Author Archive


In light of ongoing national conversations surrounding this topic, the City of Somerville invites residents to share their experiences, concerns, and ideas on race and racism in a new round of its Community Conversations Series beginning on Monday, October 5th.

Organized by the Office of Health and Human Services, ‘conversations’ will be held in each of the City’s seven wards. Residents are invited to join these small-group discussions to share their experiences and learn from their neighbors.

“We, as a city, must do our part to move the national conversation on race forward,” said Mayor Curtatone. “Somerville can and should lead the way in showing how a city can reflect on itself and take action against injustice. I look forward to hearing from our residents and working with the community to ensure everyone has the same opportunities and is treated fairly.”

Each conversation will be led by a trained facilitator and light refreshments will be served. Child care and translations services will be provided by request to enable more Somerville residents to participate in the dialogue.

“Systemic racism is a complex challenge that will result in various approaches, initiatives, and public conversations,” said the Mayor. “We will be using this time to listen to the experiences of residents and use that feedback to guide us moving forward.”

Community Conversations are scheduled for:

Feel free to walk in to any conversation – no reservations are necessary.  However, if you will need child care, translations services, or any ADA accommodations, please RSVP to Director of Human Services Nancy Bacci at or 617-625-6600 x2250.


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DeCordova Sculpture Park

It’s been a long time since we’ve reminded you about the variety of discount museum passes that your library offers, so here goes.


Gardner Museum

We’re fortunate to live in an area with a wealth of fascinating museums and other cultural attractions. Thanks to the generosity of the Friends of the Library, passes are available for Somerville residents to visit a number of these nearby treasures at a discount. Borrow a museum pass soon and discover inspiring worlds of artistic and natural beauty right on Somerville’s doorstep.


Museum of Science

Discount museum passes are available for:

Each pass is different in terms of the discount offered. For more information click here or call the Reference Department of the Library at (617) 623-5000 x2955.


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Thank you for your patience.


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We’ve had to close the East Branch Library due to an issue with the air conditioning. We apologize for the inconvenience and will let you know as soon as the branch opens again. In the meantime, lots of library goodness (and coolness!) is available at both the Central Library and the West Branch – please stop in!


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KevinOur latest staff profile is of Kevin, who you will recognize if you’ve ever been to the second floor of the Central Library.

“I’m Kevin. First and foremost, I work at the reference desk answering questions for library users, trouble shooting computers, helping people find books, and suggesting books to people who aren’t sure what they want. I speak Spanish, so I often help Spanish-speaking patrons. I also select books for the Library in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Chinese. I find it fascinating to see what’s being published in other countries.

In the past couple of years I’ve co-written some grants for special projects. One of these a StoryCorps grant, and SPL was one of just ten libraries in the U.S. selected for a pilot project for StoryCorps in public libraries. It was really interesting and moving to listen to the various people who came to the Library with stories they wanted to share. I also helped the Library get an ALA/NEH grant to do programming on Islamic history and culture. I learned so much. My favorite event in that series was definitely our interfaith panel discussion. A Protestant minister, the former Imam of Boston, and a rabbi talked about the similarities and differences of their faiths. I never would have thought hearing an imam and a rabbi joking together would make me laugh so much.

In addition to my other duties I work in the cataloging department one morning a week and that’s really cool because I love books and I get to see every one that comes into the Library.

I’m also in charge of the local history room, which is a real privilege because Somerville has such a rich and quirky history. George Washington and Marshmallow Fluff – who can beat that?

In my spare time I read, do yoga, cook, spend time with friends, and review books for the Christian Science Monitor.”


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As you may know, the West Branch Library is going to be renovated and we’d like to get community input on the design that’s currently under consideration. Please take a few minutes to check out the website and leave your comments – we appreciate your efforts to help us make a West Branch that will serve the Somerville community well!

You can view the plans by clicking here.


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AnnWelcome to the first in a series of short articles about the Library’s staff.  First up: Ann (whose face is familiar to anyone who uses the Children’s Room at the Central Library) tells you all about her job – and a few other things too!

“I love my job!  I love being with the kids.  I’ve worked in a few different departments here at the Library, but this is the most rewarding.  It’s hard work, but sometimes we’re having so much fun it feels like play.  I tell stories, do programs, and when I do a storytime and watch someone fall in love with the same book that I love – my heart just melts.  There’s nothing like it!

I also love reading children’s books and recommending them to kids who I know will enjoy them – it’s fun matching kids we know with books they’ll like.

Other things I enjoy are vacationing at the beach, shopping, foreign films, and puzzles. I’ve been dancing ballet since the age of three and I still enjoy going to dance classes twice a week.

Stop by the Children’s Room to say hi anytime!”



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We’re still getting responses to our question about how the Library has impacted your lives. Some are short and simple, like this one:

The Library has taught me the invaluable lesson of research and how to learn something new by gathering the books to collect and learn. Whether it be the law, electrical, carpentry, computer knowledge, etc. And of course the simple pleasure of reading a good book.

and this one:

It’s great to be able to request books and DVDs through the Minuteman Network and have it delivered to the closest Library to my house. It helps as I’m on a budget and couldn’t afford to buy all that I want. Also, we walk our dogs on the grounds.

Others are filled with detail, like this one:

Each time I visit the Somerville Central Library I discover a book on a topic that I never would have found anywhere else but in this very well-stocked, fabulous library. I have learned of many different cultures and their ways of life. This promotes understanding of other peoples, which certainly helps us to live and work harmoniously with those of different cultural backgrounds. I’ve discovered novels, short stories, biographies, and cookbooks of many cultures, which has educated me profoundly about our varied world. I’m very thankful to our library for the opportunity to gain such knowledge.

The library also sponsors holiday-themed events, such as the “Snowflake Workshop” instructed by Thy in December, before Christmas. Both young and old learn, in a relaxed and joyful environment, how to make colorful snowflakes based on Asian art-forms. In his workshops, people from all walks of life work cooperatively in fabricating lovely holiday decorations. Refreshments are often included as well.

Whether it’s fiction, science, or politics, the library has helped greatly to educate me about the surrounding world. I learned many things I never knew about prior to coming here, although I’ve been to college!

We love them all!

Would like to share your story (and qualify for a chance to win a $25 gift card)? Email Glenn Ferdman, Director of Libraries, or click here to fill out a short online form. You can also fill out a paper form at any SPL location.

We’re looking forward to reading your story soon!


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You might already know about Hoopla, the online service that allows you to instantly borrow free digital movies, music, eBooks and more, 24/7 with your Somerville Library card.  But did you know that the service just keeps getting better and better?  Now you can even download and read comic books on Hoopla, including titles from DC (The Dark Knight, The Flash, Wonder Woman) and Vertigo (Sandman, V for Vendetta, Fables)  There are tons of others too, including comics for kids (Adventure Time, Pocket God, Classics Illustrated), sci-fi titles (Doctor Who, Star Trek, Planet of the Apes), humorous comics (Lumberjanes, Tank Girl, Teen Dog), and many more! Browse by genre or collection and see what you can find.

You can also have fun playing around with the display. Want to read page by page? Or would you rather zoom in close and go panel by panel? Your choice!


Additional titles are added every week so there’s always plenty to explore – have fun!


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First, the Library has allowed me to break the habit of overbuying books. In the last five years I’ve learned to ask the Library for a book, and wait, rather than to just buy a book and then have to store it, give it away, or chuck it. The Library always comes through.

Second, the Library takes gifts of books and videos and puts them to good use – in circulation, offered in twice-a-year sales, or to recycling. It’s allowed me to slowly cull my book count by at least a bookcase worth. I hope to do much more, and in that reduction enrich Somerville Library’s circulation.

But last, and most importantly, my household borrows videos from the library. My spouse has a vestibular (dizziness) disorder which precludes him from public places with a lot of people – restaurants, concerts, theatre – and movie theaters. Getting films on video from the library, he can sit in our carefully controlled living room environment and enjoy a film with me. He even gets less dizzy as the film progresses (we don’t understand this outcome, since often films have special effects which should make him more dizzy, not less). It allows him to feel part of the culture of films; to enjoy himself; and for us as a couple to have happy time together.

Being on a careful budget, we couldn’t do it without Somerville Library. Thank you.

And this:

Without the library there’s a distinct possibility I would be the worst father in the world. All the kid’s librarians and all the kids books have given my kids all kinds of love and attention and help. Couldn’t have raised my kids without your help. Thanks!

And finally, this, from one of our younger patrons:

The library impacted my life because I got to read books that taught me stuff.

Would like to share your story (and qualify for a chance to win a $25 gift card)? Email Glenn Ferdman, Director of Libraries, or click here to fill out a short online form. You can also fill out a paper form at any SPL location.

Thank you so much for telling us your stories, and please, keep them coming!


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