Monday, November 26, 2012

Who Hearts Libraries?

Well, we all heart libraries, of course. But on Nov. 17 Wikipedia showed some love for the Cambridge Public Library (CPL).

Photo Credit: Alyssa Pacy, Cambridge Public Library
Local archivists, librarians, Wikipedians, and interested community members joined the first Wikipedia Loves Libraries event at the CPL to revel in the joy of editing, Wikipedia style, and in the abundance of references available in the library archives. 

The day started with an introduction to Wikipedia, presented by Sven Manguard, a local Wikipedian, 
Photo Credit: Alyssa Pacy, Cambridge Public Library
followed by a practical instruction on how to edit and create content on Wikipedia with a hands-on tutorial. Close to 35 participants joined the workshops and lively discussion, some from as far away as Cape Cod.

The Friends of the CPL hosted the event, in collaboration with Alyssa Pacy, the Cambridge Room archivist (check out her blog The Cambridge Room), and members of the local Wikipedia community. We plan to make this an annual tradition and hope to see you next year!

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

Friday, November 16, 2012

Proposed Pocket Park for O'Connell Branch

The East Cambridge Open Space Trust has chosen the O'Connell Branch Library at 48 Sixth Street as the location for a new "Pocket Park". The Trust is a group of East Cambridge residents whose mission is to acquire and improve public open space in their neighborhood. This will be their first project since receiving a mitigation fund contributed by the developers of Cambridge Research Park.

The Trust sees the O'Connell Branch as a great asset to the neighborhood and recognizes that it serves as something of an informal community center. They are just starting the process of community outreach to inform and solicit advice from neighbors and interested residents. Here is a link to a set of pictures of the site on flickr if you would like to take a look at the proposed site.

You can learn more about the East Cambridge Open Space Trust at their blog.

Who was that masked man?

In the past, the board members of the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library keep a pretty low profile, choosing to let our good works speak for themselves. Lately, we've been thinking that "loud and proud" may send a better message.  We love our library system, and we have always been proud of the work that we do to support it.  Now you can check us out on our Board Bios page.  Just click here .

Monday, November 12, 2012

A Day in the Life of the Library: Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ever wondered what goes on at the library when you're not there?  Here's your chance to find out.
Staff arrives to put out newspapers and empty return bins.

Doors are unlocked as a dozen or more patrons – adults of all ages, many of whom are regulars- stream in and head for the newspaper room and to use the computers. Some rush in before work to drop off books or videos.


A steady stream of parents and strollers head for the Children’s Room. Readers settle into comfortable chairs with their books, while browsers scour the carts holding just-returned movies.

12:00 noon   
Activity increases as the staff changes for the lunch shift. People
working in the neighborhood as well as some high school students
drop in during their lunch break, but after an hour or so, it is quiet again.

High-schoolers raise the level of activity (and noise) as they head for the teen room to study, socialize and use the computers.

There is another influx from the elementary schools. Children head to the 3rd floor to browse, read, use the computers, and study with friends.

A veritable crowd of parents and young children line up for the weekly afternoon sing-along, lasting 25 minutes. At least 130 bodies participate, of which more than 60 are youngsters.

Patrons start to head home, and by 7:00 p.m. things quiet down.
Computer use continues until the closing announcements.

There are always great things happening at the library (even when you're not there)! For more information on how you can get involved with the Friends and help to support our Cambridge libraries click here.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Give The Gift of Stories You Love

We know that it's only the beginning of November, but we bet that at least some of you have started your holiday shopping lists. We ask that you help us to spread the joy of reading by adding a childrens' book to that list. 

Each year the Cambridge Public Library collects new books to give to children in transitional housing during the holiday season. You can read more about the history of this annual event on an earlier post .

This year Porter Square Books is giving a 20% discount on any books purchased for this project, but of course you can purchase your book (or books!) anywhere. Then just drop them off at any Cambridge Public Library location.

For those of you who want to take a hands-on approach to this project, there will be wrapping parties in the Beech Room at the Main Library on November 29 from 6-8pm, November 30 from 10am to noon and on December 7 from 10am to noon. Please join us at any of these times to wrap gifts and help to spread the gift of stories.

For questions or more information on this year's drive call 617-349-4038.

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, November 1, 2012

Another kind of Thanksgiving Bounty

The calendar page has turned. It's November now. So like our Pilgrim forefathers and foremothers, we get ready to gather at the table with friends and family and give thanks for nature's bounty by consuming as much of it as we possible can. In that same spirit of gratitude and sharing, members of the Friends Board bring you a short list of books we are thankful to have read.

A Bittersweet Season: Caring for Our Aging Parents -- and Ourselves  by Jane Gross
This is an excellent book for help with how/when to begin the terribly difficult process of dealing with an elder relative, particularly around issues related to living independently. The author, a former health writer for the New York Times, gives thoughtful information and suggestions on types of care and how to make transitions between them. - Martha

The Braindead Megaphone  by George Saunders
I'm thankful that a writer as hilarious and humane as George Saunders exists. I recommend his book of essays to all who vacillate with uneasy frequency between despair at the state of things and absolute exaltation at being alive in the world, and who find, in reading, their ability to feel that kind of joy enlarged. -Elizabeth

Building Stories  by Chris Ware
The scope of Ware's talent is equalled only by the depth of his empathy, and both are evident on every page of this heartbreaking, life-affirming masterpiece. I'm thankful for every book inside this box, every frame on every page. -Elizabeth

A Christmas Memory and The Thanksgiving Visitor  by Truman Capote
I never tire of reading these stories because of Capote's beautiful and evocative language and because of the unusual friendship between Buddy (a young boy) and his elderly, eccentric cousin. They each transport me to a quieter, smaller world of simplicity and common sense. -Eva

 A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius  by Dave Eggers
I'm thankful to have read this book because the narrative is so fast and raw that it just engulfed me. It was exhilarating, furious, heartfelt, and obnoxious. And it made me think of the people I love and laugh out loud a lot. - Jennifer

Maurice  by E.M. Forster
Its unapologetic and unsentimental portrayal of gay relationships in the Edwardian era was a relief to read for a gay teenager in high school. As an adult I still love the novel for its sparse prose and glimpse of a by-gone era. -Arend

Our Town  by Thornton Wilder
The characters showed me that life is "awful...and wonderful" and they continue to do so whenever I think of them.  -Sue
Zen and the Art of Archery  by Eugen Herrigel
This book is a personal account of the author’s journey to understand Zen through the art of archery. The descriptions of his experiences came alive for me and gave me a better understanding of the ever-popular phrase “go with the flow.”   -Linda

If you would like to share the bounty of books by adding to our list, just tell us in the comment box below about a book you're thankful to have read.

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.