Library Blog

March 26th 2015

On November 18, 1985, people across the country opened their newspapers (this was back when most people read newspapers) and met a sandy-haired six-year old named Calvin and his stuffed (but sentient) tiger Hobbes.  Calvin was every babysitter's nightmare, the bane of his teachers, Dennis the Menace on speed (but with a much better vocabulary and a more interesting mind). He was a source of nonstop stress for his parents and a constant torment to his neighbor Susie. Of course... Read Post

March 20th 2015

163 years ago today Harriet Beecher Stowe's anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in two volumes by the Boston firm John P. Jewett. The book had initially appeared in serial form in the abolitionist newspaper The National Era. 10,000 copies of the two-volume set were sold in two weeks and 300,000 in the first year. Jewett himself said, "Three power presses are working twenty-four hours per day, in printing it,...and still it has been impossible...to supply the demand." Uncle Tom... Read Post

March 17th 2015
Power. Ferocity. Majesty and mystery. Human beings have invested birds of prey with these qualities for thousands of years. Their abilities to do the amazing continue to inspire our thoughts and excite our imaginations. But which ideas about these birds are facts and which are fictions?  Come to the Central Library this Sunday (March 22nd) at 2:00 p.m. to find out!  This program uses live birds of prey to explore what makes a “bird of prey,” the role they play in the environment, and how... Read Post
March 14th 2015
..may well be the most popular collective destination in the world.
February 19th 2015
Snow. Snow. And yet more snow. And we're all tired of it. And record-breaking low temperatures tonight.  It's all too easy to let the weather get you down.  But if it's too cold to go out, go in: into a book. Reading is a great way to forget whatever is troubling you, whatever you're tired of, whatever you wish would go away. So I and a couple of my colleagues at another library put together a list of titles we hope you'll enjoy. One of the great fictional detectives of our day is Walter... Read Post
February 19th 2015
All is back to normal.
February 19th 2015
Stay tuned for an update.
February 13th 2015
Worried about how much of your personal information Google, Facebook, and other online software providers have collected? Concerned about overbroad government surveillance programs hoovering up your private data? Uneasy about criminal hackers who might seek to exploit you? Our online privacy is indeed under threat, but the good news is that there are technology tools to help us fight back. Join us at the Central Library, February 21 at 11:00 a.m. Alison Macrina, a librarian and privacy rights... Read Post
February 7th 2015
For today, February 7. Happy Birthday, Charles Dickens. He remains one of the most beloved and influential novelists in English and was born this day in 1812 in Portsmouth, England. Recommended related reading from SPL: The Invisible Woman: The Story of Nelly Ternan and Charles Dickens by Claire Tomalin or his novel Bleak House.   Feb. 7, 1601: Shakespeare's Richard II is performed at the Globe by the Lord Chamberlain's Men. Since the play is about the overthrow of a monarch and the Earl of... Read Post
January 30th 2015

Reading the published diary of someone who died early can be a poignant experience. You can only speculate on what they might have become had they lived. Sometimes all you can think is, "The world lost this person too soon."

Petr Ginz (1928-1944) was a child of extraordinary energy and gifts: between the ages of 8 and 14 he wrote five novels. He was also an accomplished painter (for a child) and a fluent speaker of Esperanto with an insatiable curiosity about science. Given his... Read Post

January 28th 2015
SPL opened at noon today. The libraries will close at their regular times tonight. Normal hours resume tomorrow. Stay warm.
January 26th 2015
Due to snow. To pass a little of the time, read this poem by Wallace Stevens, because I like it. The Snow Man One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter Of the January sun; and not to think Of any misery in the sound of the wind, In the sound of a few leaves, Which is the sound of the land Full of the same wind That... Read Post
January 26th 2015

The Somerville Public Library will close at 4:30 today due to the impending storm.

January 16th 2015
Last Saturday's cryptoparty went very all. The attendance was large enough that it was a good turnout but small enough that the attendees could get hands-on assistance. Software developer Steve Revilak (left) gave a detailed but accessible talk on using GnuPG to encrypt email and James O'Keefe of the Massachusetts Pirate Party (right) explained how to use Tor to browse the web anonymously. We are grateful for their generosity with their time and expertise. Protecting online privacy is a topic... Read Post
January 10th 2015

A small art installation by the Somerville Arts Council's 2014 Multi-disciplinary Artist Fellow Kris Hatch has found a permanent home in two of the Somerville Libraries.  Stationed appropriately between the Mystery and Reference sections at the West Branch, 'The Book of Knowledge' is a Victorian curio cabinet that invites the viewer to become a part of the mystery.  A second "cabinet" can be found near the Mythology section of the Central Library. This project is supported in part by the... Read Post

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