Teen Summer Reading Challenge Giveaway Books

Calling all bored teenagers!  

During past summers teens who signed up for the Robbins Library Teen Summer Challenge and completed a BINGO card got a free book at the library. Sadly, we aren’t able to give away books at the library this summer, but Teen Librarian Katy Kania still wanted to give readers a chance to get a free book.  

By partnering with  team behind Little Free Diverse Libraries on Instagram Katy was able to stock Little Free Libraries across Arlington with teen books. Teens can locate the Little Free Libraries across Arlington, find a teen book with the “Save My Spot” Teen Summer Challenge Giveaway bookmark, take a picture, and tag us @RobbinsLibraryTeens and @LitttleFreeDiverseLibraries on Instagram with the hashtag #robbinssummerchallenge.

Use the Little Free Library World Map and select City/State to find local Little Free Libraries, or follow @LittleFreeDiverseLibraries or @RobbinsLibraryTeens on Instagram for more locations as books are added to local Little Free Libraries.  Thanks to the Friends of the Robbins Library for supporting the Summer Reading Challenge.  

Go forth and read diversely!

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Recommendations for Where To Go For Technology Reviews Online

There are many sources online to read reviews about all different categories of technology. Below are some FREE (to you) high quality review resources.

The Robbins Library subscribes to Consumer Reports online for all Arlington residents. In order to utilize this resource for free, you must use the link above or use the link on the Robbins Library Databases page.

Consumer Reports is an independent, nonprofit member organization that works side by side with consumers for truth, transparency, and fairness in the marketplace. Rating thousands of products and services annually: Consumer Reports tests, rates, and reviews thousands of consumer products and services at both its testing center in Westchester County, N.Y., and its auto test center in Colchester, Conn. The most up-to-date research is available through their website.

CNET tells you what’s new in tech, culture and science, why it matters, how it works and what you need. We recommend looking at both the Reviews section and the Best Products section to gather information about technology. They include news, commentary, analysis, features, FAQs, advice, hands-on reviews, buying guides, photography, and informative videos.

Gizmodo is a news and opinion website about gadgets, technology, science, environmental news, entertainment, and culture. From reviews of the latest phones, TVs, laptops, shows, and movies to the latest news about privacy, tech and environmental policy, and labor, they aim to cover the worlds of technology, science, and entertainment with transparency, accuracy, humor, and blunt honesty.

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Introducing Library Grab Bags

Grab Bag Logo FINALWe are excited to launch Library Grab Bags, a new service that aims to bring back some of the ease and joy of browsing library shelves even as library indoors remain closed for public safety.

Library Grab Bags are a perfect option for patrons who want books, DVDs, and other library materials but don’t have lists of specific titles to request. Fill out the new Library Grab Bag request form, and get a curated bag of library materials. 

Staff created the Library Grab Bag service with busy community members in mind. “We know people miss browsing and getting a bunch of books at a time, and we know the safest way to connect people with our collections right now is through contactless pickup. Grab Bags seemed like a logical next step for us,” says Andrea Nicolay, Director of Libraries. “I want to thank the residents of Arlington for being patient and supportive through all these changes. We hope this new service is a plus for our users.”

The Contactless Pickup system has definitely been embraced, with hundreds of books checked out from the library daily, however with contactless pickup you do need to make requests title by title. Grab Bags are perfect for families looking for picture books and easy readers, or for anyone looking for vacation reading or just some materials to browse.

To request a Library Grab Bag, fill out the request form available on the Borrowing Items page. When your bag is ready, a librarian will notify you and book your pickup time. During your assigned pickup hour, just stop by the library’s front entrance–your bag of materials will already be checked out to you, labelled and ready to go.

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Humorous Fantasy Books

Need help finding books and movies to complete your Summer Reading bingo sheet? Here are some recommendations for the Humorous Fantasy bingo square!

Many fantasy titles offer a variety of humor, below are some examples:

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

The Color Of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

The Hike by Drew Magary

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gil’s All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez

Good Omens by  Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Kill The Farm Boy  by Delilah Dawson

The Order Of The Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones

>Click here< if you’d like to participate in this year’s summer reading challenge.



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The Future of Policing and Justice: what does it all mean?

Why is Policing in the Spotlight?

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police on May 25th served as a catalyst for widespread protests all over the USA. What began in Minneapolis soon spread to most major metropolitan areas in the USA. Other cases such as Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and Rayshard Brooks (among many many others), began a nationwide conversation regarding policing and the history of police and black communities. These events brought about a surge of ideas that one point were considered fringe (even among people critical of police actions), such as de-funding and abolition. Media outlets such as NPR began running articles highlighting these ideas and the city of Minneapolis would eventually vote to dismantle their police force. Along with this shifting narrative around  policing, there is also a shifting narrative regarding justice and punishment with restorative justice being sought out as a replacement to the prison system. This blog post aims to define and highlight the ideas of policing reform, de-funding, and abolition along with  restorative justice. The relationship and discussion around these terms is extremely complicated and cannot be fully explained in a blog post. However, with the growing shift of discourse around policing and justice it is important for us as information professionals to connect patrons to resources and definitions. The bulk of this post will focus on policing, although restorative justice will be defined and featured in some articles.

Terms and Definitions:

Encyclopedia Britannica: Restorative justice

Center For Justice & Reconciliation: What Is Restorative Justice

Reform, Defund or Abolish the Police? by Jason Scavone.

Calls to reform, defund, dismantle and abolish the police, explained. by Ben Kesslen.

The Importance of Minneapolis
Because of the events surrounding George Floyd’s death, Minneapolis has become the center of much of discussion surrounding the future of policing in the USA. It is important to note that much of the legislation passed by the city is still relatively new.NPR Code Switch: How Much Do We Need The Police?

All Things Considered: Minneapolis Mayor Wants ‘Full Structural Revamp,’ Not Abolition of Police Department

Defund and dismantle: Minneapolis looks towards a police-free future by Susan Du, Emily Cassel, and Hannah Jones.


These articles below explain what police reform is as well some of the controversy surrounding the Minneapolis PD’s reform attempts.

What does actual police reform look like? More training and more oversight by Charles Blain.

Before George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Police Failed to Adopt Reforms, Remove Bad Officers by Jamiles Lartey and Simon Weichselbaum

8 Can’t Wait, explained by Matthew Yglesias


These articles below explain what de-funding is, and how it seeks to change the role of policing.

There’s a growing call to defund the police. Here’s what it means by Scottie Andrews

Defund the police? Here’s what that really means. by Christy E. Lopez

The Rush to Redefine “Defund the Police” by Melissa Gira Grant


By far the most complex and comprehensive discussion about the future of policing. The large amount of articles below, cover various aspects of what abolition entails.

If You’re New to Abolition: Study Group Guide by abolitionjournal

Are Police Obsolete? by V. Noah Gimbel & Craig Muhammad

What a World Without Cops Would Look Like by Madison Pauly

Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police by Mariame Kaba

Police Abolition: A Curated Collection of Links by The Marshall Project

The Deep Roots-and New Offshoots-of ‘Abolish the Police’ by Ruairi Arrieta-Kenna

8 to Abolition is Advocating to Abolish Police to Keep Us All Safe by Leila Raven, Mon Mohapatra, and Rachel Kuo

Additional Reading

“I Don’t Want to Shoot You Brother” by Joe Sexton

The City that Really Did Abolish the Police by Katherine Landergan

How racist policing took over a American cities, explained by a historian by Anna North

Boston police union ‘angry, frustrated, insulted’ by lack of public hearing on sweeping reform bill by Benjamin Kail

10 Nonfiction Books on Why We Need to Defund the Police by Jae-Yeon Yoo

George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper| The Daily Show

Are Prisons Obsolete -Angela Davis

Carceral Capitalism -Jackie Wang (not available in MLN)

The End of Policing -Alex S. Vitale

This blog post is a collaborative effort by the Robbins Library EDI (Equity, Diversity & Inclusion)  Task Force.

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Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

This month we asked our librarians – what are some books that you thought had a bad cover, but ended up being great? Check out their answers below!

LindaRiddley Walker by Russell Hoban. There are several different cover versions, none of them appealing to me. But it’s one of the best post-apocalyptic novels I’ve ever read.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I hate the cover so much, but I really loved the book.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This is one of those covers that looks ok when it’s brand-new, but the moment the book gets a little worn it’s rather unappealing. But I love this author and this is probably my favorite book of hers.
Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl. Cover is here. This is another one that probably looks fine when new, but does not age well. The stories are great though – creepy and weird!

NickClickers by J.F. Gonzalez: The cover has a horrendously pixelated crab on the cover. The fact that the book was about giant crabs attacking a town didn’t help the cause much. It ended up being a solid creature horror with well developed characters. I ended up reading the whole series, although the quality pretty much drops after the first book.

VeroI try not to judge a book by its cover, but Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman had me wondering. The cover makes the novel look like a sultry, sexy romance when in reality it’s climate science fiction with a hint of dystopia. The novel had more bonobo character development than actual romance.

RobThe cover for Butch Heroes by Ria Brodell is very plain and brown, which belies the gorgeous artwork & captivating history contained within.
The cover for The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson did not appeal to me at all, with the weird doll mask shattering.  There’s something slightly uncanny valley-esque about it.  It doesn’t do the fascinating narrative and the deep world building of the novel justice, nor give a sense of the story at all.
The cover for Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake is a little cheesy and not really attention grabbing, but the story is so good!

What are some books you loved that has not-so-great covers?  Let us know in the comments below!
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Robbins Library Business Series: FREE Access to a Collection of Harvard Business Review (HBR) Ebooks

The Robbins Library subscribes to Hoopla, a provider of always available digital content. Below is a curated selection of Management EBooks that you have access to with your library card. If you need a library card, please go here to obtain one now: https://www.robbinslibrary.org/library-card/

Hoopla currently contains 582 Harvard Business Review (HBR) Press titles. You can browse all of the titles here.

32 Titles in the Harvard Business Review Classics:
Including Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker and Turning Goals Into Results by Jim Collins

HBR produces a number of series of highly curated content on key business and leadership topics. If you are looking for an overview or a quick insight into a particular topics, these are great practical resources.

HBR’s 10 Must Reads:
41 titles including Women and Leadership, On Mental Toughness, etc.

HBR 20-Minute Manager:
13 titles including The Virtual Manager Collection, Difficult Conversations, etc.

HBR Emotional Intelligence Series:
13 titles including Resilience, Authentic Leadership, etc.

HBR Guide Series:
29 titles including Getting the Right Work Done, Delivering Effective Feedback, etc.



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Adult Summer Reading Bingo Square: Fabulism

Need help finding books and movies to complete your Summer Reading bingo sheet? Here are some recommendations for the Fabulism bingo square!

According to Wiktionary, Fabulism is ” A form of magical realism in which fantastical elements are placed in everyday settings.”  Because of the open-ended nature of the genre; fabulism encompasses a variety of styles that all readers can enjoy.

A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino

Crystal Eaters by Shane Jones

Eva Luna by Isabel Allende\

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

The Isle of Youth by Laura Van den Berg

The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour

The Lonesome Bodybuilder by Yukiko Motoya

Madeleine is Sleeping by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses by Lucy Corin

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson

Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link

What I Didn’t See by Karen Joy Fowler


>Click here< if you’d like to participate in this year’s summer reading challenge.

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Low(er) Cost Internet Access Options

Many of us are currently limiting our time out & about and therefore not utilizing free internet access throughout the community. Instead, we are relying on internet access at home more frequently. Here are some resources to help you find discounted options.

If you currently have internet service, contact your provider or check their website to see if there are lower priced options or specials that are less expensive compared to what you current have. These are constantly changing and worth looking into. If you have the option, consider changing services or asking your provider to match another provider’s current new customer option.

The following are discounted programs for families and other low-income households.

Lifeline Program Discounted Internet Access Application
Lifeline is a government benefit program that provides a monthly discount on one communications service from a certified Lifeline service provider. Find out more about this service and the qualifications to utilize it at the link above.

Internet Essentials from Comcast
Internet Essentials is a program for families and other low-income households who currently do not subscribe to Internet at home.

InternetFirst from RCN
The Internet First program is affordable Internet designed to help families and students in low-income households have reliable access to the internet. Fast internet for home schooling, homework, accessing educational resources, and more.

Lifeline Discount Program from Verizon
Verizon is offering the 100% fiber-optic network for less to those who qualify.


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Database How-To – Boston Globe

Want access to the latest issues of the Boston Globe at home?  Here’s a basic guide to get started using the library’s Boston Globe database.  This database “provides full text access to The Boston Globe – 1980-current.”

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