Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Do it now, before you forget!

Our wonderful library system has branches all across our fair city,
 and Secret Gardens Tour chairperson Bruce Mays wants to remind
everyone that our goal is to make the tour equally as representative

The 2012 tour was a fantastic success.  Brisk ticket sales, great weather, beautiful gardens, helpful gardeners, and generous sponsors.  The Friends of the Cambridge Public Library, the sponsoring group behind this biennial event, would like to make sure that the 2014 tour is just as successful and that it includes plenty of gardens from North and East Cambridge as well.  And we'd like your help.  If you know of a garden in either area, secret or open, that would be a good fit for our tour, please send us a note at cambridgelibraryfriends@gmail.com. Do it now, before you forget!

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, June 12, 2012

My Excellent Garden Party

Friends board member Eva Adler used the Secret Gardens of Cambridge tour as an opportunity to throw a party, and she shares her impressions, and those of her (lower case) friends, here with you.

I don’t have a garden. The only thing that grows in our condo in Cambridge is one large potted plant which is sometimes joined by fresh flowers in a vase.  That's why I was so excited when I realized that this was the year that the Friends of the CPL would hold our Secret Gardens tour.  It was my chance to host a garden party!  Seven of my close friends joined me for brunch on June 10th. After the brunch, slathered with sunblock, water bottles and booklets in hand, we caravanned to Area 2 and began the tour. Exulting in the weather, our attention quickly turned to the beauty of the gardens. I assigned everyone to note taking (I am a former English teacher). Here are some of our impressions:

"I love an open field with wildflowers. It reminds me of my childhood when I romped through the daisies and the buttercups."

"The spectacular formal garden has layer after layer of horticultural magic; one of the greatest copper beeches ever."

"This proper border of peonies, foxglove, and clematis must cheer its owners every day."

"My favorite was the most comfortable and personal of the gardens; lovely, peaceful, a garden you could spend hours in."

"The restrained elegance is an example of money in the service of beauty."

"Water makes a difference; the combination of open space, borders, sculptures, carriage house, and genial host is tops."

"A resplendent wildflower swath."

"Such beauty, such grace, such fun! We absolutely loved the entire tour!"

If you missed this year's tour, set your sites on 2014.  We already have some of the gardens lined up!
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.

Scenes from the Secret Gardens

It was a beautiful day to visit 24 beautiful gardens. For those of you who missed the tour on Sunday, or for those who took the tour but already miss the sights and sounds and smells, here are some images from just a few of the gardens.  A slideshow of even more garden images is coming soon.

Photos taken by Martha Slocum and Sherry Leffert

Monday, June 4, 2012

Ask the Librarian - Maya Escobar

You'll find Maya in the
Teen Room at the Main Library.
We've been running a series of interviews with our library staff.  Here’s another featuring one of the people who make our CPL system extraordinary.

What made you want to become a librarian and what do you love most about your job?
Working in a library was initially something that happened to me -- the summer after I graduated from college Susan Flannery encouraged me to take a part-time position at CPL. I worked the evening shift at the circulation desk for eight months before embarking on other things, but whenever I ran into Susan she would remind me that the library was always waiting in the wings. I came back to work full time in the Children’s Department 10 years ago and honestly now it seems like destiny.

I could answer the second question by saying that I love books, and I love the atmosphere of the library building, and I love being able to wear what I want (I did my time in the financial district. Khakis: never again). But it comes down to the people I work with and the people who visit the library: this community of book lovers, IDEA lovers, who thrive on creativity and unconventionality. You know -- weirdos and nerds.

Are you in a book club? If so, how does your group select the books?
I am in a book club that hasn’t met for a few years, but before that we met for eight years. And it is co-ed. I think book groups have an undeserved rep as solely chick lit gatherings; you can absolutely have dudes and ladies get together over books.

At the library I have run a couple of book groups for middle school kids and teens. We select the books by voting on two or three titles I describe for the group.

What is something that people may find surprising about your role as a librarian?
I think librarians have an excellent sense of what they offer the world, but too often we are preaching to the choir and not to the people who still think we’re all shushing and reclusive. Even I worried, when embarking on this career, that I might be cloistering myself away from the real world. In fact librarians are incredibly outspoken and impassioned! I mean, it’s our job to know stuff and tell as many people as possible. So because of all we learn -- or because information-sucking is our nature -- library staff have an amazing breadth of talents and interests.

We also have a superhuman ability to detect the presence of cake in the building, and we are frequently still around at last call. That whole It’s a Wonderful Life librarian-lonely-spinster thing? Total lie: everyone wants to hang out with librarians.

Tell us about a situation you were part of or witnessed at the library that has stuck with you over time.  The marvelous things are small and incremental -- you have to remind yourself to look for them. Like when a child in story time is seeing something in a picture book that you have forgotten how to see. Or the teenager who comes to the library every day and makes you crazy, but he or she still comes in every day and then comes back years later to say hello. So many times I couldn’t tell you what I did; I just hope I keep doing it.

You can find out more about what's going on in the Teen Room on the CPL web site or by reading the Teen Room blog.
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, June 1, 2012

June - An Occasional Month

There's Father's Day, high school graduations, and all those tradition-minded friends and relatives who just can't resist the idea of being a June bride.  What's a gift-giver to do? 

We're undoubtably biased, but we believe that there is no better gift than a good book.  To help you out, we've offered our suggestions in the side-bar on the right.