October 25th 2011

We're getting ready for Somerville Reads 2012 and we need your input! This time, instead of choosing just one book, we've decided to offer a choice of readings and programs on a single theme. Which of these topics would you most like to read about, learn about, and discuss as a community? VOTE! Somerville Reads Theme for 2012

Somerville Reads is a project that promotes literacy and community engagement by encouraging people all over the City to read and discuss books... Read Post
October 7th 2011
A person who changed the way many of us work and play left us on Wednesday after a long struggle with pancreatic cancer. When Steven Jobs began his career, computers were the province of a small minority of nerds and geeks who liked to have puzzles to solve. But Jobs understood the uses computers could have for almost anyone if they were intuitive. Yet many people made fun of the first Apple computers and the hyperbole of the 1984 Superbowl ad. In retrospect Jobs knew what we wanted better... Read Post
September 27th 2011
Do you have any friends or relatives who need to get up to speed on computer basics (MS Word, using email, browsing the web)? Starting in October, Somerville Public Library will offer computer classes on Tuesday mornings, Thursday afternoons and Wednesday evenings. In our Basic Computer Skills class, attendees will learn how to use a mouse, how to use the library catalog, and become familiar with word processing programs. Dates and times: Oct. 11 at 11 am, Oct. 20 at 2 pm, Nov. 8 at 11 am,... Read Post
August 23rd 2011
It's hard to keep track of what's going on in the world , because so much news coverage is devoted to the Big Story of the Week, whatever it may be (Casey Anthony, Strauss-Kahn, the debt ceiling, the Iowa straw poll), and when the next Big Story comes, you don't have much background. This week the Big Story is the fall of the Gaddafi regime. It's been weeks in the making, and if you're like me you don't have much context. The first question many of us should be asking is, who is Gaddafi... Read Post
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]
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
May 3rd 2011
This week's big news is, of course, Osama bin Laden's death. But we'll be living with the aftereffects of his crimes for a long time.  So it might be worth your time to learn a bit more about him and al-Qaeda.  One of the most fascinating books I've read on the subject (although it covers a lot more than Osama and terrorism) is The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the Twentieth Century by Steve Coll. It's a fascinating account of the intersection of religion, power and money in Saudi Arabia, a... Read Post
April 9th 2011
As promised, here are photos of the Central Library's Children's Room with its beautiful new furniture and sign. Thank you again, Kiwanis Club of Somerville, for the generous donation that made the purchase of these new furnishings possible.
April 7th 2011
Our 2nd annual Somerville Reads campaign kicks off at the East Branch Library on Saturday, April 30th at 2:00 p.m.! Somerville Reads is a project that promotes literacy and community engagement by encouraging people all over the City to read and discuss the same book. The book that has been selected is The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri, a novel that deals with the experiences of the Ganguli family, Indian immigrants adjusting to a new life in America. Copies of the book are available for check... Read Post
April 7th 2011
Thanks to a generous donation from the Kiwanis Club of Somerville, the Children's Room at the Central Library is getting new furniture!

The Children's Room will be closed tomorrow from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. while we put the furniture together and set it up.

We'll be sure to post pictures when it's all ready to go, but you should stop in and have a look yourself. Thank you Kiwanis Club!
March 28th 2011
LIFT-Somerville will be at the Central Library this Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to offer free tax preparation services to low-income individuals and families. Trained tax advocates will assist clients with preparing and submitting tax returns online, in addition to identifying eligibility for valuable tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

Before coming you must schedule an appointment by calling (617) 591-9400. LIFT is part of the Volunteer Income Tax... Read Post
March 26th 2011
This week an icon of the silver screen left us. Elizabeth Taylor appeared in some of the most compelling movies of the twentieth century, including Cleopatra, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Butterfield 8, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and Suddenly, Last Summer. When most people think of her now they probably remember the multiple marriages that become fodder for stand-up comedy. That's unfortunate: she was a gifted actress, winning two Academy Awards for Best Actress, five Golden Globes, and the... Read Post
March 8th 2011
Libraries around the country report that ebooks are becoming more popular with their patrons. However, the range of titles you can get as ebooks from your local library is limited compared to what's available in dead-tree form. There are a number of reasons for that. The most obvious is that printing of paper books has a 500-year head start on ebooks. The other reasons boil down to corporate decision making. In a survey of 600 publishers conducted last year, only 64% reported they offered... Read Post
March 7th 2011

During the recent unrest in Egypt, two public libraries in the Cairo area, the Al-Bahr Al-Azam Library and the Shubra El-Kheima Library, were looted and vandalized. The adult reading room and the ground floor of the Al-Bahr Al-Azam library were partially burned and thieves stole books, computers and furniture. Local residents were able to save 13,000 volumes by taking them into their homes, but the library lost over 19,000 books. The Al-Bahr Al-Azam library serves over 170,000 people. The... Read Post

February 23rd 2011
In recent years a few libraries have stopped using the Dewey Decimal System, opting instead to organize their holdings bookstore-style. Last week The Chicago Tribune ran a short piece on one such library, the Rakow Branch of the Elgin (Illinois) Public Library.  "We can definitely say this appeals to people," branch director Margaret Peebles said. I can understand how some people are more familiar with bookstores than libraries, and how call numbers may seem confusing if you're unfamiliar with... Read Post