Library Blog

October 29th 2015
Wondering what to do on the upcoming weekend? The Friends of the Library  Book Sale starts at noon on Friday at the Central Library. It continues through Sunday. If you've got kids to entertain you could take them to the East Branch at 3 pm Friday for festive snacks and craft-making with their ever-so-much-fun children's librarian Meghan Forsell. The Boston Calendar has a list of events occurring this Saturday, many Halloween- themed, others not. And if you just feel like curling up with a... Read Post
October 6th 2015
Remember Mark Watney in The Martian modifying the astronaut habitat to grow potatoes? Over at Quirk Books Danielle Mohlman has posted some potato recipes from various online sources. And if you're interested in food real-life astronauts would eat, Tara Ziegmont of Feels Like Home has instructions for making astronaut pudding. The post includes a video of an astronaut on the International Space Station demonstrating how he and his co-workers make dinner. Yum.
October 1st 2015
In light of ongoing national conversations surrounding this topic, the City of Somerville invites residents to share their experiences, concerns, and ideas on race and racism in a new round of its Community Conversations Series beginning on Monday, October 5th. Organized by the Office of Health and Human Services, ‘conversations' will be held in each of the City's seven wards. Residents are invited to join these small-group discussions to share their experiences and learn from their neighbors... Read Post
September 24th 2015
Does your kid want to make a Martian? Silly question--what kid wouldn't? Be at the East Branch tomorrow with your children at 3:30 and Children's Librarian Meghan Forsell will open her Ali Baba's cave of craft supplies and help your kids make mini-Martians out of her wondrous trove of creative goods.       Then follow it up with dinner and a movie at the Central Library! Children's Librarian Cathy Piantigini hosts a potluck dinner and an outdoor screening of the 2005 version of The War of... Read Post
September 16th 2015
One noteworthy feature of The Martian is the absence of any, well, actual Martians. In many science fiction works set on Mars, most notably Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, the presence of an intelligent native species is a key plot element. And thanks to the work of Percival Lowell, whom I wrote about in yesterday's blog post, many credulous people believed that Mars was inhabited. And given that contact between different human cultures has often resulted in war, there was little reason... Read Post
September 15th 2015
The selection of The Martian for Somerville Reads raises the question, "Why Mars?" No one would ever write a book called The Venusian or The Plutoniac. But the words "Martian" or "Mars"  command attention. And they long have. But why? What is it about this planet that has fascinated humanity for so long? A partial explanation is that Mars is distinctive-looking. The planets we can see without telescopes look like more or less white stars. Mars, on the other hand, is a striking reddish color.... Read Post
September 14th 2015
Jim J Zebroski of the Aldrich Astronomical Society will be giving a talk on Mars as our kickoff event for this year's Somerville Reads. Zebroski will discuss the history of humanity's fascination with the red planet and our ever-increasing knowledge of it thanks to satellites, probes, and unmanned rovers. There will also be a touch table with replica samples of Martian soil and model rovers. If the weather's good and the skies are clear, Zebroski will take the audience outside to look at Mars... Read Post
September 11th 2015
Just a reminder: technology instruction classes at Somerville Community Access Television (90 Unions Square) start next month. Whether it's computer basics, getting the most out of your smart phone, or something else you want to know, instructors Erica Jones of SCATV and Heidi Downing of SPL are available to help. For more information or to schedule an appointment, go here.
September 10th 2015
Thank you for your patience.
September 9th 2015
We've had to close the East Branch Library due to an issue with the air conditioning. We apologize for the inconvenience and will let you know as soon as the branch opens again. In the meantime, lots of library goodness (and coolness!) is available at both the Central Library and the West Branch - please stop in!
September 4th 2015

Our latest staff profile is of Kevin, who you will recognize if you've ever been to the second floor of the Central Library. “I'm Kevin. First and foremost, I work at the reference desk answering questions for library users, trouble shooting computers, helping people find books, and suggesting books to people who aren't sure what they want. I speak Spanish, so I often help Spanish-speaking patrons. I also select books for the Library in Spanish, Portuguese, French, and Chinese. I find it... Read Post

September 2nd 2015

Did you know that the Somerville Public Library and SCAT TV have a combined membership? That's right, two of your favorite community places sharing spaces! This combined membership includes technology instruction classes, specifically focused on media, which will be starting in October on the third Tuesday of every month! The first class will be on Social Media 101: Using your Smartphone and Digital Storytelling. So come join your favorite library at SCAT TV! If you're interested,... Read Post

August 27th 2015

..for Thursday, August 27, 2015.

During the summer of 1660, books by John Milton are burned in London by the common hangman for his attacks on King Charles II.
Related reading at Somerville Public Library: Royal Survivor: A Life of Charles II by Stephen Coote. Or if you're in the mood for reading a really long poem, try Paradise Lost. I've always thought the list of fallen angels at the end of Book 1 would be a great source for cat names: Belial, Moloch, Leviathan....

... Read Post

August 26th 2015
The hot, muggy weather last week prompted a patron to call the library with questions about the Boston Heat Wave of July 1911. I was able to answer her questions (some of which were quite detailed) using our historic Boston Globe database, which provides every single page of the Globe from 1872 to 1981. Using historic newspaper databases is not only a good way to locate facts, it's also a way to get a feel for the past often lacking in history textbooks. For example, scanning the headlines for... Read Post
August 17th 2015
..and if, like many residents of the Boston area, you don't have air conditioning, it's hot inside as well. Here are some tips from the CDC on keeping yourself and people you care about safe in hot weather. Greatist has a list of tricks for cooling down on hot summer nights. Lifehacker.com explains how to cool off by using low-tech ways to lower your body temperature. Want to get out of the house? Consider one of these local swimming pools.

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