News You Can Use

February 22nd 2012
A week from tomorrow Google's new privacy policy goes into effect (or perhaps I should call it their no-privacy policy): they'll be combining all the information they have about you from all of their services that you use. If you decide to continue using Google as a search engine after this (although there are alternatives, such as the most excellent DuckDuckGo), you might want to consider deleting your web search history. You have no idea how this data's going to be used. The Electronic... Read Post
February 17th 2012


2012 is the bicentenary of the birth of Charles Dickens, and the year will be marked by international celebrations of his life and work. Although he was an Englishman of the Victorian era, Dickens's work transcends his time, language, and culture. His public readings of his work brought him to Boston in the mid 1800s. Throughout the world, his writings remain a major influence that continue to inspire films, art, and literature. The Library joins in the global commemoration of... Read Post
February 16th 2012
The Children's Room at the West Branch in Davis Square is beloved by children and caregivers alike.  The home of Babygarten, storytime, and the summer reading club, it's where children discover the joys of reading and serves as a valuable resource for parents and teachers as well. In the past three years circulation of children's materials from the West Branch has increased by 44%. Clearly Somerville Children and parents don't just love and appreciate the West Branch Children's department—they... Read Post
February 9th 2012

Google continues to come under fire for its proposed new privacy policy, which I blogged about last week. EU officials have asked Google to delay implementation of the policy change until its potential effects on users can be analyzed.  Google has said "No."  Meanwhile Microsoft has gone on the offensive with an ad: But let's face it: when it comes to privacy, Microsoft isn't any better.  But if you're a gmail user and worried about your privacy, you have some options. Log out of your gmail... Read Post

January 27th 2012
If you use Gmail, YouTube, Picassa, or any other Google tools, keep reading. As of March 1, Google will be integrating your data from all of their services that you use, and you won't be able to opt out. The company is spinning this change as positive: according to the Policies & Principles FAQ, Google users can expect "better search results, ads and other content." One of the company's examples? "Maybe we can tell you that you’ll be late for a meeting based on your location, your calendar... Read Post
January 17th 2012
FYI: on Wednesday, Jan. 18 you won't be able to use Wikipedia, Wordpress or TwitPic. Nor will you be able to access Reddit or the Internet Archive. These a few of the sites that are going dark to protest the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA (that's the name of the House bill, which has gotten the most press; PIPA is its Senate equivalent). The act is intended to stop online infringement of copyrighted material; the act would not only criminalize (for example) an amateur cover of a Jay-Z... Read Post
January 17th 2012
Somerville Reads 2012, our third annual community reads program, is coming this spring! The theme is food, and we’re asking for your help with two things: recipes and stories.

We will compile a community cookbook so we all can share some of our favorite dishes with our neighbors. A few ideas for recipes you might like to submit include: cooking for a crowd; kid favorites; local roots/ingredients; or family heritage. We’re going to print copies and sell them at our kickoff event,... Read Post
December 12th 2011
The Director’s “Meet, Mingle, Read” series continues! Join us at the Central Library on Wednesday, December 14th at 7:00 p.m. as we welcome authors Beverly Ford and Stephanie Schorow who will discuss their new book, The Boston Mob Guide: Hit Men, Hoodlums & Hideouts (History Press).

The capture of notorious mobster James "Whitey" Bulger closed an infamous chapter in Boston history. Yet the city's criminal underworld has a long and bloody rap sheet that stretches back to the... Read Post
December 10th 2011
As Kevin notes below, it's that time of year again, and "Best of 2011" lists are cropping up all over the place. Here are the top five fiction and nonfiction picks from Salon's Laura Miller. 5 Best Novels of 2011The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides Pym by Mat Johnson State of Wonder by Ann Patchett The Tragedy of Arthur by Arthur Phillips The Pale King by David Foster Wallace 5 Best Nonfiction Books of 2011Townie: a Memoir by Andre Dubus III Love and Capital: Karl and Jenny Marx and... Read Post
November 21st 2011
This time of year the mind turns naturally to feasting, but it's always "turkey this" and "turkey that." Pork simply does not get its due. As a corrective, we offer tonight's Monday Night Movie, A Private Function. Rovi (foremerly the All Movie Guide) says, “A British couple's attempts to circumvent local food-rationing regulations trigger a chaotic series of events in this satirical comedy set in post-World War II England. The couple's scheme centers on a massive hog which has been... Read Post
November 16th 2011
Our new series, "Meet, Mingle, Read" kicks off at the Central Library on Saturday, November 19th at 10:00 a.m. as we delve into the history of diners, sample yummy diner food, and welcome Larry Cultrera, author of Classic Diners of Massachusetts (The History Press). The Commonwealth of Massachusetts was birthplace to the burgeoning "night lunch wagon" manufacturing industry in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. These horse-drawn food carts eventually evolved into classic... Read Post
November 9th 2011
The landscape of literary magazines can be overwhelming. With over 600 journals on the market, how does a writer know where to submit work? Is it better to aim for prestigious journals and hope to catch the eye of literary agents? Or is it better to submit to journals with high acceptance rates? Should writers submit to dozens of journals at once or focus on a specific journal? What are the advantages of publishing online? Which editors give writers feedback on their work? What should go... Read Post
November 7th 2011
Somerville's having a municipal election tomorrow, so the East Branch will be closed (it's being used for polling, though.) We'll reopen on Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. In the meantime, get out there and vote! All the election information you need is right here: you can preview your ballot, find out about registering to vote, where your polling place is, and more. See you at the polls!
November 3rd 2011
Join us as we welcome Too Human for an evening of jazz standards from the Great American Songbook.

Too Human is an acoustic music act with vocals, guitar, percussion and upright bass. They perform jazz standards as well as their own originals. The program will include some of the great feeling songs from the American Songbook of the 20s, 30s and 40s such as Pennies From Heaven, It Had To Be You, Nice Work If You Can Get It, All of Me, Sentimental Journey, and others.

... Read Post
October 26th 2011


We waited all year and now it's here - the Friends of the Library Fall Book Sale!

Don't miss out on this chance to get great deals on new and used books, movies, music, and more - and show your support for the Library! Proceeds from the book sale help support library programs for adults and children, including the popular "museum membership" program which allows Somerville residents to visit local museums free or at a discount.

Friday, October 28th ~ 1:00... Read Post

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