I am so pleased to send you the first newsletter from the Cambridge Public Library Foundation. It aims to share the visible – and sometimes hidden – efforts that make Cambridge such a special place to work, play, and go to the library.
September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, and Cambridge has hundreds of new library card holders thanks to its unique “My First Library Card” program. We are also celebrating national Banned Books Week (September 18-24), joining forces with public libraries across the country in fighting for unlimited access to information and ideas. Read on for more about these special initiatives and Dr. Maria McCauley’s new role as board president for the Public Library Association.
Please click here for the latest edition of the library’s On & Off Broadway newsletter. It spotlights meaningful additions to the library’s art collection, funded and facilitated by the Foundation, including prints by Kehinde Wiley and an original mural inspired by Ed Emberley’s classic “thumbprint art” children’s books.
Finally, we continue to mourn the loss of Donna Davis, a beloved friend and Foundation leader who died earlier this month. Read about Donna and her legacy at the library – including her establishment of the Donna Davis Fund – here.
I hope you enjoy this first newsletter from the Foundation, and I look forward to seeing you soon at the library.
In Cambridge, children are eligible for their own library card as soon as they are five years old. In 2017, the Cambridge Public Library, the Cambridge Public Schools, and the mayor’s office came together as part of a national initiative developed by the Urban Libraries Council to increase the number of children who receive library cards throughout the city.
Thanks to this collaboration, all five-year-old kindergartners received their first library card at school unless their parents opted out at registration.
By streamlining this process, nearly 100% of five-year-old kindergartners gain access to the library each year, ensuring that they will have the resources to succeed.
Youth librarians from the Cambridge Public Library personally bring the library cards and small gift bags to the students at school, taking time to get to know these new card holders and share how exciting and important it is to have a library card.
In Cambridge, all library card holders, regardless of their age, have equal rights and privileges. For a child, getting a library card is an empowering moment, and we are thrilled that our library is successfully running this unique program.
The American Library Association tracked 729 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2021. Some 37% of those challenges took place in public libraries, surpassed only by school libraries, at 44%. Politicians and school boards across the country are trying to ban books – especially those representing Black and LGBTQ+ experiences – from public schools and libraries.
Banned Books Week encourages readers to voice their concerns about censorship, to celebrate free expression, and to show their communities the importance of intellectual freedom.
Join us in celebrating Banned Books Week by doing one of the following:
Congratulations, Dr. McCauley!
We are very proud of Dr. McCauley for leading our library while simultaneously helping libraries across the country in her new role as board president of the Public Library Association (PLA).
Founded in 1944, the PLA is the largest group dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals in the country. It serves nearly 10,000 members in public libraries large and small across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. In collaboration with its parent organization, the American Library Association, the PLA strives to serve as an indispensable ally for public library leaders.
“I am filled with gratitude to have this opportunity to serve as the president of the Public Library Association and to work with talented member-leaders to fulfill the PLA's mission of strengthening public libraries and their invaluable contributions to communities," said Dr. McCauley. "Public library workers care deeply about their communities and one another, and are passionate about equitable and inclusive library service. I greatly look forward to my tenure on the PLA board."
During her tenure, Dr. McCauley will prioritize inclusion and social justice, bringing to the forefront the need for libraries to represent, and strongly advocate for, the communities they serve.
Turning your Amazon purchases into money for the library is as easy as smiling.
AmazonSmile is a simple way to support the library at no cost to you. Instead of shopping at Amazon.com, try smile.Amazon.com, an Amazon website with the same pricing and shopping features. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, 0.5% of the purchase price goes to the charitable organization of your choice.
On your first visit to AmazonSmile, select the Cambridge Public Library Foundation and use your regular account and password. The website will remember that you’ve selected the library, and every purchase you make will result in a donation. Thank you for your support!
The Cambridge Public Library Foundation is dedicated to supporting the Cambridge Public Library and its programs that educate, inspire and respond to the needs of our diverse community.