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Guiding Principles

150th Anniversary of Cary Memorial Library in Lexington, Massachusetts logo

OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLES

OUR MISSION

Ignite curiosity. Engage minds. Connect our community.

OUR CORE VALUES

Access

We provide free and equitable services. Everyone is welcome here.

Civility

We cultivate a respectful and welcoming environment where people can gather, collaborate, and learn.

Community

We bring people together to build connections and develop programs and services that are responsive and imaginative.

Diversity

We celebrate and reflect the diversity of our community in our programming, partnerships, collections, displays, and staffing.

Education

We support a community of informed and engaged individuals who learn through research, exploration, and play.

Innovation

We experiment, take risks, and dream big.

Intellectual Freedom

We champion the open exchange of information and ideas, and uphold the individual’s right to privacy and choice.

Stewardship

We honor the resources placed in our charge by being fiscally, environmentally, and socially responsible.

OUR STRATEGIC PRIORITIES

These Strategic Priorities were developed in collaboration with library patrons and community stakeholders.

BOOKS, INFORMATION, AND SO MUCH MORE

We continue our 150-year-long tradition of providing books and other materials that reflect the needs and interests of Lexington residents. Though much has changed since our doors first opened in 1869, our essential function remains the same — to bring the world of information and ideas to you.

  • Collections will continue to evolve in response to community demand. We are expanding our World Language offerings, increasing our digital content, preserving our local history, and adding more copies of the titles you want.
  • Lexington is a community of readers who value books for their knowledge and enjoyment. We connect our users to their next great discovery through personal recommendations, lively group discussions, and eye-catching thematic displays.
  • Library staff are busier than ever, guiding users to reliable information, assisting with technology, and developing programs that innovate and inspire. We continue to cultivate our own skills and expertise in order to serve you effectively in the future.


At the intersection of learning, making, and play

In recent years, educational research has increasingly shown that we learn best through experience — by making mistakes and trying again. In furthering this effort, we are expanding these types of learning opportunities, giving you more chances to build, create, and play.

  • The Idea Wall is a unique space, designed to foster community engagement. Library staff work in collaboration with patrons to populate the Wall with interesting exhibits, many of which are participatory in nature.
  • Taking inspiration from the maker movement, we are providing more possibilities for experiential learning and re-engaging with the analog world. From cooking to coding to crafting, we are rebooting home economics for the modern age.
  • We realize that learning happens outside our walls and we encourage you to take the library home with you. We are continually growing our Library of Things — from curated kits, to technology tools, and educational toys for you and your family to explore.


A place that works for everyone

We value the rich diversity of our community and our commitment to equitable service for all is unwavering. Efforts to identify and remove barriers to access are ongoing — we are a work in progress.

  • Community voices are essential in our efforts to make Cary Library a truly inclusive, diverse, equitable, and accessible place. We are asking questions, listening attentively, and working hard to make meaningful changes.
  • Our spaces, collections, programs, and exhibits present unique opportunities to showcase different voices and experiences. We collaborate extensively with individuals and groups interested in leveraging library resources. We support and amplify the work of community partners who share our mission and values.
  • We want the community to see their own diversity reflected in the library staff. To that end, we will continue to build a diverse team of individuals who are constantly strengthening their cultural competency and societal awareness.


With opportunities for human connection

In a world where technology is ever-present, we are committed to fostering human interactions. Sometimes that is as simple as providing comfortable chairs for a serendipitous meeting between old friends. Other times it takes the shape of an elaborate event with community partners and hundreds of guests. Large and small, these moments, shared among neighbors, strengthen the social fabric of Lexington.

  • Ours is a community of scientists, educators, authors, musicians, parents, entrepreneurs, artists, and more — all with interesting stories to tell. We create frameworks for people to share their work and other life experiences with a broader audience.
  • As a trusted institution, the library serves as an important venue for challenging community conversations. We collaborate with individuals and groups to provide these opportunities, deepening connections among residents.
  • Libraries are places to spend time in the company of others. Preschoolers attend story time, meetings are held, questions are answered, and people of all ages come to socialize and study, read and reflect.


And a future as vibrant as our past

With more than half a million visitors each year, Cary Library is a cherished community asset and a source of civic pride. Stewardship of this resource includes multiple aspects — from preservation to transformation.

  • Our Children’s Room is the busiest part of our building and it is showing signs of wear. With the help of kids, parents, and educators, we’ll reimagine this space, making it colorful, creative, and fun for young patrons and their caregivers.
  • In the years to come, we will continue to upgrade critical building infrastructure with planned improvements to wireless internet, lighting, and climate control.
  • The popularity of building-wide events such as the Fairy Tale Ball and Library After Dark has demonstrated the community’s appetite to use the library in non-traditional ways. Truly a “palace for the people,” this piece of civic architecture is equally comfortable being used for quiet contemplation or joyous celebration.
Artistic rendering of Cary Library after dark with lights in windows

FURTHER INFORMATION