April 20th 2016
Are you thinking about purchasing an iPad? Do you like to sit and scroll through your Facebook feed, check e-mail or just plain surf the internet? Well, now you can check out an iPad air from your local library! Somerville has 3 iPad's to circulate along with a WiFi Hotspot (if you don't have WiFi at home). You can take one out or sit and use it in the library! If your interested, grab your library card and just go to the Reference, Teen or Children's desk to pick one up! If you have questions... Read Post
April 16th 2016
Somerville's annual Patriots' Day celebration will be held at Foss Park on Monday, April 18 10-11:30 am. There will be a Colonial Fair with games, music by the Somerville High School band, period refreshments, and colonial reenactors. If you play your cards right, you might even get to meet Paul Revere's horse (she has a very busy social schedule; she can't make time for everyone). If you are interested in reenactments of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the National Park Service has a... Read Post
April 15th 2016
One of SPL's most valuable resources for Somerville history is the Somerville Journal, the city's oldest newspaper. We have the complete run of the paper in hard copy and microfilm from the 1870s to the present. Reading old issues is fascinating. Not only do they give a sense of how important newspapers were for news and entertainment before competition from radio, television and the Internet, they also reveal the issues that were on people's minds that seldom make it into the history books. ... Read Post
April 11th 2016
Did you know that you can check out an e-book for free from your library and download it to your Ipad or kindle fire? A whopping 40% of people don't know they can check out an eBook from their library! So instead of spending all that money on Amazon.com, you can get all the books for free, by signing into Overdrive using your library card. Overdrive has audio books & eBooks! This is just another way libraries are moving along with the times and providing you more ways to access information... Read Post
April 8th 2016
...for April 8, 2016. On this day 81 years ago Congress passed the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of 1935, the law that created the Works Progress Administration, an unprecedented effort by the federal government to provide employment during an economic crisis. At its peak the WPA employed over 8 million people on public projects ranging from building roads and making parks to creating public works of art and interviewing former slaves about life before Emancipation. If you would like to... Read Post
April 7th 2016
I'm sure you've all been following the news about the conflict between the FBI and Apple, and how the FBI managed to break into the San Bernadino shooter's iPhone without Apple's help. Interestingly, the tool the FBI used appears to work only on iPhone 5cs or earlier models. In any case, the company WhatsApp changed the game entirely this week when it finished end-to-end encryption for its messaging app. You can read more about that and why it matters here. And there's good news for PC users... Read Post
April 1st 2016
One of my favorite websites for online learning (or amusment) is FutureLearn.com. It offers short and free introductions to a variety of subjects. Courses are usually 3 to 5 weeks and average about 3 hours a week of work. You can learn about everything from mobile programming to introductory Italian. Or you could inform yourself about nuclear energy, Japanese philosophy, cardiovascular disease, or Roman archaeology. Check it out.
March 25th 2016
According to the Pew Research Center, a majority of Americans surveyed consider themselves lifelong learners. Many of them are "professional learners:" they take courses or attend trainings to enhance their job skills and career prospects. However, the vast majority are "personal learners:" they learn skills or subjects that personally interest them. And while the Internet can be an indispensable tool for learning, a majority of personal learners say a physical space (such as a library or... Read Post
March 19th 2016
By the reference desk in the Central Library is a statue of an Ancient Greek boxer known to history as Damoxenos. However, for as long anyone can remember he's been known around Somerville as Clarence. And like all Ancient Greek athletes depicted in sculpture, Clarence isn't wearing anything A few days ago a woman who was clearly in a hurry came into the main reading room with two small children. One of them, a boy who looked about five or six, pointed to Clarence and asked, "Why isn't he... Read Post
March 17th 2016
It's St. Patrick's Day. For some that might mean drinking some Guinness or listening to Irish folk music, but for enthusiastic readers it's an occasion to add some books by Irish writers to their reading list. I am steering clear of the usual suspects (e.g., Ulysses) to point out some books that might be under the radar of many readers. John Banville is a prolific writer of both beautiful, challenging literary fiction and of mysteries (the latter under the name Benjamin Black). He's also... Read Post
March 15th 2016
On this day in 44 BC the Roman dictator Julius Caesar was assassinated. His murder and the ensuing warfare and chaos has been written about by historians, poets, playwrights and novelists. SPQR: A History of Ancient Rome by Cambridge classicist Mary Beard, is a highly regarded and compulsively readable work in which she discusses the significance of Caesar's life and death, as well as other important figures in Roman history such as Cicero, Hannibal and Augustus. If you're interested in... Read Post
March 10th 2016
First the good news: it seems to have infected relatively few computers. To find out if your Mac has been infected (and learn how to remove it) go here.
March 7th 2016
Transmission, a popular Mac application for downloading videos and music, has been infected with ransomware. It encrypts the data on users' Macs and demands they fork over roughly $400 in bitcoin. Apple took steps to neutralize the malware over the weekend, but some Macs may have been infected as of today. You can read more about the problem here and here. Stay tuned.
March 3rd 2016
A few weeks ago I posted about resources to help you determine the truth of what you see, hear or read in the media. Here are 3 more fact-checking resources to consider: Media Matters for America, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, and The Washington Post's Fact Checker.
February 26th 2016
Our latest staff profile is of Donna, a self-described "jill of all trades" who can usually be found at the Central Library. "When I first started working at the Library I was in the audio-visual department, which I really enjoyed. Now my duties include payroll, administrative services, coordinating schedules, and working at public desks in a variety of departments including circulation, the children's and teen departments, and occasionally the East and West branches. "I like many things... Read Post