ESL Book Bundles
ESL Book bundles are now available for contactless pickup at Central Library!  A book bundle is 4-5 pre-selected books on a certain topic.  There are ESL Book Bundles for Grammar, Reading, Teaching, Citizenship, English for Spanish Speakers, Pronunciation, and Newspapers.  Contact Brigid, to request a bundle or to create your own.
Pathways to Citizenship Project 
funded by LSTA Grant from MBLC
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) has awarded the Somerville Public Library a 2-year Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant for a "Pathways to Citizenship" project.  The project will include the enhancement and expansion of Citizenship Corners at all of our libraries, USCIS workshops on the naturalization process, cultural humility training for staff, and a 14-week ESOL/Civics class for beginners.  

More information about LSTA can be found on Board's website at
Digital Resource Spotlight: Kanopy
Kanopy is an on-demand video streaming service that offers access to films and documentaries from a variety of independent filmmakers and distributors, including the BBC and PBS.  To access Kanopy, you will need a Somerville library card.

If you need help getting a library card, please contact Brigid,

Meet Henry S.
Virtual ESL Volunteer
Do you recognize this volunteer sailing on the Charles River?  If you guessed Henry S., you're right!  Henry is one of our virtual ESL volunteers and hosts Tuesday evening's conversation group on Zoom.  He has volunteered with the library's ESL program since August 2019 and has also volunteered at Central Library and Ciampa Manor.
We asked Henry some questions to help you get to know him better.

Why did you decide to become an ESL volunteer at the Somerville Public Library?

I decided to become an ESL volunteer to help my fellow Somerville residents learn English, an important skill for upward socioeconomic mobility.

What is your favorite memory of the ESL program at the Somerville Public Library?

My favorite memory of the ESL program was when one of our students whose native language is Spanish and another student whose native language is Bengali were speaking to each other in Spanish. The student whose native language is Spanish is more fluent in English, so during class, the native Spanish speaker would explain concepts to the native Bengali speaker in Spanish, then together we would parse out the Spanish. This shows the Library's ESL program's reach, no matter how linear.

Did anything about the ESL program surprise you?

I was surprised at the large number of students' native languages and their wide range of English fluency.

What might someone be surprised to know about you? 

During the warmer months, I ride a sea foam green moped. You might see me buzzing around Somerville!

Anything else you would like to add?

I am looking forward to, when it is safe, to once again hold ESL classes in-person. While the weekly Zoom classes are helpful for intermediate and advanced students, in-person classes are more beneficial and accessible for beginners.

Thank you, Henry for your continued time and dedication to the ESL program!
Book, Zine, Movie, & TV Recommendations 
This edition's recommendations can be requested for contactless pick up.

This beautifully written memoir tells the life of Khan-Cullors, and how she and her co-founders created the Black Lives Matter movement. Sometimes difficult, but always inspiring, this book is a must read for anyone interested in racial justice.

Recommended by Melinda, Generalist Librarian

Follow the doctors and nurses of County General in Chicago as they work to keep up with emergencies and the drama in their lives. This show still resonates with the struggles of health care today and it's impossible not to care about these characters.

Available on DVD and VCD.

Recommended by Kerry, Reference Librarian
A German tourist fights with her husband while motoring across the desert and seeks escape in an out of the way café and motel. She slowly gets to know the proprietor of the lonely place, and the two unlikely souls begin to form a bond that benefits both women, and the café as well.  A delightful "feel good" movie.

Available on DVD and VCD.

Recommended by Jim, Circulation Supervisor

Somerville artist Dave Ortega's "Dias de Consuelo" tells the story of his grandmother's early life in Mexico, during the Mexican Revolution. This 5-part comic series gives an intimate account of how the Revolution impacted the daily lives of regular people--and caused many of them (including Consuelo) to seek refuge in America.

Recommended by Tim, Technology Librarian
Silver Linings
During one of the first virtual ESL conversation groups, we talked about our silver linings during quarantine.  A silver lining is something good that has occurred during an unfortunate situation.  For some, it was getting to spend more time with family and for others it was being able to cook more and slow down.  A silver lining of having virtual ESL classes is the ability to connect even if we aren't in the same city, state or even the same country.  We have had former students join us from Mexico, Turkey, South Korea, Brazil, and Albania and new students join us from Somerville, NJ, Summerville, SC, and even Austin, TX!  If you would like to join or know someone who would like to join, please contact Brigid for a Zoom invite.  Conversation Groups are on Tuesdays from 6-7 and on Wednesdays from 5:30-6:30.

If you can't make it to class, there are also 3 virtual classrooms set up for independent work:,, and  If you are interested in joining these classrooms, please contact Brigid,
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