Author Archive







Based on values identified in SomerVision, Mayor Joe Curtatone invited residents to share their ideas for investing in four key areas:

  • Public Health
  • Arts and Culture
  • Community Engagement and Immigrant Outreach
  • Recreation

The City held three Community Budgeting meetings and solicited ideas online.  Now, they’ve gathered all the ideas and need need your help to prioritize them!

Click here to see the list of ideas that were generated by the community.  If you see an idea you like, vote it up. If you see an idea you’re not keen on, vote it down.

And if you’re interested in learning more about Somerville’s budget, click here.


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You know how sometimes all you want to do is celebrate the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter?   Well tomorrow is the perfect day to do exactly that: it’s March 14th, aka Pi Day!

Here in Somerville there are a few events planned that should make this Pi Day the best one ever.

  • Petsi Pies is having their annual Pi Day celebration.  Recite the digits of pi from memory and win free pie!  More digits = more pie!   Starts at 1:59 p.m.
  • The East Somerville Community School is hosting Pi Night for SPL students in grades 6-8 and their families.  Win a pie at various pi-related activity stations, eat pizza pie, and take home a small pie of your own!
  • Artisan’s Asylum is hosting a Pi Potluck.  Bring pie and eat pie!  Prizes will be awarded for people’s choice and most pi inspired.  This is an unofficial event, so if you’re not a member of the Asylum, you’ll need to coordinate with someone who is to go as their guest.

For more Boston-area Pi Day options, click here or here.  Happy Pi Day!



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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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Neil deGrasse Tyson 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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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.

BrideHistorical Romance
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



Paranormal Romance
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



Romantic Suspense
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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Yesterday’s Boston Globe had a front page story on tiktaalik, a 375-million-year-old fish with limb-like fins and larger than average pelvic bones. Tiktaalik is of particular interest to scientists studying how animals transitioned from life in water to life on land in ancient times. If you would like to see a skeleton of this famous creature, along with a realistic-looking model of what it may have looked like in life, look no further than the Harvard Museum of Natural History, right next door in Cambridge. You can even get into the museum at a discounted price by taking advantage of the Library’s Museum Pass Program, which is generously funded by the Friends of the Library – thank you Friends!

Want to read more about prehistoric beasts? Check out the Dewey 560s, which happens to be one of the coolest nonfiction sections in the Library. Here’s a sampling of what’s on offer, but of course there are many more – have a look for yourself!

Dinosaur Art book coverThe Bonehunters’ Revenge: Dinosaurs, Greed, and the Greatest Scientific Feud of the Gilded Age by David Rains Wallace

Dinosaur Art: the World’s Greatest Paleoart edited by Steve White

Grave Secrets of Dinosaurs: Soft Tissues and Hard Science
by Phillip Manning

How to Build a Dinosaur: Extinction Doesn’t Have to be Forever by Jack Horner and James Gorman

The Jesuit and the Skull: Teilhard de Chardin, Evolution, and the Search for Peking Man by Amir D. Aczel

Mammoth book coverLast Ape Standing: the Seven-Million Year Story of How and Why We Survived by Chip Walter

The Lost Dinosaurs of Egypt by William Nothdurft with Josh Smith

Lucy’s Legacy: the Quest for Human Origins by Donald C. Johanson and Kate Wong

Mammoth: the Resurrection of an Ice Age Giant by Richard Stone

My Beloved Brontosaurus: On the Road with Old Bones, New Science, and Our Favorite Dinosaurs by Brian Switek

Next of Kin: Great Fossils at the American Museum of Natural History by Lowell Dingus

The Princeton Field Guide to Dinosaurs
by Gregory S. Paul

Taking Wing: Archaeopteryx and the Evolution of Bird Flight
by Pat Shipman

Time Traveler: in Search of Dinosaurs and Ancient Mammals from Montana to Mongolia by Michael Novacek

Trilobite!: Eyewitness to Evolution by Richard Fortey


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If you loved me I could trust you to your fancy’s furthest bound
While the sun shone and the wind blew, and the world went round,
To the utmost of the meshes of the devil’s strongest net . . .
If you loved me, if you loved me—but you do not love me yet!

I love you—and I cannot trust you further than the door!
But winds and worlds and seasons change, and you will love me more
And more—until I trust you, dear, as women do trust men—
I shall trust you, I shall trust you, but I shall not love you then!

– E. Nesbit


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GradsUnivision, a Spanish language TV station, is offering a a series of programs to support the education of Hispanic students, with particular focus on college access for first generation students.

Next week is Univision’s Semana ¡Edúcate, Es El Momento!  Click here to see  the programs they have planned focusing on a variety of subjects related to this topic.

In addition, there are some online resources and programs to check out.  These include a platform with information specifically targeted to first generation students, including short videos of students themselves in selective colleges.  The goal of this resource is to encourage application and enrollment in selective colleges, as Latinos are less likely to apply to those, even when they have the qualifications that would get them admitted.

Finally, on Thursday, October 10th from 12:00 to 210:00 p.m.,  there will be an online college fair focused on first generation Hispanic students.  Any student can participate.  The fair features seminars designed to help students put together an application and apply for financial aid, and also, opportunities for students to to speak with college admissions officers to speak in real time.


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What can you do to avoid investment fraud?  A good first step is to educate yourself about “The Three Ps”:

  • the Profile of the typical victim
  • common Persuasion tactics used by fraudsters
  • techniques to help Prevent fraud

Staff from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will be at the Central Library this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. with a presentation on all of these topics, as well as a demonstration on how to check the status and disciplinary history of investment professionals.  The presentation will be followed by a question and answer period.

This free program is open to all – we hope you can come.


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