August 27th 2020
Peter and Oliver Tufts House Somerville Postcard

Did you know that there is a house in Somerville that was built before the Revolutionary War? The “Oliver Tufts House” sometimes referred to as the “Peter and Oliver Tufts House” is believed to have been built on a parcel of farmland back in 1714. According to a June 26, 1935 Somerville Journal article by William Preble Jones, the house “formerly occupied the small knoll at the corner of Sycamore and Pembroke streets, midway between Medford street and the Lowell railroad bridge.”

... Read Post

August 24th 2020
Pandemic Reads Book Movie Covers

The pandemic has left many of us depressed, lonely or a little traumatized.  To cope with the anxiety and the loss of most of their normal activities, many people are taking comfort in books. They’ve intuitively stumbled upon what’s called bibliotherapy: reading to promote mental health. In that spirit, we at SPL decided to put together a therapeutic reading list.

In recent months, books and TV shows about pandemics have been extremely popular—perhaps because they provide a way for... Read Post

August 20th 2020

Even though you can't come inside, you can still visit the Central Library. Check out the SHS construction - it's impressive!

Make your way up the ramp (you never know who you'll meet!) and hang out to play chess or use the wifi.


Have a peek at the garden and see what we've got growing.

... Read Post
July 22nd 2020
empty library teen room

I remember the good old times when I was filled with lively teens because I was a fun place for them to be with their friends. They always made me feel like I was a good place to be in and to work in. Without the youth of Somerville, I’ve become really quiet and sometimes it does get lonely.  

I always hosted fun games and activities for the youth and always boosted the mood and morale in the room. I remember hosting fun activities like awesome Fortnite games, Connect-4, and pizza... Read Post

July 6th 2020
Artwork by Paula Champagne for ArtBeat 2020

The theme of this year’s ArtBeat (July 10-18) is chance, featuring virtual performances and real life art installations exploring the unexpected and unplanned. In honor of the festival---and the uncertain times we’re living in—we at SPL decided to recommend some books that engage with the risky and unpredictable. 

Our first stop is New Orleans in the early 1960s, the setting of John Kennedy Toole’s novel A Confederacy of Dunces. Toole’s protagonist—perhaps antagonist?—is Ignatius J.... Read Post

May 15th 2020
Somerville Public Library West Branch vintage postcard

Next time you are out and about by the West Branch Library in Davis Square - since we can't yet go in - take a moment to appreciate the details of the entrance to the building that has welcomed readers for more than 100 years. Lamps are positioned on either side of the staircase, and on the landing at the top of the stairs, two columns frame the doorway, supporting a triangular pediment over the door. Look up above the pediment, and you’ll see another pair of lamps on either side, though... Read Post

April 23rd 2020
shakespeare globe theatre birthday

April 23 is the day observed as Shakespeare’s birthday throughout the world.  Normally the occasion would be marked by live play performances,  open-air celebrations, sonnet slams and Shakespeareaoke.  Due to COVID-19, events have been postponed, or cancelled altogether, and others have moved online. So this year (or this month at least), celebrations of the bard’s birth will be more virtual and, sadly, solitary.

Fortunately during this time of quarantine, various... Read Post

April 13th 2020
WPA Wood Carving

The wood carving on the ground floor is one of the most well-known pieces of art in the Central Library.  Located opposite the elevator, the carving depicts key local events before and during the Revolution: the 1774 confiscation of munitions from the Powder House by British soldiers; the 1776 raising of the first flag of the united colonies on Prospect Hill; and the establishment of George Washington’s citadel during the Siege of Boston in 1775.

The making of the... Read Post

April 1st 2020
2020 census somerville massachusetts

When you respond to the census, you tell the Census Bureau where you live as of April 1, 2020, including everyone living in your home on that day, also known as Census Day.

Census data are used to make decisions about how and where to spend more than $1.5 trillion in federal funds each year for programs and services that communities across America rely on. Census data also drive federal funding allocations for libraries, including grants to states under the Library Services and... Read Post

March 26th 2020
somerville public library renovation 1976

We are missing our patrons and we hope you haven’t forgotten what we look like!  Maybe you are one of our patrons who would come in and head to the third floor balcony to find a cozy spot to do your work.  Here’s a fun library fact for you, there wasn’t always a third floor balcony! That’s right, the Central Library went through a major renovation in its past.  The renovation began in June 1975 and the library was reopened July 1, 1976.

Some of the new features of the... Read Post

March 24th 2020
Libby OverDrive Laptop Tablet Phone
Use this step-by-step guide to access the OverDrive digital collections on your computer, phone, tablet, or Kindle.

To get started, you'll need your library card number and your PIN/password. Your PIN was created when you applied for your library card.

If you don’t know your PIN, email spl@minlib.net to request a new PIN. Be sure to include your library card number in the email—we can't reset your PIN without it—and a staff member will create and send a new PIN to you.

You can... Read Post
March 10th 2020

St. Patrick’s Day will soon be upon us, and for many that’s an occasion to wear green and drink a Guinness. But I’m using the occasion to recommend books by Irish writers.

Not that there’s anything wrong with green clothes. Or Guinness.

Given Ireland’s history, imperialism is a compelling subject to many Irish writers. Booker-winner J. G. Farrell wrote extraordinary novels that explore the human costs of colonialism:  The Troubles, The Singapore Grip and The Siege of... Read Post

March 5th 2020
three women reading

March is Women's History Month! We hope you'll enjoy this list of recommended reads from SPL staff. 

The image of three women reading above is from the Donald C. King Family Photographs in our local history collection. View the collection online at Digital Commonwealth!

Formation: a Woman's Memoir of Stepping Out of Line, by Ryan Leigh Dostie

Formation tells the story of Dostie's experience growing up, joining the army, serving her tour overseas in the early... Read Post

February 25th 2020
womens league officers

As Black History Month draws to a close, we wanted to share recommendations for a few of the African-American history resources available online.

Last year was the 100th anniversary of the official end of World War I. The National Museum of African-American History and Culture marked the occasion with an exhibit on African-Americans in World War I, “We Return Fighting,” that will run through June 14, 2020. View the online version of the exhibit here. 

The Library of... Read Post

February 5th 2020
black history month

In recognition of Black History Month, here is a selection of books by Black authors, recommended by SPL staff.

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy, by Ta-Nehisi Coates. An eloquently written, meticulously analyzed, powerfully presented, and completely unwavering gaze at the major role that racism has played in American history, and still plays in current politics, law, and economics. This is a sometimes infuriating but always enlightening look at case after... Read Post