June 23rd 2021
Industrial School for Girls

Located at 41 Atherton Street was the Industrial School for Girls, a vocational school aimed at helping young women secure trade jobs. The school opened on October 16, 1911 and originally offered classes in dress making, millinery, and supplementary training in subjects such as English and arithmetic. As the school grew in popularity, additional courses in household arts and trade cooking were added.

Enrollment in the school was offered to girls and young women between the... Read Post

June 7th 2021
Simon Doonan's Asylum book cover

“AH!  FASHION.  A nuthouse? A refuge? Or maybe both. Yes, an asylum in both senses of the word.  A place where unemployable crazy people are always welcome.”  

So begins Simon Doonan’s book The Asylum, with most of the ensuing 268 pages devoted to making his case that hardcore fashionistas and the mentally ill have far more in common than one might think. Doonan is the former, celebrated window dresser and Creative Ambassador-at-Large of shuttered luxury department store Barneys New... Read Post

April 27th 2021
Broken (in the best possible way) book cover

I’ve been following Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess for nearly 10 years, after stumbling across a copy of her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, at Porter Square Books one day. As soon as I finished reading it (which, fortunately, was at home, because people on the T get very nervous seeing a middle-aged woman hysterically laughing so hard that she’s crying, especially when she’s sitting across from them on the Red Line), I immediately jumped online, first to bookmark Jenny’s blog... Read Post

March 27th 2021

When it’s cold outside, or you can’t leave the house due to a raging pandemic, or you’re just plain bored, looking through a cookbook for just the right recipe and getting to work in the kitchen or planning a future meal can be just the ticket--after all, you can only knit so many shawls, show off your cat in a Zoom session so many times, or keep making TikTok videos of your family performing everything from Hamilton to Beyonce’s Formation video before they all rebel, but people always need... Read Post

March 18th 2021

It’s a little over a year since the pandemic began and in spite of lower case numbers and available vaccines, it’s still far from over.  It’s so easy to feel our lives are on hold. But they aren’t. It’s just this is what are our lives are right now: staying at home and doing very few of the activities we think of as normal life. And that’s hard. But whatever tension, restlessness and stress you’re struggling with, meditation can help. Studies have shown that meditation can help control... Read Post

February 25th 2021
1979 Fires Plague Somerville Schools

Did you know that there was once a serious fire at Somerville High School!? The fire took place on March 18, 1979 and was labeled a three-alarm fire. The firetrucks first arrived at the scene at 4:30 am and were led by Fire Captains Thomas Doherty and Robert Glover. Seven classrooms were destroyed by the fire and the cost of the damages were around $250,000 (about $550,000 in today’s money).

While the fire was blazing at the High School, there was another fire happening at the West... Read Post

January 28th 2021
Buried in Snow in Somerville

While weather forecasting had improved by the late 1970’s, many people still believed that the forecasts were inaccurate most of the time. The day before the blizzard started, most people believed that it wouldn’t turn out to be that big of a problem. Workers and students went about their day like it was a normal Monday and when the snow started later than anticipated, many people thought it was just another inaccurate forecast. 

According to the then Boston Herald American, “Snow... Read Post

January 21st 2021
Non-Fic Book Club at SPL!

Beginning next month, SPL will have a new online book group: the Non Fic Book Club. We’ll be reading relatively short, approachable books chosen by group members, so if the word “nonfiction” makes you think of Robert Caro’s 3-volume biography of Lyndon Johnson, fear not.

For our first meeting we’ll be discussing acclaimed journalist Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, an exploration of what happens when, deservedly or not, social media users worldwide decide a person has... Read Post

January 7th 2021
East Branch of the Somerville Public Library in the Snow!

This first week of January at the East Branch, our make-and-take craft is a snowflake.  Stop by the East Branch to pick up yours while supplies last! 

Meghan is back on Wednesday mornings at 11 for storytime, on SPL Facebook Live.   

Other programs in January include the East Branch Book Group, which meets on Friday January 22nd at 11am on Zoom.  We will be reading Wild Seed by Octavia Butler.  Print copies are available to pick up at the East Branch.  Email Marita at mcoombs... Read Post