November 6th 2017
This past weekend we set our clocks back one hour as we do every year. Ideally when we get up in the morning it will be a little lighter, and, not so ideally, after we work we'll all be stumbling home in the dark. But why do we do this? Supposedly Benjmain Franklin first proposed daylight saving time (DST) as a way to save candles, but he also suggested waking the public by firing cannons at sunrise, so it's difficult to say how serious he was. The idea in its modern systematized form was... Read Post
March 21st 2017
First time novelist Angie Thomas has made a big splash with her young adult novel, The Hate U Give. Released last month, the novel has already topped the New York Times's Best Seller List for Young Adult Hardcover Books, been optioned for a Hollywood film, and been acclaimed by critics and in numerous articles, such as this one in New York Magazine, this one on Fusion.net, and this one in the New York Times. It is also currently one of the most requested books in the Minuteman Library... Read Post
June 8th 2016
Last Sunday marked the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest month of the Muslim year. If you're a non-Muslim and don't know anything about Ramadan, this brief article at Vox.com covers the essentials. Muslims believe Ramadan to be the month God revealed the first verses of the Quran to Mohammed. It's a time of contemplation and celebration. There are an estimated 3.3 million Muslims in the United States, so there's a possibility you know someone or will run into someone who's observing it. As a... Read Post
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.
October 2nd 2015
Earlier this week, NASA announced the discover of water on Mars. However, the Curiosity rover is banned by treaty from analyzing it.
The Mars Orbiter spotted a dry-ice avalanche on the planet.
Over at Space.com, staff writer Mike Wall outlines the various ways NASA might get a manned mission to Mars.
And over at Wired.com, Angela Watercutter explains why the movie is better than the book.
October 1st 2015
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... Read Post
June 3rd 2015
Today is the last day of work at SPL for Eileen F., who starts a full-time reference job at the Thomas Crane Library in Quincy next Monday. During her time at SPL Eileen shelved, worked circulation, helped write press releases, contributed to the blog, and volunteered with StoryCorps.
At left is a photo of Eileen with one of her parting gifts of gourmet chocolate.
Good luck, Eileen! You will be missed.
April 1st 2015
The cruelest month (as T.S. Eliot called it) has officially begun, and many people will doubtless play silly pranks on others today. But why? Nobody really knows the origins of April Fool's Day. But we do know that holidays associated with jokes have been around a long time. In Ancient Rome the December festival of Saturnalia was distinguished by a Carnaval-like atmosphere in which tricks and hoaxes were par for the course. As for modern April Fool's Day, one of the earliest mentions in... Read Post
March 14th 2015
..may well be the most popular collective destination in the world.
February 22nd 2015
For today, February 22.
Happy Birthday, Edna St. Vincent Millay: the poet was born in Rockland, Maine in 1892. She grew up in a home that valued books and learning: her mother Cora read Shakespeare and Milton to the Millay children. The family was very poor, but a wealthy patron of the arts who heard the teenage Millay recite some of her poetry offered to pay for her to attend Vassar. After Millay's graduation in 1917, she moved to Greenwich Village and moved in a circle that included the... Read Post
February 11th 2015
Unfortunately, all Somerville Libraries are closed today. We're all tired of the snow, and it's unfortunate we can't be open to provide you with the books, videos and music to help keep you a little more sane on days when you don't want to go outside. It's also unfortunate that we can't give you a place you can go to take the edge off cabin fever that won't make you spend any money.
Hopefully we'll be open again tomorrow.
But here's some winter advice from the Globe that can make the next few... Read Post
February 10th 2015
Somerville Public Library will be closing at 6 pm tonight.
January 10th 2015
A small art installation by the Somerville Arts Council's 2014 Multi-disciplinary Artist Fellow Kris Hatch has found a permanent home in two of the Somerville Libraries. Stationed appropriately between the Mystery and Reference sections at the West Branch, 'The Book of Knowledge' is a Victorian curio cabinet that invites the viewer to become a part of the mystery. A second "cabinet" can be found near the Mythology section of the Central Library.
This project is supported in part by the... Read Post
December 16th 2014
NPR has a great report on Armed Services Editions, the pocket-sized books that entertained and consoled soldiers during World War II. Here is the link to request a library copy of the new book on ASEs, When Books Went to War.
Have you ever wondered what was involved in making books before the rise of industrial-scale printing in the 1840s? You can watch someone make a book with a hand-operated printing press here.
Grown-ups who read YA books? You're in good company. While adult book sales... Read Post
July 16th 2014
JFK, Jr and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy on their wedding day
Today was a tragic day in US History when John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy and her older sister Lauren died when the airplane JFK, Jr. was piloting when down in the Atlantic near Martha’s Vineyard. A massive search/rescue/recovery mission was undertaken to find the plane and bring home their bodies. This sad story captivated the world over for many days.
But, it was not the only thing that happened on this... Read Post