Help pick the next Arlington Reads Together Title

ART LogoSince 2003 the annual Arlington Reads Together program has inspired the community to come together to talk about great books and inspiring ideas.   

The Arlington Reads Together (ART) selection committee is again seeking book nominations from Arlingtonians. Have you read a book that explores the issues Arlington is facing? Have an idea for a great community read book?  Please share it with the committee by emailing Anna Litten at alitten@minlib.net or via the 2021 ART Title Nomination  by July 17.

If you are interested in serving on the ART selection committee, please contact Anna Litten at alitten@minlib.net.  Selection committee members review nominations over the summer and select a title in the fall.  Meetings are held on Zoom.  New members who bring a diversity of experiences and ages urged to consider joining this committee.  We hope to raise the voice of the underrepresented  through the ART selection.  

Arlington Reads Together is a joint project of the Robbins Library Library and Envision Arlington’s Diversity Task Group. Addressing issues of diversity is a theme the committee looks for in books and places at the center of the community read program. Arlingtonians are encouraged to think about the diversity issues the town is facing: racial, religious, immigration, population transition, changing socioeconomics, cultural competence. This year, as Arlington and the nation face discussions of systemic racism and understanding racial equity, we hope to see nominations for books that will help the community come together to discuss race and inequity in our lives.  

The community read program began in 2002 as a way of bringing the town together through literature. Now entering its 18th year, the program strives to connect people through shared experiences, strengthening bonds within our town, exploring ideas to break down preconceptions or stereotypes and giving people the opportunity to explore one topic–together. 

Suggestions and questions can be directed to Anna Litten at alitten@minlib.net or 781-316-3202.

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Robbins Library Reopens for Contactless Pickup

Arlingtonians can now add Robbins Library to the list of places open for contactless pickup in town. 

Phased reopening of Arlington’s Libraries has begun with appointments for contactless pickup of library materials.  

Using your library card, reserve books, DVDs, and other library materials through your account at Minuteman Library Network, via the MLN app, or by calling the library at 781-316-3233. 

You will receive an email notification once items are available, along with information about reserving a pickup time. Use the new Minuteman Library Network contactless pickup booking tool. If you do not use email, library staff will call you to schedule your pickup time. Hours for contactless pickup are Monday – Friday, 9:30 – 4:30, and Saturday 9:30 – 11:30.  Contactless pickup is simple: 

  • Come to the Robbins Library main entrance where you will see the pickup shelves. 
  • Find your items filed alphabetically with a slip showing the first 3 letters of your last name, first initial, and last 4 digits of your library card number. Example:  Anna Banana with the card number 24860001234567 would find her items with the slip BAN A 4567
  • Your items are already checked out to you and ready to go.

“We’re so happy to offer a safe and easy way to connect people with library materials again,” says Director of Libraries Andrea Nicolay, “More downloadable books have been checked out during quarantine than ever before, and that’s great to see, but access to physical collections offers people more choices and reunites our readers with actual books.”

 

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DNF (Did Not Finish)

This month we asked our librarians to tell us some recent books they decided to stop reading, and if they have any rules of thumb about when it’s time to put a book down.  Here are their responses!


I used to always stick with books hoping that even if I didn’t love them, they would get better later or somehow I’d still feel glad to have read them when I was done. But at some point I realized that life is just too short and there are TOO MANY BOOKS OUT THERE TO READ. I just can’t spend time on books that aren’t doing it for me! Here are the last few that I put down without finishing – I stopped after just a few chapters of each. I usually decide by 50 or so pages into the book whether or not I’ll continue.

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell: the premise sounded pretty interesting, but I just couldn’t get into it. It was kind of boring and I didn’t care about the characters.

Straight Man by Richard Russo: I do like this author, but I think I just wasn’t in the mood for a book about a neurotic middle-aged man. Also, it was published in kind of a different time and some of the humor didn’t really hold up.

Everfair by Nisi Shawl: I really wanted to like this one! It’s an alternate history/steampunk novel set in the Congo and it sounded great. It probably IS great, but the first few chapters were all from different perspectives and the switching around kind of confused me before I had a chance to get into it. I have a feeling that it just wasn’t the right time for me to read it because I wasn’t able to focus.


Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters
Strange Weather by Joe Hill
Maisie Dobbs by Jacqueline Winspear

These are just a few books in the past two years I’ve started and never finished. Most of the time, I’ll drop a book if I can’t get into it within the first couple of chapters. I do make a note of re-considering it later on. I don’t think it has much to do with my preferences. I just feel like reading something else and there’s so much to choose from! Other times, I just don’t connect with characters, and that’s very important to me as a reader. I know I’d like to give Celeste Ng and Sarah Waters another go, even if I couldn’t get into those particular titles.


As my to-read pile has grown, I’ve become more likely to put down a book if it’s not grabbing me within the first 25-50 pages.  I’ve had to teach myself to parse out if I’m just not in the mood for a specific kind of story or if it’s something I wouldn’t enjoy even if I was in the right mood.  I’ve made peace with the fact that not every book is for me, even if the premise sounds great.  There are plenty of books out there that I will enjoy, why waste time on something I’m not having a good time reading? I can always come back to it later if I feel like I’m in a place to enjoy it.

A few titles I’ve put down for one reason or another are:

Evicted by Matthew Desmond (I wasn’t a fan of how much things were jumping around in this book.  It made it difficult to follow.  It got repetitive and ramble-y as well, and from what I read of it, I wish it had a tighter edit.)

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (I thought the tie-ins to the images felt forced and stilted.  Despite sounding like it was right up my alley, it just never grabbed me in a way that made me care about the characters or the events that were unfolding.)

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe (I think I’ll give this one another try someday, I think I just needed something a bit more fast paced when I picked this one up.)

The Maze Runner by James Dashner (Just not for me. Nothing about the beginning of the book interested me in the slightest.)

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman (I want to read this someday, but it felt a bit more irreverent than what I wanted at the time.)

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (I made it through most of this because there were glimmers of interesting things here and there, but it just ended up feeling like a slog too much of the time.)

Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes (This is one where the author definitely goes hard in pushing a tone in the beginning of the book, and something about the tone was rubbing me the wrong way. I may revisit this eventually to see if it was a wrong time situation, but I have a suspicion that’s it’s just not my cup of tea.)


What are the last books you didn’t finish?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Adult Summer Reading Bingo Square: Fantasy novels with diverse main characters (inclusive fantasy)

Need help finding books and movies to complete your summer reading bingo sheet? Here are some recommendations for the Fantasy novels with diverse main characters (inclusive fantasy) bingo square!

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Adult Summer Reading Bingo Square: Books Inspired By Greek Mythology

Need help finding books to complete your summer reading bingo sheet? Here are some recommendations for the Books Inspired By Greek Mythology bingo square!

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Adult Summer Reading Bingo Square: Fairy Tale Retellings

Need help finding books and movies to complete your summer reading bingo sheet? Here are some recommendations for the Fairy Tale Retellings bingo square!

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Robbins Library Business Series: FREE Business Mentorship Available Through SCORE

It’s always great to evaluate our businesses on a regular basis. During this crazy time, it’s a great opportunity to see if our businesses need some adjustments to our business basics. Many of us have had to adjust our strategies because our clients/customers needs have shifted during the last few months.

Here are some questions to help drill into your business fundamentals:

  • Who do you serve? {Ideal Client}
  • What problems of theirs do you solve? {Painful, Timely Problems Needing Solving}
  • How do you uniquely solve these problems? {Your Offerings: Products and/or Services}

If you need support answering these questions for your business or for other business strategy, we highly recommend setting a FREE appointment for Mentorship through SCORE: https://www.score.org/recovery/remote-mentoring

For those of you not yet familiar with this organization…

what20mattersSCORE is a resource partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), SCORE has helped more than 11 million entrepreneurs through mentoring, workshops and educational resources since 1964.

SCORE offers FREE support and resources for small businesses in the USA. Check out their Mentorship support opportunities, Resilience Training, and/or Comprehensive-yet-clear Resource Portal.
score.org/recovery/small-business-resilience

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Children’s Summer Reading Book Giveaway

Are you signed up for Children’s Summer Reading? Come to the Winfield Robbins Memorial Garden (between Robbins Library and the Town Hall) for your free book! Not signed up? Come on by and we’ll take care of it. Our first giveaway is Monday, June 29 from 10 – 12 (weather permitting). Enter the Garden from Mass. Ave and follow the signs.

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Database How-To – Career Transitions

Looking for help switching careers, finding a job/school, or writing your resume and cover letter? Check out this basic guide to get started using the library’s database Career Transitions! Career Transitions “provides guidance and essential activities for job seekers and those investigating new career options, including students, soon to be graduates, and adults new to navigating the modern job market.”

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Summer Reading For All!

This year’s Summer Reading program celebrates fantasy, myths, and fairy tales. No matter your age, the whole point of Summer Reading–which also includes listening and watching–is to relax, escape, and enjoy the gifts of a story well told.

Here are links to register and get more information about Summer Reading for:

Kids

Teens

Adults

Whether you’re a Summer Reading “regular” or new to the program, we’ve got your story needs covered with downloadable e-books and audiobooks through the free Libby and Hoopla apps, movies through Kanopy and Acorn TV, and even more books for the little readers in your life through Tumblebooks. If you don’t have a library card, you can easily apply for one online here.

We hope you find some new favorite stories. Happy summer!

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