This past weekend we set our clocks back one hour as we do every year. Ideally when we get up in the morning it will be a little lighter, and, not so ideally, after we work we'll all be stumbling home in the dark. But why do we do this? Supposedly Benjmain Franklin first proposed daylight saving time (DST) as a way to save candles, but he also suggested waking the public by firing cannons at sunrise, so it's difficult to say how serious he was. The idea in its modern systematized form was... Read Post
We are happy to announce that our patrons can now access some of their favorite digital magazines using Flipster from EBSCO Information Services. Flipster is a next-generation magazine service that allows people to browse digital versions of the latest issues of popular magazines, courtesy of the library.
SPL provides access to the following digital titles:The New Yorker ESPN Magazine Food Network Digital Photo National Geographic GQ (Gentlemen's Quarterly)... Read Post
The state Department of Transportation has just issued a Notice of Project Change for the Green Line Extension. The extension from College Avenue in Medford to the Mystic Valley Parkway has been delayed for fiscal reasons. The Notice of Project Change is intended to initiate further Massachusetts EPA review of the Mystic Valley Parkway Extension and give the public opportunity to comment on proposed design changes for Mystic Valley Parkway Station. You can find the complete text of the... Read Post
On the evening of October 30, 1938, CBS radio broadcast an adaptation of H. G. Well's War of the Worlds, the 1898 novel about a Martian invasion of Earth, as part of the radio drama series Mercury Theatre on the Air. Written and directed by Orson Welles (left), the program was mostly in the form of simulated news bulletins. For decades stories have been told about the panic that ensued when many listeners jumped to the conclusion they were listening to an actual news broadcast.
The... Read Post
It's the time of year when many readers indulge in books about the supernatural, so here's a review/recommendation of the Pamela Dean novel Tam Lin, courtesy of our excellent substitute librarian, Annie Schapira:
October is a time of cool nights, warm sweaters, and scary stories, and I am a fan of all of the above. However, my favorite book to revisit this season, Pamela Dean’s Tam Lin (1991), is not what I would consider a horror story, although its final reckoning takes place on... Read Post
Welcome to our latest installment of Meet the Staff on the Library blog! This October, we would like to introduce you to two of our newest staff members, Julie and Lilly.
These two women bring a lot of great ideas, previous library work experience, and enthusiasm to their jobs at the SPL. Though Julie and Lilly work on a large variety of projects, they often find themselves working together to bring you great library programs. They’ve worked together on this year’s Somerville Reads... Read Post
In a recent blog post I advised people to go to the website www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and input their name and part of their Social Security number to find out if their personal information was compromised. The current consensus is that the site itself is dysfunctional, returning conflicting reports to the same people at different times. In other words, Equifax itself is currently incapable of telling you if you've been put at risk.
So what can you do? First place a fraud alert... Read Post
This month on the blog and in our e-newsletter, we’re introducing you to our amazing staff from Tech Services and the Business Office! (If you’re joining us from our e-Newsletter, welcome to the blog!)
You might have seen these wonderful women around the Library, filling in wherever needed. You’ll often see Patty and Wendy in the Children’s Room (Wendy also does a great job at the Reference Desk), Christina at Circulation or in the Teen Room, and Weini at the Circulation Desk.... Read Post
The private information of as many as 143 million Americans (as well some Canadians and UK citizens) has been exposed in a cybertack on Equifax, a company that, ironically, sells protection against identity theft. To find out if you've been affected, go to https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com, click on "potential impact" at the bottom of the page and input your last name and Social Security number.
If the resulting message says your personal information may have been compromised,... Read Post
Want to know more about banned books week, check out this YouTube video.
On Monday, August 21, 2017, a solar eclipse will be visible in most of the United States. A solar eclipse occurs when the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun. While Massachusetts is not in the “path of totality,” Somerville residents should be able to see a partial eclipse -- as long as the weather cooperates!
The eclipse will begin around 1:30 PM and last until approximately 4:00 PM. It will peak in Somerville around 2:45 PM, when about 63% of... Read Post
Okay everyone, that time of year is back and the Somerville Public Library's annual banned books are back as well! On September 30th, please join us at the Somerville Public Library on 79 Highland Avenue for a virtual read-a-thon! Pick your favorite banned book and read an excerpt while the Somerville Media Center streams it live!
Titles, according to ALA, that have been most challenged in 2016 include:
This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by... Read Post
We're past the late spring/early summer when many of us are beginning to think about what to plant on our back decks or in our window boxes. But there's no reason we can't start planning what to grow indoors. Plants are beautiful, they make us feel better, and they can even clean up our environment. Some plants are great for removing chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzine, carbon monoxide, and ammonia from the air. And even plants that aren't top of the line air-purifiers release oxygen,... Read Post
Last week I posted about the filter bubble--the selective bias programmed into search engines via your search histories and the cookies web sites leave on your computer. This week I'm posting about how to break out of the filter bubble, so that the results of your web searches don't merely reflect your previous searches but have a better chance of bringing you new information.
Step 1: Delete the cookies in your web browser. A cookie is a small file stored in your computer's web... Read Post
...which sites you visit? If you think you do, you're right only up to a point. Sure, you decide which links to click on, but who decides which links appear on your screen when you keyword search in the first place? If you're searching with Google, Bing, or Yahoo, they use your previous searches, the websites you've visited and your IP address to tailor your search results. And if you're logged in to your gmail account while using Google, your Microsoft account while using Bing, or your... Read Post