But wait, there’s more!

More fiction, that is…just one floor up in the paperback section. If you’re a casual browser who doesn’t often stray from the first floor, you might not be aware of our great collection of paperback books on the second floor. These are fiction and nonfiction, contemporary popular titles and classics. Next time you’re here, pop up and have a look! Lightweight paperbacks are easy for travel, and the holidays are coming up.


If you’ve been in the fiction room lately, you may have also noticed our special displays for different genres, like mystery/suspense/thriller, historical fiction, lives & relationships, science fiction and fantasy, short stories, and literary fiction. Many of these displays feature bookmarks that can help you find more authors who write in those genres. Take a bookmark…and happy reading!


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Next Not-So-Young Adult Book Group Meeting

WillGraysonThe next NSYA Book Group meeting will be on December 15 at 7pm in the Robbins Library Conference Room. We’ll be discussing Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan.

Here’s the description from Goodreads:

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical.

I promise you, it is even better than it sounds.

This is our last Monday night meeting. Starting in January we’ll be meeting on the third Tuesday of every month.

Also at the December meeting we’ll be voting on our next few books (we have January’s picked and copies will be available by the December meeting.) If you have suggestions for books to read, comment below or bring your ideas to the meeting!

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Queer Book Group / Social and game night, together again. 11/19/14

QBG_game night

It’s here!  And a week sooner than you probably expected (blame the turkey)!

Game night:  Speed-Scrabble, Ticket to Ride, TriBond.  Whatever you decide to bring to the party – we’re playing it.

Wednesday, November 19th at 7 PM in the 4th Floor Conference Room.


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Giving thanks for two special friends

kaya and nora

Kaya and Nora

As Thanksgiving rolls around we are reminded of a couple of young friends we’ve been meaning to thank for being awesome library supporters. Their names are Kaya Gehlbach and Nora Starhill. Kaya and Nora love to borrow and read books from the Robbins Library, and they love to bake cookies and sweet treats. One day not too long ago they decided to combine these two interests and hold a bake sale to benefit the Library. We had the pleasure of meeting Kaya and Nora when they came in to be thanked by the Library Director. It was such an unexpected gift, and we were impressed with both their enthusiasm for reading and for doing good. Thanks, Kaya and Nora! Hope to see you in the library one day soon.

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Weekend reading

It’s getting a little chillier, and the good thing about cold weather is that it’s the perfect excuse to stay in and snuggle up under a blanket with a good book. But which book? Funny you should ask…we have lots of recommendations. Check out the Book Recommendations page right here on this blog, see what books other Arlingtonians think are awesome, or read Robbins librarians’ reviews on Goodreads.

Whether you’re cuddled inside, taking the T, or waiting in line with the post office, don’t get caught without a book – it makes the time pass so much more pleasantly. And remember, you can download e-books and digital audiobooks from the library for free!

Winter is coming. Do you have your book(s)?

Winter is coming. Do you have your book(s)?

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Reminder: last Staff Picks Book Group meeting before hiatus

strangestirring2This month, we’re reading Stephanie Coontz’s book A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women and the Dawn of the 1960s. I’d like to share a little bit about how I came to choose this book, and what I’ve learned so far in reading it.

Stephanie Coontz is a social historical whose book titles I’ve always been intrigued by, but this is the first of hers I’ve read. (I think it must have been mentioned in another book, but now I can’t remember which one.) I haven’t read The Feminine Mystique, either; the library editions are 400+ pages, and I’m afraid I’ll find it outdated, the way I was underwhelmed by Catcher in the Rye in high school, despite the splash it made when it was published originally. Coontz’s book comes in at just a shade over 200 pages, and it was published in 2011, so it includes the historian’s view of the past several decades, and her writing style is clear and accessible.

Several pages into Chapter 1, “The Unliberated 1960s,” I said out loud to my husband, “There is a different horrifying fact on every page of this book.” For example:

  • In 1962, many states still had “head and master” laws, affirming that the wife was subject to her husband.
  • In 1963, in many states, a wife had “no legal rights to any part of her husband’s earnings or property during the existence of the marriage, aside from a right to be properly supported” – but if you were unlucky enough to live in Kansas, “adequate support” did not necessarily include running water in the kitchen.
  • As late as 1972, a wife could not rent or buy a home on her own unless her husband signed the papers.
  • Some states required a woman to obtain court approval before opening a business in her own name.
  • When a woman married, courts ruled, she “loses her domicile  and acquires that of her husband, no matter where she resides, or what she believes or intends.”
  • Women were obliged to take their husbands’ surname, and in many states, she could not return to her maiden name after a divorce unless she had proven he was “at fault.”
  • In 1963 and 1964, newspapers divided “Help Wanted” sections into Female and Male. Ads for female employees often contained phrases like “Attractive, please!”
  • It was “perfectly legal” to ask prospective female employees about their family plans and make hiring decisions based on their answers.
  • Many airline companies requires stewardesses to quit work upon marriage.
  • In 1963, Massachusetts “flatly prohibited” the sale of contraceptives, and made it a misdemeanor for anyone, even a married couple, to use birth control.
  • The law did not recognize that a woman could be raped by her husband. South Dakota was the first state to make spousal rape a crime, in 1975; North Carolina did not do so until 1993.
  • Until 1981, Pennsylvania had a law against a husband beating his wife after 10pm or on Sunday, but not the rest of the time. The police in some places used the “stitch rule,” only arresting a husband for domestic violence if the wife’s injuries required a certain number of stitches.

Are you a feminist yet?

If you think you won’t have time to read A Strange Stirring by next week, you can read Betty Friedan’s 1960 article in Good Housekeeping, “Women Are People, Too!” (This seems like an obvious statement to most of us nowadays, but back then it very much needed to be said – and it was the first time some people had heard it.)

I’m looking forward to discussing A Strange Stirring on Wednesday, November 12, at 7pm at the Fox Branch Library. Copies of the book are available for checkout at the circulation desk. See original post about this book group meeting.

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Wishing a fond farewell to Library Director Ryan Livergood


Library Director Ryan Livergood

Library staff and Trustees invite one and all to bid farewell to outgoing Library Director Ryan Livergood today, Thursday, Nov. 6, from 3-5 p.m. in the Reading Room. Ryan has served as Library Director for two years and was Assistant Director prior to that, and he is leaving Massachusetts for a new position in Illinois. He has made it no secret that this move is for personal reasons, and he will be missed by many at the Library and in Town. We hope you can join us today.

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