Library Blog

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

December 31st 2020
Somerville Theatre, Somerville, MA

A staple of Davis Square is the Somerville Theatre. The theatre, which is located in the Hobbs Building at 55 Davis Square, dates back to 1914. The theatre was designed to show motion pictures as well as live performances such as plays and vaudeville acts. According to a Somerville Journal article, the newly constructed theatre “has a commodious stage flanked by a double tier of boxes and the seats are leather tufted and very comfortable. There is one balcony and the booth for the picture... Read Post

December 17th 2020
Recommended Reads from SPL Staff

It’s the time of year for The New York Times and other media to publish their lists of the best books of 2020.  My list is a little different.  I read a lot of books this year, but almost none of them were published in 2020.  So here a list of the best books I read in 2020, regardless of publication date.

White Houses: A Novel by Amy Bloom. Lorena Hickock was a successful journalist and chief investigator the Federal Emergency Relief Administration, a Depression-era government agency... Read Post

December 8th 2020
STEAM Take & Make Kits at the West Branch!

Do you need an activity for your kids, but you want to make it somewhat educational? Look no farther than the West Branch STEAM Take & Makes!

Over the summer, the Somerville Public Library received a grant through CARES Act funding for STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math) related activities. One of the funded projects was STEAM Take & Makes at the West Branch. Take & Makes are project kits that combine fun, building, art, and open ended questions that allow... Read Post

December 3rd 2020
Somerville Public Library East Branch, 115 Broadway

December is generally a quiet month at the East Branch. The days are getting shorter and temperatures are dropping. But we have programs to share with you throughout the month!

Meghan will continue to offer Wednesday morning story times - join us on Facebook Live each week at 11am. 

Our East Branch Book Group will meet Friday December 18th to discuss The Truth According to Us by Annie Barrows. Copies of the book are available at the East Branch, and the eBook is available via... Read Post

November 19th 2020
You Are Where Your Mind Is: Books (And the Somerville Yeti) Can Take You Anywhere

As the days get shorter and the number of COVID cases rises, a lot of us are really tired of staying in our homes and walking the same neighborhood streets. Unfortunately, health experts agree that traveling is a really bad idea right now.

However, libraries offer a way to travel that’s undeniably safer and cheaper than any plane, train or car. You are where are your mind is, so books can take you anywhere. Below are some titles that can take you to far-off locations in the pre-... Read Post

November 5th 2020
Somerville Public Library East Branch StoryWalk®!

StoryWalks® are happening around all the Somerville Public Library locations this month. Laminated pages from children’s books are attached to fences and in windows near each library. Each page guides you to the next part of the story. We encourage you to take a walk with your friends and family and check out these beautiful books.

Windows by Julia Denos will start at the East Branch later this week. Come out to 115 Broadway near sunset and admire the changing light and the warmth... Read Post