Cambridge Public Library Opens New Main Library

I somehow suspected that the new library would not be finished before I moved away from Cambridge. It took perhaps ten years to complete this project. First, there was an interminable years of decision making about where to locate the building. Some, including me,  favored a Central Square location. But, in the end, a site adjacent to the old main library was selected. Then, another interminable design phase came. Finally construction began. The library now had opened. According to Robert Campbell, in his Boston Globe review of the building, it took 15 years and $10 million of state funds and $81 million of city money to build it. The library has a floor plan and other information about the building on its website.

Time will tell about how well this building functions as a library and public building. Part of this result will depend on the library staff being inventive and welcoming to public events in the lecture hall in the second basement and the other open spaces in the building. The new building does not have the encompassing warmth of the old building with its dark woods and somewhat less vast spaces.

If you are interested in the “green:” aspect of the building go here for a review of those features (a PDF file).

I went to for a visit.

View from Broadway of old and new library

1st floor looking back to entrance and stairs up on right (red)

from stairway to 2nd floor towards entrance and circulation

study area 2nd floor

study area in stacks on 2nd floor

Teen Room in old library building

kids area in 3rd floor Children's Division

Computer area in old building

Getting the Proportions in Mind – Cambridge, Hudson, Columbia, Middlesex

Some comparative data:

Middlesex County

848 sq mi

population 1, 465, 396

density 1,780/ sq mi

Columbia County

land area: 636 sq mi

population 62,363

density 98 / sq mi



land area 6.4 sq mi

population 101388

density 15,767 / sq mi

Estimated median household income in 2007: $58,850 (it was $47,979 in 2000)

Cambridge: $58,850
Massachusetts: $62,365

Estimated per capita income in 2007: $41,093

Cambridge: $41,093
Massachusetts: $32,822

Estimated median house or condo value in 2007: $558,800 (it was $331,600 in 2000)

Cambridge: $558,800
Massachusetts: $366,400
2008 cost of living index in Cambridge: 148.5 (very high, U.S. average is 100)

Read more:


land area 2.24 sq mi

population 6, 925

density: 3,094 / sq mi

Estimated median household income in 2007: $29,891 (it was $24,279 in 2000)

Hudson: $29,891
New York: $53,514

Estimated per capita income in 2007: $20,111

Hudson: $20,111
New York: $29,885

Estimated median house or condo value in 2007: $171,611 (it was $76,100 in 2000)

Hudson: $171,611
New York: $311,000
2008 cost of living index in Hudson: 97.1 (near average, U.S. average is 100)


The Love Seat Is Gone – another Hudson Tale

In further proof that Hudson is part of America and more like Cambridge than first glances might reveal, an old love seat has disappeared from the alley running behind our house.

Saturday, with more than a little help from our friend Chris Brown, we moved an old love seat downstairs and out to the “barn”. As we were lugging this gem down the stairs, Chris said “Let’s put it out on the street and someone will come and take it away.”

I replied, “Well, in Cambridge that would be a completely safe strategy. We once put an old metal office desk on the street only to see it scooped up by students living across from us literally within minutes. But, I am not so sure about putting old furniture on Warren St. in Hudson. I have never seen anything like that here. But, lets put it in the alley. Plenty of people go by out there.”

So, that is exactly what we did. I came back a bit later and put a sign on it, “Free”.

Later that night I went out back and saw that no one had taken us up on our “free” love seat. Then, I flashed back to a memory from our Western Ave. Cambridge days. During a move from one side of the street to the other, we left an old sofa bed on the side walk. In the middle of the night we awoke to fire engines dousing a fire set in the sofa. With that in mind, I pushed our love seat a bit closer to the edge of the alley and a bit further from our very combustible barn.

Next morning, I went out to the barn and opened the door. The only evidence of our love seat was a slightly crumbled “free”.


Moving Out Day – leaving Cambridge after 40 years….

The big moving truck pulled up this morning and by noon left with all of our possessions. The definitive end of our collective 40 year tenure in Cambridge.moving out day

flag wrappingI am still surprised by the ways flags are used. Maybe I am stuck in the 1960s when this would be described as “desecration” and in some quarters lead to a stay in the local lock up.


This tree in front of our old house at 52 Kinnaird was the size of a forearm and perhaps 15 feet tall when we first moved here in 1978. Now it towers over the house at probably 75 feet in height.¶