Saturday, February 25, 2012

 ...that in just one day Massachusetts residents:

make 93,000 visits to their libraries,

check out 159,456 items,

and spend over 2,343 hours accessing online library resources?

And that State funding is at a level that dates back to the 1990's?

We learned these amazing facts, and more, at the Annual Legislative Breakfast held earlier this month at the Robbins Library in Arlington. Representatives from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, the Massachusetts Library System, and the Minuteman Library Network were present to share information with members of our State Legislature, library administrators, and members of local Friends groups.

Greg Pronevitz, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Library System, noted that one challenge for libraries today is that patrons want more online content including access to encyclopedias and journals. Susan McAlister, Executive Director of the Minuteman Library Network, which had a server upgrade in January, said that libraries are both adopting and adapting new technologies. Starting in March, borrowers can opt to receive library notices via text message. The AirPAC interface search method can bring the library catalogue to users via cell phones. Encore, a Google-like interface, can search broadly, then refine the search to find both books and journals. It is available in Spanish, Chinese, and Russian as well as English.

Robert Maier, Director of the Board of Library Commissioners presented the Board's FY2012 Legislative Agenda, explaining the current levels of funding and the importance of supporting the requested 2013 levels. You can get the details at the MBLC web site.

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends and help to support our Cambridge libraries click here.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Our Neighbors are Getting Old

How big a breath does it take to blow out 375 candles? We're not sure, but we're guessing that Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust is glad that she doesn't have to try it alone.  She will have plenty of help this year, as Harvard University celebrates its 375th anniversary.  Faust calls the year-long commemoration, which began this fall,  an opportunity to "glance back and leap forward."

We hope you were one of the lucky audience members on January 10 when  Faust spoke to a packed audience in the Lecture Hall of the Main Library on the topic “Telling War Stories: Reflections of a Civil War Historian.” The lecture was the first in the John Harvard Book Celebration, just one part of the diverse array of programs marking Harvard's birthday.  Or perhaps you were present on January 29 at the Central Square Branch to hear Harvard College Dean Evelynn M. Hammonds, the Barbara Gutmann Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and of African and African American Studies discuss “Teaching About Values: Revisiting King’s Beloved Community.”

Members of the Harvard Community will continue to make appearances at public libraries across Cambridge and Boston as a part of the Book Celebration. If you missed Drew Gilpin Faust in January, she will present again in April at the Boston Public Library.  On May 8th Diane Paulus, Artistic Director of the American Repertory Theater, will speak on "Theater in the 21st Century" at our Cambridge Main Library .  Watch the library's web site for more information on this upcoming event. Click here to read more about the John Harvard Book Celebration.

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends and help to support our Cambridge libraries click here.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Patron Portraits

Our Cambridge Public Libraries attract an amazing number of patrons each month. Here's a sampling of how some of you used the library in February.

Alex and Laura, working at the Main Library are study partners in a
post-baccalaureate program. They meet once a week for 2-3 hours
and love the clean, spacious environment.

Liam and his mother Alex are drawn to the Main Library several
 times a month by the amazing selection of children's books
and the sing-along program. Most of all, Liam likes "just the books."

Emily is a Somerville resident who uses the Main Library at
least twice a week to conduct her job search in peace and quiet.
Although there is another library closer to where she lives, 
Emily says, "The new building is so nice."

Claude uses the Central Square branch every day for computer access.
He likes the location because it is close to public transportation,
and he appreciates the quiet environment of the computer room and
the ready assistance of the librarian in charge.

Audrey is 8 years old, and every Tuesday she spends time at the
 Boudreau branch before her weekly yoga lesson. She can read quietly
in a rocking chair and decide which books she will check out for the week.

Nancy lives across the street from the Valente branch and is
at the library 3 or 4 times a week to catch up on current periodicals
and check out foreign films from the branch's extensive collection.
Nancy calls all of the Cambridge libraries "treasures in the city...
places of wonder and magic." 

There are always great things happening at the library! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends and help to support our Cambridge libraries click here.  And please consider adding a comment below to tell us how you use the library.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Celebrate Valentine's Day the Library Way

How are you and your special someone celebrating the BIG DAY?  Dinner out is so cliche, and the evening can easily become quite expensive. But there's no need to overspend. We've got a great suggestion: bring home dinner and a movie.  While browsing on the Internet, we found a great list of movies that feature libraries or librarians.  It was compiled by a retired librarian, and you can access the list if you click here.  For an extra special surprise, try adding a single red rose and a really good chocolate bar to share for dessert!

AND WE DO.  In fact, we live for the library! 

As The Friends of the Cambridge Public Library, our official purpose is "to promote an informed interest in library resources and programs, and to raise funds for the expansion and improvement of services and facilities throughout the public library system."  It sounds a little stuffy, but really we're actually a pretty friendly bunch.  You can find out for yourself if you stop by the Main Library on February 11th and 12th.  Representatives from the Friends Board will be in the lobby both days to say hello and share information about some of the things we do to support our Cambridge libraries. There may even be a few Valentine treats to sample.  We hope to see you there.