Cambridge City
MA

Policy Order
POR 2020 #95
Order Adopted as Amended
May 4, 2020 5:30 PM

That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Director of Cambridge Public Libraries to explore ways in which physical library materials can be made available to Cambridge Public Schools students and other Cambridge residents during the COVID-19 pandemic

Information

Department:City Clerk's Office, AMSponsors:Vice Mayor Alanna Mallon, Councillor Patricia Nolan, Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui
Category:Policy Order

Attachments

  1. Printout

Body

WHEREAS:

Cambridge Public Schools have been closed since March 13th, and Governor Charlie Baker recently announced that schools will remain shut for the rest of the academic school year; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

Most Cambridge Public Schools students are continuing their education by participating in remote learning; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

Cambridge Public Libraries, which also closed on March 13th, typically serve as an invaluable resource to our students, offering picture books and early readers that spark an interest in reading in young children, providing chapter books for middle and high school-aged residents to encourage their love of learning, supplying reference materials for students’ use in school projects, and more; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

While e-books and other e-materials are available online, distance learning and an overall increase in time spent inside have resulted in students spending more and more time looking at screens, which can cause eye strain and sleeping problems; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

It is imperative that physical library materials be made available to students to ensure they have the educational resources they need to succeed in school while minimizing additional screen time; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

Low-income students could especially benefit from having physical library materials, as they may have more limited access to computers or internet service, limiting their access to e-materials, and as stocking an at-home private library may be a financial burden; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

Utilizing the online library reservation system with specified material pick-up windows would allow our students to access these crucial library resources while preventing any additional risk for COVID-19 transmission; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

A gradual phase-in process could be utilized to ensure our students are prioritized in receiving library materials, as having expanded access to library materials would directly enhance their education, while adult Cambridge residents could be included during a later phase; and

 

 

WHEREAS:

Expanding access to physical library materials would align with the City Council goal of “[ensuring] that Cambridge offers economic and educational opportunity to all”; now therefore be it

 

 

ORDERED:

That the City Manager be and hereby is requested to confer with the Director of Cambridge Public Libraries and the Cambridge Library Staff Association to explore ways in which physical library materials can be made available to Cambridge Public Schools students and other Cambridge residents during the COVID-19 pandemic; and be it further

 

 

ORDERED:

That the City Manager report back to the City Council on this matter in a timely fashion.

 

Meeting History

May 4, 2020 5:30 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft
RESULT:ORDER ADOPTED AS AMENDED [UNANIMOUS]
YEAS:Dennis J. Carlone, Patricia Nolan, Jivan Sobrinho-Wheeler, Alanna Mallon, Marc C. McGovern, Sumbul Siddiqui, E. Denise Simmons, Timothy J. Toomey, Quinton Zondervan