

  • Enhanced Clarity
  • Improved health
  • Heightened focus and energy
  • Greater prosperity and a state of peacefulness and joy

Note: While registration is preferred, it is not required. Walk-ins are welcome! 

Sacred Songs and Rituals: Tjovi Ginen and the power of Vodoun Music (Main Library)
Saturday, May 18
1-3 p.m.

Join us at Joan Lorentz Park on Saturday, May 18, from 1-3 p.m. for a special Sacred Songs and Rituals in celebration of Haitian Flag Day with Tjovi Ginen. Tjovi Ginen is the preeminent interpreter of Vodoun music in the New England Area for over 25 years. Tjovi Ginen's high octane fusion of vodoun music characterized by pulsating rhythms and call and response, with reggae, ska, dub, and a variety of African traditional sounds will highlight Haiti's dynamic culture while paying homage to its African roots.

Read to a Dog (O'Neill)
Saturday, May 18
1-2 p.m.

Read with a cuddly friend! Trained therapy dogs provide warm and non-judgmental reading companions for new or experienced readers up to age 14. Registration for each 10-minute time slot is required and begins on Saturday, May 11 by calling or visiting the O’Neill Branch (617-349-4023).

Chess Hour (O'Neill)
Saturday, May 18
3-4 p.m.

Join us for a game of chess at the O'Neill Branch! Players of all skill levels and all ages are welcome to participate. Chess sets will be provided, but feel free to bring your own. This is a space for individuals to play and test their skills against other members of the community. This is not an instructional class.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at 617-349-4023 or via email: sjoycefarley@cambridgema.gov.

Saturday Songs and Stories (O'Neill)
Saturday, May 18
3:30-4 p.m.

Music, movement and stories! Join your librarians for 20 minutes of fun! For children of all ages and their grown-ups.

Stay Connected   

Please subscribe to our e-mail list, follow us on X, Instagram, or Facebook, and visit our website.    

All the best!      

Maria McCauley, Ph.D.
Director of Libraries      

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The City of Cambridge does not discriminate, including on the basis of disability. We may provide auxiliary aids and services, written materials in alternative formats, and reasonable modifications in policies and procedures to people with disabilities. For more information, contact us at library@cambridgema.gov, 617-349-4032 (voice) or via relay at 711.