Get in the Mood for Tonight’s Burlesque Program!

One night only!  Wednesday, 10/7!  Tonight!                                                                Burlesque historian Liz Rieur traces the history of American Burlesque – from stage epic to striptease spectacular!

American Burlesque (1)

Need some mood music?  Try out this familiar tune, by David Rose and His Orchestra.

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Come Write In for NaNoWriMo 2015

NaNoWriMo shield logoNovember is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and what better place to write your novel than at the library? That’s why we’re inviting all NaNoWriMo participants to “Come Write In” the library throughout November. Whether you’re a NaNo veteran or a first-time WriMo, you’re welcome to “come write in.”

Writing a novel is a pretty big deal, so for those who want a jump-start, we’re hosting a kickoff planning session on Saturday, October 31*, from 10-noon in the Robbins Library Conference Room. Work on your outline, do some research, figure out your words-per-day goal**, pick up a free NaNoWriMo bookmark, and meet other writers!

*Costumes optional.

**50,000 words divided by 30 days equals 1,667 words per day; if you want to take Thanksgiving off, your goal is 1,724 words per day.

Of course, WriMos are welcome to use the library anytime it’s open (see Hours & Directions). We’ve always got free wireless, power outlets for your laptops, library laptops you can check out, individual study carrels, tables for group work, private study rooms, and plenty of books, newspapers, and databases for research and inspirational purposes.

nano_12_new_Come_Write_In_Logo1But writing can be lonely, and it’s nice to have company, especially when you’re trying to churn out 50,000 words in a month! So we’re hosting “Come Write In” sessions every Saturday in November from 10am-2pm in the Robbins Library Conference Room.

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? Requests? Contact us.

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Books change lives, books save lives

“Reading is not something extra. It’s something essential.” –Jennifer LaGarde, a school librarian in North Carolina

This year, the trend among the Banned Books Week articles and blog posts seems to be to point out that few books are actually banned in this country these days, and that is – fortunately! – true. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t still important to make sure readers of all ages have access to all kinds of books. You never know what book might change – or even save – someone’s life.

That’s why we have the “books change lives…books save lives” jar on our Banned Books Week display table. We asked readers to think about which books were important to them, and imagine if they hadn’t been able to read those books. Below are many of the titles people put in the jar this year; some of these books and authors were mentioned more than once, and some were mentioned for the second year in a row (see some of last year’s books here):

Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi

Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (at age 11) Cover image of Are You There God? It's Me Margaret

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (at age 38)

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green Cover image of The Fault in Our Stars

Fat Angie by E.E. Charlton-Trujillo

A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling Cover of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. LeGuin

Little, Big by John Crowley

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (at age 30) Cover image of Anna Karenina

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Macbeth and Othello by William Shakespeare Cover image of Our Bodies, Ourselves

Our Bodies, Ourselves by Boston Women’s Health Book Collective

The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig

Rubyfruit Jungle by Rita Mae Brown

Excellent Sheep by William Deresiewicz Cover image of Free Range Kids

Free Range Kids by Lenore Skenazy

The Endurance by Caroline Alexander

The Persistent Desire by Joan Nestle (ed.)

Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Estes

Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking by Julia Bascom (ed.)

The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn Saks

The Feminine Mystique by Betty FriedanCover image of The Feminine Mystique

Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

The Collected Poems of Dylan Thomas, 1934-1952

Poetry as Survival by Gregory Orr

The Kama Sutra

The Bible

As you can see, there are all kinds of books on this list, from picture books to young adult novels to classics to nonfiction to poetry. There’s no telling which book will be the right book at the right time for the right reader, which is why having a library full of options is so important.

If you didn’t have a chance to stop by the library and add a book to the jar, leave a comment on the blog! Or, tell us if you’ve read one of the books above.

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Next Not-So-Young Adult Book Group

RedQueenThe next NSYA book is Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. Here’s a description from the library catalog:

“Graceling meets The Selection in debut novelist Victoria Aveyard’s sweeping tale of seventeen-year-old Mare, a common girl whose once-latent magical power draws her into the dangerous intrigue of the king’s palace. Will her power save her or condemn her? Mare Barrow’s world is divided by blood–those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own. To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard–a growing Red rebellion–even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.

I haven’t read it yet, but I’ve heard great things from very reliable sources like our Teen Librarian. Plus, it’s compared to both Graceling and The Selection and I totally loved both of those books!

We’ll be discussing the book on October 20 at 7pm in the Robbins Library Conference Room. Copies are available now – ask for them at the front desk.

At that meeting, we’ll also be voting on upcoming books, so you won’t want to miss it!

In the meantime, if you’re not getting enough of YA books and authors, you might want to check out the Boston Teen Author Festival on September 26 at the Cambridge Public Library.

The NSYA Book Group is a friendly, casual book group group for adults in which we read and discuss books written for teens.

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She Rises with Queer Book Group

QBG_she rises

Do you like Sarah Waters, but weren’t thrilled with her latest book?  Do you like milkmaids and salty sailors?  Do you like beautiful book covers? Excellent.  Read this book from newcomer Kate Worsley and then join us for what will probably be a feisty discussion.

Copies are available at the circulation desk.

Click here for a more detailed review.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Wed., 10/28 *** 7 PM ***4th Floor

             Email Rebecca for more info: 781.316.3226 

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Banned Books Week 2015: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

FREADOM Celebrate the Right to Read banner

“Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read….It highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.” –ALA Banned Books Week 2015

Celebrate the freedom to read

Read a banned or challenged book….or any book you want. Freedom to read – that’s the point!

“Banned Books Week” is a bit of a misnomer, really. First of all, in most cases, books aren’t outright banned, they’re “challenged,” which may result in a book being moved from the kids’ area of the library to the teen area, or the teen area to the adult area. More seriously, a book may be removed from the library altogether, or removed from a course syllabus in a school. Even if a book is removed from the shelves of a school library, though, it’s often still available at the public library or local bookstore or to order online. “Challenged Books Week” doesn’t have the same ring, though, so the American Library Association has decided to stick with the original name.

“The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.” –ALA Banned Books Week 2015

Here in Arlington, we celebrate the freedom to read year-round by making sure that our libraries have materials that represent multiple viewpoints and life experiences. We hope that all readers can find what they want and need at the library, whether that means a book about liberal or conservative politics, a memoir about depression, or a fantasy novel in which witches and wizards perform magic. The library should have something for everyone; as the ALA Code of Ethics states, “We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources.”

Extra large mason jar with "books change lives" label outside, colored slips of paper inside.This year, we’ll be bringing back the “Books change lives…Books save lives” jar. The Banned Books Week display will be up all month, so please stop by and let us know if there’s a book that changed your life or helped you in some way, large or small. Highlighting these books shows how important the freedom to read truly is.

Read Banned Books Week blog posts from past years here.

Table with Banned Books Week poster, fake fire, and Books Change Lives jar


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ALT+ Library Series Aims to Misbehave (a little, anyway)

There’s a new series of programs coming to the Robbins Library, and we think those programs are a little bit different.  ALT+Library is a series aimed at folks who are 20 – 30 somethings who are looking to expand their community, have fun, and maybe learn something new.

And speaking of learning something new…how much do you actually know about the history of Burlesque in America?  Some, maybe.  But probably not enough to own bar trivia night.

American Burlesque (1)
That’s where the library comes in. Our first program under this new banner is American Burlesque: The Naked Truth.   It’ll be presented by burlesque historian, Liz Rieur, and will trace the history of burlesque* in America, from the 1860’s – to present with a special focus on Boston’s own burlesque history.

Wednesday, Oct. 7     7 PM           Community Room      

*jiggles, bumps, grinds and shimmies included.    


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