QBG Reads… I Can’t Date Jesus

Join us on Wednesday 4/24 for a discussion of the autobiography I Can’t Date Jesus: Love, Sex, Family, Race, and Other Reasons I’ve Put My Faith In Beyoncé by Michael Arceneaux.

In the style of New York Times bestsellers You Can’t Touch My Hair, Bad Feminist, and I’m Judging You, a timely collection of alternately hysterical and soul-searching essays about what it is like to grow up as a creative, sensitive black man in a world that constantly tries to deride and diminish your humanity. It hasn’t been easy being Michael Arceneaux. Equality for LGBT people has come a long way and all, but voices of persons of color within the community are still often silenced, and being black in America is… well, have you watched the news? With the characteristic wit and candor that have made him one of today’s boldest writers on social issues, I Can’t Date Jesus is Michael Arceneaux’s impassioned, forthright, and refreshing look at minority life in today’s America. Leaving no bigoted or ignorant stone unturned, he describes his journey in learning to embrace his identity when the world told him to do the opposite. He eloquently writes about coming out to his mother; growing up in Houston, Texas; that time his father asked if he was ‘funny’ while shaking his hand; his obstacles in embracing intimacy; and the persistent challenges of young people who feel marginalized and denied the chance to pursue their dreams. Perfect for fans of David Sedaris and Phoebe Robinson, I Can’t Date Jesus tells us–without apologies–what it’s like to be outspoken and brave in a divisive world.

There are still copies of the book at the circulation desk here at the Robbins Library!

Queer Book Group / Social reads great LGBTQ-themed books, both fiction and non-fiction, and hosts LGBTQ-themed social events. New members are welcome! Come make some new friends & expand your community!


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NSYA Book Group Meeting – Reminder (April 22)

16099325The next NSYA book group meeting will take place Monday, April 22 at 7pm in Robbins Library’s conference room (4th floor). We’ll be discussing Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan

Copies of the next book, #NotYourPrincess: voices of Native American women by Mary Beth Leatherdale, Lisa Charleyboy (editors), are on their way and will be available to pick up after the meeting.

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Can’t Get Enough!

This month we’ve asked our librarians to tell us which stand-alone books they think need a sequel.  Read their responses below!

Crooked Little Vein by Warren Ellis still freaks me out a little. So many of the subplots were taken from actual things and events that Ellis discovered as a journalist in the earliest years 0f the web, when it was still wild. The back of the book (that I have at least) comes with every link that inspired the story; some of which were broken and lost by the time the book was published. I’d love another weird story investigating the dark web these days and the awful and hilarious events that could tangle them all.

I’d also really like for him to write more of his graphic novels Fell and Desolation Jones. Both of which I don’t think were intended to be stand-alones.

Ellis is a weird and brilliant storyteller. I just always want more of his work.

So much cool stuff and interesting characters in Power Up by Kate Leth, I just can’t help but wanting to see this world & these relationships developed even more!
I fell so in love with Juliet in Juliet Takes A Breath by Gabby Rivera and I would love to see more of her journey towards figuring out who she is and what she ends up doing with her life!
Paul’s powers in Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl and I’d love a novel that explores that aspect a little more, even with a different character!
I can’t say too much about what piece of Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg I’d like to see explored without spoiling things, but the ending of this book means that it’s ripe for a sequel or spin-off!

A Scanner Darkly by Phllip K. Dick: For the sake of spoilers I will keep this vague, but I would really like to know what happens after a certain character is placed in a certain type of facility (those who’ve read the book know what I am hinting at).
Things We Lost In The Fire by Mariana Enriquez : It’s a short story comp. But many of these story could be turned into full length books or novelas.

Nevada by Imogen Binnie – It just… ends, and that’s not fair.

Which books do you think need a sequel?  Let us know in the comments below!
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Which art prints are we talking about? Not the ones you might expect.

Town Meeting Warrant Article 39 proposes “To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Library Board of Trustees to deaccession and/or dispose of by sale, donation, or other means, the Robbins Art Print Collection; or take any action related thereto.”

Among our most popular collections of unexpected items you can borrow from the library is our circulating art prints collection, housed on the 2nd floor of the Robbins Library. No matter what course of action is taken on Warrant Article 39, we will continue to support the circulating art print collection which allows library patrons to borrow a framed art print for six weeks at a time.

Warrant Article 39 refers to a collection of approximately 150,000 art prints amassed by Winfield Robbins during his travels to Europe–mostly portraits of European aristocrats purchased indiscriminately in bulk. At the time of his death in 1910, he left the prints as a gift to the Town to be held in the Robbins Library. They are still here.

A view of art prints currently stored in the 4th floor conference room

Although they have consistently declined in value, do not relate to Arlington in subject matter, and have proven over the years to be of minimal interest to the community and to collectors, these prints remain housed in the Robbins Library. Put end to end, they would cover over 30 miles. Stacked, the tower of storage boxes would reach 13 stories. This vast collection of prints occupies space in our 4th floor conference room, a room off the 4th floor rotunda, shelves in staff offices, and an attic storage space adjacent to the Local History Room. None of these spaces were designed for art print storage.

As far back as 1925, concerns were expressed about the maintenance of this collection and every decade since, Library Trustees and Library Directors have struggled to find use for it and to maintain it in accordance with Winfield Robbins’s original bequest. The collection came with a very specific bequest for the “care, preservation, increase and purchase of his print collection” ($25,000 in 1910, now worth approximately $684,000) and his cousin Ida Robbins also provided a bequest for “the purchase and care of Prints” ($30,000 in 1949, now worth approximately $548,000).

To “deaccession” means to sell or otherwise dispose of an item in a collection. This is common practice at museums and other institutions. In public libraries specifically, it’s known as de-acquisition or weeding the collection. As we purchase new materials to meet the needs of our patrons, we weed the collection according to professional standards and guidelines as explained in our Collection Development Policy. There are exceptions of course, for example we treat our Local History collection more like an archive. The Winfield Robbins Art Print collection is not part of the library’s circulating collection nor does it fit the criteria of our Local History collection.

If the warrant article were approved, the Library Trustees and Administration would move forward in trying to sell or give away the Winfield Robbins prints. As the prints are Town property, any funds secured would be directed into the Town’s general fund. If feasible, the funds would be earmarked for continued support of the libraries, as was Winfield Robbins’s original intention.

The Town is working on a parallel process with the Attorney General’s office to review the bequest language and determine if the original purpose has been frustrated, given that the Board of Trustees and the Library has been unable for decades to use any significant amount of the funds towards the narrowly stated purpose. If that request were approved, the funds would be eligible for some other, yet to be determined, use in support of the Library. With significant renovations proposed in the coming years, the Board is hopeful that the Library would have access to these funds to help reduce the burden on the Town. Furthermore the use would still be well aligned with Winfield Robbins’s desire to support the Library.

Our mission states: “The Library is a vital community center for all. We create opportunities for lifelong learning, personal fulfillment and enjoyment that make Arlington a great place to live, work, study, and visit. We are committed to services that anticipate and respond to the needs and interests of all who use the library.”

It may surprise many to learn we have this massive collection of art prints, but it will probably surprise no one to learn that we are not equipped or staffed to curate a collection of prints larger than the collections of many dedicated art museums. We are, however, equipped and staffed to offer public library services to the Town of Arlington and we do so with energy and commitment to our ever-evolving community of patrons, many of whom love to borrow thermal cameras, puzzles, spiralizers, and yes, framed art prints.

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Spring Library Knit-A-Long

We had so much fun at our February knit-a-long, that we decided to do it again! We hope you can join us this April, to meet other knitters from your community while you make something useful and beautiful.

We’ll all knit Calorimetry, a free headband pattern. You can find the pattern on Ravelry or at http://knitty.com/ISSUEwinter06/PATTcalorimetry.html. Come to as many or as few meetings as you like. Bring a copy of the pattern and your own knitting supplies. Bonus: this pattern is great for using up leftovers in your stash!


Image from knitty.com


  • Saturday, April 6, 1:30-2:30 pm @ Fox
  • Wednesday, April 1, 7-8 pm @ Fox
  • Wednesday, April 17, 7-8 pm @ Robbins
  • Thursday, April 25, 2-3 pm @ Robbins
  • Tuesday, April 3, 7-8 pm @ Robbins
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Not-So Young Adult Book Group Reads Golden Boy (April 22)

The next NSYA group meeting will take place on Monday, April 22 at 7pm in the 4th floor’s conference room. We’ll be discussing Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan.

Goodreads description:

16099325Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different— light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists. Habo is strange and alone. His father, unable to accept Habo, abandons the family; his mother can scarcely look at him. His brothers are cruel and the other children never invite him to play. Only his sister Asu loves him well. But even Asu can’t take the sting away when the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame.

Seeking refuge in Mwanza, Habo and his family journey across the Serengeti. His aunt is glad to open her home until she sees Habo for the first time, and then she is only afraid. Suddenly, Habo has a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt Albinos in Mwanza because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck. And soon Habo is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete.

To survive, Habo must not only run but find a way to love and accept himself.

Copies of the book are available at the front desk.


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Women’s History Month

Did you know March is Women’s History Month?

You can trace its roots all the way back to Women’s Day in 1909, organized by the Socialist Party in honor of the one-year anniversary of the garment worker’s strikes in New York and to Women’s History Week in 1978, started by the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County Commission in California. In 1980, the National Women’s History Project (now known as the National Women’s History Alliance) pushed for national recognition of the week-long celebration. Shortly after, President Jimmy Carter issued the first presidential proclamation recognizing the week of March 8 as National Women’s History Week, followed by a congressional resolution. Six years later, the National Women’s History Project successfully petitioned Congress to expand the event to the entire month of March.

Want to join the month-long celebration? Read a book!
Here’s a list of ten books published in March by women and about women:

Continue reading

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NSYA Book Group Meeting – Reminder (March 18)

refugee-cover-1682pxThe next NSYA book group meeting will take place Monday, March 18 at 7pm in Robbins Library’s conference room (4th floor). We’ll be discussing the Arlington Reads Together community read, Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Copies of the next book, Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan, are on their way and will be available to pick up after the meeting.

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Arlington Reads Together in March

ART thumbnailWe welcome the community to join us for our annual community read program, Arlington Reads Together!  Since 2003 Arlington has come together around a title with book groups, panel discussions, and more. The year we are reading Refugee by Alan Gratz.  Throughout the month of March we’ll be looking at issues surrounding refugees, asylum seekers, immigrants, and displaced people.  Find the full list of activities below, or print out a PDF of the ART Events and Discussions list.  Copies of the book are available in special displays at both the Robbins and Fox libraries and additional copies are available through the Minuteman Digital Library.

Premier Events

How Arlington Supports Displaced People at Home and Abroad
Wednesday, March 6
7:00 pm
Robbins Library Community Room
In this panel session we will hear how community organizations in Massachusetts support displaced people locally and globally. Panelists Sarah Trilling and Elizabeth Dray will share information and stories from their work with The Arlington-Teosinte Sister City Project and the ArCS Cluster of RIM.

A Conversation About Refugee Services in New England Today with Jeffrey jeffrey-thielman littleThielman
Tuesday, March 26
Robbins Library Community Room
The International Institute of New England works to create opportunities for refugees and immigrants to succeed through resettlement, education, career advancement and pathways to citizenship. In this conversation, we will hear from a refugee client of IINE, as well as learn about the global, national, and local political issues impacting refugees today.

Special Events

The Roots of the Central American Refugee Crisis
Saturday, March 2
2:00 pm
Robbins Library Community Room
A screening of the the award-winning documentary “Harvest of Empire” followed by a discussion with Patricia Montes. This event is co-sponsored by The Arlington-Teosinte Sister City Project, ArCS Cluster of RIM, Centro Presente, and the International Institute of New England. This event is appropriate for older teens and adults. This film is unrated and has a runtime of 1h 30m.

The Friends of Robbins Library Present: Reading Room Concert Series: Albino Mbie–Celebrating Love and Life
Sunday, March 3
3:00 pm
Robbins Library Reading Room
Albino Mbie brings his musical heritage from his homeland of Mozambique to his jazz, blending sounds from around the world.

LGBT Asylum Task Force
Wednesday, March 13
7:00 – 8:30 pm
Robbins Library Community Room
The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Asylum Task Force is a ministry of Hadwen Park Church and a community-based organization dedicated to supporting and empowering LGBTQI individuals who are seeking asylum in the United States. Hear from a volunteer working with the organization, as well as client receiving support from the Task Force.

PLUGGED iN Film Screening–Fire at Seafireatsea_small
Monday, March 18
6:30 pm
Robbins Library Community Room
Lampedusa, a remote Mediterranean island has become a major entry point for refugees into Europe. Fire at Sea follows the thousands of refugees making the dangerous crossing from Africa. This film is in Italian with English subtitles. The film is unrated and has a runtime of 1h 48m.

Teen Space Ted Talk
Tuesday, March 19
1:30 p.m.
Teen Space
Come watch a curated playlist of Ted Talks based on refugee status; what it means, how we can help, and what it’s like to be one. We’ll discuss the talks and how they relate to Refugee.  Snacks, discussion, and entertaining, enlightening videos. For grades 6-12.

Book Discussions refugee-cover-1682px

Adult Book Discussions
(All Adult Book Discussions will take place in the Robbins Library Conference Room)

Refugee Book Discussion
Saturday, March 2
11:00 am

Not-So-Young Adult Book Group Reads Refugee
Monday, March 18
7:00 p.m.

Brown Bag Lunch Book Discussion: Refugee
Friday, March 22
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Feel free to bring your lunch. Cookies (gluten-free and non) will be served.

Afternoon Book Discussion
Thursday, March 28
1:00 p.m.

Book Discussions for Children, Teens, and Families

ART Family Storytime
Thursday, March 7th
6:30 pm
Robbins Children’s Room
ages 4 and up
Come listen to picture book stories about kids who have immigrated to the United States. We’ll read stories and then do a craft.

Graphic Novel Book Club for Grades 3-5
Saturday, March 9
1:30 – 2:30 pm
Fox Library Community Room
The Graphic Novel Book Club will discuss Azzi In Between by Sarah Garland and how it ties into Refugee. Registration opens Saturday, February 9. Register online, then pick up a copy of the book at the Library. https://graphicnovelbookclubmarch2019.eventbrite.com/
The club is open to students in Grades 3-5.

Middle School Refugee Chapter Read-a-loud
Friday March 15
3:00 p.m.
Robbins Library Community Room
Haven’t had time to read Refugee yet? Or just want to revisit a really good chapter? Come listen to a part of the book read out loud while munching on popcorn and relaxing. For grades 6-8.

Refugee Family Book Discussion
Wednesday, March 27
7:00 – 8:00 pm
Fox Library Community Room
Families with children in Grades 5 and up are invited to discuss Refugee.

Month Long Food Drive Supporting the Arlington Food Pantryafp-logo-final_white-background
The Arlington Food Pantry is an important resource for asylum seekers in our community. During the month of March Arlington’s libraries will be supporting the Food Pantry with collection boxes at both the Robbins and Fox libraries. Curious about what to donate? Read more about suggested items for donations. https://arlingtonfoodpantry.org/donate-food/

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Go Green!

This month we asked our librarians for their favorite books that have a green cover, or the word green in the title.  Here are the results!

Greenglass House by Kate Milford, of course! (And also Ghosts of Greenglass House, and The Left-Handed Fate, and Bluecrowne.) Does seafoam green count? If so, then The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, and The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg (OK, that last one is probably more turquoise than seafoam…)

At first I thought this was going to be super hard, but I have the perfect choice. I have no idea if this book has any traction out side of the small subset of vaguely Jewish/vaguely hippie-ish people who live in the JP area and either are, have been, or have a white 6th grader in Boston Public schools, but I’m going to put it here anyway:

Green, Sam Graham-Felsen: A white sixth grader in Boston tries to grapple with race, Judaism, community, and navigating school. Funny, sad, and oh so true!

Saga of the Swamp Thing – Alan Moore
Dissolving Classroom – Junji Ito
The Secret Life of Saeed: The Pessoptimist – Emile Habibi
Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic – Allison Bechdel
The World of Edena – Moebius
Agony – Mark Beyer
The Dispossessed – Ursula LeGuin
The Light Fantastic – Terry Prachett

A childhood & all-time favorite: Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery 🙂

Also, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Eye-catching cover and happens to contain one of my favorite quotes: “We accept the love we think we deserve.”

Favorite books with green in the title:
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (obviously!)
Black Swan Green by David Mitchell

Favorite books with green covers:
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling
How To Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
The Painted Veil by W. Somerset Maugham
Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

I’m so glad you asked this question! My favorite picture book from 2017 was Green Pants by Kenneth Kraegel. It’s about a little kid who feels like he can do anything when he’s wearing his green pants. I also like Go Away Big Green Monster by Ed Emberley.

Also, How Green Was My Valley (a movie from 1941.) I never read the book. But the movie is breathtakingly beautiful and sad.

The Wilds Vol 1 by  Vita Ayala, illus. Emily Pearson
Bandette, Volume 3: The House of the Green Mask by Paul Tobin, illus. Colleen Coover (Volumes 1 & 2 are great too, just not green!)
The Devourers by Indra Das
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero
Monstrous Affections: An Anthology of Beastly Tales edited by Kelly Link
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Borne by Jeff VanderMeer
The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
The Descent of Monsters by J.Y. Yang (The first two books in the series are fantastic as well, but they’re red & blue.)
The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill
A Quick & Easy Guide to They/Them Pronouns by Archie Bongiovanni & Tristan Jimerson
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven  by Marjorie M. Liu, illus Sana Takeda (The other volumes are just as good, but significantly less green.)
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

The Freedom Maze, by Delia Sherman, is an exploration of a family’s complicated history with slavery set in the 1960s and the 1860s. This book is a great example of what I love about children’s literature: it addresses and confronts difficult topics in an engaging way that is approachable to readers of all ages.

Do you have any favorite green books?  Let us know in the comments below!

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