Arlington Book Festival- November 5 2016

Save the date! Clear your calendars! Arlington Book Festival will be returning to Robbins Library on Saturday November 5, 2016.

Local authors can apply online or in the library. Click here for the 2016 ABF Author Applications and return it to Robbins Library. Check out a post about the 2014 event to learn more. Watch this space for more details. #arlbookfest


arlington book fest_final_color_croppedmore

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Next NSYA book group meeting


Classic book, contemporary cover!

Thanks to everyone who came to our great discussion of Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys!

Next time we’ll be talking about a classic, Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume:

Davey Wexler has never felt so alone. Her father has just been killed—shot in a holdup at the 7-Eleven near their home. And now her mother has transplanted her and her little brother, Jason, to Los Alamos, New Mexico, to stay with family and recover.

But Davey is withdrawn, full of rage and fear and loneliness. Then one day, while exploring a canyon, she meets an older boy who calls himself Wolf. Wolf is the only one who understands her—the only one who can read her sad eyes. And he is the one who helps her realize that she must find a way to move forward with her life.

Davey is one of Judy Blume’s most hauntingly true human beings, capturing the deep ways a person can change that can’t be seen—only felt.

Copies of the book are available at the front desk now.

We’ll meet on September 14 at 7pm in the 4th floor conference room. Please note that from now until the end of the year many of our meetings won’t be on the 3rd Wednesday because of holidays and professional conferences, so be sure to check our flyers or book group page for exact dates.

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NSYA Book Group: last-minute venue change

saltThe Not-So-Young Adult book group meeting scheduled for the 4th floor conference room tomorrow evening, August 17, at 7pm will actually be held in the community room on the ground floor.

Sorry about the last-minute change, and I hope to see lots of you tomorrow night!

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Sew what? Fashion and its snags

We don’t often write plain old book reviews here on the library blog, but I am writing about this one because it covers an issue that affects everyone, and it explains how anyone can make changes in their own lives that will make a difference. What’s the issue? The title gave it away: clothing.

Cover image of Overdressed

Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline (2012) examines the state of “fast fashion” today, traces its evolution, and explores its impact on the garment industry, the planet, and our closets.

It surprised my friends and family when I started talking about this book, because I am not really interested in clothes – I’m certainly not “fashionable” – so why would I read a book about fashion? The truth is that I heard about this book a few times from different sources, and when I picked it up, I realized that Cline had several convincing points to make about the current state of cheap fashion.

In short, she argues that it’s really not a good thing that we can buy a shirt for $4: consumers, garment workers, and the environment would all be better off if we made and bought less clothing, but made it well and took care of it. Though this used to be the case, it isn’t anymore. As Cline writes in her introduction, “We’ve gone from making good use of the clothes we own to buying things we’ll never or barely wear. We are caught in a cycle of consumption and waste that is unsettling at best and unsatisfying at its core.”

It takes a toll on the environment to make textiles in the first place, and they quickly end up in a landfill. In between, underpaid workers in foreign countries make the garments, because “the demand for cheaper and cheaper garments has all but wiped out the American garment industry,” and consumers’ closets are full of things they don’t wear. (Clothes become easy prey for those who are “KonMari-ing” their homes, and get tossed out or donated to Salvation Army or Goodwill – usually just a detour before their ultimate destination.)

Cline cites some pretty stark numbers. For example, “Every year, Americans throw away 12.7 million tons, or 68 pounds of textiles per person, according to the Environmental Protection Agency, which also estimates that 1.6 million tons of this waste could be recycled or reused.”  Clothing is cheaper than it used to be, so consumers can buy more of it, but, accordingly, it is lower-quality and doesn’t last as long.

If all this bothers you, what can you do about it? Cline presents a few ideas:

  • Educate yourself about textile quality and garment construction so you can identify good quality when you see it, instead of just trusting brand names.
  • Buy the best quality you can for your money.
  • Buy secondhand clothing at thrift or vintage stores, or participate in clothing swaps.
  • Make, alter, and mend your own clothing.*
  • Recognize that “good clothing is not cheap.”

*Cline notes, “As people moved away from making their own clothes, general public knowledge of garment construction faded.” It will take some work to regain that knowledge, but it may well be worth it.

Incidentally, the library has plenty of books on sewing, and the children’s department will even lend you a sewing machine!

What do you think of “fast fashion”? Would you consider making some of your own clothes, or trying out a clothing ban for a period of time?


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Reel Queer: An Intergenerational Queer Movie Series presents Saving Face – 8/15


The Robbins Library QBG and the Arlington Council on Aging are excited to bring you a screening of the GLADD Media Award winning film Saving Face!

“A Chinese-American lesbian and her traditionalist mother are reluctant to go public with secret loves that clash against cultural expectations.”

Join us this upcoming Monday, 8/15, at 6:30PM in the Robbins Library Community Room.  Adults of all ages are welcome to attend!

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NSYA Book Group Meets on 8/17

saltThe Not-S0-Young Adult Book Group will meet next Wednesday, August 17 at 7pm in the Robbins Library Conference Room. We’ll be talking about Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. Copies are still available at the front desk if you haven’t picked one up yet.

Copies of the next book should arrive in time for this month’s meeting. Our September book will be Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume.

The Not-So-Young Adult Book Group is a book discussion group for adults, but we read and discuss books written for teens. (No shame!) Newcomers are always welcome.

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Coming to a library near you in November 2016: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo shield logoIn the midst of the summer heat, it’s hard to believe November will be here in a mere three months, but we have it on pretty good authority that it’s coming. And November means…National Novel Writing Month! Check out to learn about the program’s origins and to sign up (it’s free). The short version is this: National Novel Writing Month challenges you to write a novel in a month.

Q. A whole novel?

A. Yes, a whole novel! Fifty thousand words, to be exact.

Q. In a month?

A. And it’s a short month, too – just 30 days! And don’t forget about Thanksgiving. If you plan to take Thanksgiving Day off, it’s just 29 days.

Q. Y’all are crazy.

A. That’s not a question.

Q. Okay…I’ve always wanted to write a novel, maybe I’ll give it a try. How can the library help?

A. Great question! The library will be hosting “Write Ins” throughout the month. We invite NaNoWriMo participants (known as “WriMos”) to come use the library space and resources: wifi, power outlets, laptops, books, databases, a general aura of creativity and spirit of literature, etc.

Come Write In round logoQ. When are these “Write Ins”? Clever name, by the way.

A. Thanks! We didn’t come up with that gem ourselves, sad to say. “Come Write In” every Tuesday evening in November from 6-9pm, and Saturdays from 10am-1pm (except the first Saturday, 11/5, which is the Arlington Book Festival – but you may want to be here for that too!).

Of course, you can “come write in” anytime the library is open, but if you want a dedicated space and the company of other WriMos, mark your calendars for Tuesday evenings and Saturdays throughout November.


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August 7th is Psychic Day

To celebrate Psychic Day with one of these books or movies, click on a cover to request it!

Psychic powers in children’s books

whisperingskull  gilda_joyce_cover   Matilda

Adult fiction with psychic themes

perfectwitness   sisterland    paperdolls2

Non-fiction about psychics

wearetheirheaven  reluctant

Television shows featuring psychic characters

Charmed_DVD_S1 medium-saison-1

Young adult fiction about psychic powers

graceling  Fire_cover    The-Raven-Boysdarkvisions   diviners

Movies with psychic themes

in-your-eyes  sixthsense   LucyMoviePoster   free-movie-film-poster-push      themenwhostareatgoats_poster     midnight-special-poster    Carrie-1976-movie-poster   carrie_ver6   firestarter


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InterLibrary Loan: What is WorldCat?

WorldCat day is August 8th!

(Let your boss know you’ll need the day off to celebrate information access! ; )

Pusheen the Cat wishes you a Happy World Cat Day!

Happy World Cat Day from

When you can’t find the book, album, or movie you want in our Minuteman Library Network catalog, and you can’t even find it in the statewide Commonwealth Catalog, you might be able to find it in WorldCat. WorldCat is an online catalog of resources held in libraries throughout the world. Ask a reference librarian to search it for you, or follow the steps below to search it yourself:


Continue reading

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Cool down in August with a documentary set in the Arctic North. Join us on August 18th at 7 p.m. in the Robbins Library Community Room for a screen of Arctic Defenders.

John Walker, Director | Canada | 2013 | Doc | U.S. PREMIERE

Set in the dramatic and alluring landscape of the north, Arctic Defenders tells the remarkable story that began in 1968 with a radical Inuit movement that changed the political landscape forever. It led to the largest land claim in western civilization, orchestrated by young visionary Inuits with a dream – the governance of their territory – the creation of Nunavut. The story reveals Canada’s misguided attempts at sovereignty in the north and finds hope and inspiration from determined people who changed the rules of the game.



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