Blog

June 25th 2008

Are you a native French speaker who misses books from home? Are you an American who studied French in college or high school and would like to take a refreshing dip in la langue? The Somerville Public Library has a growing collection of books in French, ranging from the latest Prix Goncourt winners and American fiction in translation to cookbooks and biographies.

Sample titles:

Alabama song de Gilles LeRoy.

... Read Post
June 24th 2008
side by side comparison of two statues, Clarence and Damoxenus

Here at the Central Library’s reference desk we have a companion – a statue of a Greek boxer who, in accordance with long-standing Library tradition, we call Clarence. Clarence is actually Damoxenus, and he has an interesting history.

“Damoxenus. A boxer of Syracuse, excluded from the Nemean Games for killing his opponent in a pugilistic encounter. The name of the latter was Creugas; and the two... Read Post

June 16th 2008
If you would like to research your family tree but don't know how to begin, this workshop is just for you. I'll cover basic rules to follow no matter who you are or where your family is from, and resources (both in the Library and beyond)  helpful for different locales and nationalities.  I'll also walk participants through a search for documents on family members using HeritageQuest and Ancestry.com, both available through the library.
June 11th 2008

To celebrate the return of the farmers’ markets to Somerville (massfarmersmarkets.org) and give a shout out to the great services offered by the Somerville Garden Club (www.somervillegardenclub.org) and the Somerville Community Growing Center (www.thegrowingcenter.org), and to cheer on every seedling growing in the backyards, community gardens, and window boxes throughout the city, a list of books to share with children about the trials, tribulations and sheer joys of... Read Post

June 10th 2008
...because it's extremely hot and our air conditioning isn't working. Both of the branches are open from 10-6 today: West Branch is located at 40 College Ave. in Davis Square. East Branch is located at 115 Broadway near Sullivan Square. Look here for information on the City of Somerville's heat advisory and where you can go to cool off. The Main Library will be back in business tomorrow and our air conditioning should be fixed within a week. Stay cool!  
June 9th 2008
One of the most creative and dynamic film industries in the world right now is in Argentina. In recent years, the work of Argentine directors and script writers has been garnering rave reviews, film festival awards, and (most importantly) an ever-growing audience. Somerville Public Library has a rich collection of Spanish-language films that includes these Argentine gems: Common Ground (2002). When budget cuts force a university professor to take early retirement, he and his wife find they... Read Post
June 5th 2008
Cover of book "Charmed Knits: Projects for Fans of Harry Potter"

It's been nearly a year since the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the final book in J. K. Rowling's 7-volume saga of "the boy who lived," and while Rowling has assured fans that there's no use expecting any more about Harry from her word processor, it doesn't look as though she's going to have the last word. I'm not talking about Potter fan fiction, crazy amounts of which can be found on the Internet. I mean books - books that don't... Read Post

June 2nd 2008
If you haven't read any of Jared Diamond's books, you absolutely must. His Guns, Germs and Steel (1998) was one of the most fascinating books I've read in my life. Have you ever wondered why man domesticated horses and not zebras? Have you ever been curious as to why Spain conquered the Incas and not the other way around? Do you want to know where almonds come from? Guns is a tour de force of scientific and social history. In Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed (2005), Diamond... Read Post
May 31st 2008
Walk Boston: Walking Tours of Boston's Unique Neighborhoods [917.446 SL] provides information about 30 different walks that guide you through a variety of Boston Neighborhoods from the South End to Brookline to Chelsea and Charlestown to name a few. In the book you will find directions, maps, descriptions of each walk as well as historic and cultural highlights. In Daytrips From Boston by Public Transportation [917.44 SC] discover places that you can get to by a combination of public... Read Post
May 23rd 2008
Three images: Hamlet; Snow White & Rose Red; ankylosaurus

When I got my first job in a library I was surprised to discover how much nonfiction people read. At that time I read fiction almost exclusively and didn’t see the attraction of nonfiction. Sure, one might occasionally need resume writing tips, baseball stats, or advice on where to stay in Vancouver, but surely these types of books couldn’t account for the huge amount of nonfiction that crossed the circulation desk every day. So what on earth were these... Read Post

May 20th 2008
Is it hard to find music you like? Via our good friends at Very Short List I discovered TuneGlue, an interactive website that locates musicians you'll probably like. For example, I typed in "Eric Bachman" (his "To the Races" was one of NPR's picks for Best CDs of 2006), clicked the little circle that appeared labeled "Eric Bachman," clicked on "Expand" and got "Stephen Fretwell and His Band," "The Good Life," and "Crooked Fingers." Those are all good (if unsurprising) choices. Giving it... Read Post
May 13th 2008

Come to the Somerville Public Library to try our new database, Boston Consumer’s Checkbook. Working your way through the maze of consumer products and services can be daunting whether you are looking to find the best doctor, veterinarian, electrician, roofer, or bicycle repair shop. Consumer’s Checkbook Database is a great place to begin your search. This database provides ratings from other consumers about local businesses and services from home... Read Post

May 9th 2008
...to the MFA for their temporary exhibit on seventeenth-century Spanish painting, you can still satisfy your longing for some art in your life. We have a number of books and videos on Spanish art, some covering the same artists as the MFA exhibit, and others on the geniuses who came after them. If you're in the mood for coffee table books with big, glossy reproductions, check out El Greco (call # 759.6 GR), published to accompany the 2004 exhibit of this seventeenth-painter's eerily modern-... Read Post
May 6th 2008
Are you interested in helping people learn English? Are you reliable, flexible, welcoming, and friendly? Are you free on Wednesday afternoons? You may be just the person we're looking for! Our new ESL classes at the Main Library are starting soon and we are still looking for volunteers to help get them going. English classes at the library are informal, fun, and popular! Beginning on May 14th there will be Wednesday afternoon classes at 2:00pm and 3:15pm. You can come for one or both. If... Read Post
May 2nd 2008
kronosaurus skull

Just this: when you buy books (and other items like CDs and movies) at the Friends of the Somerville Public Library's book sale, the proceeds help to fund library programs, including the Museum Pass program. The particular big teeth pictured here belong to a fossil kronosaurus on exhibit at Harvard's Museum of Natural History. Harvard's Museum of Natural History is one of the many museums the Library offers passes to, so that Somerville residents can visit them for free, or at a substantial... Read Post

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