December 3rd 2018

Our great senior substitute Annie Schapira is a dedicated and discerning reader of YA fiction. Enjoy her latest review!

What would you endure in order to be beautiful? The Belles, Dhonielle Clayton’s 2018 novel, introduces Young Adult readers (and others!) to the kingdom of Orléans, whose citizens have been cursed with grotesque appearances until and unless a Belle can be hired to transform them - slowly, painfully, and expensively - into visions of beauty.  Although all of the... Read Post

September 20th 2018
Hurricane 1938 Somerville Smashed Car

This week we were spared the worst of Hurricane Florence’s destruction, but 80 years ago on September 21, the 1938 hurricane known as the Long Island Express walloped New England with 100+ mph winds, killing more than 700 and leaving more than $300 million in damage (in 1938 dollars).

Here in Somerville, the damage was estimated to be $1 million. According to the Somerville Journal, the storm hit around the 5pm rush hour, injuring a dozen people, uprooting thousands of trees, and... Read Post

September 11th 2018

We love storytime at the West Branch.  We love the books, the friends, moving and dancing and singing, and we really love the song “Roly Poly”!!! 

Some of our friends have recently moved and are missing Storytime at West, others want to share this song with grownups who can’t make it to storytime, and some just love Roly-Poly-ing their little hearts out.  A few Storytime regulars sat down with Alison this morning to record an enthusiastic version of Roly Poly for everyone to share at... Read Post

August 23rd 2018
Wilson Memorial Fountain, Central Hill Park, Somerville, MA

Central Hill Park was the first public parkland in Somerville. Created in 1870 with the purchase of 38 acres by the City (price tag: about $38,000), the lot spanned Highland Avenue between Walnut and School streets, and bordered by Medford Street on the north. Public buildings included City Hall, the high school, the Central Library, and a fire station which was relocated early in the 20th century.

Central Hill was the site of Revolutionary War fortifications, and the park originally... Read Post

August 3rd 2018

...to cook. In New England many of us spend half the year longing for summer, but once it's actually here we realize that hot weather makes certain basic life-maintenance tasks (such as cooking) unappealling. However, we still have to eat, even when the thermometer goes way up and the weather is sizzlin' hot.  Some of SPL's books on seasonal cooking and main dish salads can help you find dinners to prepare without turning your kitchen into a furnace. When Mark Bittman was still writing his "... Read Post

August 2nd 2018
West Branch of the Somerville Public Library

The West Branch of SPL opened to the public on May 27, 1909. It was one of 2,509 libraries built in the U.S. with funds from Andrew Carnegie - the Central Library and East Branch were also built with Carnegie funds. The image here shows the adult reading room in the early 20th century, now home to mysteries and audiovisual materials. Wait, is that a ghost in the picture? See if you can find the double-exposure "ghosts" in the frame. More images (and more ghosts!) of the West Branch in its... Read Post

July 18th 2018
George Dilboy at Camp Keyes, Concord, NH

Dilboy is a familiar name our city: Dilboy Field in West Somerville, the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 529 – Dilboy Post - on Summer Street; the statue of Dilboy by City Hall. He was killed in action on July 18, 1918, near Chateau Thierry, France, and awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery posthumously. In May of this year, he was honored along with other World War I veterans at the Chateau-Thierry American Monument in France, where the American Battle Monuments Commission launched an... Read Post

June 28th 2018

Well, if you would like to read a magazine in Spanish, we have a few to recommend! All magazines, including the most current issues are free to check out with your Minuteman Library card.

National Geographic en Español  --  inspiraiόn para cuidar el planeta. A stunning array of photographic images from every corner of the planet with in-depth, well-researched articles. Become an adventurer with diverse writings on culture, people, natural marvels, the animal world, science and... Read Post

June 21st 2018
SHS Radiator cover 1945

Today we know the Somerville High School Radiator as the annual yearbook, but in the 19th and for part of the 20th century it was a monthly student literary and news magazine, often with striking cover art and design. The group of covers we're featuring for today's Throwback Thursday were created by Bill Hanley, who graduated from SHS in 1945. His later work appeared on the covers of the Boston Globe Magazine and other magazines, book jackets, and commercial advertising. He was the art... Read Post

June 5th 2018

Can’t find a book in the Minuteman system? Well, maybe you should try searching the Commonwealth Catalog, a.k.a.  Comcat. Using Comcat you can look for books, CDs, DVD’s and audiobooks in other library systems throughout all of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.


This expands your search to library systems in Western Massachusetts, The North Shore, South Shore, Cape Cod, Central Massachusetts and Rhode Island.


As part of the Minuteman Network we get certain... Read Post

May 25th 2018
The Well-Informed Are Buying Ice

We at the library recently created a Flickr page for sharing photos and images from our local history collection. So far, we've scanned and uploaded photos of Somerville kids dating back to the 1920s; the city's centennial celebration in 1972; Davis Square landmarks from the 1960s, before the Red Line; Somerville High School, and advertising from 19th- and 20th century Somerville businesses, like the Metropolitan Ice Company card featured with this post. We'll be adding more images regularly... Read Post

May 16th 2018
photo of books about Ramadan and Eid

The Muslim holiday of Ramadan, a holy month of fasting, introspection, and prayer, begins this year on May 15 at sundown.  During Ramadan, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam; the other four are profession of faith, daily prayers, charity, and pilgrimage to Mecca.


The end of Ramadan is celebrated with a three-day festival known as Eid al-Fitr, one of Islam’s major holidays.


Here are a few book... Read Post

May 10th 2018

In February I posted about the ways we can identify fake Amazon reviews, particularly the tool Fakespot.com. Earlier this week Buzzfeed published an article about the business of fake Amazon reviews, which includes these staggering statistics: 87% of Amazon shoppers surveyed said a positive Amazon review was critical in their decision to purchase a product, but fewer than 10% of Amazon customers write reviews of items they've bought. However, getting positive reviews is essential to... Read Post

May 2nd 2018

"Fake news" is a phrase we've been hearing a lot over the past year. The barrage of half-truths and outright lies seems endless. At times it seems we live in a fog of rumors and fabrications. A conversation with a casual acquaintance can open a window into a world of alternative facts (A national fast-food chain serves burgers made of human flesh! There's an ebola outbreak in your hometown! A Muslim mayor has outlawed Christmas!).

Fortunately we've got an increasing number of tools... Read Post

April 5th 2018

The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore is a hypnotic read about five girls at a summer camp and how a fateful night changes their lives forever.

The book starts off at Camp Forevermore, where the girls first meet during their childhoods. Author Kim Fu goes into great detail regarding the mixed feelings these girls have toward each other as they kayak across the waters, with their leader and camp counselor, Jan.

The childhood entries are narrated by Siobhan, who describes the... Read Post