Visiting the Cambridge Public Library

Continuing our series of visits to CMLE area libraries, I was able to visit and chat with the staff at the Cambridge Public Library, as well as the East Central Regional Library Headquarters. Thanks to Barb Misselt, Sarah Hawkins, and Carla Lydon for taking time out to show me around libraries all day, and to give me  a lot of good info on libraries in their area!

This is the BEST library saying!!

Although we were all sad to hear about the defeat of the Cambridge ballot measure for a much-needed new building (for more information on this and 70+ initiatives voted on across the country, check here), the library itself is still providing some great resources to its community! This sign, displayed in the community room, is a great example of the work they are doing to reach out to patrons and to serve their community! Libraries are in the business of providing information and entertainment; and we need to always search for that “yes” to give to our community.

“…these are the voyages of the Star Trek Enterprise…”

When I was a kid I wanted to be an astronaut. When I grew up I realized that the best, most exciting career was to be a librarian! (We really are an awesome profession!!) So I was delighted to see this excellent mobile over the teen’s section. It really draws the eye, and attracts people over to the other materials – great advertising!

Sit down, relax, enjoy a book!

In research I have done in libraries, comfortable seating always ranks highly as something patrons want in a library. Cambridge has this very nice set of comfortable chairs, positioned for people to enjoy the materials and have a good view around the library. And the window is filled with plants – excellent! We have a lot of plants growing in the office here at CMLE Headquarters, and we love to see other people adding plants to their libraries. They not only help clean the air and lower indoor air pollution; but they can also help people to feel more relaxed and reduce stress. Plus, look how nice they look! Really, it’s a win all the way around!

Elvis: notorious library fan!

If you do not already have up some READ posters in your library, check out the ALA’s page and see who is there, ready to connect a love of reading with your patrons! (Yes, I’m happily listening to Elvis singing now!) Think about how to connect your work with people in your community; helping people to connect books with pop culture can be one tool to inspire library usage!


The photo is a little dark; but Cambridge is modeling some excellent library behavior here! Copyright issues are a part of the work of every library, and we need to help our patrons think about copyright in a meaningful way. Plus, you want to protect yourself from potential copyright violation penalties that might be caused by patrons! Copyright is governed by federal law, so it isn’t just a “nice” thing to do – we have specific responsibilities to follow. This is the specific language  to use near all your copying machines, printers, etc. Kudos to Cambridge for this example!

So many fun things!

And in the end, every library’s mission is focused in on service. Cambridge has a great visual demonstration of their commitment to service of all sorts here!

I went for a visit, and got homework! (The BEST kind!!!)

Housed inside the Cambridge library is also the East Central Regional Library headquarters. I absolutely loved getting the book they printed up for their 50 year anniversary! This kind of very tangible reminder of all the services the library provides to a community can be a powerful tool for advocacy. (Check out page 76, for a photo of then-librarian, now-Assistant Director Carla Lydon sporting a stylish Gryffindor cape to read Halloween stories to patrons!)

Book kits for all!

Maybe it’s the librarian in me, but I just love seeing book group material; and to see all these nicely organized shelves filled with different book group kits was pretty thrilling! Every library has a system for figuring out how to organize their material for book groups; and this is a great system – ready to send out to their branches or to share with patrons at any moment!

ILL makes the library world go ’round

Again, it’s a librarian thing – but I love to see library lending in action! As a believer in the idea that libraries are stronger when we work together, when I visit libraries all over the place it always makes me happy to see sharing materials. And these sturdy bags, filled with books and ready to travel around to all the ECRL branch libraries, are a lovely visual representation of that cooperation!

What interesting things are in your library?? Everyone is doing something that is unique, interesting, and worth copying! So we want to hear from you, to share your neat things here where other CMLE people can see it and adapt materials, services, and programs that work for them. Send us an email today with your idea, or type up a Guest Blog entry to share!