Library Blog

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 somrefquestions@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... 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

January 21st 2020

Check out Margaret Atwood's latest novel The Testaments.

Available as a lucky day book here! Which means you need to visit your library to pick it up!

Other formats the item is available in include:

Large Print

Spoken CD

Playaway Audiobook

e-book

January 9th 2020
early 20th century book delivery boys somerville ma

The library bookmobile is one way that libraries can meet their users who might not be able to use the library ordinarily. Bookmobiles date way back in the United States, beginning around the early 1900s. Back then they were typically referred to as “traveling libraries” or “wagon libraries”. Libraries would use various forms of transportation, such as bicycles, carts, wagons, or even donkeys to get books to readers!

Somerville Public Library joined this new way of serving patrons by... Read Post

January 2nd 2020
favorite books 2019

Wow, Somerville, you read so much this year!

These are the books Somerville readers checked out the most in 2019. How many have you read? Which ones were your favorites?

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens Becoming by Michelle Obama Educated by Tara Westover Normal People by Sally Rooney Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, tied with The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong City of Girls by Elizabeth... Read Post
November 26th 2019
holiday cookie book list

Looking for some inspiration for your holiday cookie baking (or perhaps for the SPL cookie swap at Remnant Brewing on 12/23)? Here are thumbnail descriptions of some great cookie books in the Somerville Public Library's collection! Newest books are listed first. Gluten free titles are at the end of the list. Click on the title to find the book in the library catalog, or stop by the book display on the second floor and pick one up. Happy holiday season, and happy baking!

... Read Post

November 3rd 2019

The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah 

Available in a variety of formats including print, large print, paperback, ebook, audiobook, digital audiobook and playaway. We hope you check out a copy today!

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