Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Does Your Garden Grow?

The recent warm weather has given most of us a serious case of spring fever; perhaps no one more so than the amateur gardener.  If you find yourself just itching to get out and play in the dirt, you may want to catch the next lecture in Grow Native Massachusetts' Evenings with Experts series.  The five lecture series, which is being partially sponsored by the Friends of CPL, is being presented at the Main Library on the first Wednesday of each month from 7:00 until 8:30.  On April 4 Ellen Sousa, author of The Green Garden, will speak on the topic Our Native Pollinators:Intriguing Insects and More.

Grow Native Massachusetts is a 3 year old nonprofit focused on education at the community level and working to engage people in action on behalf of native plants and the diversity of life that they support. Their lecture series got its start in 2010 when nationally acclaimed Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, spoke on the the importance of our gardens to ecosystem health. Last year Grow Native expanded the series to five lectures, and the response was so positive that they have organized another five for this year.

President Claudia Thompson says, "The importance of native plants to our landscapes is something that is just starting to be appreciated, and the science behind it is relatively new, especially Doug's work on the role of insects."  Her organization's motto is "Every garden matters - Every landscape counts."

We hope that you will be able to catch the lecture on April 4.  If not, you have two more chances to hear the experts.  On May 2 Wayne Mezitt, Chairman of Weston Nurseries, will present Sexual Secrets: Tales of Species, Seedlings, and Sports.  On June 6 you can hear about The Rare Plants of Massachusetts from Bryan Connolly, Massachusetts State Botanist.

To learn more about these lectures or Grow Native in general, you can visit  their website at .  And don't forget to save some time on June 10th for the Friends' Secret Gardens of Cambridge tour!

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.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's (almost) All In The Family

Here is the third entry in our series focusing on local book clubs. Please consider sharing stories about your book club by adding a comment to this article or by emailing us at

Founders Jamie (granddaughter),
Vinnie (grandmother) and
Winnie (mother).
Nine years ago in Gilmanton Iron Works , New Hampshire, six women started a summer book club that they called The All In The Family Group. Their first selection was Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner.  It was evident from the start that their multi-generational experiences and their biological ties would enrich their discussions. Since then the group has expanded to fifteen members ranging in age from 33 to 86 and includes new family pairs as well as a few friends that club members consider "family by choice." 

Members enjoyed their discussions so much that they now meet year-round. Three members are from Cambridge, three are from Brookline, one from Beacon Hill, one from Wellesley, one from Framingham, and five are from Needham. During their expanded season the group meets one Sunday a month in Needham, where host Jeanie Goddard, pictured below with her niece Kirsten and her daughter-in-law Tasha, spoils the members with her delectable desserts.

The discussions always begin informally with the sharing of family updates, travel experiences, and cultural events and then eases into the selection of the month. Since six of the members are retired or active teachers there is no lack of input nor need for an official leader! Recommendations for future selections are based on at least one person having read and endorsed the book as well as availability, length, and genre.

Eva holds on to a copy of the March
selection with one arm and her
daughter Emily with the other.
The new year began with A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes, and Dreams of Trespass by Fatima Mernissi. Although members are not always unanimous in their love for a particular book, one member notes, "we always dig deep to acknowledge uniqueness and complexity. Most of all, we delight in each other’s company and look forward each month to getting together with our reading family."

Sisters Amanda and Emily enjoy
the March dessert.
Joyce, Marge, Diane and Ronna
Readers by birth, family by choice.

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.

Friday, March 9, 2012

"$how Me the Money"

It's one of those unforgettable movie lines.  I was watching a re-run of "Jerry Maguire" last week, and it got me thinking.  Maybe as a member (or potential member) of the Friends of the CPL, you'd like to be reminded of what happens to your money once you send in your membership check.  We can't show you the actual money, but we can show you what we did with it.

We purchased museum memberships so that library patrons could access free or reduced admissions.

We funded authors’ visits and other children’s programs at the Main library and at the branches.

We paid for the prizes used to reward the deserving young winners of the library's annual poetry contest.

      We funded our wonderful community-wide Cambridge Reads program.

We purchased the license needed in order to screen films at the libraries.

And for 2012, in addition to supporting our usual projects, we are proud to have provided $20,000.00 for the purchase of new materials, so that you and other library patrons will be able to get just the books you want with an even shorter waiting period! You'll find a picture of  Library Director Susan Flannery and Friends Membership Chair Arend Sluis admiring some of the new  books at the top of the sidebar to the right.

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, March 6, 2012

Food For Thought

Did you know that March is National Nutrition Month?  We did, and so we have compiled a list of our favorite books in which food is a main character.  Some are cookbooks, some just books that prominently feature food.  You can check it out in the sidebar to the right. And by the way, if you're looking for cookbooks at the Main Library, you'll find them in the Home and Health section.  As you enter the Stone wing from the Glass, Home and Health is just on your right. Happy reading, and healthy eating!