Online Resources

May 15th 2020
Somerville Public Library West Branch vintage postcard

Next time you are out and about by the West Branch Library in Davis Square - since we can't yet go in - take a moment to appreciate the details of the entrance to the building that has welcomed readers for more than 100 years. Lamps are positioned on either side of the staircase, and on the landing at the top of the stairs, two columns frame the doorway, supporting a triangular pediment over the door. Look up above the pediment, and you’ll see another pair of lamps on either side, though... Read Post

April 23rd 2020
shakespeare globe theatre birthday

April 23 is the day observed as Shakespeare’s birthday throughout the world.  Normally the occasion would be marked by live play performances,  open-air celebrations, sonnet slams and Shakespeareaoke.  Due to COVID-19, events have been postponed, or cancelled altogether, and others have moved online. So this year (or this month at least), celebrations of the bard’s birth will be more virtual and, sadly, solitary.

Fortunately during this time of quarantine, various... Read Post

March 26th 2020
somerville public library renovation 1976

We are missing our patrons and we hope you haven’t forgotten what we look like!  Maybe you are one of our patrons who would come in and head to the third floor balcony to find a cozy spot to do your work.  Here’s a fun library fact for you, there wasn’t always a third floor balcony! That’s right, the Central Library went through a major renovation in its past.  The renovation began in June 1975 and the library was reopened July 1, 1976.

Some of the new features of the... Read Post

March 24th 2020
Libby OverDrive Laptop Tablet Phone
Use this step-by-step guide to access the OverDrive digital collections on your computer, phone, tablet, or Kindle.

To get started, you'll need your library card number and your PIN/password. Your PIN was created when you applied for your library card.

If you don’t know your PIN, email spl@minlib.net to request a new PIN. Be sure to include your library card number in the email—we can't reset your PIN without it—and a staff member will create and send a new PIN to you.

You can... Read Post
February 25th 2020
womens league officers

As Black History Month draws to a close, we wanted to share recommendations for a few of the African-American history resources available online.

Last year was the 100th anniversary of the official end of World War I. The National Museum of African-American History and Culture marked the occasion with an exhibit on African-Americans in World War I, “We Return Fighting,” that will run through June 14, 2020. View the online version of the exhibit here. 

The Library of... Read Post

August 3rd 2018

...to cook. In New England many of us spend half the year longing for summer, but once it's actually here we realize that hot weather makes certain basic life-maintenance tasks (such as cooking) unappealling. However, we still have to eat, even when the thermometer goes way up and the weather is sizzlin' hot.  Some of SPL's books on seasonal cooking and main dish salads can help you find dinners to prepare without turning your kitchen into a furnace. When Mark Bittman was still writing his "... Read Post

May 25th 2018
The Well-Informed Are Buying Ice

We at the library recently created a Flickr page for sharing photos and images from our local history collection. So far, we've scanned and uploaded photos of Somerville kids dating back to the 1920s; the city's centennial celebration in 1972; Davis Square landmarks from the 1960s, before the Red Line; Somerville High School, and advertising from 19th- and 20th century Somerville businesses, like the Metropolitan Ice Company card featured with this post. We'll be adding more images regularly... Read Post

February 8th 2018

African-American history is endlessly fascinating: it's the troubling, complex counterpoint to the sanitized, triumphalist version of American history so many of us were taught in school and that still appears in popular historical works. The Internet is a trove of riches on the black American experience.  Below are links to a small, eclectic sample of what's available online.

At the Library of Congress you can listen to, or read transcripts of, interviews conducted with former... Read Post

January 4th 2017

Many of us will remember 2016 as the year the world lost so many vibrant talents and wonderful minds: the novelist Umberto Eco, the comedic actor Gene Wilder, the singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and completely wonderful actor and human being Alan Rickman, to name only a few. But I was perhaps most moved by the death of the multitalented Carrie Fisher, the actress and author most of us remember as the fearless, defiant Princess Leia in the original Star Wars films. She had other film roles,... Read Post

June 27th 2016
Last week I posted about books, plays and television programs related to Henry VIII (last Friday was the anniversary of his coronation). A reader of this blog pointed out to me that I omitted a certain musical tribute to England's most famous king, so here it is:   I also discovered this video that sums up most of what you would learn from any books about Henry VIII and his wives:   Never say I don't give the public what they want.
June 6th 2016
The Library of America is a nonprofit publisher dedicated to producing  durable high-quality editions of the best of American writing. And it's not just fiction: their nonfiction volumes include the World War II reporting of A.J. Liebling, the movie reviews of James Agee, and the four-volume collection of diaries and letters, The Civil War Told by Those Who Lived It. If you want to get exposure to a range of American writing but are daunted by the size and number of LOA books, sign up for "... Read Post
May 12th 2016
...for May 12, 2016. Canadian author and environmentalist Farley Mowat (1921- 2014) was born on this day in Bellville, Ontario. He wrote more than 40 books, the most famous being Never Cry Wolf (1963), supposedly an account of his experiences observing wolves in the wilderness of subarctic Canada. Mowat was often accused of not actually having spent as much time with wolves as he recounts in the book.  Mowat's usual response was that his critics were confusing facts with truth. The book was an... Read Post
April 7th 2016
I'm sure you've all been following the news about the conflict between the FBI and Apple, and how the FBI managed to break into the San Bernadino shooter's iPhone without Apple's help. Interestingly, the tool the FBI used appears to work only on iPhone 5cs or earlier models. In any case, the company WhatsApp changed the game entirely this week when it finished end-to-end encryption for its messaging app. You can read more about that and why it matters here. And there's good news for PC users... Read Post
April 1st 2016
One of my favorite websites for online learning (or amusment) is FutureLearn.com. It offers short and free introductions to a variety of subjects.  Courses are usually 3 to 5 weeks and average about 3 hours a week of work. You can learn about everything from mobile programming to introductory Italian. Or you could inform yourself about nuclear energy, Japanese philosophy, cardiovascular disease, or Roman archaeology. Check it out.
March 3rd 2016
A few weeks ago I posted about resources to help you determine the truth of what you see, hear or read in the media. Here are 3 more fact-checking resources to consider: Media Matters for America, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, and The Washington Post's Fact Checker.

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