Reel Queer Watches… I Am Not Your Negro

Join us on Tuesday 12/18 to watch the Oscar-nominated documentary I Am Not Your Negro, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson & based on the book James Baldwin left unfinished upon his death.

“I Am Not Your Negro envisions the book James Baldwin never finished, a radical narration about race in America, using the writer’s original words, as read by actor Samuel L. Jackson. Alongside a flood of rich archival material, the film draws upon Baldwin’s notes on the lives and assassinations of Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King Jr. to explore and bring a fresh and radical perspective to the current racial narrative in America.

Raoul Peck’s Oscar-nominated documentary is a journey into black history that connects the past of the Civil Rights movement to the present of #BlackLivesMatter. It is a film that questions black representation in Hollywood and beyond. And, ultimately, by confronting the deeper connections between the lives and assassination of these three leaders, Baldwin and Peck have produced a work that challenges the very definition of what America stands for.”

This film is rated PG-13 and has a runtime of 1h 33min.

**Please note that our elevator will be down for maintenance on this date!**
You can enter the Community Room via the stairs on the side of the building facing the parking lot.  If you’re unable to use stairs, please let someone at the Reference Desk know & they will help you access the room.  We apologize for the inconvenience!

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Major Elevator Work Coming to the Robbins Library

We are happy to announce that our elevator will be undergoing major repairs this month!  The library will be open regular hours during the repair period, with limited access to some areas of the library.  What you need to know:

  • The elevator will be placed out of service for repairs starting December 17, and work will continue through mid-January.
  • Strollers and wheelchairs may access the Children’s Room via the Staff Only door at the bottom of the ramp to the right of the library’s main entrance.  
  • Library staff will be using display space on the first floor to keep high interest books in easily accessible locations.  
  • Staff are always happy to help library visitors retrieve materials from the upper floors.  
  • We ask that library visitors support staff and volunteers during this period by holding Friends’ Book Sale donations until Feb. 1, 2019.

Staff are always happy to answer any questions about this project, and help you access our collections and services during the repairs.

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NSYA Book Group Meeting – Reminder (December 17)

31446033The next NSYA group meeting will take place Monday, December 17 at 7pm in Robbins Library’s conference room (4th floor). We’ll be discussing The truth about forever by Sarah Dessen.

Copies of the next book,  The 57 bus by Dashka Slater, are on their way and will be available to pick up after the meeting.

Side note: The elevator will be down for repairs from December 17 until January 14.

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Podcasts Beyond the Binary

Are you a fan of podcasts?  Looking for some new ones to listen to?  Interested in learning more about gender beyond the binary?  If so, we’ve got the perfect list for you!

  • The Gender Rebels is a weekly question-and-answer podcast that explores life outside the binary; crossdressing, transgender topics, queer life and anything else that helps break down the gender binary.
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  • Gender Reveal is a podcast that centers nonbinary, transgender, and queer folks. They interview LGBTQIA+ artists, activists, and educators; answer listener questions; analyze current events; and get a little bit closer to understanding what the heck gender is.
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  • How to Be a Girl is an audio podcast about a single mom’s life with her six-year-old transgender daughter as they attempt to sort out just what it means to be a girl.
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  • One From the Vaults is a trans history podcast by Morgan M Page. Bringing you all the dirt, gossip, and glamour from trans history!
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  • Public Trans is a new podcast for trans people by trans people. An informal conversation between your hosts, Mac and Ave, Public Trans talks about what it means to be trans in the public eye, taking the structure of your morning commute.
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  • Queery – Sit in on an hour long-conversation between host and standup comic, Cameron Esposito, and some of the brightest luminaries in the LGBTQ+ family. Queery explores individual stories of identity, personality and the shifting cultural matrix around gender, sexuality and civil rights.  (Not exclusively trans/nonbinary focused, but hosts a number of guests that fall under the trans umbrella.)
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  • Trans Advocate – News, essays, and talk about issues affecting the transgender, intersex, and genderqueer community.
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  • Trans Atlantic Podcast – A conversation about transgender topics, from across the pond.
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  • Transmission is breaking transgender stereotypes one episode at a time. Host Jackson Bird sits down with a fellow trans person each episode to talk about their experiences in our new age of heightened trans visibility.
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Next Robbins Library Book Discussion Group | Monday January 7

The Robbins Library Book Discussion Group will next meet on Monday January 7 at 7 pm in the Robbins Library Community Room.

The group discusses “Swerve” by Stephen Greenblatt. New members are welcome. The book will be available at the Circulation Desk after December 3.

 

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Build A Better World

This month we asked our librarians:

If you had to pick ONE book or series that everyone had to read as a prerequisite for being a human in the world, which book would it be?


I’m going to suggest a pair of books that are similar in their messages: I Don’t Know: in praise of admitting ignorance and doubt (except when you shouldn’t) by Leah Hager Cohen (2013) and Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error by Kathryn Schulz (2010). Both of these books examine the human discomfort with uncertainty and why it is that we will even hold on to an idea that we know is wrong unless we have something with which to replace it, and why perceived attacks on our beliefs feel like attacks on our identities; they look at how beliefs are formed, the difference between belief and knowledge, and how being wrong can actually move us closer to the truth. Cohen’s book is shorter, almost a meditative essay, while Schulz’s book is more comprehensive, including research and anecdote.

“Real civil discourse necessarily leaves room for doubt. That doesn’t make us wishy-washy…We can still hold fervent beliefs. The difference is, we don’t let those beliefs calcify into unconsidered doctrine….Fundamentalism of any kind is the refusal to allow doubt. The opposite of fundamentalism is the willingness to say ‘I don’t know.'” -Leah Hager Cohen


If we’re assuming a baseline understanding of the language the book is written / translated in, critical thinking skills at about GED standards, and a relative understanding of modernity versus history and our placement therein, then I think I’d recommend The Power of Myth by Joseph Campbell.

There are probably better titles and more engaging fiction ones at that. However, they say that all fiction can be boiled down to just a handful of plot points: Overcoming the “Monster”, Rags to Riches and vice versa, the Quest, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. I think that The Power of Myth provides a good foundation to critically engage with these story lines as they continue to grow and intersect. Hopefully, it would provide for a better understanding of the human condition and provide for empathy. Mirrors and windows, right?


Far From the Tree by Andrew Solomon. It’s very long, so I wasn’t planning to read it until I saw a blog post from someone who said that a) the world would be a better place if everyone read this book, and b) you really only need to read the first 48 pages to get the idea. It’s true, but I dare you to try and stop after that 48 pages. Each chapter is about a different identity and can stand alone, so you definitely don’t have to read the whole thing. Solomon explores horizontal identities – identities that make a person different from their family. For instance, people who are transgender or have disabilities. Although it’s primarily about families, it’s really just about understanding and having empathy for those who are different from us, which is one of the most important aspects of sharing the world with other humans.


I absorb information, lessons, and ideas best through fiction, so of course I have to recommend a fiction book for this.  I’m going to cheat a little bit and recommend a trilogy, but really it’s one long story so that’s why I can’t recommend just one piece of it.
The series I’d pick for everyone to read is the Broken Earth trilogy by N K Jemisin. It tackles so many different themes & topics, but the one that stands out to me the most is oppression of marginalized groups.  In the world Jemisin creates the marginalized group is orogenes – people born with the ability to sense and manipulate the earth & seismic activity.  Most of the main characters are orogenes and through their lens we get to see what a lifetime of oppression does to a group of people.  It’s one of the few pieces of fiction I’ve come across that really breaks down society’s role in the marginalization of a group of people in a realistic way, allowing the reader to easily draw parallels to our world.  This book is important for that reason & so many more.  I feel like reading it would go a long way to helping making people more empathetic and understanding.  I’m not going to be able to do the book justice in just describing it, so I’m going to let Jemisin’s resonant words speak for themselves.


“There are stages to the process of being betrayed by your society.  One is jolted from a place of complacency by the discovery of difference, by hypocrisy, be inexplicable or incongruous ill treatment. What follows is a time of confusion–unlearning what one thought to be truth. Immersing oneself in a new truth. And then a decision must be made. Some accept their fate. Swallow their pride, forget the real truth, embrace the falsehood for all they’re worth—because, they decide, they cannot be worth much. If a whole society has dedicated itself to their subjugation, after all, then surely they deserve it? Even if they don’t, fighting back is too painful, too impossible. At least this way there is a peace, of a sort. Fleetingly. The alternative is to demand the impossible.  It isn’t right, they whisper, weep, shout; what has been done to them is not right. They are not inferior. They do not deserve it. And so it is the society that must change. There can be peace this way, too, but not before conflict. No one reaches this place without a false start or two.”

“Some worlds are built on a fault line of pain, held up by nightmares. Don’t lament when those worlds fall. Rage that they were built doomed in the first place.”

“But there are none so frightened, or so strange in their fear, as conquerors. They conjure phantoms endlessly, terrified that their victims will someday do back what was done to them—even if, in truth, their victims couldn’t care less about such pettiness and have moved on. Conquerors live in dread of the day when they are shown to be, not superior, but simply lucky.” 

“They’re afraid because we exist, she says. There’s nothing we did to provoke their fear, other than exist. There’s nothing we can do to earn their approval, except stop existing – so we can either die like they want, or laugh at their cowardice and go on with our lives.”

“But for a society build on exploitation, there is no greater threat than having no one left to oppress.”
 
“No voting on who gets to be people.”

I think I would choose A Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood since I see it as a cautionary tale on what could happen when we lose our voices.
Even though it takes place in a dystopian future, many parts ring true, especially when you take a closer look at a not-so-distant future that enforces rape culture, control of reproductive rights, and inequality.
Is it all too unrealistic?
Hopefully, we’ll never have to worry about living in a totalitarian state. Perhaps it’s just fiction, but what if?


Wow, this was a tough one. I couldn’t quite decide between a quick picture book or a long series, so I chose both.

The little bit scary people– This picture book talks about how differences can be scary, but everyone has something familiar as well, so you have to look beyond the surface.

The Night Watch set in the Discworld series, most particularly Thud. This series within the greater series follows the overnight police force in the city of Ankh Morpork. At the start, they are fairly standard cliches of white guy policemen, but they become such rich characters, dealing with many social and political issues, as the books go on. The Watch opens up to women and other races, and deals with many greater issues in the world at large.


What book would you recommend?  Leave us your suggestion in the comments below!

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Deck the walls

The holiday season is upon us! Perhaps you are hosting family or friends in your home, or perhaps you’d like to spruce things up for yourself. It’s the perfect time to borrow an art print (or two!) from the library. We have over 300 to choose from!

What to Know About Borrowing an Art Print

  • You can borrow an art print for six weeks – much longer than a book!
  • Art prints are located in bins on the second floor, as well as on the walls throughout the building, including the stairwell and fourth floor rotunda. Go ahead, take one off the wall!
  • When you check out at the desk, you’ll get a sturdy canvas bag with handles to carry your art print home and back.
  • Please handle art prints with care. Hold them by their hanging wire or with two hands on opposite sides of the frame, when not carrying them in their bags.

That’s it! View our online gallery of art prints, or, better yet, come see them in person and take one home.

Display table showing framed art prints

Art prints will be on display near the elevator for the first half of December. (Please excuse the reflections from the lights.)

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QBG’s Annual “I’m Feeling Pot-lucky” Potluck!

This Wednesday 11/28 in the Robbins Library 4th Floor Conference Room – join us for our annual “I’m Feeling Pot-lucky” Potluck! Bring a dish to share with the group (if you can) & or just come enjoy the labor of others!

Per Massachusetts state law we need to let you know that the neither the food nor the facilities have been inspected by the state or by a local public health agency.

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NaNoWriMo Write-In at Robbins (November 26)

Logo_of_National_Novel_Writing_MonthWe’re on the 4th week of November and those of you participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) are probably working steadily on your big projects (right!?).

The good news is, you still have time! Even better, Robbins Library wants to help you complete your writing goals and we have the perfect event just for you!

Come join us on November 26 for a quiet evening just for writing. We’ll be meeting at the 4th floor conference room from 6:00pm until 8:30pm and sharing refreshments to fuel participants’ creativity. Need more motivation? We have a prize (see pictures) for the highest word count!

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Bring your notebooks, pens, laptops, red markers, and rough drafts and conquer the written word! We look forward to seeing you!

Monday, November 26
6:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Robbins Library Conference Room

Additional resources:
NaNoWrimo
NaNo Prep

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Not-So Young Adult Book Group Reads The Truth About Forever (December 17)

The next NSYA group meeting will take place on Monday,  December 17 at 7pm in the 4th floor’s conference room. We’ll be discussing The truth about forever by Sarah Dessen.

Goodreads description:

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A long, hot summer…

That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.

But sometimes, unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to question her sheltered life.

Is it really always better to be safe than sorry?

Copies of the book are available at the front desk.

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