News You Can Use

April 20th 2012

As usual, there's a lot going on at the Library and all over the City this weekend!

* Saturday at the Central Library from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., we invite you to join us for the Somerville Reads Potluck Celebration featuring great food, prizes, and music by the Michael J. Epstein Library. This is part of the Mayor's Urban Agriculture Initiative - you can read about related events happening around the City here.

* Sunday at the Walnut Street Community Garden at 1:00 p.m... Read Post

April 19th 2012
Join us at the Central Library this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. as Paul and Rachel Revere ride again!

Set in 1805, the dramatization animates the "Spirit of the Day," as Paul and Rachel recount the exciting tale of life in Boston's North End when America was still a British Crown Colony. Paul Revere married Rachel Walker in 1773, following the death of his first wife, Sarah, who died after the birth of their sixth child. Rachel took on the care of the children, and with Paul had six more... Read Post
March 19th 2012
Join the Teen Advisory Board (TAB)! The first meeting will be held at the Central Library this Wednesday (March 21st) from 4:00 to 5:00 pm. Refreshments will be served. You’re invited, so come and let your voice be heard!
March 1st 2012
For the month of March, the Children’s Room at the Central Library is highlighting books on urban nature and family winter activities. The Library also has an “Our Garden Nature Guide-Nuestra guía de la naturaleza del jardín" nature kit, which you can borrow free of charge any time of the year. The kit includes the “Our Garden Nature Guide” (with art by local children), hand lenses, bug boxes and a notebook to record your urban nature discoveries. The kit was donated to the Library with... Read Post
February 29th 2012
On February 16, a diverse group of folks from the Somerville community gathered to hear about the library's dreams and plans for an improved children's room at the West Branch.  It was also an opportunity for those present to express their hopes and visions for the library. We'd like to hear from you, too!  What are your fondest imaginings for the best of all possible children's libraries?  What kind of space would you create?  Share your ideas here, or email us at We have... Read Post
February 24th 2012


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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