In these unprecedented times, we are keenly aware of what is truly important: the health of our family and loved ones, the critical work of first responders and the medical community, and the basic needs of the most vulnerable in our community. Each one of you is playing a vital role - staying home if you can, flattening the curve through isolation and helping to bring Cambridge and greater Boston through this global crisis.
We know that you also care deeply about the Cambridge Public Library and that its closure is difficult, particularly now. I am writing with an update about how the Library and Foundation are evolving and responding to this crisis, and how you can continue to access Library services from the comfort of your own home.
What is happening at the Library?
All seven library branches are currently closed for business, with no timeline for reopening. When they do reopen, you can expect a slow return to normal. But rest assured that the most anticipated community events will be rescheduled. These include the opening of The Hive, the Library's new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) makerspace, and the unveiling of the donated Kehinde Wiley print, Portrait of a Girl Veiled.
While the buildings are shut down, the Library is operating in an enhanced capacity in its virtual form, with new resources, virtual programming and collections. You can read a comprehensive message from Library Director, Dr. Maria McCauley, here. A couple of highlights include: Your Next Great Read, where a Librarian will help you find your next favorite book based on a short questionnaire; virtual Family Story Time at 11:00am on Thursdays for Cambridge’s youngest residents; and special STEAM programming for teens. Additionally, you and your family can access streaming and eServices, including eBooks, movies, classes, historical documents and more for both education and entertainment.
The Library is also building out some virtual programming around the arts that will both support local artists and bring the arts to people in their homes. You can find more information about that program here.
Finally, Library leadership is working to get books into the hands of the most vulnerable in Cambridge. They are exploring partnerships with local organizations providing food assistance and COVID-19 health services to get free books to individuals and families to keep as gifts.
We are so grateful for the Library’s provision of expanded and enhanced free resources for the community during this challenging time, and for the public service of Cambridge’s dedicated Library leaders and staff. We are also very grateful to all of you who have been advocates and donors for years, supporting the strong public library infrastructure that is making all the difference in Cambridge right now.
What is happening at the Foundation?
With our staff working from home, the Foundation continues to operate as normally as possible. Since the closure, the Foundation has provided increased funding for programming and collections, and has been working to promote the eServices of the Library.
We have also created the Foundation blog you're reading right now, featuring an ongoing series that will profile some of the Librarian super-stars that you know and love. Our first piece, about Youth Services Manager Julie Roach, is live now! We look forward to continuing to bring you good news about the Library and its amazing staff. The Foundation's work to support the Library is a constant, despite the world spinning around us.
I am sending each and every one of you best wishes for good health and safety. The Foundation will continue to bring you the comforts, joy, power and promise of the Library as best we can during these uncertain times.
Katie Welch, Director
P.S. The Foundation will do everything that we can during this pandemic, and will be ready to support the Library when the doors finally reopen. Please feel free to support us now, if you feel moved and if you can. We are truly grateful.