Library Humor

April 15th 2016
One of SPL's most valuable resources for Somerville history is the Somerville Journal, the city's oldest newspaper. We have the complete run of the paper in hard copy and microfilm from the 1870s to the present. Reading old issues is fascinating. Not only do they give a sense of how important newspapers were for news and entertainment before competition from radio, television and the Internet, they also reveal the issues that were on people's minds that seldom make it into the history books. ... Read Post
December 10th 2014
This random item has been  making rounds on the Interwebs: It made me wonder what unusual or quaintly-worded rules various libraries might have, so I did some looking around. At Oxford University's Bodleian Library it is expressly forbidden to "kindle any fire or flame in any part of the library." The Yonkers Public Library bans balloons (possible explanations: staff or patrons might have latex allergies; balloons left in public buildings have been known to set off motion-sensitive alarms... Read Post
May 1st 2014

I know that after this winter we've all been looking forward to spring. And let's face it, it's been a disappointment.  But cheer up: it's going to get warmer, and tomorrow and Saturday we will actually see some sun. So a real spring is on the way. And nothing says spring like this celebratory ditty:

March 19th 2013
It's Diagram Prize time again! Which book will win the coveted Oddest Title of the Year Award? Below are a few of the contenders. Click here for more!

February 26th 2011
"This is not a book to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force."--Dorothy Parker.
February 16th 2011

January 29th 2011
Our patrons usually ask us for office supplies...
December 20th 2010
June 3rd 2010
June 4, 1919: Finding themselves with time on their hands now that World War I is over, the U.S. Marines invade Costa Rica. As President Wilson said, "It keeps them off the streets." June 6, 1844: The Young Men's Christian Association is formed in London. Founder George Williams is heard lamenting, "If only we could think of a catchy song." June 9, 1790: The Philadelphia Spelling Book is the first book copyrighted under the new U.S. Constitution. Even less entertaining volumes soon followed... Read Post
March 4th 2010
Once again, to answer questions you haven't asked, here are some of the many important events that happened in March. March 2, 1717: "The Loves of Mars and Venus" opens in London, thus becoming the first ballet ever performed in England.  Male audience members hate it, females who attend love it, prompting a nationwide discussion about why men and women are so different. March 4, 1865: With no trace of irony, the Confederate Congress approves the "final" design of the CSA's official flag.... Read Post
February 8th 2010
February 2, 1709: Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being marooned on a desert island for four years. It's 300 years too early for him to become a consultant for a reality TV show, so he has to settle for inspiring Robinson Crusoe. February 7, 1839: In the Senate Henry Clay makes his famous pronouncement, "I'd rather be right than be President." Which is just as well, considering he ran for President (and lost) five times. February 16, 1899: Knattspyrnufelag Reykjavkur, Iceland's first... Read Post
January 3rd 2010
So once again, to answer questions you've never asked, here are some of the many historic events that took place in January. January 8, 794: The church at Lindisfarne, England is destroyed by Vikings. The local bishop is  outraged to discover  the diocese's insurance company considers Viking raids in northern Europe a preexisting condition. January 13, 1854: Anthony Foss patents the accordion. January 14, 1854: Anthony Foss's neighbors begin plotting his death. January 24, 41: Roman Emperor... Read Post
December 1st 2009
December 3, 1586: According to some sources, Sir Thomas Harriot introduces the potato to England on this date--because if there's one thing Northern Europe doesn't have enough of, it's root vegetables. December 11, 1919: Deciding that monuments to tapeworms or mosquitoes would just be kind of gross, the citizens of Enterprise, Alabama dedicate a monument to the boll weevil. December 16, 1773: The Boston Tea Party.  Disgruntled colonists dump 340 crates of tea into Boston Harbor to protest... Read Post
November 1st 2009
November 2, 1947: Howard Hughes' plywood airplane, the "Spruce Goose," flies for the first and only time. It only flew one mile, but it was still an improvement over contemporary flights: it left on time and didn't overshoot its destination. November 6, 1862:  Direct telegraph line established between New York and San Francisco.  San Franciscans are surprised to learn that being told "how they do it in New York" is somehow even more annoying when it's in Morse Code. November 14, 1832: The... Read Post
October 26th 2009
Fictional librarians, I've known a few...but my favorite is Norman, the title character of Alan Ayckbourn's trilogy of plays, The Norman Conquests.  Norman is an assistant librarian, but frankly, his occupation is relevant only in that it provides me with a handy excuse for mentioning him in this blog.  Much more significant are the facts that Norman is an unquenchable romantic and an inveterate troublemaker.  The trilogy covers the events of one weekend, when Norman's plans to whisk his wife'... Read Post