Thursday, July 28, 2011

One Hundred Books - A Reason for Celebration

Recently, named Cambridge as America’s #1 reading city. We believe the proliferation of book groups in our town is one reason for that rating. The CPL hosts several book groups, but we know there are many more informal groups meeting throughout the city. Over the next months we’ll feature some of these flourishing book groups.

The best discussions last from hors d’oeuvres
to dessert.
This July one local book club celebrated the reading of its 100th book. Each month one of the seven members selects a book she has previously read -- fiction, nonfiction or, occasionally, poetry and comes prepared to lead a discussion. Despite sometimes heated comments about the book, or perhaps as a result of them, the members have come to appreciate the different perspectives and life experiences each brings to the meetings. One member says, “I often find myself thinking through the discussion and the book after our meetings and wanting a second go -- to ask follow-up questions, or share insights I gain only on reflection. “  

“Our members …read extensively
and think critically. They challenge
and delight me in equal measure.”
Some comments from members about past favorites:

To Know A Woman by Amos Oz: “It was amazing to follow the ‘hero’ through his journey to the profound and original, and very beautiful, ending….I felt we were going along on the journey … very much working on the book together.”

“My favorite meetings have been our
poetry meetings--reading a variety of
poems aloud and listening to how
others receive and interpret them.
I've also loved preparing for those
meetings--selecting the poem I
want to submit from among so
many wonderful choices.”
The Odyssey by Homer: “I was surprised and delighted to find a group that wanted to read and discuss this classic, and then to find that the discussion was so rich and interesting.”

Tinkers by Paul Harding : “A demanding but very satisfying read. Our discussion was … a mix of intellectual commentary and personal anecdotes.”

Regeneration by Pat Barker: “Several of us liked this so well we went on to read Barker’s entire trilogy about the effects of World War I.”

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner: “Returning to [books read long ago] has deepened my appreciation … and given me a chance to approach the texts with the experience and perhaps wisdom acquired through many intervening years. “

You can find all of the books listed above at our Cambridge Public libraries. One club member says, “Thank goodness for the reach and depth of the Mass library system! “ Please consider sharing stories about your book club by emailing us at

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.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Story Time

Julie Roach shares a favorite book,
Tiny Little Fly by Michael Rosen.
Julie says, "Library programs for
children also model ideas for parents
and caregivers: you can sing and
share stories at home, in line at the
grocery, or the doctors office.
Take what you do here out into the
 It is 11 am in the "Snail Room" on the third floor of the main library. You are sitting on a cushiony, sculptured carpet of large round beach pebbles in shades of orange, yellow, and tan, surrounded by babies, toddlers, parents, grandparents and caregivers. Julie Roach, Head Children's Librarian, encourages you to sing clap, stamp, mime, and most importantly listen as the high-energy half-hour sequence of stories and songs begins.

The first book, Finn Throws a Fit really gets your attention.  It's by David Elliot with illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering. You sing along with "Eentsy Weentsy Spider" and "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes", but you feel a little lost on Little Cloud by Eric Carle.  Everyone else seems to know it by heart! Of the 45 participants, large and small, many are regulars. Your goal is to be like Sidd, whose mom Sridevi has been bringing him to the library since he was 5 months old.  You leave the library singing "Bingo" quietly to yourself and looking forward to your next visit, when you'll know all about Little Cloud just like everyone else.

Children's programs will continue on the same schedule throughout the summer. For a complete listing, see Events and Programs on the Cambridge Public Library website at

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.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Prizewinning Publication

The Massachusetts Library Association presented its 20th biennial public realtions awards at its annual conference in Danvers, Massachusetts.  Our own Cambridge Voices received a First Prize in the merchandise category.  Winners were chosen by a panel of independent judges from the public relations, press, and library fields using evaluation criteria which included graphic design, originality, and presentation.

Click here to read more about Cambridge Voices and where you can find a copy.

A Million to One

Some might call odds like that a long shot, but the Cambridge Public Library system has come up a winner once again.  We loved it when Cambridge appeared at the top of Amazon's list of best read cities in America.  Who doesn't like to be NUMBER ONE? The list, however, is based on per capita sales at  Frequent visitors to any of our branch libraries may have asked themselves, "What about us?  Don't we count?"  On Monday, June 27, the answer was a resounding "Yes, a million times over!"
For the first time in its history the Main Library checked out over 1,000,000 items in a single year. That's a 115% increase over the last full year.  So we asked ourselves, "Who's reading all these books?"  We feel certain that one factor contributing to the circulation success is the number of Cantabridgians who love to read and discuss books together, and we are on a mission to find out more about them.  By our count there are ten book groups meeting at the Main and Branch libraries each month.  We will be sharing information about these groups with you in the coming months, but we could use some help from you as well.

If you belong to a book group, or two or five, take the time to share something about your group with us.  Even if only some of you check out your book club selections from the library, you made a contribution to the Main Branch's amazing achievement.  We'd like to celebrate your group's achievements.  We would love to know all about you - who you are, how you formed, how long you've been together, what you read, how you choose, what your favorite books have been, or even that interesting something about your group that we have yet to imagine.  Please take the time to send us an email at We look forward to hearing from you.  And check the blog next week to read about a book group that celebrated (and discussed)  its one-hundreth book in July.

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.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Your Library Needs You!

Are you a frequent Cambridge Public Library user? Do you love the bright new environmentally friendly space? Have you attended some of the author presentations or toddler sing-alongs? Would you like to show your support for the library in an active way?

Currently, the FCPL is looking for new Advisory Board members. Advisory Board members are library lovers who meet monthly from September to June to plan programs that further the Friends’ mission of supporting the library. Board members are expected to serve on or chair committees and to give several hours of their time beyond the monthly meetings. Board tasks include - but are not limited to - planning the 2012 Secret Gardens Tour; overseeing the Docent program at the main branch; fund-raising for CPL programs; and monitoring this blog.  A particular need is for individuals who have facility with computer graphics or some knowledge of accounting.

If you have any of the above interests or skills, please consider joining the Advisory Board. If you are already a Friend of the Library this is your chance to strengthen that friendship. If you are considering membership in the Friends of the CPL, here is a great way to get started.

For more information, contact Or, call the main library at 617-349-4032 and tell them you are interested in working on the Board. Your message will be communicated to the FCPL.