Library Blog

November 3rd 2020
StoryWalks in Somerville - Family Friendly Reading Outdoors!

Have you ever seen a StoryWalk®? It’s a super fun way to read a book and get some exercise at the same time! Book pages are laminated and installed along a sidewalk, fence, or building. As people walk along the path of the StoryWalk®, they are directed to the next page in the story.

To make our StoryWalks®, your friendly children’s librarians selected some of our favorite books and performed magical arts and crafts to separate the pages and mount them on oversized paper. Then we... Read Post

October 29th 2020
WWI Surgical Dressing Class at Somerville High School

The development and improvement of new weaponry made World War I the bloodiest war of its time. When Washington expressed a need for surgical dressings, those who could help offered up their time, including some Somerville High School students.

During the war, Somerville High formed the Somerville High School Patriotic Association to help with the war effort. Under the leadership of this association, the Surgical Dressings Department was formed. A faculty member by the name of Miss... Read Post

October 15th 2020
Small Press Collection at the Somerville Public Library

Did you know that the Library has a few hundred zines? They range from comic books, to small treatises on birds or movies, to poetry chapbooks, to pamphlets on how to intervene when a stranger is being abusive to another stranger. 

Most of these items are hand-made, self-published, and printed in very limited numbers. Since many of them are locally-produced and cover topics of local interest, they offer a wonderful window into the minds of our neighbors. And as a group, they document... Read Post

October 5th 2020
Kids Book Club at Somerville Public Library West Branch

Hello from the West Branch, where we have a thriving Kids Book Club! 

Each month, a group of amazing kids meets to discuss books. We loved meeting in person pre-pandemic, and we incorporated physical activity, arts and crafts, and STEAM activities into our meetings. For example, we discussed the “I Survived” books through the concept of Novel Engineering: each child read an “I Survived” book of their choosing, then built something that would have helped the main character in their... Read Post

October 1st 2020
Angurria Mural 112 Broadway East Somerville, MA (Across from the East Branch Library)

Hello from the East Branch Library!

We are excited to share two big programs in October. Both programs are free and everyone is welcome to participate.

Learn to Baby Sign with Baby Kneads, a 4-week class that teaches parents and caregivers to sign with pre-verbal children ages 5 months and up, starts on Wednesday, October 7th. Contact Meghan to register at

Baby Sign class is made possible through a Federal CARES Act grant, administered by the... Read Post

September 24th 2020
Sam Walter Foss portrait

We have had some amazing library staff over the years. One of our more famous staff members is librarian Sam Walter Foss.

Sam Walter Foss was born in Candia, New Hampshire in 1858 to Dyer and Polly Foss. Sam spent his childhood helping with his father’s farm and would later attend Portsmouth High School. After graduating, Foss would go on to attend Brown University in 1878 where he was known as the Class Poet. After graduating college in 1882, he began work as a journalist. With the... Read Post

September 17th 2020
Climate Justice by Mary Robinson book cover

It may seem that the news is all bad—COVID-19, hurricanes, forest fires--but by no means should we give up. Climate Preparedness Week is coming September 24-30, and the Massachusetts Library System has partnered with CREW (Communities Responding to Extreme Weather) to host free virtual programs on the intersections of climate resilience and social and racial justice. In keeping with those themes, here are some books and films about the struggle for a better future.

Former Irish... Read Post

September 8th 2020
Alison and the Song Cube

Hello from the West Branch! We miss you, and can’t wait to see you soon -- either for contactless pickup, Storytime, Kids Book Club, or just by chance in the grocery store or at CVS (yes, West Branch librarians run into library patrons all over the place!).

We feel strongly that libraries are a vital part of our community, and it’s been, well, different to be a librarian without that face-to-face interaction over the last six months.  However, we’re doing our very best to offer you... Read Post

September 3rd 2020
Sunset in front of the East Branch Library

September, here we are! 

We miss seeing our patrons. Miss Meghan has been putting together some wonderful children's book bundles, some are themed and some are personalized. The feedback has been touching:

“Our daughter has been downstairs reading as soon as we got home, she is SO HAPPY and so am I - thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!! Such thoughtful choices, this is so wonderful!”

“Thank you again!!!!! I, too, missed the library VERY much, our whole family has... Read Post

August 27th 2020
Peter and Oliver Tufts House Somerville Postcard

Did you know that there is a house in Somerville that was built before the Revolutionary War? The “Oliver Tufts House” sometimes referred to as the “Peter and Oliver Tufts House” is believed to have been built on a parcel of farmland back in 1714. According to a June 26, 1935 Somerville Journal article by William Preble Jones, the house “formerly occupied the small knoll at the corner of Sycamore and Pembroke streets, midway between Medford street and the Lowell railroad bridge.”

... Read Post

August 24th 2020
Pandemic Reads Book Movie Covers

The pandemic has left many of us depressed, lonely or a little traumatized.  To cope with the anxiety and the loss of most of their normal activities, many people are taking comfort in books. They’ve intuitively stumbled upon what’s called bibliotherapy: reading to promote mental health. In that spirit, we at SPL decided to put together a therapeutic reading list.

In recent months, books and TV shows about pandemics have been extremely popular—perhaps because they provide a way for... Read Post

August 20th 2020

Even though you can't come inside, you can still visit the Central Library. Check out the SHS construction - it's impressive!

Make your way up the ramp (you never know who you'll meet!) and hang out to play chess or use the wifi.


Have a peek at the garden and see what we've got growing.

... Read Post
July 22nd 2020
empty library teen room

I remember the good old times when I was filled with lively teens because I was a fun place for them to be with their friends. They always made me feel like I was a good place to be in and to work in. Without the youth of Somerville, I’ve become really quiet and sometimes it does get lonely.  

I always hosted fun games and activities for the youth and always boosted the mood and morale in the room. I remember hosting fun activities like awesome Fortnite games, Connect-4, and pizza... Read Post

July 6th 2020
Artwork by Paula Champagne for ArtBeat 2020

The theme of this year’s ArtBeat (July 10-18) is chance, featuring virtual performances and real life art installations exploring the unexpected and unplanned. In honor of the festival---and the uncertain times we’re living in—we at SPL decided to recommend some books that engage with the risky and unpredictable. 

Our first stop is New Orleans in the early 1960s, the setting of John Kennedy Toole’s novel A Confederacy of Dunces. Toole’s protagonist—perhaps antagonist?—is Ignatius J... Read Post

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