News You Can Use

May 23rd 2014
At times our efforts to improve our health backfire. Overuse of antibiotics can help produce nastier, tougher bacteria strains.  Keeping a small child's surroundings too pristine could lead to allergies and asthma later on. And now it seems that antibacterial soap--a mainstay for many of us in the fight to stay healthy--is probably bad for us. Decades of studies have established that triclosan, a key ingredient in many antibacterials soaps, is no more effective than plain old soap and water in... Read Post
April 22nd 2014
None of us has as much money as we would like. And most of us don't do a great job of keeping track of what we have. Have you ever withdrawn some cash from an ATM and a day or two later found yourself wondering, where did it all go? The state of Massachusetts and the Massachusetts Financial Literacy Trust want to make that feeling going away by helping you learn to manage your money better. The Money Conference: Financial Empowerment for Individuals and Families is a one-day annual workshop... Read Post
April 15th 2014
  Flags will fly at half mast around the City today in remembrance of the victims and families of the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings.  For details about support services available to community members on the one-year anniversary of these tragic events, click here. In Boston, a tribute ceremony for survivors and first responders will be held at the Hynes Convention Center at 12:00 p.m.  You can watch the ceremony online here.  Community members are also invited to gather along Boylston Street... Read Post
March 13th 2014
You know how sometimes all you want to do is celebrate the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter?   Well tomorrow is the perfect day to do exactly that: it's March 14th, aka Pi Day! Here in Somerville there are a few events planned that should make this Pi Day the best one ever. Petsi Pies is having their annual Pi Day celebration.  Recite the digits of pi from memory and win free pie!  More digits = more pie!   Starts at 1:59 p.m. The East Somerville Community School is... Read Post
February 20th 2014
As part of our ALA/NEH sponsored series Muslim Journeys we are pleased to host a screening of the documentary Dear Bawa Muhaiyaddeen by filmmakers Kythe Heller and Peter McMurray. This event will take place on Thursday, February 27th at 7:00 p.m. at the Central Library. How can one film something that cannot be seen? Unlike traditional documentaries, which typically view religious experience as a metaphor for something else--whether socially or psychologically construed--this experimental... Read Post
January 21st 2014
The Somerville Public Library will be closing at 6 pm today. And the snow emergency begins at 3 pm today, which means residents who own cars have until 7 pm to move them to the odd-numbered side of the street or a city lot. More details here. Tuesday evening classes and city activities have been canceled. Somerville Public Schools are closed tomorrow. Stay warm.
January 10th 2014

First there was the news that the NSA was violating federal privacy rules thousands of times a year to monitor our online activity, phone calls and emails (and if you use a smartphone, you're basically doing the NSA's work for them). Then we found out that they were even monitoring online games. And that Bank of America employs full-time social media spies. Perhaps you think you don't have anything to fear from government or corporate surveillance. You're wrong. The Electronic Frontier... Read Post

January 2nd 2014
The Libraries will be closed on Friday, January 3rd due to, well this:

Stay safe everyone!
December 13th 2013
The sound systems in supermarkets and shopping malls are blaring Christmas music, your neighbors have extra lights that are well on their way to frying the local electrical grid and you're trying to figure out an appropriate gift for the uncle who last year gave you From Prairies to Peaks: A History of the Rocky Mountain Region of the U.S. Forest Service, 1905-2012. Well, maybe you would like to avoid Yuletide this year.  Maybe you're not in the mood for wreaths and eggnog. Take heart. You've... Read Post
November 14th 2013
In 2005 a group of authors and publishers sued Google for scanning and posting online  segments of books to which they (the authors and publishers, not Google) held the rights.  Today U.S. Circuit Judge Denny Chin ruled that Google's actions do not violate U.S. copyright law, since Google puts the complete text of a book  online only if it has the copyright holder's permission. From the ruling: “In my view, Google Books provides significant public benefits....It advances the progress of the... Read Post
October 1st 2013
The Government of the United States, a concern that has been running more or less smoothly since April 1, 1789, is closed until further notice.  Here's what you need to know. First, why? The House and Senate failed to agree on a bill to fund the government for the fiscal year.  In a nutshell, there's no money to pay the people who do many of the jobs that make the government work. What does this mean? Government employees are divided into "essential" and "non-essential." And some parts of... Read Post
September 28th 2013
We regret to report that the telephones at the Central Library and the branches are not working. If you call your main number you will get the usual recorded message, but if you dial an extension, you will be sent directly to voice mail. The City has been notified.
September 18th 2013
What can you do to avoid investment fraud?  A good first step is to educate yourself about "The Three Ps": the Profile of the typical victim common Persuasion tactics used by fraudsters techniques to help Prevent fraud Staff from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission will be at the Central Library this Thursday at 7:00 p.m. with a presentation on all of these topics, as well as a demonstration on how to check the status and disciplinary history of investment professionals.  The... Read Post
August 14th 2013
We all know Somerville's a great town that faces a lot of issues, particularly gentrification and the conflicting desires of different communities with different histories. Earlier in the month Tufts professor Susan Ostrander (left) gave a talk based on her research for her book Citizenship and Governance in  a Changing City: Somerville, Massachusetts.  She talked to Somervillians of various ethnicities, occupations and ages. And she found that whatever people's differences, most of us want the... Read Post