Hey! Listen! New Video Game Loan Rules!

Exciting news for those of you that use our video game collection!  We’ve updated our loan rules to let you have even more time with the games in our collection. Here are the details:

  • You can now check out video games for two weeks at a time, and can renew them up to twice! (You can only renew a game if nobody else has a hold on it, same as our books & other holdable materials.)
  • You can also now place holds on video games!  That means if you don’t see the game you’re looking for when you come in or search online, you can place a hold on it & it will be put on the hold shelf for you when it returns.  You can also request to have our games sent to other Minuteman libraries, if we’re not the most convenient location for you to pick them up at. 
    You can renew & place holds online or at one of our service desks!

Remember – It’s dangerous to go alone. Take some games!

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QBG Reads… Confessions of the Fox

Join us on Wednesday 2/27 for a discussion of the novel Confessions of the Fox by Jordy Rosenberg.

“Set in the eighteenth century London underworld, this bawdy, genre-bending novel reimagines the life of thief and jailbreaker Jack Sheppard to tell a profound story about gender, love, and liberation. Recently jilted and increasingly unhinged, Dr. Voth throws himself into his work, obsessively researching the life of Jack Sheppard, a legendary eighteenth century thief. No one knows Jack’s true story–his confessions have never been found. That is, until Dr. Voth discovers a mysterious stack of papers titled Confessions of the Fox. Dated 1724, the manuscript tells the story of an orphan named P. Sold into servitude at twelve, P struggles for years with her desire to live as “Jack.” When P falls dizzyingly in love with Bess, a sex worker looking for freedom of her own, P begins to imagine a different life. Bess brings P into the London underworld where scamps and rogues clash with London’s newly established police force, queer subcultures thrive, and ominous threats of an oncoming plague abound. At last, P becomes Jack Sheppard, one of the most notorious–and most wanted–thieves in history. An imaginative retelling of Brecht’s Threepenny Opera, Confessions of the Fox blends high-spirited adventure, subversive history, and provocative wit to animate forgotten histories and the extraordinary characters hidden within.”

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

Hope to see you there!

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Black Future Month – Afrofuturism Recommendations

Were you a fan of the movie Black Panther?  The critically acclaimed box office smash brought the term Afrofuturism into the mainstream as people clamored for more things to watch, read, and listen to upon finishing the film.

The Oxford Dictionary defines Afrofuturism as “A movement in literature, music, art, etc., featuring futuristic or science fiction themes which incorporate elements of black history and culture.”  The Huffington Post has a whole article dedicated to explaining What The Heck Is Afrofuturism? for the uninitiated.

To go with our “How Long ‘Til Black Future Month” themed display here in the library, we’ve got a list of recommended books, music, and movies for those looking to dive into the genre.

African Immortals series by Tananarive Due

Afrofuturism : The World of Black Sci-Fi and Fantasy Culture by Ytasha L. Womack – Nonfiction

The Archandroid : Suites II & III by Janelle Monae – Music CD

Atlantis by Sun Ra – Music CD (Available to request through the Commonwealth Catalog)

The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord

Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor

Black by Kwanza Osajyefo – Teen Graphic Novel

Black Lightning – TV Series

Black Panther & The Crew: We Are the Streets by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey – Graphic Novel

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet by Ta-Nehisi Coates – Graphic Novel

Black Panther: World of Wakanda by Roxane Gay – Graphic Novel

Born In Flames – DVD

Broken Earth series by N. K. Jemisin

Brown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson – Teen

The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra : The Sound of Joy is Enlightening by Chris Raschka – Children’s Nonfiction

Dark Matter : A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora edited by Sheree R. Thomas – Short Stories

Destination: Planet Negro!– DVD

Dhalgren by Samuel R. Delany

Dirty Computer by Janelle Monáe – Music CD (Do yourself a favor and watch the Emotion Picture video for the album as well!)

Earthseed series by Octavia Butler

Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing – Poetry

The Electric Lady by Janelle Monáe – Music CD

Elysium, or, The World After by Jennifer Marie Brissett

Everfair by Nisi Shawl

FTL, Y’all! : Tales from the Age of the $200 Warp Drive edited by Amanda Lafrenais- Teen Graphic Novel

The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord

How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin – Short Stories

The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead

Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor – Teen

The Magic City by Sun Ra – Music CD (Available to request through the Commonwealth Catalog)

Metropolis: The Chase Suite by Janelle Monae – Music CD

Nigerians in Space series by Deji Bryce Olukotun

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden

A Pure Solar World : Sun Ra and the Birth of Afrofuturism by Paul Youngquist – Nonfiction

Rise of the Black Panther by Evan Narcisse, consultant Ta-Nehisi Coates

Sankofa – DVD

Sister Mine by Nalo Hopkinson

Space Is the Place – DVD (Available to request through the Commonwealth Catalog)

Space Is the Place – Music CD (Available to request through the Commonwealth Catalog)

Speculative Blackness : The Future of Race in Science Fiction by André M. Carrington – Nonfiction

Superb by David F. Walker – Teen Graphic Novel

A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson

An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon

A Wrinkle In Time – DVD

Xenogenesis series by Octavia Butler

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Arlington’s Libraries are FINE FREE

Effective Thursday, February 14, Arlington joins a growing national trend by removing overdue fines on materials borrowed at the Robbins Library and Fox Branch Library.

The library will continue to issue date due notices as well as overdue notifications. After the final overdue notice, borrowers will receive a bill for the cost of the material by email or mail. Fees vary by type of material, and revenue collected for lost or damaged materials gets deposited in the Town’s general fund.

Why get rid of overdue fines?

  • Eliminating fines helps close the opportunity gap: families and individuals with limited or fixed income depend upon the materials that libraries offer. Fines hinder library use.
  • Fines do not accrue on e-books and e-audiobooks, which creates inequality between those who borrow digital materials and those who borrow physical materials. Digital borrowing has increased since becoming available and continues to increase.
  • When fines disappear, library use goes up. Many public libraries have already changed their policies and are now fine-free including libraries in Andover, Chelmsford, Dover, Reading, Weymouth and Woburn. Outside Massachusetts, libraries in Albany, Baltimore, Denver, Nashville, and Salt Lake City have gone fine-free and have seen increases in circulation and patron registrations.
  • It’s been proven that fines are not an effective incentive to return materials on time. In fact people with the means to pay fines often keep materials past the due date simply because they can, which creates yet more inequality.

“By eliminating fines we’re making the library easier to use than ever,” says Andrea Nicolay, Director of Libraries. “People who fear fines and don’t have library cards are under-served. There are also many misconceptions about fines, and that creates barriers too. We want everyone to feel good about using their library cards.”

Exceptions to the general fine-free practice will include in-house circulating equipment like laptops, as well as non-Minuteman Library Network interlibrary loan materials, for example a book lent from a library in California to an Arlington patron.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does fine-free begin?

Arlington’s Libraries are fine-free on Thursday, February 14, 2019.

Will taxes increase because the library is eliminating overdue fines?

Going fine-free does not impact taxes. Library fines have historically represented less than .03% of annual revenue to the Town’s general fund, and total fines collected per year have steadily decreased with the rise in digital library use (e-books, e-audiobooks, streaming video through Kanopy).

Will overdue fines be waived on ALL materials?

Overdue fines will not be waived on in-library use equipment (laptops, keyboards, mice) or on Comcat/Worldcat interlibrary loan items (aka non-Minuteman Library Network materials).

How does the library get people to return borrowed materials without charging fines?

“No overdue fines” does not mean “no responsibility.” Due dates still apply, and borrowers owe it to other library users to bring materials back in a timely manner. Borrowing privileges are suspended once a patron has a billed item in their account.

What is the timeline for when an overdue item becomes a billed item?

Overdue Notices are generated after items are at least 14 days overdue, and are delivered via email, text, or mail depending on user preference. Bills are generated two weeks after the overdue notice, or four or more weeks after the item is due.

What if I return an item for which I’ve been billed?

The bill (replacement cost) is removed from the account.

Will I be charged overdue fees for items owned by other Minuteman Library Network libraries?

Items that are checked out at the Robbins Library or Fox Branch Library will not accrue overdue fines, regardless of where the material came from within the Minuteman Library Network.

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Not-So Young Adult Book Group Reads Refugee (March 18)

The next NSYA group meeting will take place on Monday, March 18 at 7pm in the 4th floor’s conference room. We’ll be participating in the Arlington Reads Together (ART) community read and discussing Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Goodreads description:


Three different kids.
One mission in common: ESCAPE.

Josef is a Jewish boy in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world…

Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety and freedom in America…

Mahmoud is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe…

All three young people will go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers–from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But for each of them, there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, surprising connections will tie their stories together in the end.

Copies of the book are available at the front desk.


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Our favorite recent books by black authors

In honor of Black History Month we’ve put together a list of our favorite books by black authors that were published in the last few years (some are a little older, but we felt strongly about them!) Any month is a great month to read these books, so keep the list handy and read these talented authors all year round!

Links go to the record in the library catalog, but please note that other editions and formats may also be available. In the case of series, we’ve linked to the first book in the series.

Acevedo, Elizabeth. The Poet X (teen, novel in verse)

Adeyemi, Tomi. Children of Blood and Bone (teen, fantasy)

Adichie, Chimamanda Ngozi. Americanah (fiction, Arlington’s 2016 community read)

Alexander, Michelle. The New Jim Crow (nonfiction)

Bennett, Brit. The Mothers (fiction)

Benz, Chanelle. The Man Who Shot My Eye Out Is Dead (short stories)

Braithwaite, Oyinkan. My Sister, the Serial Killer (fiction)

Brown-Wood, JaNay. Grandma’s Tiny House: A Counting Story (kids)

Butler, Octavia and Damian Duffy. Kindred: a Graphic Novel Adaptation (graphic novel)

Clayton, Dhonielle. The Belles (teen, fantasy)

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Between the World and Me (nonfiction)

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. Black Panther series (graphic novel)

Cole, Alyssa. Reluctant Royals series (romance)

Coles, Jay. Tyler Johnson Was Here (teen)

Daley-Ward, Yrsa. Bone (poetry)

Davis, Dana. Tiffany Sly Lives Here Now (teen)

Draper, Sharon. Blended (middle grade)

Draper, Sharon. Stella By Starlight (middle grade)

Dungy, Camille. Guidebook To Relative Strangers (nonfiction)

Emezi, Akwaeke. Freshwater (fiction)

Franklin, Tee. Bingo Love (graphic novel)

Gay, Roxane. Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body (memoir)

Greenidge, Kaitlyn. We Love You, Charlie Freeman (fiction)

Guillory, Jasmine. The Wedding Date (romance)

Guillory, Jasmine. The Proposal (romance)

Ireland, Justina. Dread Nation (teen, historical fantasy)

Jackson, Tiffany. Monday’s Not Coming (teen)

Jemisin, N.K. The Broken Earth Series (fantasy)

Jemisin, N.K. How Long ‘Til Black Future Month? (short stories)

Jerkins, Morgan. This Will Be My Undoing (nonfiction)

Johnson, Varian. The Parker Inheritance (middle grade)

Jones, Tayari. An American Marriage (fiction)

Khan-Cullors, Patrisse and Asha Bandele. When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir (memoir)

LaValle, Victor. Destroyer (graphic novel)

Levis, Caron. Stop That Yawn! (kids)

Medina, Tony. I Am Alfonso Jones (teen, graphic)

Moore, Wayetu. She Would Be King (fiction)

Noah, Trevor. Born a Crime (memoir)

Obama, Michelle. Becoming (memoir)

Okorafor, Nnedi. Binti series (science fiction)

Oluo, Ijeoma. So You Want To Talk About Race (nonfiction)

Onyebuchi, Tochi. Beasts Made of Night (teen, fantasy)

Parker, Morgan. There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce (poetry)

Peoples-Riley, Daria. This Is It (kids)

Rankine, Claudia. Citizen: An American Lyric (poetry)

Shire, Warsan. Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth (poetry)

Smith, Danez. Don’t Call Us Dead (poetry)

Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy (nonfiction)

Thomas, Angie. The Hate U Give (teen)

Thomas, Angie. On the Come Up (teen)

Ward, Jesmyn. Salvage the Bones (fiction)

Ward, Jesmyn. Sing, Unburied, Sing (fiction)

Watson, Renee. Piecing Me Together (teen)

Woodson, Jacqueline. The Day You Begin (kids)

Zoboi, Ibi. American Street (teen)

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Read, and the world unfolds…

the world unfolds now
thousands of wonderful dreams
…you opened a book


Jon Muth’s Zen poster for ALA

Since 1980, the American Library Association has been creating its iconic READ posters, featuring authors, celebrities, and illustrators’ work. We’ve just added five of these new posters to our circulating art print collection for you to check out and hang on your own walls (or the walls of your classroom, if you’re a teacher)!

Our new acquisitions include art by Jon Muth (Hi, Koo!), Brian Selznick (Harry Potter), Raina Telgemeier (Smile), DC Comics (Supergirl), and John Rocco (Magnus Chase). You can see most of the art prints available to borrow in our Flickr album, and reserve specific prints through the library catalog.

The best way to decide which print(s) to bring home, though, is to visit in person! Art prints can be found in the large bins on the second floor of the library near the administrative offices, as well as on the walls of the main stairwell and in the fourth floor rotunda.

–> When carrying art prints to the desk to check out, please use both hands, with one on each side of the frame (e.g. both sides or top and bottom). At checkout, you will get a sturdy canvas carrying bag with handles. This helps protect the frames and makes them last longer. Thank you!

Jenny Arch is the Circulating Art Prints Collection Coordinator.

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Fantastic Books

This month we asked our librarians what their favorite fantasy books are!

I already recommend a lot of fantasy, so I’m going to try recommending things I don’t remember recommending for past prompts!  These aren’t necessarily the all time favorites, but they’re all absolutely fantastic.

The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Three Dark Crowns series by Kendare Blake

Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab

The One Hundred Nights of Hero by Isabel Greenberg

The best fantasy series I read in 2018 was Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen. I stumbled upon it by accident while browsing through Libby and was quickly drawn to the rich details and descriptions.
If you’re a big fan of Game of Thrones and you’re anxiously awaiting the next title in the Song of Ice and Fire series or the last season on HBO (don’t forget to check out George R.R. Martin’s most recent title, Fire & Blood – the first volume of the two part history of the Targaryens in Westeros), I strongly suggest picking up this trilogy. It features an intelligent, cynical, no-nonsense young queen who finds herself all of a sudden in charge of a kingdom with new and unpredictable powers and a viciously cruel ruler threatening to invade her people. While there are hints of magic here and there, there’s also a dystopian feel to this world, but what exactly happened? You’ll have to read it to find out!

I would have to say I tend to enjoy fractured fairy tales or myths the most. Maybe its because I enjoy the familiarity with the story, but it may also be because I like how each author gets to put a stamp on their version of the tale, including characters, events, and interpretations they make.

Some of my favorites in the past few years are:

  • The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C Yee
    Basically, a retelling of the Monkey King tale in which an overachieving, high strung high school junior is tasked with killing demons alongside the reincarnation of the Monkey King. It has a lot of banter. and definitely engages teen into mythology and folktales!
  • The Sea Witch by Sarah Henning
    A precursor to the Little Mermaid, the book is an teen origin story for Ursula. Let me tell you, Ursula is just a REALIST.
  • Snow White by Matt Phelan
    A graphic novel depiction of Snow White during the Great Depression. The illustrations are brilliant!
  • Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
    A retelling of Baba Yaga in Brooklyn. It is a lot. As a reader, you just have to let go of any preconceived ideas and allow yourself to dwell into the author’s idea of Brooklyn.
  • To Be Read: I really want to read A Blade So Black, which is a retelling of Alice in Wonderland in Atlanta.

Beyond that fixation of mine, I quite enjoyed the following:

  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
    A queer parody of Harry Potter full of fun and a sweet romance! Its based on fan-fiction from Rowell’s Fangirl.
  • The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
    First off, her name is Nix, and she’s an angsty 16-year-old that travels through time with her father and his crew on a magical ship, always wondering if she can travel back in time to bring back her mother. Its a pretty cool premise!
  • Not Your Sidekickby C.B. Lee
    Jessica, a girl with powers, is trying not to use her powers. Except, she takes an internship with the town’s supervillian, only to find out there’s something much larger happening beyond good and evil!
  • To Be Read in May 2019: These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling: A queer teen witch in Salem, MA that may lose her magic if a non-witch sees it! EXCITED.

I love fantasy! So I’ll try to limit myself…but I have to mention the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman, the Graceling trilogy by Kristin Cashore, and of course Harry Potter. More recently, I’ve been really impressed by fantasy/sci-fi/speculative short story collections from Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning), Kelly Link (Get in Trouble), Kelly Barnhill (Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories), N.K. Jemisin (How Long ‘Til Black Future Month?), Ted Chiang (Stories of Your Life and Others), and Ken Liu (The Paper Menagerie). There are so many strange worlds to visit…

I don’t think of myself as a fantasy reader, but when I actually think about it I can definitely come up with some favorite fantasies!

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling: I read them as they were published, and recently relived the whole series on audiobook
His Dark Materials Series by Philip Pullman: Fantastic on audiobook, but I’ve also read it in print
The Broken Earth Series by N.K. Jemisin
The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
Sunshine by Robin McKinley
Summers at Castle Auburn by Sharon Shinn
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins (I actually would consider this horror, but apparently everyone else thinks it’s fantasy)
The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton: I’m really looking forward to the sequel, The Everlasting Rose, which is out soon!

I read quite a bit of Fantasy. In an attempt to avoid redundancies in my recommendations, I’ll try to branch out from my go-to authors that I already list quite often for the blog…

I loved Colin Meloy’s juvenile series, Wildwood. As soon as a murder of crows takes off with the main character’s baby brother, you know you’re in for a wild story (no pun intended). Colin Meloy is also songwriter for The DecemberistsHis penchant for storytelling is evident in both mediums.

For those burning out on series, Bill Willingham’s novel Peter & Max is a good choice. While it is a companion piece to his long running graphic novel series Fables, it holds up well as a standalone. Peter and Max are the Piper brothers of story and rhyme. Peter picked a pickled pepper and Max played the rats and then the children of Hamelin outside of the city walls.


A recent discovery for me is the Temeraire series by Naomi Novik. This series takes place during the Napoleonic wars, with the fascinating addition of a worldwide population of dragons. Novik does an incredibly thoughtful job of illustrating both how different cultures adapted to the presence of dragons, and the social and cultural repercussions of access to these powerful and intelligent beings (for instance, the American conquest, we find, has gone very differently than what we have in our history books!). Novik has recently earned even more acclaim with the wonderful novels Uprooted and Spinning Silver, which I also recommend.

What are your favorite fantasy novels?  Let us know in the comments below!

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NSYA Book Group Meeting – Reminder (February 11)

15745753The next NSYA book group meeting will take place Monday, February 11 at 7pm in Robbins Library’s conference room (4th floor). We’ll be discussing Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell.

Copies of the next book, Refugee by Alan Gratz, are on their way and will be available to pick up after the meeting.

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Five Sources on the Future of Journalism: A Supplement to Democracy After Dark

1. Fake news and the future of journalism | Robert Hernandez | TEDxKC

2. Tapping Technology to Advance the Future of Journalism

By Sam Dolnick

Access to the New York Times can be found through our database page:


3. The Future of Journalism and Free Speech

Columbia University Panel



4. We need to talk about … the future of journalism

We Need to Talk Podcast (The Guardian)



5. 15 Books You Should Read to Understand Modern Journalism

By Jason Rhode

journo main-min


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