A recent survey from Central Connecticut State University survey ranked Boston as the eighth most literate large American city. The survey considers the library system as one factor that contributes to overall literacy.
On a related note, the Boston Public Library system has opened a new East Boston branch. Robert Campbell of the Boston Globe writes of it:
“As you watch tweens polishing their computer skills by playing video games, teens learning bike repair, elders stopping by for a bit of social warmth on a cold day, you realize how the institution of the branch public library is again becoming, as it was in the past, a community center for all ages.”
Read more here: http://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/2014/03/01/east-boston-library-inspired-blended-community-serves/9dmvGE7knE85Np3q5Xi6RK/story.html
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Check out staff suggestions in the Teen Room’s Women’s History Month display.
by Eileen and Sujei
March is Women’s History Month, and teens can find plenty of inspiration in the stacks of the SPL. Understanding the impact and achievements women have had in many fields – science, the arts, politics, religion, to name a few – is important for not only girls but also boys to keep in mind. What these women have accomplished have enhanced and enriched the lives of both men and women, boys and girls. And this impact isn’t limited to the stuffy old past either. Today’s women and girls are still working toward social and economic justice. Although women have come a long way this past century, women and girls around the world still struggle for rights to control their bodies, to be respected when they walk on the streets, to choose their careers or goals and other everyday actions.
Here we list some items to get you started on learning about women’s great contributions to world society – and some books about strong female characters to give you some inspiration. Also, check out the Teen Room display for staff picks of interesting movies, music and books.
Letters to a Young Feminist by Phyllis Chesler
Women’s rights : changing attitudes 1900-2000 by Kaye Stearman
Women’s rights by Jennifer A. Hurley
Keeping corner by Kashmira Sheth
Mujeres: crónica de una rebelión histórica by Juan María Alponte
The Yellow wallpaper and other writings by Charlotte Perkins Gilman
Blueprints for building better girls: fiction by Elissa Schappell
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
How I live now by Meg Rosoff
Dueled by Elsie Chapman
Blood red road by Moira Young
If I stay by Gayle Forman
The miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
Use your Minuteman Library Card to download audio and e-books for your device from the Minuteman Virtual Catalog. Here are some suggestions:
Full frontal feminism: a young woman’s guide to why feminism matters by Jessica Valenti
Almost astronauts: 13 women who dared to dream by Tanya Lee Stone
The gender knot: unraveling our patriarchal legacy by Allan G. Johnson
Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington
When you reach me by Rebecca Stead
If you need to do some research for a school paper, or just want to read about famous women without committing to a book, explore the Somerville Library databases. We suggest starting with the Biography in Context or Opposing Viewpoints databases.
And don’t hesitate to ask a librarian for help!
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Join us this Saturday at 2 pm for our next Muslim Journeys event: University of Michigan professor Stewart Gordon will lead a discussion of the his book When Asia Was the World: Traveling Merchants, Scholars, Warriors and Monks Who Created “The Riches of the East.”
In school we learn the history of Europe: how civilization was in ruins after the fall of the Roman Empire, but slowly, over centuries, it staggered back to life: first through the crude but vibrant Middle Ages, then its flowering in the Renaissance.
During that time Europe was slowly recreating itself, Asia was a hothouse of culture and science. Gordon examines this relatively unknown part of world history through the lives of men who traveled throughout the continent and left behind accounts of what they did and saw: a Chinese monk, a Jewish spice trader, an Indian warrior-king and a Moroccan jurist–to name a few.
You do not need to have the read the book to attend or be entertained by this fascinating history.
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Have you heard about the Digital Comic Museum? It’s a free online resource that allows users to download public domain golden age comics! The goal of the project is to archive these comic books online and make them widely available. All files have been researched by DCM staff and users to make sure they are copyright free and in the public domain. It’s easy to register for a free account and start downloading and reading right away. That ought to keep you busy for a while!
Want more? Check out the 741.5s for some cool books about comics, golden age and otherwise. Here are just a few to whet your appetite – there are many more!
Foul Play!: the Art and Artists of the Notorious 1950s E.C. Comics! by Grant Geissman
Men of Tomorrow: Geeks, Gangsters, and the Birth of the Comic Book by Gerard Jones
1,000 Comic Books You Must Read by Tony Isabella
The Ten-Cent Plague: the Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America by David Hajdu
Tales to Astonish: Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, and the American Comic Book Revolution by Ronin Ro
The Will Eisner Companion: the Pioneering Spirit of the Father of the Graphic Novel by N.C. Christopher Couch and Stephen Weiner
Comic Book Culture: an Illustrated History by Ron Goulart
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The eyes of the world are on the Ukraine at the moment, but what exactly is going on, and how much does it matter?
For background: here’s the situation as mapped out (literally) by the BBC.
The Ukrainian crisis by the numbers.
And here’s the latest response from the White House.
The New York Times has updates.
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Posted by: Kevin in StoryCorps
We will be recording this Saturday from 9:30-12:30. Participants may drop in or sign up in advance by emailing SPL director Maria Carpenter: mcarpenter[at]somervillema.gov
If you have a story to tell and can’t make it this Saturday, don’t worry: recordings will continue throughout March.
In case you’re unfamiliar with StoryCorps, it’s a foundation dedicated to honoring the lives of Americans by recording their stories. That means anyone. That means you. The story you record and share with us doesn’t have to involve historic events or famous people. It just has to be important to you. That’s what makes these stories matter. To hear some examples of StoryCorps recordings go here.
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How much do I love astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson? Well for starters, I forgave him for the part he played in the demotion of Pluto.
Why do I love Neil deGrasse Tyson? One reason is because he’s an eloquent advocate for science education (and for learning in general), and a fierce warrior in the modern fight against ignorance. Another is that he has such an abundant sense of what is wonderful in the universe and that he communicates that to anyone who is willing to listen. Below are a few of my favorite Tyson quotes.
“The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” [source]
“For me, I am driven by two main philosophies: know more today about the world than I knew yesterday and lessen the suffering of others. You’d be surprised how far that gets you.” [source]
“Curious that we spend more time congratulating people who have succeeded than encouraging people who have not.” [source]
Many of Tyson’s books are available in Somerville and throughout the Minuteman Library Network. Here are the past decade’s worth:
Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier
The Pluto Files: the Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet
Death by Black Hole: and Other Cosmic Quandaries
The Sky is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist
Origins: Fourteen Billion Years of Cosmic Evolution
One Universe: at Home in the Cosmos
Tyson also appears on TV frequently (he formerly hosted PBS’s Nova scienceNOW). He has a new show coming out next month – an update of Carl Sagan‘s beloved 1980s series Cosmos. I can hardly wait!
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As part of our ALA/NEH sponsored series Muslim Journeys we are pleased to host a screening of the documentary Dear Bawa Muhaiyaddeen by filmmakers Kythe Heller and Peter McMurray. This event will take place on Thursday, February 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the Central Library.
How can one film something that cannot be seen? Unlike traditional documentaries, which typically view religious experience as a metaphor for something else–whether socially or psychologically construed–this experimental film explores religion on its own terms by engaging the formal possibilities of filmmaking to consider the contemporary Sri Lankan Sufi teacher M.R. Bawa Muhaiyaddeen and the trans-national and inter-religious community that has grown up around him in the U.S. and Sri Lanka.
Following the screening, filmmaker Kythe Heller will lead a discussion.
This program is free and all are welcome to attend.
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Despite some pundits questioning the importance of libraries, it seems like the vast majority of Americans value their public libraries very highly. According to the most recent research by the Pew Internet & American Life Project:
- 95% of Americans ages 16 and older agree that the materials and resources available at public libraries play an important role in giving everyone a chance to succeed;
- 95% say that public libraries are important because they promote literacy and a love of reading;
- 94% say that having a public library improves the quality of life in a community;
- 91% say closing the public library would have a negative impact on their community;
- 81% say that public libraries provide many services people would have a hard time finding elsewhere.
The importance of public libraries to their communities is reflected in a spate of newly constructed or renovated libraries around the country, many of which are innovative in their design as well as in the amazing range of resources and services they provide. One such library is the District of Columbia’s Tenley Friendship Library, featured in a current issues of Architect Magazine. You can see a picture of the new library here (http://www.architectmagazine.com/projects/view/district-of-columbia-public-library-tenley-friendship-library/1122/).
Mark Howland, of the Somerville Public Library Board of Trustees, and an architect himself, says the design is contemporary and the setting is urban, and it gives us a sense of what other communities are doing.
Another story features the redesign of the MLK Library (http://www.architectmagazine.com/architecture/everything-you-need-to-know-about-the-mlk-library-redesign_o.aspx?dfpzone=home&utm_source=newsletter&utm_content=jump&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ANW_021714&day=2014-02-17)
I hope everyone is staying warm through this most recent storm. Consider dropping by the library for a new book to read by the fire or with a nice hot chocolate, while we wait for Spring to come!
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In honor of Valentine’s day, we turn our attention to romance novels. If you are a fan, you might know that there is an organization called Romance Writers of America which each year recognizes outstanding published romance novels and novellas with the RITA awards. Below are lists of the 2013 finalists in a few of the categories. There are many more. For a complete list, click here.
Beauty and the Bounty Hunter by Lori Austin
Bride by Mistake by Anne Gracie
Defiant by Pamela Clare
A Lady Never Surrenders by Sabrina Jeffries
The Recruit by Monica McCarty
A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
Too Dangerous to Desire by Cara Elliott
Wedded in Sin by Jade Lee
Angel in Chains by Cynthia Eden
Edge of Oblivion by J.T. Geissinger
Immortally Yours by Angie Fox
Lothaire by Kresley Cole
Mark of the Witch by Maggie Shayne
Moonglow by Kristen Callihan
Rogue Rider by Larissa Ione
Shadow’s Claim by Kresley Cole
Celebrity in Death by J.D. Robb
Dead Heat by Bronwyn Parry
Don’t Cry for Me by Sharon Sala
Forged in Fire by Trish McCallan
Last Man Standing by Cindy Gerard
Scorched by Laura Griffin
Twisted by Laura Griffin
Vortex by Cherry Adair
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