News You Can Use

April 22nd 2015
When Wikipedia first appeared in 2005, the excitement of Internet culture pundits was almost palpable.  An online encyclopedia that shared the knowledge of countless people from all over the world embodied the democratizing spirit of the web. "Behold the power of the people," gushed Wired.  And the idea behind  Wikipedia is inspiring: it's no respecter of persons or credentials. Wikipedia contributors just have to be willing to  do some work. But as many of us foresaw from the beginning, the... Read Post
April 13th 2015
As security goes, passwords aren't that great. Most of us can't think of an alphanumeric code that would stymie password cracking software. However, you're still going to need passwords for the foreseeable future.  Your ability to use the Internet is extremely limited without them. Edward Snowden himself has been taking some online flack for telling John Oliver that "MargaretThatcheris110%SEXY" is a secure password. Sure, it's a long(ish) phrase as passwords go, and the opinion expressed is... Read Post
March 17th 2015
Power. Ferocity. Majesty and mystery. Human beings have invested birds of prey with these qualities for thousands of years. Their abilities to do the amazing continue to inspire our thoughts and excite our imaginations. But which ideas about these birds are facts and which are fictions?  Come to the Central Library this Sunday (March 22nd) at 2:00 p.m. to find out!  This program uses live birds of prey to explore what makes a “bird of prey,” the role they play in the environment, and how... Read Post
March 16th 2015
Please join us as we celebrate Women’s History Month by welcoming performer Rita Parisi of Waterfall Productions for a theatrical storytelling (not a reading) of three weird tales by Sarah Orne Jewett. The program will be held at the Central Library on Saturday, March 21st at 2:00 p.m. Sarah Orne Jewett, a native of South Berwick, Maine, was one of New England’s most prolific female authors of the nineteenth century.  Her stories highlight the everyday lives of New Englanders at this time,... Read Post
March 5th 2015
Here is part 2 of the Q & A with Dr. Alice LoCicero, who will be at the Central Library on Thursday, March 19th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss her new book, Why “Good Kids” Turn Into Deadly Terrorists: Deconstructing the Accused Boston Marathon Bombers and Others Like Them. Aren’t you afraid that people will disparage you for writing about the perpetrators? Yes. And I hope people will understand after talking with me for a few minutes that my goal is prevention, plain and simple. As a social... Read Post
March 4th 2015
Cambridge author Alice LoCicero will be at the Central Library on Thursday, March 19th at 7:00 p.m. to discuss her new book, Why "Good Kids" Turn Into Deadly Terrorists: Deconstructing the Accused Boston Marathon Bombers and Others Like Them. In her book, Dr. LoCicero argues that the exploitation, by opportunistic zealots, of children and young adults—whether from Sri Lanka, Somalia, Tunisia, or her own hometown of Cambridge, MA—can be stopped. After years of research into youth violence and... Read Post
February 24th 2015
Join us at the Central Library on Wednesday, March 4th at 7:00 p.m. as we welcome Nan Levinson, author of War Is Not a Game: the New Antiwar Soldiers and the Movement They Built. On July 23, 2004, five marines, two soldiers, and one airman became the most unlikely of antiwar activists. Young and gung-ho when they first signed up to defend their country, they were sent to fight a war that left them confused, enraged, and haunted. Once they returned home, they became determined to put their... Read Post
February 19th 2015
All is back to normal.
February 19th 2015
Stay tuned for an update.
February 13th 2015
Worried about how much of your personal information Google, Facebook, and other online software providers have collected? Concerned about overbroad government surveillance programs hoovering up your private data? Uneasy about criminal hackers who might seek to exploit you? Our online privacy is indeed under threat, but the good news is that there are technology tools to help us fight back. Join us at the Central Library, February 21 at 11:00 a.m. Alison Macrina, a librarian and privacy rights... Read Post
January 28th 2015
SPL opened at noon today. The libraries will close at their regular times tonight. Normal hours resume tomorrow. Stay warm.
January 26th 2015
Due to snow. To pass a little of the time, read this poem by Wallace Stevens, because I like it. The Snow Man One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter Of the January sun; and not to think Of any misery in the sound of the wind, In the sound of a few leaves, Which is the sound of the land Full of the same wind That... Read Post
January 26th 2015

The Somerville Public Library will close at 4:30 today due to the impending storm.

January 7th 2015
All main exhibits at the JFK Library and Museum are closed until mid-March while the museum undergoes renovations. However, there is a small exhibit on the Cuban Missile Crisis open to the public. Admission is free. The research rooms will still be open, but as always researchers should call in advance to schedule their visit. 617.514.1600 .
January 3rd 2015
Concerned about your privacy (or lack thereof)? Join us at the Somerville Public Library, 79 Highland Ave.,  Jan. 10 at 11:00 a.m., where James O'Keefe of the Massachusetts Pirate Party and other privacy experts show you how to use the web anonymously, encrypt your mail, stop companies from using your cell phone to track you, and more. This is a hands-on workshop, so please bring your laptop, tablet, or smartphone so we can help you install the latest anonymizing software and show you how to... Read Post