Friday, May 27, 2011

Almost Ipanema

The syncopated sounds of the bossa nova and the samba eddied their way among the stacks, as Brazilian singer/guitarist Fernando Holz welcomed a large crowd into the Valente branch of the library last Wednesday night with dusky rhythms celebrating the 26th annual Rogers Celebration of Portuguese-Speaking Peoples and their Cultures. Row after row of chairs were filled by adults of all ages and a sprinkling of elementary school students from the neighborhood, all of them smiling or bobbing or nodding in time to the music. "I would like to play my guitar like him," said a wistful young girl in the front row, "but I have to wait until my friend can tune it."

"Our house is small but our heart is big for you," said Artemis Kilroy, branch librarian, addressing the audience. She thanked the Manuel Rogers family for its ongoing support of the branch, spoke of the many newly acquired books and DVDs of interest to the Portuguese community, and introduced Valente staffer and fluent Portuguese-speaker Mary Carter, who has recently designed story-times and sing-alongs especially for neighborhood patrons.

Then along came storyteller Len Cabral, pictured to the left, who spoke of whaler ancestors who sailed bravely about the seas "picking fights with the largest mammal in the world." Cabral's humorous tales took full advantage of his Cape Verdean roots, and he enchanted the assembled, illustrating his words with broad and sinuous gestures. The audience, having thoroughly identified with Cabral, were still laughing as they made their way to a table laden with fruits, cakes, and cookies, Holz's guitar thrumming again in the background.

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library click here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Celebrating the Muse - The 13th Annual CPL Poetry Awards

Thursday, May 19, was a special evening for the young writers of Cambridge. For some, the evening began in the underground parking garage.  That's where I met 4th grader Sofia Riskin, one of 61 students who had signed up to read their poems that evening.  While her parents waited their turn at the pay station, Sofia told me about her poem "Holes," inspired by an image from the movie.
Ben Donaldson prepares to read his
poem The Breath of Life.

We moved into the library and rode the elevator down to L2.  The excitement built as young poets and their parents registered and then moved into the auditorium to await their turns to read.  At the registration table 5th grader Ben Donaldson told me that he writes a lot of poetry.  The ideas for his pieces just pop into his head.

There were poems about Legos; poems about pets; poems about poetry itself.  In addition to the awards provided by the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library, winners who had chosen to write about trees received additional recognition from the Cambridge Tree Project.  As sometimes happens, this year's group of winners contained a pair of siblings, Olivia and Elias Shirley. 

In her poem "Snakes" 2nd grader Anaomi Rigand used the technique of alliteration to recreate the sound of a snake moving through the grass.  Her poem begins, "Slithering snakes ...slurp rats!"  Dennis Anderson III, a second grader, created a wonderful image of a penguin "like a rocket flying out of the water" in his poem Emperoro Penguin.
Mina Hasan, Grade Three
Here is an excerpt from her poem I Want...
I want in this spring
seeds of peace to grow up
I want in this summer
Angels of love to show up.
After an inspirational program of shared poetry, the winners and their supporters moved into the hall space to enjoy refreshments and the continued glow of pride in their successes.  If you know of a young writer who missed out on this year's contest, don't let it happen again next year.  Look for the announcement of the 2012 contest on the library's home page or right here in this blog.

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library click here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

Read the following sentence and choose the word that best completes it.

Each occupation has its own ____ ; bankers, lawyers and computer professionals, for example, all use among themselves language which outsiders have difficulty following.
A. merits
B. disadvantages
C. rewards
D. jargon
E. problems

If you answered D, you are correct - and you know how the members of Team Super Awesome Awesomeness and Team MAGRON* felt on a recent afternoon in the Teen Room.  Teen Room librarian Beth McIntyre had organized an SAT Vocabulary Quiz Bowl to help anyone who was interested practice for the June 7th administration of the SAT.   The participants divided into two teams and chose their own names.  Then the action began.

Team MAGRON* members Maggie Vo and Aaron Hume are also both members of the Teen Advisory Board at the main branch of the library.  Maggie has been coming to the library since she was nime.  She hasn't spent too much time studying for the SAT, but hopes that having taken Latin in school will help her.  She doesn't know yet where she will be attending college, but her dream school is Yale.  Aaron says that he has been coming to the library all of his life.  He has already taken the SAT and will be attending Columbia.  He decided to join the team because he "just likes words."

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library click here.

What's All The Fuss About?

Did you know that our main branch has received the Boston Society of Architects' 2010 Harleston Parker Medal for the “Single Most Beautiful Building” erected in the metropolitan Boston area in the past 10 years. The award will be presented at a ceremony on May 23rd. Earlier this year the City of Cambridge announced that Cambridge Public Library had also received an Annual Design Review Award from ARCHITECT Magazine, one of the country’s two leading national architectural magazines. In fact, the renovated main branch has received a grand total of 9 awards since reopening in November of 2009.

What did all of these prestigious organizations find so remarkable about our building? Find out for yourself by signing up for a tour of the library. Tours are given every Saturday morning at 10 AM. They are free, but we ask that you register by noon of the day before your tour. That way your cheerful, well-informed docent will know how many tour-ists to expect. It's easy to do. Just email us at and give us the date on which you would like to take a tour and the number in your party. Then meet your docent just inside the main entrance at 10 AM. You'll learn about the “green” aspects of our new building as well as the art and architecture of both the stone and the glass sides of the building. By the time your tour is over, it will be easy to see what all the fuss has been about!

Check back with us after the 23rd to read more about the Harleston Parker ceremony.  There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library
click here.