Our Path Forward
Where do we go from here?
Our path forward as a vital library resource for all.
Sweeping changes are anticipated under the administration of President-elect Donald Trump. Many of us are asking: where do we go from here? What is our path forward as our nation grapples with divergent views about imperative issues including immigration, the economy and jobs, healthcare, the environment, civil liberties and who ultimately gets a piece of the American pie? Are we building an inclusive or ‘acceptably exclusive’ society? Amidst community concern about the future of our nation and the possible winnowing of civil liberties for specific groups, the library’s role is more vital than ever.
Cambridge can be proud of City leadership that re-emphasized the City’s commitment to being a Sanctuary City, a city that “affirms the basic human rights and dignity of every human being and provides education, health and other services to all residents of Cambridge, regardless of their immigration status.”1
The Cambridge Public Library embraces Cambridge’s Sanctuary City status and is firmly committed to providing library service for all. This basic tenet is part of the American Library Association’s Bill of Rights.2 We are also dedicated to fostering a thoughtful, inclusive community through information and idea exchange, such as hosting the Cambridge Public Library Foundation’s Dream Big Panel3 and Cambridge Community Television’s Media and the Elections.4 Through the library’s books, films and local history materials, patrons are exposed to varied perspectives and different experiences, which helps to build a more tolerant and informed society.
Our response to the election is to reaffirm our core values stated in the Cambridge Public Library’s mission. We serve as a doorway to opportunity, self-development and recreation for all residents, and as a forum to share ideas, cultures and resources.5 The free availability of information, the lively interaction of people, and the open exchange of ideas animate and extend the democratic mission of Cambridge Public Library.6
We have pulled together resources and programs that reflect our values as an institution. Our expert librarians have created guides to immigration and refugee resources, detecting fake media news and a top 10 list of books that will challenge perspectives. We will also join with community partners to present programs on civics, a diverse America, anticipated federal policy changes, journalism and news media and other current topics that have arisen since the election, so watch this space.
Public libraries across the United States are safe havens, welcoming places for everyone who is living and endeavoring and dreaming in our great nation. We are forever committed to ensuring the Cambridge Public Library remains a learning and literacy resource, a community resource and a vibrant commons for all residents.
Director of Libraries
Chairperson, Library Board of Trustees
1 Simmons, D. & DePasquale, L. A. “Joint statement of Cambridge Mayor E. Denise Simmons and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale regarding Cambridge as a Sanctuary City http://www.cambridgema.gov/citynewsandpublications/news/2016/11/jointstatementoncambridgeasasanctuarycity