Informational Alert | Coronavirus Updates

Main Library now open during modified hours. Boudreau, Central Square, Collins, O’Neill and Valente reopen week of 6/14. No appointments required. For assistance, contact us at 617-349-4040 or

Director's Update, May 16, 2021


New library at night

Dear Patrons,

Library Reopening
Last week, I shared that we are so very excited to begin Library Express service at the Main Library by appointment beginning on June 2. I also shared that we will continue to offer contactless holds pickup at the Boudreau, Central Square, O’Neill, and Valente branches. We are planning for further reopening, including fully restoring all of our services, opening our new Hive makerspace, and continuing our rollout of extended branch hours.

Before the pandemic, we started to expand our branch hours by opening the Valente Branch 6 days a week and increasing the O’Connell Branch’s hours to 5 days a week. Since I began my directorship 4.5 years ago, I have heard that increasing branch service hours was a top desire. Many of you shared this wish in public meetings and surveys about the library's future. Thanks to City support, we will be able to respond to your needs, increasing all branches to at least 5 weekdays of service and, especially important for working individuals and families, increasing Saturday and evening hours at branch locations.

Get ready for Library Express
Library Express service at the Main Library starts on Wednesday, June 2. You may book your  timed entry up to one week in advance starting on May 26. The last day for contactless pickup at the Main Library will be Saturday, May 29. The Main Library will be closed on June 1 to allow us to prepare for reopening the building. Starting on June 2, you must have an appointment to pick up your holds at the Main Library. If you do not want to make an appointment or enter the building, you may transfer your holds to a branch location offering contactless pickup. For help with transferring your holds, contact us at 617-349-4040 or

Fine Free 
Did you know that fines are not charged on overdue items (except ILL and Comcat) checked out from Cambridge Public Library locations? We have not charged fines for the late return/renewal of children’s and young adult materials for many years, and we have extended that practice to all Minuteman Library Network (MLN) checkouts under our Fine Free Pilot.

Bills for Long Overdue Library Materials
If you have an item that is more than four weeks overdue, you may have received a message from MLN. Next week MLN will resume billing replacement charges for library items that are more than four weeks overdue. This had been the standard procedure, but it was paused due to the pandemic. If you are billed for a long overdue item, the replacement charge will appear on your library account. This charge will be removed when you return the item. Our priority is to get materials back so other patrons may enjoy them. We’d much rather have our items be returned than be paid for them. If you are not able to return an item and a replacement charge presents a financial hardship for you, please contact the Main Library at or 617-349-4040.Learn more about bills for long overdue library materials.

Anti-Racism & Social Justice Series for Young People & Their Families
This week, the library is hosting Standing Up Together: An Anti-Racism & Social Justice Series for Young People & Their Families. All programs are free and open to the public and will be held virtually. Funding for this series has generously been provided by the Cambridge Public Library Foundation. These programs are for caregivers and children and are intended to address racism and promote social justice. These programs were conceived by a library task force I created to offer programs that address systemic racism in the wake of George Floyd’s killing last year. Registration is required to participate in each event. I hope to see you there.

Virtual Story Time for Little Activists

On Monday, May 17, at 11 a.m., we invite children and their grownups to join Ms. Tanya from Little Uprisings for 20 minutes of movement, music, and play as we learn about the Movement for Black Lives! It’s best for little activists ages 0-3 and their caregiving accomplices. Plan to sing along and move around! Registration is required.

Virtual ESOL Classes
Virtual English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes occur 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 calendar for more details.

Charles Yu presents Interior Chinatown in Conversation with Ju Yon Kim
Join us on Tuesday, May 18, at 6 p.m., as we celebrate Asian American and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander month, featuring Charles Yu in conversation with Professor Ju Yon Kim. Charles Yu has written four books, including Interior Chinatown, and is the winner of the 2020 National Book Award. Ju Yon Kim is a professor of English at Harvard University. Her research and teaching interests include Asian American literature and performance; modern and contemporary American theater and drama; and cross-racial and intercultural performance. Registration is required.

The ABCs of Racism: Fostering Anti-Racist Conversations + Action with Kids
Geared for White or multiracial audiences, this interactive virtual workshop on Tuesday, May 18, at 6:30 p.m., will explore fundamental concepts in racism and anti-racism, the barriers that block adults from talking about race and racism with kids, the social science of race awareness in children, and strategies to build the racial literacy that is urgently needed to engage our children in anti-racist conversations and action. Registration is required.

Virtual Baby Lapsit
Children and their caregivers are invited to enjoy time together with other parents, caregivers, and babies to learn, play, and develop language and motor skills in this six-week series, Wednesdays at 10 a.m. until May 26. Registering for one will sign you up for all the remaining sessions in the series. Registration is required.

Speak On It: A Virtual Social Justice Workshop for Tweens & Teens
On Wednesday, May 19, at 4 p.m., join a 2-hour virtual workshop on social justice that honors identity creative expression as a tool to empower young people to speak up against injustice in our communities and the world around us. Registration is required.

Career Skills: Common Interview Workshop Questions and Scenarios
The online Career Skills workshop series, presented by the employment specialist Gary Gekow, will cover the fundamentals of looking for a job, from writing a strong résumé to preparing for a virtual interview. Attend any or all of the workshops. All are scheduled at 6 p.m., and registration is required for each one:

COVID-19 Outreach to the Haitian-American Community
This program will be offered in Haitian Creole on Wednesday, May 19, at 6 p.m. Registration is required

Google Drawing 101: Sticker Design
On Wednesday, May 19, at 7 p.m., learn the fundamentals of Google Drawing to design and edit images for your own vinyl stickers. You'll also learn about our vinyl cutter machine. Participants may share a completed design file, which will be made into a sticker in The Hive, and arrange to collect it using our contactless holds pickup service. Registration is required.

Wellness for Seniors: Let Your Yoga Dance®
Wellness for Seniors: Let Your Yoga Dance® is a virtual class on Thursday, May 20, at 11 a.m. Breathe, stretch, and dance your way to a blissful body, a joyous heart, and a steady, quiet mind! Open to all levels and abilities. 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! 
We are happy to offer these Story Time programs this week:

Registration is required for each event.

Buns, Beards, Bodices, and Bustles: Understanding Ancestors Through Clothing 
Ancestral fashions and the industry that produced them left behind a fascinating legacy of images and information. On Thursday, May 20, at noon, join Maureen Taylor, the Photo Detective, to discover genealogical clues by looking closely at the clothing and accessories your ancestors wore. Come with your questions and learn the basics of photo detecting through the lens of fashion. Registration is required

Wee Are Every Good Thing: Celebrating and Affirming Our BIPOC Children 
On Thursday, May 20, at 6:30 p.m., join the racial justice project Wee The People for a deep dive into the world of powerful, affirming, and gorgeously illustrated children's books by BIPOC authors and illustrators. Geared to audiences of color, this workshop will be a space for parents, caregivers, educators, artists, activists, clergy, clinicians, and others to share experiences as we explore a wide range of characters and themes in children's books, from Radiant Child to My Hair Is a Garden to I Am Every Good Thing. Registration is required.

Race and Song: A Musical Conversation with Reggie Harris & Alastair Moock

On Friday, May 21, at 6:30 p.m., we invite children and their grownups to join us from home for a concert followed by a live Q&A presented on Zoom. These friends of different races, ages, and social backgrounds will share how they’ve seen and experienced the world in different ways. They explore issues of race, class, gender, and history with an intentionality and generosity of spirit that will appeal to kids and adults alike. Registration is required.

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Best wishes,

Maria McCauley, Ph.D.
Director of Libraries