News You Can Use

November 26th 2014
Somerville Public Libraries will close at 5 pm today and will be closed all day both Thursday and Friday. Normal hours resume on Saturday, November 29.
November 24th 2014
Do you have a Gmail account? If you're reading this (and therefore an Internet user) you probably do, since Gmail is the most popular email service. After all, it's reliable and it's free, right? Well, it's free in that we don't pay money for it.  But as the saying has it, "If you're not paying money for the product, by default you are the product." Google collects information about you and what you do online and sells that data to other businesses so that when you're online, you'll be... Read Post
October 21st 2014
A couple months ago, I decided to take a month-long workshop offered by the City of Somerville called Mental Health First Aid. This program, begun in Australia in 2001, aims to give ordinary citizens training on how to identify mental health issues, listen and provide some support to sufferers and offer suggestions for professional treatment. At first, I considered the training to be part of my professional training as a public librarian. But as the class continued, I realized that many of the... Read Post
October 17th 2014
Do you use Whisper, the  social networking app that provides a safe virtual space to say things you wouldn't on Facebook? That supposedly guarantees anonymity? Well, according to The Guardian, Whisper not only tracks its users, the company staff monitor the activity of users who might soon be newsworthy, and they maintain  a searchable database of posts, including posts users think they've deleted. Whisper also recently revised its terms of service: even if you have turned off your smartphone's... Read Post
October 14th 2014
When you check out a book (or anything else) from the library, that information is supposed to be private. Safety is essential for personal exploration and growth, and one way to help people be safe is ensuring that what they read or watch or listen to is known only to them and whomever they decide to share that knowledge with. One of the software programs developed for reading ebooks is Adobe Digital Editions. And recently various sources reported that the latest version of the program,... Read Post
October 7th 2014
October is American Archives Month, the purpose of which is to promote awareness and value of archives in society - as our country’s collective memory. The city of Somerville has its own archives, as does the SPL in the form of our Local History Room. I love old pictures, so I enjoy visiting the city archives’ tumblr, too. While it’s unlikely you actually work at an archive, you may want to create your own personal archive. Right now, it may be a shoebox full of old photos and letters, or it... Read Post
September 30th 2014
Apple has released patches for the Shellshock security flaw. They're probably not 100% effective but far, far better than nothing: download links and other information here. Go the follow links to access the patches for RedHat, Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora and CentOS  here.
September 27th 2014
By now many of you have probably heard about the Shellshock bug and the dire threat it poses to computers world wide.  If you don't know what it is, it's a flaw in the user interface of some computers' operating systems that provides an opening for hackers to take control of other people's computers. Some tech journalists were opining that Shellshock could be bigger than Heartbleed, the security bug last spring that put half a million servers (and all the passwords on them) at risk. Well, don'... Read Post
August 13th 2014
Movies and summer just seem to go together, don't they? Well we think so, and we have some great ones coming up for kids, teens, and families. Tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., we're showing The Iron Giant! Kids of all ages and families are welcome to attend. Bring snacks and get ready for one of the coolest movies ever, one that answers the question "How can an 11-year-old boy keep a 50-foot tall, metal-eating robot from space a secret?" Following the movie, there will be a discussion of the book... Read Post
August 11th 2014
"Mr. Vaughn, what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It's really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat and make little sharks, and that's all." --Hooper in Jaws. Those are great lines from a scary movie,  and you know what? They're true. Sharks have existed for at least 450 million years. That's almost twice as long as dinosaurs. And five major mass extinctions have occurred in the past 439 million years. Sharks survived them all. Miracle... Read Post
August 8th 2014
Hoopla is here! We are delighted to offer this new service that allows Somerville patrons free access to thousands of movies, television shows, music albums, and audiobooks for mobile devices and computers. To start using Hoopla, download the free digital mobile app on your Android or iOS device or visit Then, begin enjoying titles from major Hollywood studios, record companies, and publishers. Titles can be borrowed for instant streaming or for temporary downloading to... Read Post
August 4th 2014
by Eileen and Sujei If you’re like me, you have a ton of things on your mind/plate. And although I knew July was International Zine Month, I couldn’t quite pull the trigger on this blog post till now. But, all this information is still valid – and it's always a good time to enjoy and make zines. But wait – I should slow down, back up – and address a question you may have: What is a zine anyway? A zine made by women over 40. Found at the Papercut Zine Library.

For those of you not... Read Post
July 31st 2014
More than a repository of books, public libraries host story hours, ESL classes, and community meetings, many libraries also include a cafe so patrons can relax with a good book and cup of coffee or meet other parents while their children are attending a book group.  The Boston Public Library has taken their cafe one step further to become a destination restaurant. Check out the Boston Magazine's review of the BPL's Courtyard Restaurant at: Read Post
July 1st 2014
July 4 is coming up, a day for fireworks, cookouts and spending time with friends.   Here's a brief guide to local fun on Independence Day. Somerville's July 4th festivities will be Thursday evening at Trum Field. Live music  starts at 6:15, fireworks at 9:15. Everything you need to know, including rain date information, is here. If you want to go to the banks of Charles, hear the Boston Pops and see fireworks you need to read this guide by cbslocal. You could also listen to the Pops and see... Read Post
June 17th 2014
Additional material by Sujei

Now that the United States has won a game at the World Cup,* you may be asking yourself, what more can I learn about soccer (or football, futebol, foutbòl, fútbol, etc., if you’d prefer)? Or maybe you're one of our community's many, lifelong Brazil fans and want to see what happens next as your team advances to the next round**? (We've noticed that the level of yellow around our streets has increased.)

All I see here is a Captain Picard-style... Read Post