Friday, May 18, 2012

Sharing the story behind...

the stone

and the glass.

As many of you know, a few years back the Cambridge Public Library underwent a major re-model and expansion project.  Since its grand re-opening in 2009, our Main Library has garnered over 12 awards, including the Boston Society of Architects’ prestigious Harleston Parker Award as the most beautiful building in the greater Boston area.  The library has also received a silver LEED certification. 

The community's response to the end-product of this project was positive and powerful.  On opening day at the new Main Library 1,750 people came through the glass doors and checked out 5,000 items!  Cantabrigians were eager to see their beautiful new library and to show it off to visiting friends and family members.  As a response to this interest, the Friends of the CPL began giving docent-led tours to interested individuals in the spring of 2010.

The tours have been running ever since.  Perhaps you have taken one and learned about the history of our original stone building and the face-lift it received, or about the unique design of our double-skinned curtain wall and the contribution it makes to the environmental sustainability of the complex, or about the original artwork that is an integral part of our library.

It has been a good two years, but we have decided that it's time for our docents to take a well-deserved break.  The last docent-led tour will be Saturday, May 26th.  If  you have been telling yourself that taking the tour would be a great idea but have just never made it over to Broadway on a Saturday morning, don't despair.  This summer, some of our docents will be working on a new self-guided format for the tour.  Look for it at the Q/A desk in the fall.
In offering a farewell message to the docents, Library Director Susan Flannery wrote,  "The Library is grateful to the dedicated Friends who gave up their Saturday mornings to offer tours to interested resident as well as visitors, students, and architects from all over the world. They were true ambassadors for the Library and our City."

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Secret Garden Tickets Now on Sale



Today  !

You won't want to miss the 2012 edition of this popular tour.  On Sunday, June 10, you can visit twenty-four fabulous "secret" gardens, eighteen of which have never before been a part of our tour.  The tickets are only $25.00 each and can be purchased at retail outlets conveniently located throughout Cambridge, as well as at the Main Library and all of its branches. On the day of the tour, tickets will be available only at the Boudreau branch and the Hooper-Lee-Nichols House.

Members of the Friends of the CPL who would like to take advantage of their $5.00 membership discount should plan to purchase their tickets at one of the libraries and have their membership stickers handy.  Please be prepared to pay with cash or a personal check.

The Friends would like to thank the following businesses for agreeing to sell tour tickets:
Bonny's Garden Center
Dickson Bros. Hardware
Harvard Book Store
Pemberton Farms
Porter Square Books
Rodney's Books

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Breaking the Silence

Friends board member Paul Trunnell shares his thoughts on the 50th anniversary of the publication of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring.

Some books entertain. Some articulate our experience. And some change the world.

Such is the case with Silent Spring by Rachel Carson, published 50 years ago by Houghton Mifflin. Researched and written over several years, Silent Spring offers a well-documented analysis of the negative effects of wide-spread pesticide use on the environment. While this premise is well-accepted in 2012, in 1962 it was a controversial challenge to popular faith in the value of man-made chemicals – and the political and economic powers that profited from their use.

When she began writing Silent Spring, Rachel Carson was already a published author and had worked for many years as a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services.

She was supported in her writing by Houghton Mifflin editor Paul Brooks, a respected environmentalist and writer in his own right. His book The House of Life: Rachel Carson at Work gives additional insight into their work together.

I read Silent Spring as a college student, nearly 30 years after its controversial release. It opened my eyes to a history I knew nothing about, and made me appreciate how the world in which I had grown up was impacted by Carson's thoughtful arguments.

We continue to live in a world where controversial scientific debates – around global warming, energy consumption, and environmental degradation – affect our lives. My thanks to Rachel Carson, and many other modern-day scientists, writers, filmmakers and other artists, who help us understand these issues so we can help change our world for the better.

My thanks also to the articles and authors of the spring 2012 edition of Sanctuary, The Journal of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, which helped inform and inspire this blog entry.

What book have you read that’s helped to change the world in a big or small way?  Please take the time to share its title with us by leaving a comment below.