It’s time for the Arlington Book Festival!

arlington-book-fest_final_color_croppedmoreThis Saturday, November 1st, the Robbins Library is hosting the first ever Arlington Book Festival. This free all-day event kicks off at 10am with panels on children’s books and memoirs, and throughout the day attendees can pick and choose from among eight panels covering topics such as self-promotion, story craft, doing research for fiction and non-fiction, engaging your community as a writer, writing self-help books, and new pathways to becoming a published author. A full schedule and details are available here.

Panel moderators include award-winning children’s author Jef Czekaj, creative director of the Provincetown Public Press Matt Clark, Hugo Award winner John Chu, writing coach Lynette Benton, PLUGGED iN program coordinator Michele Meagher, poet Jessie Brown, and author Linda Varone. Panelists include thirty local authors, with three to four authors on each panel. The day concludes with special guest speaker Steve Almond discussing his new book Against Football in the library Community Room.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Robbins Library, events will take place in the Reading Room and Community Room, and books by local authors will be offered for sale all day by the Book Rack. Refreshments will also be served. During the festival, all normal library services will be available to users.

We’re expecting a crowd so get here early! There are two parking lots behind the library, but if they’re full, other parking options include the Russell Common Parking Lot and the parking lot on Water St. behind Not Your Average Joes. You can see them on a map here. For a more detailed map of town parking, check this Arlington parking map.

See you on Saturday!

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When we’re at home: what do librarians’ shelves look like?

Are librarians’ houses full of books, or do they get all their books from the library? Do librarians use the Dewey Decimal system to organize their shelves at home, or some other system? The answers may surprise you…
StaffPicks_Rob“My system is really terrible for anyone who isn’t me.  I keep my favorite authors’ books together, then have a section of my all time favorites, and then I organize the rest by ones that have similar topics.  Though sometimes it’s as arbitrary as one book reminds me of another, so they should go next to each other. (Despite the fact that one is fantasy and the other is a mystery.) Within my genres I again organize (roughly) by favorite to least favorite.  It all makes complete sense to me, but if I asked somebody else to find a book for me on my bookshelf they would definitely be lost.”

StaffPicks_Jenny“My system would be much easier on a guest’s than Rob’s system! It’s got a few quirks, but fiction is organized alphabetically by author, with children’s and young adult books separated out. Nonfiction books are also organized alphabetically by author, except for cookbooks, which are in the kitchen (organized by most-frequently-used). Poetry and plays are on a small shelf in the bedroom with a few most-favorite novels. Comic books (Calvin & Hobbes mostly) and some of the oversize coffee table books are on an end table in the living room. Oh, and I have a shelf for books I own but haven’t read yet, so I can go straight there when I’m looking for what to read next. Lastly, there is always overflow – library books or other books that won’t fit on a shelf – those are propped up between bookends on an extra table.”

StaffPicks_Rebecca“I store all of my books at one of 1,700 locations across the state, which leaves me space to jam my house full of other stuff.  I don’t visit bookstores, and haven’t purchased a book since starting my work in libraries.  True story.”

Oddly enough, none of us who keep books at home organize them by color…but because people often remember a book’s cover even when they can’t remember the title or author, it’s not a bad choice! (Just remember, sometimes the spine is a different color than the cover.)

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Attention, WriMos: Save that sentence!

nano_12_new_Come_Write_In_Logo1It’s just days till NaNoWriMo kicks off; our first Write In is Monday, November 3, from 6-9pm in the Community Room. I hope lots of you will Come Write In to share the excitement of starting your writing projects.

Now, the stated goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words of a novel in just 30 days. Your personal goal may be different, but the focus this month is on raw output, not on rewriting, editing, and polishing – all that stuff comes later.

After November, you may spend the next year adding to it, getting honest feedback from readers, rewriting it, and submitting it to agents and editors. But even if you ultimately rewrite, cut, or change every single line from your original 50,000 words, there’s probably at least one sentence you’re really proud of – a diamond in the rough.

We at the library would like to invite you to share that diamond with us. After November 30, send your favorite sentence or paragraph of your novel to us, and we’ll post it right here on this blog.

Details: Send your sentence or paragraph in the body of an e-mail to jarch (at) minlib (dot) net, with “NaNoWriMo” in the subject, by Monday, December 15.

P.S. – In case you hadn’t heard, the Arlington Book Festival will be at the Robbins Library from 10am-4pm on November 1, the very first day of NaNoWriMo. Coincidence? I think not. Come get inspired by other local authors, including Steve Almond!

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Queer Book Group brings you Orange is the New Black, tomorrow, 10/29/14.


Hey, all.  QBG is going to chat about Orange is the New Black (the book, the show, whatever you’re familiar with) tomorrow at 7 PM.  We’ll be joined by a speaker from the Mass Incarceration Working Group, who’ll help us sort through the very convoluted legal system and bring context to our discussion.  Should be a meaty discussion.

4th Floor Conference Room at 7 PM

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Game Night is October 28!

Games3_resizedTomorrow night is game night! We’ll actually be gaming in the 4th floor Conference Room instead of the Community Room. It’s a smaller room, but that just means it will be nice and cozy.

As always, game night begins at 6pm and is open to everyone ages 13 and up. Bring your friends, bring your games, bring your competitive spirit!


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Staff Picks Book Group reads A Strange Stirring

StrangeStirringJoin us for the last meeting of the Staff Picks Book Group before we go on hiatus for a couple months. On Wednesday, November 12, we’ll be discussing Stephanie Coontz’s book, A Strange Stirring: the Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s at the Fox Branch library at 7pm.

If you enjoyed some of our previous books on the topic of feminism, such as Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg or How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran, you’ll appreciate this book as well. It should be a great discussion, and all are welcome to attend.

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Queer Book Group gets chatty about Orange is the New Black, 10/29


Hi, Friends.  It’s here. Orange is the New Black has finally made it to the Robbins.  We’ve also got a special guest for our discussion.  One of the fine folks from the Mass Incarceration Working Group (over at the First Parish UU, next door), will be there to give us some insight into the criminal justice system.  It’s going to be a good night.

We have a limited number of copies available for you at the circulation desk.  You’ll want to grab yours ASAP.

10/29 at 7 PM in the 4th floor conference room.  Robbins Library.  700 Mass Ave., Arlington, MA.

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