Dare to share for the Talking Chair

A preliminary sketch of the magic Talking Chair

A Robbins Library visitor sees a welcoming armchair in the Fiction Room. She sits and hears: “This is Cathie Desjardins, Arlington’s Poet Laureate, reading “Spring” by second grader, Sam Liu.” The pleasantly surprised visitor listens to a short poem. She stands, reconsiders, and sits again to hear a different poem by another Arlington resident.

This vision will come to life in April when the “Talking Chair,” an interactive digital experience, under development by Arlington resident Emily Calvin-Bottis with support from the Arlington Cultural Council, debuts in the Fiction Room for National Poetry Month. The interactive chair will feature poems by Arlingtonians of all ages, all you have to do is submit them to arlingtontalkingchair@gmail.com by March 1.

Intentional serendipity

“One of the things I love about the library,” says Calvin-Bottis, “is the serendipity of going in for one thing and coming out with all these other great finds I wasn’t even looking for. I thought the chair would be a fun and intentional way to use technology to surprise library patrons with something that they might not have been seeking.”

Calvin-Bottis, a digital and interactive experience designer, hopes the technology project can help “make poetry cool” for people who may not see themselves as poetry enthusiasts, foster appreciation for the work of local residents, and even potentially draw people to the library just to experience a novel interactive technology experience.

“I love designing technology experiences like this, that don’t involve screens,” says Calvin-Bottis.

A magic chair

Director of Libraries Andrea Nicolay was immediately enthusiastic when Calvin-Bottis proposed the idea. “Would the library be interested in hosting a magic chair that would, upon someone sitting in it, recite poetry by local authors?  A unique library experience that would be unlike anything anywhere? My answer, was ‘yes, yes we would!’” says Nicolay.

Nicolay sees the project as an innovative way to bring a local slant to the goals of National Poetry Month generating attention to poetry, encouraging poetry appreciation, and highlighting Arlington poets, a vibrant group of artists in Arlington.  “The Library is a hub for local poets,” explains Nicolay pointing to the Library’s Beehive Poets Group as just one example of the community of interest around poetry that thrives at the Library. “It was also a great fit because the Library has a history of interactive displays and artistic exhibits,” she explains.

Entries sought by March 1

Arlington’s Poet Laureate, Cathie Desjardins, will select the poems to be featured and was excited about participating in the project as a means of sharing her love of poetry and achieving one of her goals as Poet Laureate: promoting the idea that poetry is for everyone.  “I’d like to see submissions reflecting every walk of life in Arlington, from students to seniors, from first-time poets to published authors, from long-time residents to those who are newly arrived to Arlington or even to Massachusetts or the US,” says Desjardins.

Selection criteria

To be considered for inclusion in the exhibit, poems should:

  • Range in length from approximately 30 seconds to under 2 minutes when read aloud
  • Be family friendly and appropriate in a public setting in both theme and language
  • Be the original work of an Arlington resident
  • Help inspire an appreciation for poetry

To submit poems for consideration email arlingtontalkingchair@gmail.com by March 1, 2018. Submissions must include author’s name, mailing address, email address, poem title, and poem. For entries from students, include the poet’s age and grade level. All work must be original and produced independently or in a classroom setting by a sole author.

Residents whose poems are selected will be invited to participate in an opening event at the Library when the Talking Chair debuts in April.

For more information:

Emily Calvin-Bottis, ebottis4@gmail.com

Andrea Nicolay, anicolay@minlib.net

Cathie Desjardins, arlingtonpoetlaureate@gmail.com

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

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NSYA Book Group Meets on Feb. 21

The Not-So-Young Adult Book Group will be meeting on February 21 at 7pm in the 4th floor conference room.

We’ll be discussing The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Sephanie Oakes. Copies are still available at the front desk if you haven’t picked one up yet.

Copies of the next book, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez, are on their way and should arrive in time for this meeting.

The NSYA Book Group is a group for adults in which we read and discuss books written for teens. Newcomers are always welcome!

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The Boston Globe’s Boston. Racism. Image. Reality. Series

At the end of last year, The Boston Globe released a series of articles called Boston. Racism. Image. Reality.  They look at Boston’s relationship with race through 5 different lenses – the development of the Seaport neighborhood, hospitals, colleges, sports, & power.  They then offer some solutions to the problems they discovered in these spheres & ask readers to offer their feedback as well.




Here are a few excerpts from their introductory article:

“Google the phrase “Most racist city,” and Boston pops up more than any other place, time and time again.

It may be easy to write that off as a meaningless digital snapshot of what people say about us, and what we say about ourselves — proof of little beyond the dated (or, hopefully, outdated) memories of Boston’s public and fierce school desegregation battles of the 1970s.

Except that Boston’s reputation problem goes much deeper than an online search. A national survey commissioned by the Globe this fall found that among eight major cities, black people ranked Boston as least welcoming to people of color. More than half — 54 percent — rated Boston as unwelcoming.”

“But this much we know: Here in Boston, a city known as a liberal bastion, we have deluded ourselves into believing we’ve made more progress than we have. Racism certainly is not as loud and violent as it once was, and the city overall is a more tolerant place. But inequities of wealth and power persist, and racist attitudes remain powerful, even if in more subtle forms. They affect what we do — and what we don’t do.

Boston’s complacency with the status quo hobbles the city’s future.”

“For all the gains that Greater Boston has made, unfinished business on race is everywhere.

In a 1983 series of stories, a team of Globe reporters took a hard look at racial equality in our region. It was not a pretty picture, but local leaders promised things would improve. Thirty-four years later, the promise has yet to be fulfilled. For example:

Then: Just 4.5 percent of black workers were officials and managers.
Now: That number has barely moved, to 4.6 percent in 2015.

Then: The “Vault” — an organization of Boston’s most powerful business leaders — had no black people among its 20 members.
Now: The “New Vault” — the 16-person Massachusetts Competitive Partnership — has no black members.

Then: This area’s unemployment rate was about twice as high for blacks as whites.
Now: The gap remains, with black unemployment more than double the rate of white workers in 2014.

‘A lot of times when Boston engages in looking at itself around race, it focuses on attitudes and prejudices,’ said James Jennings, professor emeritus of race, politics, and urban policy at Tufts University. ‘With that, Boston certainly has made a lot of progress, but Boston needs to start looking at structural inequality — racial hierarchy, poverty, academic achievement — to move the needle forward.’”

Read the entire series of articles for free here:


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Book list: crime fiction set near water

I had a very interesting question at the reference desk recently, from someone who was looking for crime/suspense novels that were set near (or on) water. This particular person needed books in large print, which narrowed the field a bit, but it was so much fun coming up with titles set in seaside towns, on islands, or on boats that I thought I’d share my findings with you. The links all go to the records in the library catalog.

The Woman in Cabin 10 and  The Lying Game by Ruth Ware

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

The Woman in the Water by Charles Finch

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Shutter Island and Mystic River by Dennis Lehane

Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

The North Water by Ian McGuire

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh

With Malice by Eileen Cook

The Twilight Wife by A.J. Banner

The River at Night by Erica Ferencik

The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason

North of Boston by Elizabeth Elo

Don’t Look Back and The Drowned Boy by Karin Fossum

Ill Will by Dan Chaon

Have you read any of these? Which were your favorites? Are there any good ones that I missed? Let us know in the comments!

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Black History Month – African Americans in Times of War

2018’s Black History Month theme is African Americans in Times of War, a topic that is often overlooked when learning about our country’s history.  We’re sharing some books and other resources that can help you learn more about this important topic.

The National Archives have a list of resources on Blacks in the Military here: https://www.archives.gov/research/alic/reference/military/blacks-in-military.html

NYU professor and journalist Yvonne Latty spoke to Time at the end of January about why she thinks African American contributions to war efforts are often overlooked in this article:

‘We Can Be a Better Country If We Know These Stories.’ The Complicated History of African Americans in the Military

Making Gay History has an episode featuring the story of Perry Watkins.  “…openly gay nineteen-year-old Perry had every reason to believe he’d never serve—not because he objected to serving his country, but because the U.S. military barred homosexuals. But the Army took him anyway. Then after fifteen years of exemplary service, they threw him out. The reason? Because he was gay.

Perry didn’t just walk away with his tail between his legs. With the help of the ACLU, he fought his case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and after an eight-year battle won reinstatement—one of the first to do so.”

You can hear his story in his own words here:


We’ve also compiled a list of 25 books you can check out from the library on the topic.  The list is mostly nonfiction and includes something for all ages.

  1. American Patriots : The Story Of Blacks In The Military From The Revolution To Desert Storm by Gail Buckley
  2. American Uprising : The Untold Story Of America’s Largest Slave Revolt by Daniel Rasmussen
  3. The Black Panthers : a story of race, war, and courage : the 761st Tank Battalion in World War II by Gina M. DiNicolo
  4. Black Patriots And Loyalists : Fighting For Emancipation In The War For Independence by Alan Gilbert
  5. Buffalo Soldiers : The Story Of Emanuel Stance by Robert H. Miller ; Illustrated by Michael Bryant
  6. Come All You Brave Soldiers : Blacks In The Revolutionary War by Clinton Cox
  7. Courage Has No Color : The True Story Of The Triple Nickles : America’s First Black Paratroopers by Tanya Lee Stone
  8. The Double V : How Wars, Protest, And Harry Truman Desegregated America’s Military by Rawn James, Jr
  9. Fighting For America : Black Soldiers–The Unsung Heroes Of World War II by Christopher Paul Moore
  10. Firebrand Of Liberty : The Story Of Two Black Regiments That Changed The Course Of The Civil War by Stephen V. Ash
  11. Forgotten : The Untold Story Of D-Day’s Black Heroes, At Home And At War by Linda Hervieux
  12. The Forgotten Heroes : The Story Of The Buffalo Soldiers by Clinton Cox
  13. Freedom’s Journey : African American Voices Of The Civil War edited by Donald Yacovone
  14. The Harlem Hellfighters by Max Brooks ; Illustrated by Caanan White
  15. Harlem Hellfighters by J. Patrick Lewis & Gary Kelley
  16. Harriet Tubman, Secret Agent : How Daring Slaves And Free Blacks Spied For The Union During The Civil War by Thomas B. Allen ; Featuring Illustrations by Carla Bauer
  17. Invasion by Walter Dean Myers
  18. Like Men Of War : Black Troops In The Civil War, 1862-1865 by Noah Andre Trudeau
  19. Lost Battalions : The Great War And The Crisis Of American Nationality by Richard Slotkin
  20. Miracle At St. Anna by James Mcbride
  21. Race And Reunion : The Civil War In American Memory by David W. Blight
  22. The Reaper : Autobiography Of One Of The Deadliest Special Ops Snipers by Nicholas Irving With Gary Brozek
  23. Segregated Skies : All-Black Combat Squadrons Of WW II by Stanley Sandler
  24. Till Victory Is Won : Black Soldiers In The Civil War by Zak Mettger
  25. We Were There: Voices Of African American Veterans, From World War II To The War In Iraq compiled by Yvonne Latty ; With Photographs by Ron Tarver


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Pet Peeves

This month we asked our librarians what some of their literary, narrative, and film related pet peeves are.  See what gets under our skin below!

For reasons unknown to me, I can’t stand it when I have to read about book characters’ dreams. Even if dreams have relevance to the plot, I usually skip over that part. I’m okay if a friend tells me about their dream, especially if it’s funny.

– Books that are told by alternating chapters between the time leading up to some event and the current aftermath of that event. It’s very effective for some stories, but it seems like every author has started doing it. There really is something to be said for a linear story line. Bring back stories that begin at the beginning and end at the end!

– Problems that could be solved with a simple conversation. Sometimes authors make these situations believable, but sometimes there are misunderstandings that are just SO UNLIKELY. The characters often have good opportunities to just say “oh hey, that’s not actually true” and they just don’t. I know you need to make a plot, but please try harder.

– Characters who are unbelievably selfless and generous all the time, especially when they’re teenagers. That’s when you’re still figuring out how to be a person and it’s realistic to be self-centered and screw up a lot more with interpersonal relationships. I’d love to see some more flawed protagonists in teen books.

– The shocking twist is getting a bit old, to be honest. Not every book needs to have one!

One thing I really dislike in novels (and in real life, I suppose), is when a character makes a lot of trouble for themselves by keeping a secret, or lying by omission. Nearly always, it’s used to create conflict or further the plot. On rare occasions, it’s believable and in fact an important part of the story; a book I read recently that did this naturally and brilliantly was Eliza and Her Monsters. But most of the time, it’s just frustrating to me as a reader: I want to yell at the character, “You’re making it so much worse! Just TELL them!”

  • Tropes that play into/cause harmful stereotypes about marginalized group of people.  (Especially tired of the Bury Your Gays trope & the Gayngst tropes.  The locally based Boston-Area Homeschoolers’ Queer-Straight Alliance teens created the HEDA Project as a response to the Bury Your Gays trope!)
  • Anything that leans heavily on gender stereotypes. Especially annoyed by/can’t relate to super macho characters.  (The Andrew Smith books I’ve read are chock full of super macho characters & I really did not enjoy them.)
  • Unnecessarily gendered things drive me up a wall.  (Looking at you Sarah J Maas & your multiple uses of the phrase “male smile” in A Court of Mist and Fury.  What even is that!?)
  • Graphic novels where there is no diversity in the character’s body types.  (There are so many graphic novels where all the men are athletic and muscular and all the women have hourglass figures.  It’s boring and feels lazy to me. The graphic novels I’ve read that do include a range of body types are such a breath of fresh air.)
  • Movies where non-white characters are played by white actors.  Please stop.  There are plenty of talented actors out there that aren’t white.  There’s no excuse.  (Also, please let more queer folks play queer characters.  Especially trans folks!  It should not be as hard as it is to find a good movie about a trans character who is played by a trans actor.)
  • When female characters in movies/tv/graphic novels/video games/etc. get impractical/skimpy clothing but the male characters don’t.  (Either everyone is wearing ridiculous outfits, or everyone gets to look practical.  Having it unbalanced is just gross.)

I’ve counted at least three newly released books in the last few months that have been called “The Handmaid’s Tale for our times!” Please stop! The Power by Naomi Alderman is a great book, The Future Home of the Living God was not my favorite Louise Erdrich title, and I haven’t gotten around to Red Clocks by Leni Zumas yet, but all of these books can probably stand on their own without being compared to a book written in the 80s and inspired by the author’s Puritan forebearers. There’s something about our literary, TV, and political moment that has made it very appealing to publishers and reviewers to compare books featuring women to Margaret Atwood’s classic. Publishers and reviewers take note: trust us readers and stop comparing books about women to The Handmaid’s Tale!

My biggest literary pet peeve is when clique-lit doesn’t provide character growth. The basic tropes of Mean Girl, Plastics, and Basics, are out there in real life. In literature, they project very real issues young adults contend with daily. I just don’t like when the antagonist Mean Girl never a) grows up or b) receives comeuppance and is allowed to continue tyrannical reign over the lives of others in some form. I don’t mind the Mean Girl trope in literature when there is true growth for the character. When this is lacking, it only continues to promote a narcissistic lifestyle (already perpetuated and rewarded by much of society) that is ultimately damaging to those that attempt to emulate it or suffer by its hand.

willowI hate gratuitous plot twists. For example, I can no longer read Jodi Picoult books even though I love her writing style. She sets up this wonderful story, with heart-ache and trials, and right at the end when things are just starting to come together, something happens that solves everything but makes the whole struggle irrelevant.

I also find love triangles, in both books and film, unnecessary and annoying. I do love mis-communication (or lack of communication) leading to troubles, but love triangles just bug me.

Especially in movies and TV, I wish gay characters could just be real characters, not stereotypical, flamboyant caricatures. Likewise, any character with a disability, that one thing is usually their only defining feature. Really, I just wish there were more movies and TV shows with a wider range of people being people, not stereotypes.

I don’t when book titles have girl/boy in the title. In the past few years, GIRL seems like the most prevalent title word ever. It’s always describing, but why must I know if you’re on a TRAIN, IN A BLUE COAT, AT WAR, from BOSTON. It’s just tired, and I don’t like it, GIRL. In fact, there was this one time I did a display with books that have GIRL in the title, and I used Beyonce’s Who Run the World? GIRLS. An older man came up to me to tell me that my display was grammatically incorrect, stating the sign should say WHO RUNS THE WORLD? I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was a lyric from Queen B. Next time, I will!

The Hero’s Journey gets old for me. It can be so formulaic and predictable. I’m glad it demonstrates struggle and rising above it, but sometimes I need comedic relief?! Not everything needs to be soooooo serious. A solid example in teen lit is The Epic Crush of Genie Lo. Yes, the main character, Genie experiences struggle and moves beyond EPIC problems, but this character’s coping mechanism is wry humor that lightens the mood and makes the character just a bit more relatable to the average human.

I really hate the fact that there seems to be a large amount of movie remakes in which foreign language films (i.e. Oldboy, Funny Games, Let the Right One In, and the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) are remade sometimes almost shot for shot in English. I admittedly haven’t watched any of the remakes but I hear they are often times compromised in terms of quality. I think it also plays on the public’s aversion to foreign language cinema and serves to further cement Hollywood’s global hegemony.

What are some of your biggest book & movie related pet peeves?  Let us know in the comments below!

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Arlington Reads Together 2018 events round-up

We are excited to share a full list of events celebrating Wonder by R.J. Palacio, your 2018 community read! Arlington Reads Together events take place in March and there’s something for everyone, so keep scrolling (or download a printable ART2018 program)–and don’t forget to pick up a copy of the book at Robbins or Fox. We have special displays of non-reserve-able copies in the lobby plus extra e-books available to Arlington card-holders. Log in to the Minuteman Digital Library to check availability.

KICKOFF EVENT: Bringing ‘Wonder’ to Life with Sam Drazin, Saturday, March 10, 2:00 – 3:30 p.m., Robbins Library Community Room

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live with a facial difference and hearing loss? Sam was born with Treacher Collins syndrome, a craniofacial anomaly which is similar to that of Auggie, the main character of this year’s community read, R.J. Palacio’s Wonder. Like Auggie, Sam has undergone multiple surgeries and faced the challenges of adolescence while looking a bit different. Growing up with a facial difference and hearing loss, coupled with his experience as a teacher, Sam will take you on his journey, sharing with you the challenges as well as humor in everyday situations. Sam believes awareness is essential to support children and adults in becoming more aware and accepting of all differences. This event is generally appropriate for middle school aged children and adults; younger children may attend at parents’ discretion.  Made possible by a partnership of the Friends of the Robbins Library and the Friends of Fox Library. Co-sponsored by the Vision 2020 Diversity Task Group and the Arlington Human Rights Commission. Please RSVP via eventbrite at https://arlingtonreadstogether2018samdrazin.eventbrite.com

Read more about Sam Drazin in this recent Boston Globe feature.


Teen Early Release Movie: “Perks of Being a Wallflower,” Tuesday, March 6, 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm , Robbins Library Community Room

Inspired by our Arlington Reads Together selection “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, we’ll be screening The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012). The book adapted into a film by Stephen Chbosky is a coming-of-age story exploring themes of mental health, friendship, and empathy for others in a time of need. It will make you laugh, cry, and feel infinite! There will be snacks and drinks. This event is for grades 6 to 12.

“Wonder” Book Discussion, Wednesday, March 7, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m., Fox Branch Library Community Room

Join Fox Branch Librarian Anna Litten for our first “Wonder” book discussion of the month. Light refreshments will be provided. This event is for adults.

“Wonder” Book Discussion for Kids and Grownups, Thursday, March 8, 3:30-4:30 p.m., Robbins Library Community Room

A special Kindness-themed bookgroup for kids and their grownups! Kids in grades 4 and up are invited to bring their adults to a discussion of the Arlington Reads Together title “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio.  

KINDNESS ROCKS at Fox, Friday, March 9, 3:00 – 4:30 p.m., Fox Library Community Room

Inspire with a kind message along the way! The Kindness Rocks Project is a great way to send a message of kindness and inspiration out to the world. Paint a rock, write a message of kindness and inspiration, and leave your message to world on your daily path. Learn more at thekindessrocksproject.org

PLUGGED iN TO LiFE iTSELF, Wednesday, March 14, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Robbins Library Community Room

While Auggie was born with his facial difference, movie critic Roger Ebert’s came in late adulthood with the diagnosis and treatment for cancer which necessitated the removal of his lower jaw, costing him the ability to speak and left him severely disfigured. The documentary Life Itself recounts a story has been described as “personal, wistful, funny, painful, and transcendent,” just like Wonder. The film explores Ebert’s career as a film critic and his battles with cancer and the resulting physical disability. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the program begins at 7 p.m.

6th Grade Book Club, Thursday, March 15, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m., Robbins Library Conference Room

Teen Services Librarian Megan Coffey leads this special “Wonder” edition of the 6th Grade Book Club.

“Wonder” Brown-Bag-Lunch Discussion, Friday, March 16, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m., Robbins Library Conference Room

Join Director of Libraries Andrea Nicolay for a laid back brown-bag-lunch discussion of “Wonder.” Cookies will be provided for the gluten-lovers and for the gluten-free. This event is for adults.

Shine Your Light! An Open Mic Night for Arlington, Friday, March 16, 7:00-9:00 p.m. (after-hours event), Fox Branch Library Community Room

In the spirit of the Arlington Reads Together Community Read we invite you to shine your light out to Arlington! The Fox Branch Library’s first ever Open Mic is a chance to send your voice out to your friends and neighbors as well as giving the audience a chance to celebrate the creativity of our community. We are looking for musicians of all ages and abilities to perform. Open Mic rules include:

  • Musicians can sign-up for a performing slot staring at 6:30
  • Performers will have enough time to perform two songs
  • The Fox Branch Library’s piano will be tuned and available for use
  • This is an all-ages event, please plan on bringing pieces that are appropriate for all.

Questions?  Contact Fox Branch Librarian Anna Litten at alitten@minlib.net or 781-316-3196

“Wonder” Book Discussion, Monday, March 19, 7:00 – 8:30 p.m., Robbins Library Community Room

Join Robbins librarian and founder of our popular “Not-So-Young Adults Book Group” Linda Dyndiuk for a lively discussion exploring the themes of “Wonder.” Light refreshments will be provided. This event is for adults.

Teen KINDNESS ROCKS, Tuesday, March 20, 3:30 pm to 5:30 pm, Robbins Teen Area

As we’re celebrating our Arlington Reads Together selection, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, we’re looking for ways to #choosekind in the Teen Area, the Arlington Libraries, and in the greater Arlington community! To spread the kindness and the love, we’ll be doing a drop-in session of Kindness Rocks! Kindness Rocks is a project that started to randomly spread kindness by painting small, flat rocks with inspiring messages. Kindness Rocks also looks to inspire others to take part in random acts of kindness. If you’re up for an excellent art project to encourage others to be more kind, please join us! This event is for grades 6 to 12.

Teen Zine Workshop w/ Desiree Alaniz, Tuesday, March 27 , [check robbinslibrary.org for time]Robbins Teen Area

As we’re celebrating our Arlington Reads Together selection, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, we’re looking for ways to #choosekind in the Teen Area, the Arlington Libraries, and in the greater Arlington community! Zines are a great way to be kind to yourself and others! Zines are independently made “magazines” about whatever you want! Zines are a way to express yourself and to read about topics that aren’t addressed in “officially” published books. YOUR voice matters and zines are an excellent opportunity to express yourself and share your experiences with the world! Zines can be about whatever you want, and this workshop will provide crafty supplies for you to make your own, or contribute to a group zine. All supplies will be provided, just bring your creativity and something to say! We’ll also have a selection of zines and zine-related books for you to check out! This event is for grades 6 to 12.

WRAP-UP EVENT: “Wonder”: The Challenge of Difference, Thursday, March 29, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m., Robbins Library Community Room

“Wonder” is a novel that explores friendship, belonging, standing up to injustice, and learning to understand individuals who may be different from us—all with the possibility of viewing events from multiple perspectives. Wonder allows us to grow our capacity for empathy and ask questions about the choices we make in relation to others. On March 29, let’s come together as a town community and explore the following questions: How do we as a community react to difference? How can we build understanding and empathy for those who are different from us? We’ll ground our discussion in themes of empathy, identity, perspective, and the range of human behavior and use poetry, video, and multimodal discussion strategies to push our thinking. This program is suitable for middle school age youth and adults. Made possible by a partnership of the Friends of the Robbins Library and the Friends of Fox Library. Co-sponsored by the Vision 2020 Diversity Task Group and the Arlington Human Rights Commission.

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Extend Your Time With Our Video Games

Is that the Song of Time we hear…?

Well, now you don’t have to be a time traveler to spend more time with the video games in our collection.  Starting now, you can renew video games you have checked out for one additional week!  You can renew online or at one of the service desks in the library.

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Next NSYA book group meets on 2/21

The Not-So-Young Adult Book Group will be meeting on Wednesday, February 21 at 7pm in the Robbins Library Conference Room.

We’ll be talking about The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes. Here’s the description from Goodreads:

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

Copies are available at the front desk. Upcoming books are listed on our Book Groups page.

The Not-So-Young Adult Book Group is a book discussion group for adults in which we read and discuss books written for teens. Newcomers are always welcome!

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Early 2018’s Upcoming Queer Events

We’ve got a bunch of queer events coming up in January & February!

For January we’ve got Poetry In & Out, a queer poetry writing event with Arlington poet laureate Cathie Desjardins on Monday January 22nd at 7pm in the downstairs Community Room, a special Reel Queer screening of the documentary Suited on Tuesday January 30th at 6:30 in the downstairs Community Room, and QBG/Social’s game night on Wednesday January 31st at 7pm in the 4th floor Conference Room!

A little more about Suited:

“Are we what we wear?  How do you find clothes when the ‘standard’ 2 genders don’t fit you?

Suited is the story of people creating fashions as unique as they are.  In the process they move from self-discovery to self-realization, and express an outward appearance that at last mirrors their inner reality.

Please join us for this unique exploration of gender, self-expression, and creativity!”

February brings a Reel Queer screening of the classic documentary The Celluloid Closet on Thursday February 15th at 6:30 in the downstairs Community Room, and QBG’s next book discussion – we’re reading Improper Bostonians compiled by The History Project, foreword by Barney Frank – on Wednesday February 28th at 7pm in the 4th floor Conference Room.  Copies of the book are available at the Circulation Desk!

Flyers are below!  Hope to see you around!



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