Director's Update, January 9, 2022


Janet Axelrod

Dear Patrons

I hope your new year is off to a promising beginning. 

It is with sorrow that I write today. One of our longstanding Library champions, Janet Axelrod, passed away on December 26. Janet was the chair of the Board of Library Trustees. She was also one of the founders of the Cambridge Public Library Foundation. Janet was the very best board chair. She cared deeply about accessible library services, the freedom to read, and the privacy rights of users. She understood the complexities of a public library. She was committed to social justice, civil rights, and equity and inclusion work, and she greatly appreciated the staff of the Library and its volunteers.

Janet was first appointed to the Board in 1994. In September 1999, she was elected chair of the Board and in that capacity not only led the Board but also served as a thoughtful adviser to the Director of Libraries. I was honored to serve with Janet and to call her my friend. Rest in peace, dear Janet. 

A thoughtful colleague reminded me that sorrow and joy are inextricably linked, including in life and death. I think if I had asked Janet about this, she would have agreed and said to make sure we celebrated the natural beauty in all of it as well.  


We will be hosting Clint Smith, the author of How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, in conversation with Dr. Paula Austin of Boston University for the 47th annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 12.

Last week, we launched the Reading Together Challenge, a yearlong celebration of reading together! As part of this challenge, each month we’ll feature books and programs that highlight a different theme for readers of all ages and interests.

Outdoor Programming for Kids 

This week, these outdoor programs for young children will be offered (weather permitting) at our Central Square, Main, O’Neill, and Valente locations:   

  • Baby Lapsit: Just for you and your toddler! Enjoy time together with other parents, caregivers, and babies to learn, play, and develop language and motor skills.
  • Sing-Along: All ages are invited to sing and dance! 
  • Outdoor Songs & 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 calendarfor further program details. Registration is not required. 

Book Groups

Boudreau Branch Update 

The Boudreau Branch Library (245 Concord Ave.) will reopen with it’s regular schedule of four days A week on Monday, January 10. The book drop will also reopen on January 10.  

Library hours at all locations can be found here.

The 47th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with Clint Smith in Conversation with Dr. Paula C. Austin (Virtual)

Wednesday, January 12
6-7:30 p.m.

Join Clint Smith, the author of the New York Times best seller How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America, in a lecture in celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King JrClint Smith will talk with Dr. Paula Austin, Professor of History at Boston University. The evening will include a performance by Florida A&M University’s Gospel Choir. This event is cosponsored by the City Manager's Office, The Mayor's Office, and the City of Cambridge Employees' Committee on Diversity. Registration is required.

Reading Together Challenge 

Join the Library for a yearlong celebration of reading together! Each month, we’ll feature books and programs that highlight a different theme for readers of all ages and interests. Read with us or find a theme that sparks your interest and then complete the activity challenge for that month. Choose your own book or select one from our curated booklists. Find out more at and join the fun.

Baby Lapsit (Virtual) 

Monday, January 10
10-10:30 a.m.
Enjoy time with other parents, caregivers, and babies to learn, play, and develop language and motor skills. Come prepared to sit with your baby in your lap. Registration is required.

Wellness for Seniors: Let Your Yoga Dance (Virtual) 

Monday, January 10
11-11:45 a.m.

Breathe, stretch, and dance your way to a blissful body, joyous heart, and a steady, quiet mind! Open to all levels and abilities. Registration is required for each session.   

Jumpstart Your Financial Future: Managing Credit (Virtual)

Tuesday, January 11
7-8 p.m.

Jumpstart your financial future with this series of four workshops presented by the Babson Financial Literacy Project, a not-for-profit program designed by Babson College finance professors to help young adults acquire the necessary knowledge and skills for long-term financial prosperity and independence. The first workshop in the series, Tips and Tricks for Managing Your Credit, will provide insights on how to manage credit cards, EXPLAIN their hidden costs, and OFFER tips to avoid credit card traps. Learn about credit reports and credit scores and what steps you can take to improve your financial standing. Registration is required

  • Session 1: Tips and Tricks for Managing Your CreditMonday, January 11, 7-8 p.m. 
  • Session 2:  Managing Your Money to Build Your Best Life. Tuesday, February 8, 7-8 p.m.
  • Session 3: Decisions! Decisions! Tuesday, March 8, 7-8 p.m.
  • Session 4: Protecting You and Your Assets. Tuesday, April 12, 7-8 p.m. 

ESOL Classes (Virtual)

Tuesdays and Thursdays
1-2 p.m. and 3-4 p.m.

English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes occur virtually on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Beginner ESOL takes place at 1 p.m. and Intermediate ESOL at 3 p.m. Registration is required for each class.

Equipment and Studio Reservations (Main) 

Wednesday, January 12, 3-5 p.m.
Friday, January 14, 1-5 p.m.
Saturday, January 15, 12-3 p.m.

During this time period, anyone who has completed Hive training and is badged to use equipment or studio(s) can reserve Hive equipment or studio spaces. Learn more about becoming a badged maker. Staff will assist participants as they are able. Registration is required.

In peace,

Maria McCauley, Ph.D.
Director of Libraries