Library Blog

August 12th 2015
Joseph Agilata, a student at MGhightech on Central street in Somerville, plans to speak at the Somerville Public Library on August 20th at 7PM about Online privacy. His main focus will be on why we should care about online security. Some people figure, oh well, who cares if someone else see's all my e-mails? The truth is, someone can hack your identity easily just by finding out info like your e-mail account. Joe is currently obtaining his CISCO certification, where he will graduate in the... Read Post
August 12th 2015

Welcome to the first in a series of short articles about the Library’s staff.

First up: Ann (whose face is familiar to anyone who uses the Children’s Room at the Central Library) tells you all about her job – and a few other things too!

I love my job! I love being with the kids. I’ve worked in a few different departments here at the Library, but this is the most rewarding. It’s hard work, but sometimes we’re having so much fun it feels like play. I tell stories, do programs, and... Read Post
August 12th 2015

We're still getting responses to our question about how the Library has impacted your lives. Some are short and simple, like these:

The Library has taught me the invaluable lesson of research and how to learn something new by gathering the books to collect and learn. Whether it be the law, electrical, carpentry, computer knowledge, etc. And of course the simple pleasure of reading a good book. It’s great to be able to request books and DVDs through the Minuteman Network and have it... Read Post
August 6th 2015
A recent issue of American Libraries featured an article called "Going Beyond Google Again," a sequel to an earlier article exploring the uses of alternatives to general-purpose search engines (e.g., Google and Bing). The more recent article gives urls and descriptions of various free online databases that give you more focused search results than you would get from simply typing keywords into the open maw of Google. One of the databases profiled, Voice of the Shuttle, is a collection of... Read Post
August 5th 2015

First, the Library has allowed me to break the habit of overbuying books. In the last five years I've learned to ask the Library for a book, and wait, rather than to just buy a book and then have to store it, give it away, or chuck it. The Library always comes through.
Second, the Library takes gifts of books and videos and puts them to good use - in circulation, offered in twice-a-year sales, or to recycling. It's allowed me to slowly cull my book count by at least a bookcase... Read Post
July 21st 2015
I recently met with a young patron of the library who was trying to learn the Ins and Outs of Microsoft Excel. He was using Windows Live to learn the program. If you know Windows Live, you also know you need internet access to use it. This particular patron didn't always have internet access. He told me that his mom didn't want to pay for Microsoft Office, so I suggested downloading Open Office onto his laptop. Sure enough, once he downloaded the program, he started practicing and using Excel... Read Post
July 21st 2015

Here are a few more stories you've shared with us about how the Library has affected you:

I am a life-long library goer, but it is only recently that I have really dug into the amazing resources available to me through my local library in Somerville. Six months ago, I started a blog about Somerville's history. The library's archive of Somerville Journal newspapers (going back to the late 1800s) has been invaluable and the librarians have been extremely helpful, showing me how to use the... Read Post
July 20th 2015
Let's face it. It's too hot to cook. Too darn hot, as Cole Porter would say. Below are some links to recipes ideal for the hottest days of summer, most of which require little or no cooking: Weeknight Summer Dinners from the Food Network. Hot Weather Meal Ideas from the Good People at Pinterest. Recipes for Hot Weather Eating from The Kitchn. And my personal favorite, Mark Bittman's Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less.
July 16th 2015

As promised, here's another tale of library love, recently submitted by a Somerville Library user.  We've been absolutely delighted by the stories you've been submitting and would love to hear more.

If you would like to share your story (and qualify for a chance to win a $25 gift card) email Glenn Ferdman, Director of Libraries, or click here to fill out a short online form. You can also fill out a paper form at any SPL location. Thank you!

The public library has been a crucial... Read Post
July 16th 2015

Join us at the Somerville Public Library this Friday for a 30th anniversary screening of an eighties classic, the time travel movie Back to the Future, starring Christopher Lloyd and Michael J. Fox. Back to the Future, which theNew York Times called "sweet and ingenious," soon drew a cult following, and inspired two sequels, a theme park ride, an animated series, and a forthcoming musical.

Time travel is a theme of perennial fascination to both movie directors and audiences.  The... Read Post

July 7th 2015
As I noted in a blog post last month, only about 0.03 % of all the information stored on the Internet is accessible via search engine. For the majority of what's stored on servers around the world, you have to use databases. Most of them were created by publishing companies, which in turn lease access to libraries. However, a surprising number are available for free. You just have to know that they exist and what they're called. Like MedNar, a database I wrote about last time, BizNar is... Read Post
July 2nd 2015
Just a reminder.
July 1st 2015

1863: The Battle of Gettysburg begins, three bloody days that ended Robert E. Lee's invasion of the North, which Lee had hoped would force the North to sue for peace. Union General George Meade's army of 90,000 took on Lee's invading force of 75,000 resulting in three days of grueling fighting that resulted in roughly 51,000 casualties and forced Lee to return to Virginia.

The battle has inspired a number of award-winning books, including the eminently readable Gettysburg:... Read Post

June 26th 2015

It's been a big week at the Supreme Court: the Affordable Care Act upheld, gay marriage bans struck down, and a blow struck against housing discrimination.

The Supreme Court's rulings have had a profound impact on American society: their decision in Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954) ultimately ended legal school segregation; New York v. Sullivan (1964) established certain protections for the press. The profundity of the Court's influence is ironic given that... Read Post

June 25th 2015
Search engines such as Bing, Google or DuckDuckGo  can only access about 0.03 % of all the information stored on the Internet.  Search engines compile their collection of websites available for searching by using crawlers, programs that gather information about web pages for their indexes.  However, crawlers can't find information that needs to be accessed by a search interface, such as the Minuteman Library Catalog. Nor can crawlers find password-protected pages or web pages that aren't linked... Read Post