Many of us will remember 2016 as the year the world lost so many vibrant talents and wonderful minds: the novelist Umberto Eco, the comedic actor Gene Wilder, the singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and completely wonderful actor and human being Alan Rickman, to name only a few. But I was perhaps most moved by the death of the multitalented Carrie Fisher, the actress and author most of us remember as the fearless, defiant Princess Leia in the original Star Wars films. She had other film roles,... Read Post
After just returning from Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok, where it was hot and humid, this New England weather is killing me. I would love to return to a sunny vacation where the authentic food was amazing, Buddhist temples await, adventures on rivers and massages at every turn. If you’re looking to take a trip to get out of this cold and dreary weather, come take a look at Somerville library’s travel books, starting in the 914 section on the second floor of the main library, you can find a... Read Post
People have been talking a lot about fake news in the past week. It's everywhere, but how do we know what's true and what isn't?
If you use the Chrome browser you can download the extension, This is Fake, created by Slate.com, which will help you find out if a report has been debunked.
And you can always go to the ever-reliable Snopes.com, pop in a few keywords related to the story you're suspicious about, and find out if it's true, false or a little of both.
And be... Read Post
Tomorrow night Sprout is hosting a digital privacy & security workshop that starts at 6 pm. In case you don't know about Sprout, it's a local collaborative devoted to scientific inquiry, and creating prototypes of tools to support scientific investigation.
If you don't know much about computers, don't worry: this workshop is meant to be accessible. Come with a laptop (or not) and speak up about what you would like to learn.
Sprout is at 339 Summer St. You can get all the... Read Post
So we had two primary presidential candidates (and by primary, I mean two with actual chances of winning). And the candidate more people voted for lost.
So how does that work? People say this country's a democracy, right?
Well, not quite: especially when it comes to electing the president. When the Constitutional Convention met in 1787, the question of how to elect a president of the United States was considered quite a conundrum. They considered several different methods... Read Post
Today is Halloween, a day for tricking or treating and dressing up, the annual celebration of all things scary. They day is believed to have pagan roots, originating from the Celtic harvest festival Samhain.
Even though Halloween will be over at midnight, you can still indulge your taste for the scary (if you have a taste for the scary). A couple of options at SPL: The Oxford Book of Gothic Tales or Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. You could also search the catalog... Read Post
If you had trouble accessing a major website this morning, such as Amazon, Twitter, Imgur or Pinterest, there's nothing wrong with your computer or your Internet connection. A widespread cyberattack cut off access to some of the most popular sites on the Web. The attack was a distributed denial-of-service attack, which basically means massive amounts of junk data were sent to websites, overloading the servers, making it impossible for people to get to them--like calling a phone number and... Read Post
Musician, writer, antiwar activist...and now, Nobel Laureate. This week the Swedish Academy awarded him the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature, “for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.” The permanent secretary of the Academy, Sara Danius, asserted that "we still read Homer and Sappho from ancient Greece, and they were writing 2,500 years ago,” she said. “They were meant to be performed, often together with instruments, but they have survived, and... Read Post
The Massachusetts Center for the Book has announced the 2016 Massachusetts Book Awards. You can see the list of winners and runners-up here.
You can request any of these titles by logging in here or by calling any branch of the Somerville Public Library: 617.623.5000.
Yesterday the New York Times ran a two-part column discussing whether or not there is a "wrong way" to read a book. The best part was this quote from Doris Lessing:
“There is only one way to read, which is to browse in libraries and bookshops, picking up books that attract you, reading only those, dropping them when they bore you, skipping the parts that drag — and never, never reading anything because you feel you ought, or because it is part of a trend or a movement. Remember that... Read Post
If you've been using AdBlock Plus as an adblocker I've got bad news: it now allows ads. But according to the people at Eyeo GmbH, the company that developed AdBlock Plus, users shouldn't worry: these ads are "acceptable." Supposedly AdBlock Plus will only ads that are smaller and less intrusive than the ads that companies would prefer to place on websites. The change is controversial, to say the least.
I suggest switching to uBlock, a well-reviewed adblocker that doesn't allow ads.... Read Post
Join us on Monday Sept 19th at 7pm as Somerville Reads Kicks Off with our discussion of the Witches by Stacy Schiff. Light Refreshments will be served.The first 10 people to arrive will receive free tickets to the Witch House in Salem!
The new display at the Somerville Public Library on Highland Ave, created by our one and only staff member, Thy, is now in our glass case for viewing. The display features books, movies and upcoming programming happening all surrounding the Somerville Reads 2016 book "The Witches" by Stacy Schiff.
Below are some pictures of the display: