Sunday, June 16, 2024

Dear City Manager Louis A. DePasquale and director of libraries Maria McCauley,

We are writing to request that all Cambridge Public Library locations close for at least two weeks, effective Saturday.

We are in the midst of a public health emergency. By staying open we put library staff, as well as the thousands of people who come into our doors every single day, at unnecessary risk. We have concrete evidence that although attendance at library programs has decreased significantly this week, the numbers of people who come into the library has decreased only slightly. In fact, with the closings of school systems (Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, etc.) as well as local public libraries (Somerville, Arlington, Waltham, Newton, etc.), we can expect the volume of patrons to increase over the next few weeks. In our libraries, especially our branches, it is impossible for staff or patrons to maintain a 6-foot social distance. We are putting thousands of people at risk every day.

If you will not close the libraries, we request that we meet Friday with library and/or city leadership to discuss concrete measures for employee safety at the library, as well as options for employees with children who are affected by school closings.

Jimmy Smick, on behalf of Cambridge Public Library Staff Association