Introductory Creative Writing Workshop with Lynette Benton

Lynette_Benton (1)Stop by Robbins and get started on your creative writing projects with the help of multi-published writer Lynette Benton! Whether you’re looking for guidance or trying to perfect your skills, this event is for you.

Lynette Benton has helped numerous writers start and complete their manuscripts, from 2,000 words to 50,000 words long. She will share her strategies, tips, and tactics to enable you to write efficiently and productively for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) or for any of your writing projects, whether fiction or nonfiction. She has led many writing classes and workshops at Robbins Library, including the library’s Fall 2017 workshop to prepare writers to succeed in the NaNoWriMo challenge. Continue reading

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Not-So Young Adult Book Group Reads Empress of a Thousand Skies (July 15)

The next NSYA group meeting will take place on Monday, July 15 at 7pm in the 4th floor’s conference room. We’ll be discussing Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza.

Goodreads description:

30269126 (1)Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an wants vengeance.

The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, Rheehas spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.

Alyosha is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.

Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.

The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.

Copies of the book are available at the front desk.

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The 2019 Adult Summer Reading Challenge Begins Today!

Copy of Copy of A Universe of Stories_ promo flyerThe adult summer reading challenge officially begins today!
Participate from June 13 until August 30 for a summer full of fun activities!

This year’s theme is “A Universe of Stories” and prizes include a telescope, space-themed books, a space projector, Lush products, and a $105 massage gift card.

Stop by and ask for a bingo sheet at the reference desk (or at the Fox Branch). You can earn raffle tickets by completing the activities listed in the bingo squares, which range from reading to stargazing. Continue reading

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A plethora of presidential candidates

It’s not too early to think about the 2020 presidential election. As you might have noticed, there are a LOT of candidates in the primary, mostly on the Democratic side. In order to make good choices for the primary election, we thought it would be helpful to make a list of the candidates and books by or about them. The Massachusetts primary isn’t until March 3, 2020 but it will probably take that long to read about all twenty-something of the candidates so you better start now!

All titles below are linked to the catalog so you can see if they’re available and request them if they’re not. I’ve also included links to large print, audiobook, and ebook editions. Some candidates don’t have any books, but I’ve included their names on the list in case you want to research them (you can start at our Databases page!)

Let’s start with the current President, Donald Trump. He’s written more business books than we can list here, so here are his more political books and most well-known business book.

Crippled America: How To Make America Great Again | Audiobook CD | eBook

Time To Get Tough: Making America #1 Again | Audiobook CD | Downloadable Audiobook

Trump: The Art of the Deal | Large Print | eBook | Downloadable Audiobook

There’s only one Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld. He doesn’t have a memoir, nor are there any biographies about him, but he does write fiction.


Mackerel By Moonlight

Big Ugly

Here are all the current Democratic candidates, in alphabetical order:

Michael Bennet, US Senator from Colorado

Joe Biden, former US Vice-President

Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose| Large Print | eBook

Promises To Keep: On Life and Politics

Cory Booker, US Senator from New Jersey

United: Thoughts On Finding Common Ground and Advancing the Common Good | Audiobook CD | Large Print | Downloadable Audiobook

Steve Bullock, Governor of Montana

Pete Buttigieg, Mayor of South Bend, Indiana

Shortest Way Home: One Mayor’s Challenge and a Model For America’s Future | Audiobook CD | eBook | Downloadable Audiobook

Julian Castro, former Mayor of San Antonio

An Unlikely Journey: Waking Up From My American Dream  | Audiobook CDLarge Print

Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City

Reclaiming Gotham: Bill de Blasio and the Movement to End America’s Tale of Two Cities

The Pragmatist: Bill de Blasio’s Quest to Save the Soul of New York

John Delaney, former US Representative from Maryland

The Right Answer: How We Can Unify Our Divided Nation

Tulsi Gabbard, US Representative from Hawaii

Kirsten Gillibrand, US Senator from New York

Off the Sidelines: Raise Your Voice, Change the World | Audiobook CD | eBook

Mike Gravel, former US Senator from Alaska

A Political Odyssey: The Rise of American Militarism and One Man’s Fight To Stop It

The Kingmakers: How the Media Threatens Our Security and our Democracy

Kamala Harris, US Senator from California

The Truths We Hold: An American Journey | Audiobook CD | Large Print | eBook | Downloadable Audiobook

John Hickenlooper, former Governor of Colorado, former Mayor of Denver

The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics | Audiobook CD

Jay Inslee, Governor of Washington

Amy Klobuchar, US Senator from Minnesota

The Senator Next Door: A Memoir From the Heartland

Wayne Messam, Mayor of Miramar, Florida

Seth Moulton, US Representative from Massachusetts

Beto O’Rourke, former US Representative from Texas

Tim Ryan, US Representative from Ohio

A Mindful Nation: How a Simple Practice Can Help Us Reduce Stress, Improve Performance, and Recapture the American Spirit

The Real Food Revolution: Healthy Eating, Green Groceries, and the Return of the American Family Farm | eBook

Bernie Sanders, US Senator from Vermont

Where We Go From Here: Two Years in the Resistance | Audiobook CD | Large Print

Our Revolution: A Future To Believe In | Audiobook CD | eBook | Downloadable Audiobook

Bernie Sanders: Guide to Political Revolution | Audiobook CD | eBook | Downloadable Audiobook

Outsider in the White House

The Speech: A Historic Filibuster On Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class

Eric Swalwell, US Representative from California

Elizabeth Warren, US Senator from Massachusetts

This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle To Save America’s Middle Class | Audiobook CD | eBook

A Fighting Chance | Audiobook CD | eBook | Downloadable Audiobook

Marianne Williamson, author/lecturer. She has too many books to link to here, but the most recent is: A Politics of Love: A Handbook For a New American Revolution

Andrew Yang, entrepreneur

The War On Normal People: The Truth About America’s Disappearing Jobs and Why Universal Basic Income Is Our Future | eBook

Smart People Should Build Things: How To Restore Our Culture of Achievement, Build a Path For Entrepreneurs, and Create New Jobs in America

Happy reading!

For information on voting in Arlington, including how to register to vote, visit the Town’s Elections & Voting page.

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Summer Reading for Kids, Teens and Adults at Arlington’s Libraries

Summer is coming, and here at the library we have the perfect prescription for long summer days: summer reading for everyone!  At the Robbins and Fox libraries, we’ll be celebrating the joys of summer reading with special programs for kids, teens, and adults all summer long.

Summer reading programs for children are a library mainstay.  Pam Watts-Flavin, Head of Children’s Services at the Robbins Library, notes, “Research shows that Summer Reading is important to continue growth in reading from year to year.”  For Watts-Flavin, keeping Summer Reading fun is equally important, “For us, the Summer Reading program is also all about fabulous fun!” Summer Reading at the library is designed to be a non-competitive program that encourages kids of ALL ages (plus their families) to read for fun throughout the summer months.  

For kids, Summer Reading kicks off on June 15 at 10:00 am with “A Universe of Stories!”  Children aged 0-14 are invited to sign up for Summer reading, pick up a free book, play games, blow bubbles, eat a popsicle, have your face painted and more in the Robbins Library Community Room.  

Kids who sign up for summer reading at either the Robbins or Fox library choose a free book to keep.  Kids then track reading hours with a bookmark chart. Readers return completed charts to the libraries, are invited to  put shapes on the walls, and vote for the libraries’ end-of-summer movie. Special summer programs for kids are listed on the libraries website and the Round Robbins newsletter, available at both library locations.  

Summer reading programs for teens and adults give everyone in the community a chance to join in on the fun. Teens and adults who sign up for library Summer Reading can pick up a Summer Reading Bingo Card starting on June 13.  For each Bingo square completed, teens and adults receive raffle tickets to enter in one of our great Summer Reading raffles.  

Summer Reading is a great way to bring back the joy of reading to teenagers who may have felt more stifled in their reading selections during the school year. Not only do they get to read WHATEVER; they get to be rewarded for it too!,” Katy Kania, head of Teen Services.

Bingo cards for Teens are filled with fun challenges like “Download the Libby app” for access to e-books and downloadable audiobooks from the library and “Reduce light pollution, turn off ALL electronics for one night.”   

Head of Adult Services Linda Dyndiuk says of the Adult Bingo cards, “We tried to include a variety of activities that people can do to earn raffle tickets, ones that will push them outside their comfort zone and hopefully introduce them to library collections and programs they didn’t know about. Having a summer reading program for adults as well as teens and kids means that the whole family can take part, and learn and grow together.”  

Adult  will see challenges that range from “Read About Women’s Contributions to Space Exploration,” to less library focused topics like “Train like an astronaut and do 20 mins of exercise 3x in 1 week.”  

Adult raffle prizes include items like Museum of Science planetarium tickets, a telescope, space-themed books, a Lush gift basket and gift card for a massage, and many more. Teen Prizes range from Room Decor with an Alien Head Lava Lamp to a drawing tablet or brand new stack of graphic novels.

With something for everyone, summer reading is bound to be fun for all in Arlington.  In the words of Hermione Granger, “When in doubt, go to the library!”

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NSYA Book Group Meeting – Reminder (June 17)

32571395The next NSYA book group meeting will take place Monday, June 17 at 7pm in Robbins Library’s conference room (4th floor). We’ll be discussing One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus.

Copies of the next book, Empress of a thousand skies by Rhoda Belleza, are on their way and will be available to pick up after the meeting.

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Sensational Short Stories

This month we’ve asked our librarians to share their favorite short stories.  Check them out below!

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin
 I first read this collection when I  was an undergrad and often return to it. Mueenuddin depicts the disparity between the upper and lower classes of Pakistani society through an interrelated cast of characters who are as acerbic as they are memorable.
“Omakase” by Weike Wang
 This story is both hilarious and uncomfortable in its portrayal of identity and race relations.
“The Witch of Duva” by Leigh Bardugo
Hunger, winter, and magic collide in this dark tale inspired by Grimm’s fairytales.

Tenth of December by George Saunders
Thunderstruck and Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken
Stay Awake by Dan Chaon
Best American Short Stories 2011 – especially “The Sleep” by Caitlin Horrocks
A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood
The Radical Element edited by Jessica Spotswood

Kelly Link is my absolute favorite writer of short stories.  I’d read anything by her, but here are some of my favorites that she’s written & edited:
Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link
Stephen King is responsible for getting me interested in short stories at a young age.  His collections are always great, but my favorites by him are:
Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
Just After Sunset by Stephen King (“N” is the standout in this collection.)
A few miscellaneous recent favorites are:
How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin
Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Rashomon and Other Stories by Ryonusuke Akutagawa
Books of Blood by Clive Barker
Casa Tomada Y Otros Relates (House Taken Over and Other Stories) by Julio Cortazar
Jesus’ Son by Dennis Johnson
War By Candlelight by Daniel Alarcon
Iraq +100 edited by Hassan Blasim
The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami
I, Robot by Isaac Asimov
The Corpse Exhibition by Hassan Blasim
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka

I used to think I didn’t like short stories, because my first encounter with them was an anthology with an orange cover in my seventh grade English class. They all seemed to have sudden, surprise, or trick endings like Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” (which is a great story, but I didn’t love it at age 12). There have been some fantastic collections of speculative short stories recently: Exhalation and Stories of Your Life And Others by Ted Chiang, How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N.K. Jemisin, Get in Trouble by Kelly Link, The Paper Menagerie by Ken Liu, Starlings by Jo Walton, Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill. And some of my favorite realistic short fiction writers are Lorrie Moore (Birds of America), Elizabeth McCracken (Thunderstruck), and Simon Van Booy (Love Begins in Winter). And if you listen to The Moth, or even if you don’t, The Moth Presents All These Wonders is a collection full of gems – there’s not a dud in the bunch (plus, it’s got a gorgeous cover).

What are your favorite short stories?  Let us know in the comments below!
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Happy Pride!

Happy Pride! 

Come check out our display celebrating the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the riot that helped propel the LGBTQIA+ rights movement forward!

Did you know that Stonewall wasn’t the first time that the queer community publicly clashed with police? Or about the discriminatory “three-articles” laws that required people to be wearing at least 3 articles of clothing that “matched their gender” and were used to criminalize trans and gender-nonconforming people? Learn about all this, and more, here at the library!


Looking for some Pride season reading material?  Look no further!  Here are some of the 31st annual Lambda Literary Award Nominees!  (Winners are bolded in each category.)


Lesbian Fiction

Gay Fiction

Bisexual Fiction

Transgender Fiction 


Bisexual Nonfiction

Transgender Nonfiction

LGBTQ Nonfiction


Lesbian Mystery

Gay Mystery

  • Black Diamond Fall, Joseph Olshan
  • Boystown 11: Heart’s Desire, Marshall Thornton
  • Death Checks In, David S. Pederson
  • Dodging and Burning: A Mystery, John Copenhaver
  • The God Game: A Dan Sharp Mystery
  • Late Fees: A Pinx Video Mystery, Marshall Thornton
  • Somewhere Over Lorain Road, Bud Gundy
  • Survival Is a Dying Art: An Angus Green Novel, Neil S. Plakcy


Lesbian Memoir/Biography

Gay Memoir/Biography


LGBTQ Childrens/Young Adult 

LGBTQ Graphic Novels


LGBTQ Studies 

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Wayfarer Film Series Presents: Ixcanul (May 30)


Travel the world and experience international cinema with the Wayfarer Film Series at Robbins Library! Catch a glimpse from beyond the continent, snack on fresh popcorn, and enjoy a variety of films you might have missed at your local theater.  The 2015 film Ixcanul is a Guatemalan film in Spanish, Maya, and Yucatan with English subtitles and presents a dreamlike depiction of the daily lives of Kaqchikel speaking Mayans on a coffee plantation at the base of an active volcano.  

This film is unrated and has a runtime of 1h33m. For additional information contact Nick Glade at  

Thursday, May 30
6:00pm -7:30 pm
Robbins Library Community Room


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Rockin’ Robbins Book Cart Drill Team Are Victorious Again!

Today was the 11th annual Massachusetts Library Association Book Cart Drill Team competition & the Robbins Library Rockin’ Robbins Book Cart Drill Team snagged yet another first place trophy!

This year we performed to Dead or Alive’s You Spin Me Round (Like A Record). We feel especially on trend this year, because as we were putting the finishing touches on our entry, Jimmy Fallon’s shot for shot re-creation of the music video aired. We feel like our creative interpretation is a bit more fun, but we’ll let you be the judges of that!

This year’s entries were judged on technical ability (uniformity, organization, precision, degree of difficulty, unique moves), artistic impression (choreography, music, crowd appeal, costumes, cart decor), and videography (creative shots, angles, timing).

What is a Book Cart Drill Team? From the DEMCO website: “People from all over the United States put together drill teams to represent their libraries. From just three people to as many as sixteen, librarians practiced dance moves with the aid of their book carts! Fun formations, music and crazy costumes made the competitions spectacular!”

We hope you enjoy the video as much as we enjoyed making it!

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