Arlington’s Libraries reopening June 21

Effective Monday, June 21, the Robbins Library and Fox Branch Library will resume normal hours and most services, no appointment necessary. All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, are asked to keep masks on inside. All children over age 2 and under age 12 must wear masks in the library.

Robbins Library hours as of 6/21:
Mon-Wed 9am-9pm (Children’s Room 9am-6pm)
Thurs 1pm-9pm
Fri 9am-5pm
Sat 9am-5pm (Sept-June)
Summer Saturdays July & August 9am-12pm

Fox Library hours as of 6/21:
Tues 9am-5pm
Wed 12pm-8pm
Thurs 9am-5pm
Fri 9am-5pm
Sat 9am-5pm (Sept-June)

As of June 21:

Yes!Not Yet:
Laptops for in-library useMeeting rooms
Study roomsBrowsing newspapers/magazines
Scanners and scan-to-fax serviceEating and drinking
SeatingMicrofilm machine
Book donationsSit-down computer stations
Contactless pickup option
Grab Bag service
Restrooms (1st fl and Children’s Room)
Museum passes (with limitations)
Local History Room access

The Reading Room will continue serving as a staff-only circulation area until it can be reconfigured for open holds, new books, and patron seating.

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Juneteenth: A Library Guide

Juneteenth band. Photograph by Grace Murray Stephenson of celebrations in Eastwoods Park, Austin, 1900.

The Town of Arlington is celebrating Juneteenth Independence Day on June 19, honoring the day (June 19, 1865) when enslaved people in Galveston, Texas were made aware of the Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth has been celebrated in African-American communities since 1866, but wasn’t officially recognized as a state observed holiday in Massachusetts until recently.

Want to learn more about Juneteenth?
Continue reading for more resources!

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Nominate a Title for Arlington Reads Together Book Pick

The Arlington Reads Together (ART) selection committee is seeking book nominations for the 2022 community-wide read. Have you read a book that explores the issues Arlington is facing? Have an idea for a great community read book?  Please share it with the committee via the 2022 ART Title Nomination form at by July 9.

Since 2003 the annual Arlington Reads Together program has inspired the community to come together to talk about inspiring ideas through book discussions, author talks, and events for children, teens, and adults. In March 2021, Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria by Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum drew hundreds of readers and participants in community programs. Over 200 people attended the feature presentation “A Conversation on Race and Racism with Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum.”

Arlington Reads Together is a joint project of the Robbins Library and Envision Arlington’s Diversity Task Group, and is sponsored by the Arlington Libraries Foundation with additional partner support. Addressing issues of diversity is a theme the committee looks for in books and places at the center of the community read program. Arlingtonians are encouraged to think about the diversity issues the town is facing: racial, religious, immigration, population transition, changing socioeconomics, cultural competence, etc.  

Now entering its 20th year, the Arlington Reads Together program strives to connect people through shared experiences, strengthening bonds within our town, exploring ideas to break down preconceptions or stereotypes and giving people the opportunity to explore one topic–together. 

Suggestions and questions can be directed to Anna Litten at or 781-316-3202.

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Read With Pride

Happy Pride Month! We’ve asked our librarians to share their favorite queer books, TV, movies, & other media! Here are the responses:

Books/Graphic Novels
The Deep by Rivers Solomon
The Low, Low Woods by Carmen Maria Machado
The Locked Tomb series by Tamsyn Muir
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
The Nevernight Chronicle by Jay Kristoff
Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi
Difficult Women by Roxane Gay
White is for Witching by Helen Oyeyemi
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

TV Shows
Killing Eve
Schitt’s Creek

The Handmaiden

Chapter Books:
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead
George by Alex Gino

Picture Books
Ho’onani: Hula Warrior by Heather Gale
Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Harriet Gets Carried Away by Jessi Sima
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Board Books:

Pride Colors by Robin Stevenson
Love Makes a Family by Sophie Beer

Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
Red White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Leah On the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli
What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera (basically ALL of the Becky Albertalli)
Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
The Night Watch by Sarah Waters

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon
First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara
Tipping the Velvet by Sarah Waters
The Broken Earth Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg
I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya
On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi
Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl by Andrea Lawlor
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight
The Tensorate series by Neon Yang
Butch Heroes by Ria Brodell
Invisible Monsters by Chuck Palahniuk
The Masquerade series by Seth Dickinson
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado
The Devourers by Indra Das
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

Graphic Novels:
Monstress series by Marjorie M. Liu
O Human Star series by Blue Delliquanti
Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
Queer: A Graphic History by Meg-John Barker
Gender: A Graphic Guide by Meg-John Barker

TV Shows
Killing Eve

The Handmaiden
Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Picture Books:

Julián is a Mermaid & Julián at the Wedding by Jessica Love
In the first book, Julian notices the “mermaids” on the street where he lives and wants to be just as beautiful as they are. While Gramma is in the shower, Julian turns house-hold items into a fabulous mermaid costume. Gramma helps when she reappears. In the second book, Julian is attending a wedding with his Gramma AND his bestie Marisol and her Gramma. Lots of fun and play and love ensue.

Call Me Max by Kyle Lukoff
A wee bit didactic but still super informative and fun, Max tells what gender identity feels like “on the inside”.

Chapter Book:

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
The Family Fletcher now has three books to their name and they are full of thoughtful fun and adventures of a super loving family.

Graphic Novel:

Lumberjanes by Noelle Stevenson & Grace Ellis
Quirky, sometimes scary, sometimes hilarious, and always funny, the Lumberjanes are a team of campers who with each episode are tasked to solve some sort of mystery – whether it’s a missing items, a missing person, a monster…the Lumberjanes always come through together. “Friendship to the Max!”

The HBO series Gentleman Jack

Schitt’s Creek (series)
– Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitt’s Creek Farewell (documentary)
The Prom (movie)
One Mississippi (series)
I Am Divine (documentary)
Circus of Books (documentary)
Paris is Burning (documentary)
Suited (documentary)

What are your favorite queer books, TV, movies, and other media? Let us know in the comments!

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100 Years After the Tulsa Race Massacre

On May 31, 1921, the United States witnessed one of the worst racially-motivated massacres in its history. A white mob attacked and killed more than 300 people in Greenwood, Oklahoma. Outnumbered and overpowered, the prominent black community north of Tulsa experienced death and destruction for two days.

One-hundred years after this devastating incident, we pay our respects to the lives lost and offer our patrons resources to learn more about the events that transpired. We will not forget.

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What’s The State of Voting?

New laws restricting voting access in Georgia have gained national attention. Georgia is just one example; legislative initiatives are under way across the nation with the intention of impacting voting access in many new ways. The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy. To learn more, please join us as Jessica Jones Capparell, Senior Manager of Policy and Legislative Affairs for the League of Women Voters, and Evan Horowitz, Executive Director of the Center for State Policy Analysis at Tisch College, Tufts University discuss voting access, barriers, and lessons learned from a year of pandemic voting across the nation and in Massachusetts. The panel discussion will be followed by a Q&A. The event is co-sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Arlington and supported by a civic engagement series grant from the Arlington Libraries Foundation. 

Join this webinar at

Thursday, May 27 at 7:00 p.m. 

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Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month with our Staff Recommendations!

Our library staff is celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month by sharing their favorite books & other media by/about Asian/Pacific Americans!

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All Natural

This month we’ve asked our librarians to share their favorite books with nature on the cover. Check out their responses here:

The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
The Hollow Places by T. Kingfisher
A Gift for a Ghost by Borja González
The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

Eye to Eye by Steve Jenkins: Anything illustrated by Steve Jenkins is a treat! His collage illustrations are magical in their depictions of life in nature. His unique perspective adds to uncommon ways of looking at life.

Winter Bees by Joyce Sidman: The poet Joyce Sidman has written a series of poetry volumes for children about animals, bugs, birds and natural environments. Beautiful to read and beautiful to look at.

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner: Kate Messner looks at what we don’t always see in Nature. Great illustrations show what’s happening above the ground while simultaneously viewing the under world.

A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer: More amazing illustrations show the life of a “very tall tree” that falls down during a storm in the forest. Throughout the next few years, we see it slowly decompose and view the life that springs anew. Fabulous collage illustrations.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
The Sandcastle Girls by Chris Bohjalian
Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
The Swallows by Lisa Lutz
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
The Way Home by Mark Boyle
Growing Things and Other Stories by Paul Tremblay

Do Animals Fall in Love? by Katharina von der Gathen
The Snow Fell Three Graves Deep by Allan Wolf
When Elephants Listen with Their Feet by Emmanuelle Grundmann
111 Trees: How One Village Celebrates the Birth of Every Girl by Rina Singh
The Strange Birds of Flannery O’Connor by Amy Alznauer

Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley
Snapdragon by Kay Leyh
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
Hey, Dog by Tony Johnston
The Girl In Red by Christina Henry
Sea Sirens by Amy Chu
The Sleeper and The Spindle by Neil Gaiman
Nation by Terry Pratchett

The Low Low Woods – Carmen Maria Machado
The Song of Aglaia – Anne Simon
Electric Arches – Eve Ewing
Through the Woods – Emily Carroll
Zombies Hate Stuff – Greg Stones
War of the Foxes – Richard Siken
Survivor – Octavia Butler
The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy
Hyperion – Dan Simmons

First, Become Ashes by K.M. Szpara
The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner
Hex by Rebecca Dinerstein Knight
The Nation of Plants by Stefano Mancuso
Wilder Girls by Rory Power
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See
The Devourers by Indra Das
The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey
Felix Ever After by Kacen Callender
The Wilds by Vita Ayala
Deeplight by Frances Hardinge
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Semiosis by Sue Burke
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Ever After by Olivia Vieweg
Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire
Snapdragon by Kat Leyh
The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
The Electric State by Simon Stålenhag

Picture Books:
And Then the Seed Grew by Marianne Dubuc
Home in the Woods by Eliza Wheeler
Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature by Joyce Sidman

Chapter Books:
Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk
Summer of a Thousand Pies by Margaret Dilloway
Chirp by Kate Messner
A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Joy McCullough

What are your favorite books with nature on the cover? Let us know in the comments!

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Red Letter Poem #57

A note: Since April, 2020 Arlington’s Poet Laureate has been sharing a poem with the community each week via the library’s blog and This project nears 52 poems in April, and after April, The Red Letter Poems Project will continue as a newsletter email from Steven. Receive these poems directly – and receive notices about future poetry events – by sending an e-mail to: with the subject line ‘mailing list.’

Steven Ratiner, Arlington’s Poet Laureate, is today’s guest blogger.

“A strange art – music” wrote the 19th century short story master Guy de Maupassant; “— the most poetic and precise of all the arts, vague as dream and precise as algebra.”  This won’t come as news to Rita Dove – writer, educator and, more importantly, one of America’s most celebrated poets.  She began studying the cello at age 10 and added the viola da gamba in her twenties – but gradually her musical allegiance shifted from the bow to the pen; and the rest, as they say, is history.

Her 1986 breakthrough collection, Thomas and Beulah, was inspired by the lives of her maternal grandparents and the ‘Great Migration’ that resulted in so many Black families resettling in the North.  The book was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, making her only the second African American at the time to be so honored.  Since then, a stream of impressive books has followed – and a thorough accounting of the accolades from her lifetime in letters would require much more space than I have at my disposal, but let me mention just two: in 1993, she was appointed as the United States Poet Laureate; and in 2011, President Barack Obama hung the prestigious National Medal of Arts around her neck.

But reading through the poetry, it’s clear that her musical training still holds sway.  The rhythmical structure, for example, is never merely a support for the language of her poems; it is, in and of itself, a meaning-making instrument by which the poet sounds the reader’s emotional depths and helps them navigate uncharted waters.  This is especially true in “Testimony: 1968”, the poem I selected for this week’s Red Letter.  It will appear in Rita’s forthcoming Playlist for the Apocalypse, her eleventh collection, to be released this summer from W. W. Norton (and used with the kind permission of the poet.)  Here, she steps away from the improvisational riffs of free verse to return to the villanelle, a centuries-old ballad-like verse form from the French.  Like music, such poems are mechanisms for measuring time: progressions and delays; repetitions and sudden shifts; perfections and (painfully) the all-too-human imperfections within our lives.  When I read Rita’s poem, my first reaction was: still?!  How can such a dirge still be au courant, a half-century from the events she’s calling to mind?  How can it be that we’ve learned nothing from our troubled history?  As the poet seems to both speed up and slow down time’s passage, the poem does indeed take on the vague malaise of bad dreams but also the exacting algebra of our recent racial reckoning: who and what resides on either side of the American equal sign?  Rita Dove offers no easy assurances.  We readers are left to solve for X.  

Red Letter Poem #57: 

Red Letter 57

The Red Letter Poems Project was created in grateful partnership with many of our town’s cultural resources: the Arlington Commission for Arts and Culture, the Arlington Center for the Arts, the Robbins Library, the Arlington International Film Festival, and Arlington Community Education.  See the full archive of the project at  We’ll send out a poem from a new poet every week. If you enjoy them, we encourage you to forward them to friends –  in Arlington and beyond –  or to post them on your social media platforms with the hashtags: #RedLetterPoems, #ArlingtonPoetLaureate. If you want to make sure you receive these poems directly – or to receive notices about future poetry events – send an e-mail to: with the subject line ‘mailing list’.

In ancient Rome, feast days were indicated on the calendar by red letters.  To my mind, all poetry and art – and, in truth, even the COVID-19 crisis itself – serves as a reminder that every day we wake together beneath the sun is a red-letter day.

– Steven Ratiner

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Changes to printing service

We will be upgrading some of our systems, including our public printing service. Printing will be suspended from the end of the day Saturday, May 1 until the morning of Wednesday, May 5. We apologize for the inconvenience and want to give you the opportunity to plan accordingly.

More information about our new system will come soon!

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