2013

September 28th 2013
We regret to report that the telephones at the Central Library and the branches are not working. If you call your main number you will get the usual recorded message, but if you dial an extension, you will be sent directly to voice mail. The City has been notified.
September 20th 2013
The 1990 robbery of the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum is the greatest art theft of all time. In less than an hour and a half two intruders impersonating policemen got into the museum after hours and made off with $500 million worth of art, including three Rembrandts--and yet left far more valuable works hanging on the walls . A quarter century later the crime is still unsolved.  Theories abound: suspects have included Myles Connor, longtime art thief and musician who played with Roy Orbison... Read Post
September 18th 2013
What can you do to avoid investment fraud?  A good first step is to educate yourself about "The Three Ps": the Profile of the typical victim common Persuasion tactics used by fraudsters techniques to help Prevent fraud Staff from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will be at the Central Library this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. with a presentation on all of these topics, as well as a demonstration on how to check the status and disciplinary history of investment professionals.  The... Read Post
September 11th 2013

You can see footage of today's ceremony marking the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks  here. If you want to participate in tonight's vigil, it starts at 6 pm at the Cedar Street entrance to the Community Path. Middle East expert Juan Cole notes that the FBI still hasn't released documents that could demonstrate how "un-Islamic" the 9-11 hijackers are. You can examine three very different perspectives on the attacks here, here and here. And over at the Washington Monthly, they've... Read Post

September 9th 2013
Our government might be lobbing missiles at Syria fairly soon. Or it might not. In either case, what do any of us really know about Syria? In my case, not much other than it's north of Lebanon, is an ally of Russia, and that there's a civil war going on. The declared reason for an attack on Syria is the use of chemical weapons. But the assumption that it's the Syrian government using the chemical weapons may not be correct.* Here's a Q & A from the Washington Post listing things we should... Read Post
September 3rd 2013

We're very happy to announce the band Too Human will be performing at the Central Library this Sunday, Sept. 8 at 2 p.m. They've performed all along the East Coast and their jazzy, upbeat music has been described as "incredible" and "full of energy" and as "some of the best darned songs you've ever heard." You can see a brief video from their concert at the Wilmington Public Library below:   We hope you'll join us.  Interestingly, the members of the band have also had a long and varied as... Read Post

August 28th 2013

One of the transformative moments in American history occurred on August 28, 1963.  Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and spoke to roughly 250,000 people, calling for full civil rights for African-Americans. The "I Have a Dream Speech" is one of the pinnacles of American oratory, and as a statement of American ideals is second only to the Declaration of Independence. If you would like to know more about King and the Civil Rights Movement, we've got a... Read Post

August 20th 2013
Elmore Leonard, author of such works as Glitz, City Primeval and Killshot, died at his home in Michigan. He was 87. His works were populated by murderers, conmen and schemers, people living alongside us, but in a separate world with its own rules and risks and expectations.  Leonard wrote  about this world with an emotional depth and a gritty realism that endeared him even to critics prone to be dismissive of crime novels. Readers curious about Leonard have two options for sampling his... Read Post
August 14th 2013
We all know Somerville's a great town that faces a lot of issues, particularly gentrification and the conflicting desires of different communities with different histories. Earlier in the month Tufts professor Susan Ostrander (left) gave a talk based on her research for her book Citizenship and Governance in  a Changing City: Somerville, Massachusetts.  She talked to Somervillians of various ethnicities, occupations and ages. And she found that whatever people's differences, most of us want the... Read Post
August 12th 2013
James Whitey Bulger Captured

It's official: Whitey Bulger has been found guilty - of a whole lot of stuff - and will presumably be spending the rest of his life behind bars.  Many of us would like to forget all about the notorious thug but, human nature being what it is, a fair number of us want to know all there is to know about Whitey and his doings.  To that end, here's a list of relevant books available through the Minuteman Library Network.

Whitey: the Life of America's Most Notorious Mob Boss by Dick Lehr... Read Post
August 7th 2013

"Dark fins appear, innocent
as if in fair warning"
—Denise Levertov, "The Sharks" "You may rest assured that the British government is entirely opposed to sharks."
—Winston Churchill in Parliament, Prime Minister's Question Time, Feb. 20, 1945

We've barely begun to recover from the heart-stopping excitement of Sharknado, and here we are in the middle of Shark  Week, the Discovery Channel's annual celebration of all things squaline. And while I'm sure that most... Read Post

July 24th 2013
Idyll

  by Siegfried Sassoon

In the grey summer garden I shall find you   With day-break and the morning hills behind you.   There will be rain-wet roses; stir of wings;   And down the wood a thrush that wakes and sings.   Not from the past you'll come, but from that deep Where beauty murmurs to the soul asleep:   And I shall know the sense of life re-born   From dreams into the mystery of morn   Where gloom and brightness meet. And... Read Post
July 15th 2013
This month we're happy to have Somerville High School juniors and seniors at the library doing research on the history of Assembly Square. They're employees of a collaboration between Federal Realty, Artists for Humanity, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation and the City of Somerville. "Based on what we find out, we're going to make suggestions for a sculpture, " said SHS senior Larry Barnes. The sculpture will in some way embody the history of Assembly Square and will placed in... Read Post
July 9th 2013
Join us tomorrow, Wednesday, July 10,  at 7 p.m.  for a screening of the documentary Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World. This is the second event in our NEH/ALA sponsored series Muslim Journeys.  Narrated by Susan Sarandon, the film takes viewers on a tour of 9 countries and almost 1,500 years, covering works ranging from household objects such as carved boxes to towering buildings such as the Taj Mahal. The film also examines the common artistic lineages of East and West and the unique... Read Post
July 4th 2013
  The Gift Outright BY ROBERT FROST The land was ours before we were the land’s. She was our land more than a hundred years Before we were her people. She was ours In Massachusetts, in Virginia, But we were England’s, still colonials, Possessing what we still were unpossessed by, Possessed by what we now no more possessed. Something we were withholding made us weak Until we found out that it was ourselves We were withholding from our land of living, And forthwith found salvation in... Read Post

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