December 17th 2012
Librarians across the Commonwealth are sharing online resources to help parents talk with their children in the wake of this national tragedy. Here are a few suggestions:

Fred Rogers
Tragic Events in the News

American School Counselor Association
Helping Kids During Crisis

Talking with Kids about the News

National Association of School Psychologists
Talking to Children about Violence: Tips for Parents and Teachers... Read Post
December 14th 2012

or "pesquisar" (search) if you prefer! The Minuteman Library Network is committed to serving all the communities of this multilingual, multicultural region. So our catalog now has search interfaces in French and Portuguese. Patrons who prefer to search in either of those languages can now go to the main catalog page and choose their language preference using the links in the upper right corner: And then you get our same catalog, only in another language:  

December 10th 2012

The communities of Somerville, MA, Somerville, NJ, and Summerville, SC are joining forces this month to support victims of Hurricane Sandy along the Jersey Shore.  In Somerville, MA, the donation drive begins today, December 10th and will last through Friday, December 21st.  You can drop items off at all library locations.  For a list of needed items and more drop off locations, please click here.
December 7th 2012
In a recent Somerville News column reflecting on the career of former Mayor Eugene Brune, Mayor Curtatone quoted a Boston Sunday Globe insert (below) from October 17, 1965 entitled, "The New Somerville--Colonial Birth, Space Age Rebirth," extolling a "new Somerville" with state-of-the-art infrastructure and institutions emerging from one of the birthplaces of America. But as the mayor pointed out, the insert mentions developments and transit plans that didn't get very far. And the Somerville... Read Post
December 4th 2012
Last Saturday there was a community discussion with the founders of Cuppow.   The event was sponsored by the Friends of the Library.  Sara Fix is a patron and volunteered this write up of the event...many thanks Sara!   If you care about the environment, if you support local businesses, or if you’ve ever spilled coffee on your shirt, you could learn a lot from Joshua Resnikoff and Aaron Panone, creators of Cuppow.  These two friends created a plastic device that can turn a canning jar in to a... Read Post
November 27th 2012
The holiday shopping season is underway, and many of you are probably going to do a lot of your shopping online.  *And* you probably have a credit card number or two stored in your account with Amazon or another online store.  And I'll make another guess: many of you probably use the same password for multiple online accounts. Well, guess what? Using the same password for different accounts is called "daisy-chaining," and when you do it, you're setting yourself up to be hacked. In August Wired... Read Post
November 1st 2012
Join us for a three-part film series showcasing the use of classical music in war movies. The series kicks off at the Central Library this Saturday at 10:00 a.m. with Gallipoli. Live musical accompaniment for some scenes will be provided by members of the Cambridge Symphony Chamber Players for all three films. 1981; Starring Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, Bill Kerr, Harold Hopkins, Charles Yunipingli, & Ron Graham; Rated PG; 1 hour 52 minutes Amazon.com says, "An outstanding drama, Gallipoli... Read Post
October 28th 2012

We'll be closed tomorrow due to Sandy.  Stay safe everybody and we'll see you on Tuesday!

October 25th 2012
A friend read the earlier post about therapeutic reading and wrote to me that The Divine Comedy had helped him through a very difficult time (he thinks it was either Mark Musa's translation or John Ciardi's).*  He has also found comfort in Gerard Manley Hopkins' "Terrible Sonnets" (an example here) and the poetry of George Herbert. He added that in a crisis he often turns to books he knows will make him laugh, such as the works of David Sedaris (he specifically mentioned Me Talk Pretty One Day... Read Post
October 23rd 2012
I know a lot of people who are anxious about the election. Complete strangers  have shared with me their worries about what might happen on Nov. 6.  When I ask them what has them so worried, they mention polls. Well,  no less a self-confessed poll addict than David Brooks  of The New York Times explained this morning why reading polls is a waste of time: Scholars at Duke University studied 11,600 forecasts by corporate chief financial officers about how the Standard & Poor's 500 would... Read Post
October 15th 2012
Recently someone wrote to the editors of The Paris Review for reading recommendations. The person in question was suffering from severe depression. As a result he had already lost his job and relationship. He wrote that  he was in therapy, but wondered if the editors could recommend books that would help him recover. Sadie Stein responded with a thoughtful and lengthy list of reading suggestions. She began with books by people who have suffered from depression, on the grounds that whatever you... Read Post
October 12th 2012
...I'm talking, of course, about literary awards. Earlier this week the National Book Foundation announced the finalists for the National Book Award. The fiction finalists include MacArthur Fellow Juno Diaz's short story collection This is How You Lose Her, Native American writer Louise Erdrich's novel The Round House, and Dave Eggers' A Hologram for the King.  Among the nonfiction finalists are Washington Post writer Anne Applebaum's Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1945-1956, the... Read Post
October 4th 2012
On Tuesday, October 9th, the Friends of the Library invite you to attend their Somerville Public Library Benefit at Flatbread Company (45 Day Street in Davis Square.) A portion of the money from each pizza sold during the benefit will go directly to support programming and events at the three Somerville Library branches. Eat-in or take out. There will also be a small curated book sale and a wicked raffle. Prizes include; 2013 Burton snowboard $100 in LLBean gift certificates... Read Post
October 2nd 2012
We all know companies are tracking what we do online. And it's hard to protect ourselves and our information because businesses hire people to devote themselves full-time to digital snooping.  By contrast most of us don't have the time or the knowledge to effectively defend ourselves from the snoops. Fortunately some programmers out there have developed add-ons and extensions that can shield us from companies trying to track us and collect our information. Lifehacker has an excellent post on... Read Post
September 21st 2012
I love published collections of correspondence.  You often see surprising sides of famous people. And some letters are delightfully well-written.  Below are some collections of letters that I've enjoyed. Some show the private sides of public figures.  Others give you behind-the-scenes glimpses of tumultuous events. And all of them are absorbing. For almost all of his adult life Thomas Merton  (1915-1968) was a Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. But he wasn't anyone’s idea of... Read Post