News You Can Use

July 25th 2011
Here's a link to the August issue of our snazzy new electronic newsletter. Read all about the benefit the Friends of the Library are hosting at Flatbread Pizza Company, the Summer Reading Club Awards Ceremony featuring storyteller Doria Hughes, the August entries in our two film series, shadow puppetry, yoga for kids, The Red Pyramid, Kidstock, Nature in the City, and more! If you'd like to receive future issues by email, send a message to ejacobs [at] minlib.net.
July 22nd 2011

Oy. The mercury is supposed to break 100 today and tomorrow won't be much better. If you don't have air conditioning, you are more than welcome to spend time at the library while we are open. Furthermore the cooling center at 167 Holland Street will be open until 8:00 pm tonight. A few years ago during another heat wave The Onion had some tips for staying cool. I can't remember the entire list, but my two favorites were: "Seal all doors and windows, and flood your house with iced tea," and "... Read Post

July 19th 2011


On Thursday at 3:00 p.m., kids 5 and older are invited to the West Branch for a workshop on Calligraphy and Chinese Characters presented by Chinese Culture Connection. Chinese characters incorporate meaning and sound, as well as visual images into a coherent whole. Through demonstration and explanation of the origin of Chinese characters and its pictograph-based development, participants will gain the knowledge to appreciate the logic of Chinese language and learn to write... Read Post
July 12th 2011
This Thursday is going to be unusually busy at the Libraries. Here's what we have planned in addition to our regular Thursday programs (Storytime for 3 to 5 year olds at Central at 11:00 a.m. and ESL classes at the West Branch at 6:00 and 7:15 p.m.)

Kidstock presents Jack & Jill & the Beanstalk
2:00 p.m. at the Central Library
For many years, Kidstock has been coming to the Library in the summer, offering a unique chance for kids and families to see children... Read Post
July 7th 2011


This summer, Groundwork Somerville is hosting three nature-based workshops at the East Branch Library for children ages 5 and up. Children are invited to explore the natural world right outside the library! Each program will include outdoor activities, games, reading projects, and a snack, all relating the week’s featured “critter”. Space is limited and registration is required for each session, so call or come in to the East Branch to register!

Join us today at 3 p.... Read Post
July 5th 2011
Eco-Explorers: Nature in the City
4:00 p.m. on July 5th, 12th, 19th, & 26th and August 2nd & 9th

Each week for six weeks, members of Groundwork Somerville will introduce a nature topic and project that will enable kids to explore nature and wildlife in their neighborhood, including: birds, seeds/parts of a plant, flowers, trees, and insects, culminating with a walk to the Somerville Growing Center for the last session. Snacks will be provided.

Limited to 12... Read Post
July 1st 2011
Like many of you I often take my laptop with me to my neighborhood cafe. And sometimes I go online. I'm going to go about it a little differently  now that I've read about Firesheep, a Firefox extension that can detect unencrypted cookies from websites like Facebook and Twitter as they're transmitted over wireless networks. A sidebar shows the identities of other network users discovered by using the information encoded in the cookies. By double-clicking on one of the names, the person... Read Post
June 21st 2011
The 2011 Statewide Summer Reading Adventure kicks off at the Central Library on Wednesday, June 22nd at 6:30 p.m. Join us as Animal World Experience presents their newest program, "Global Safari"! This program, developed for the 2011 summer reading theme “One World, Many Stories,” takes children and adults alike on a journey across the globe. We will encounter several animals (maybe the adorable Russian Tortoise pictured here?) and discuss where they are native to and their importance to the... Read Post
June 16th 2011
When it's really hot, the last thing you want to do is cook. Fortunately Mark Bittman has prepared a list of 101 great dishes ready in ten minutes or less that won't heat up your kitchen too much. My personal favorites? Couscous topped with tomatoes, sardines, olive oil and black pepper (no. 17), pasta tossed with sauteed garlic cloves and ground Pecorino (no. 33), fish browned in olive oil or butter served with lemon juice and capers (no. 55),  and pasta frittata (no. 89). You could also just... Read Post
June 13th 2011
We're going to start sending out an email newsletter soon!  If you'd like to be added to our mailing list, please send a message to ejacobs [at] minlib.net.
June 10th 2011


On Monday, June 13th at 6:30 p.m., Kenneth Gloss, proprietor of the Brattle Book Shop, will be at the Central Library to give a talk on rare books. He'll also estimate the value of books brought by members of the audience. Please come early to settle in.

Kenneth Gloss has made numerous appearances on PBS’s Antiques Roadshow and WBZ Radio. He regularly speaks at libraries, historical societies, and other public and private organizations throughout New England. Ken’s... Read Post
June 3rd 2011
The Central Library is hosting two fun events this weekend. On Saturday at 2:00 p.m., join us for this month's Free Family Film, Black Beauty. We're showing the 1994 version, directed by Caroline Thompson and starring Sean Bean, David Thewlis, and Jim Carter. The Allmovie Guide says, "The fourth screen adaptation of Anna Sewell's classic novel is, in some ways, the most faithful and accomplished. Screenwriter and director Caroline Thompson recounts the life of Black Beauty, an aging,... Read Post
June 1st 2011
The Massachusetts Center for the Book has announced its list of Must-Read Books for 2011. The Massachusetts Book Awards highlight works by the contemporary writing community and encourage readers to explore those works. "Must Read" books have been written by Massachusetts writers or about Massachusetts themes and are named in four categories - fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and children's/young adult literature. In the Fall, an award winner is chosen in each of the categories. The... Read Post
May 19th 2011
This Saturday, May 21st, from noon-6pm, the Somerville Arts Council is kicking off what I hope will be an annual celebration of live music with PorchFest.  Across the city, people are offering up their porches to musicians representing genres from "brooding pop and rock-folk" to "killer blues/roots rock guitar" to "cosmic americana, experimental, shapeshifting, psychedelic" and the more recognizable 'bluegrass' and 'jazz.'  To sample what is certain to be some memorable live music, all you need... Read Post
May 18th 2011
Full disclosure: I've never read any Philip Roth, but for years I've been thinking  about putting at least one of his works on my "should-read" list.  And today's announcement gives me more reason. In spite of being relatively new, The Man Booker International Prize is one of the most prestigious awards in the Anglophone world. Previous winners include Chinua Achebe and Alice Munro. I've long known that Roth is considered one of the greatest living American writers, but I was unprepared for the... Read Post

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