May 16th 2018
photo of books about Ramadan and Eid

The Muslim holiday of Ramadan, a holy month of fasting, introspection, and prayer, begins this year on May 15 at sundown.  During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam; the other four are profession of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca.


The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day festival known as Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam’s major holidays.


Here are a few book... Read Post

May 10th 2018

In February I posted about the ways we can identify fake Amazon reviews, particularly the tool Earlier this week Buzzfeed published an article about the business of fake Amazon reviews, which includes these staggering statistics: 87% of Amazon shoppers surveyed said a positive Amazon review was critical in their decision to purchase a product, but fewer than 10% of Amazon customers write reviews of items they've bought. However, getting positive reviews is essential to... Read Post

May 7th 2018

Ready to trade in your job for life as an entrepreneur? Need market analysis, access to real estate transactions, or business and advertising information? We have some terrific free resources for you here at the Somerville Public Library! Come and check out our business related magazines and newspapers like some of these:

Banker & Tradesman ­­-- a weekly banking, commercial, industrial, and real estate newspaper for Massachusetts. It is a valued advertising vehicle, providing a... Read Post

May 2nd 2018

"Fake news" is a phrase we've been hearing a lot over the past year. The barrage of half-truths and outright lies seems endless. At times it seems we live in a fog of rumors and fabrications. A conversation with a casual acquaintance can open a window into a world of alternative facts (A national fast-food chain serves burgers made of human flesh! There's an ebola outbreak in your hometown! A Muslim mayor has outlawed Christmas!).

Fortunately we've got an increasing number of tools... Read Post

April 24th 2018
audio book cover: The Cuckoo's Calling

Mystery lovers: have you read any of Robert Galbraith's novels yet?  They're so good!  Galbraith (a pseudonym for J. K. where have I heard that name before...?) writes a series featuring private investigator Cormoran Strike and his assistant Robin Ellacott.  Of the three that have been published so far - The Cuckoo's Calling, The Silkworm, and Career of Evil - each is better than the last.  A fourth book, Lethal White, is expected to be published this year, and Rowling has said... Read Post

April 23rd 2018

April 23 is the date traditionally observed as the birthday of William Shakespeare, an occasion celebrated wherever English is spoken with performances, readings, parades and other events. In Oxford today there was a parade and performances by school children. At Vanderbilt University in Tennessee there are jugglers, troubadors, puppet shows and performances of favorite scenes from the plays. Pittsburgh has declared April 22-28 "The Week of Will," with events ranging from plays in parks to... Read Post

April 20th 2018

The U.S. citizenship exam tests applicants on reading, writing, and speaking English, plus U.S. civics (history and government). What resources does the library have to help you prepare?

The most current resource comes from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).  On their Citizenship Resource Center page, you’ll find study materials including downloadable flash cards, vocabulary lists, information on understanding vocabulary for the interview, practice tests, and short... Read Post

April 13th 2018
Screen Free Week Logo

Do you feel too connected to electronics?  Is it impossible to get your kids off the iPad?  Are you angry when your partner checks their phone in the middle of a conversation?  


If you answered yes to any of these questions, Screen Free Week might be for you.


Screen Free week, presented by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood, is slated for April 30 - May 6, 2018.  Children, adults, families, schools and communities are encouraged to unplug from... Read Post

April 10th 2018

As of March 26, when anyone goes to the RMV to get or renew a driver's license, state ID, or learner's permit they will need more documents than in the past. In a nutshell, they'll have to have documents that:

                1) Prove they live in Massachusetts;

                2) Prove they have a Social Security number, and...

               3) Prove they're legal US residents.

What do these requirements mean in practice? Various kinds of documents are... Read Post

April 5th 2018

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore is a hypnotic read about five girls at a summer camp and how a fateful night changes their lives forever.

The book starts off at Camp Forevermore, where the girls first meet during their childhoods. Author Kim Fu goes into great detail regarding the mixed feelings these girls have toward each other as they kayak across the waters, with their leader and camp counselor, Jan.

The childhood entries are narrated by Siobhan, who describes the... Read Post

March 30th 2018
SustainaVille Week Poster 2018

Thanks to Hannah Payne, Sustainability Coordinator for the City of Somerville, for this guest post!

In honor of this year's upcoming SustainaVille Week, I’m taking over the Somerville Public Library blog to share some of my favorite books and movies about the environment, climate change, and sustainability. SustainaVille Week is an annual celebration of sustainability and climate action in Somerville, hosted by the City of Somerville’s Office of Sustainability and Environment. There... Read Post

March 24th 2018
Mae D. Frazar, Somerville MA , writing in the Boston Globe - Would a woman make a good president?

As National Women's History Month draws to a close this week, our spotlight is on Mae Durell Frazar (1852-1919) an accomplished writer, editor, world traveler, and entrepreneur who lived most of her life on or near Prospect Hill.

Frazar is chiefly known as Somerville’s first female publisher. In 1887 she created a 16-sheet paper called The Home Life, which was printed by the Somerville Journal, and "crammed with original matter, illustrated stories, prizes, premiums, music and book... Read Post

March 23rd 2018
boxes of Table Talk pies

Thanks to our friends at the Table Talk Pie Company whose generous (and delicious) donation of pie enabled our teen library patrons to celebrate Pi Day right!  And thanks (I guess?) to our frenemy Mother Nature for sending a storm that forced us to push our Pi Day celebration back a week to 3.21.  A good time was had by all, as it is every month on Teen Game Day.  We hope you can join us for our next get together on Wednesday, April 11th at the Central Library from 2:30 to 4:30 - it's a lot... Read Post

March 16th 2018
stephen hawking books and movies

By now, you have likely heard of the passing of Dr. Stephen Hawking, one of the most celebrated thinkers of our time. Dr. Hawking was a theoretical physicist, cosmologist, author, advocate for disability rights, and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge. 

If you would like to learn more about his work or life, the Somerville Public Library owns several of his books, as well as biographical books and films written or produced about... Read Post

March 9th 2018

Daily savings time ends this Sunday, March 11; so on Saturday night (or very early Sunday morning) everyone should set their clocks ahead one hour. Many (quite reasonably) wonder why we set our clocks back an hour during the fall in the first place. The idea behind it is conserving resources. If everyone gets up an hour later (when it’s lighter) during the winter months we’re supposedly saving energy. Supposedly Benjmain Franklin first proposed daylight saving time (DST) as a way to save... Read Post