Pledge to be prepared

In Case of Emergency display

One of our displays this month is on the topic of emergency preparedness. We have a copy of an adult first aid/CPR booklet from the American Red Cross, which is available for free online. We have four checklists that you can take and use to put together your own emergency kit:

  • Basic emergency kit
  • Additional items for your emergency kit
  • Basic first aid kit
  • Emergency kit for your pet(s)

And we challenge you to make this the month that you put together your own emergency preparedness kit and plan! We’re adding a clipboard to the table, so you can write down the actions you’ve taken for your household in this area. For example, have you…

  • Prepared an emergency plan with family, friends, or neighbors?
  • Prepared an emergency kit for your home (and/or workplace or car)?
  • Memorized important numbers, or programmed an ICE (In Case of Emergency) number into your phone?
  • Put a sign in your window to tell rescue workers about the pets in your home?

As a community, let’s be prepared – for ourselves and each other.

Read the previous blog post about emergency preparedness.

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Next Not-So-Young Adult Book Group

Thank you to everyone who came to the library last night to talk about The Inexplicable Logic of My Life!

Our next book is Vincent and Theo: The Van Gogh Brothers by Deborah Heiligman. Here’s the description from Goodreads:

“The deep and enduring friendship between Vincent and Theo Van Gogh shaped both brothers’ lives. Confidant, champion, sympathizer, friend, Theo supported Vincent as he struggled to find his path in life. They shared everything, swapping stories of lovers and friends, successes and disappointments, dreams and ambitions. Meticulously researched, drawing on the 658 letters Vincent wrote to Theo during his lifetime, Deborah Heiligman weaves a tale of two lives intertwined and the love of the Van Gogh brothers.”

Copies are available at the front desk.

We’ll meeting to discuss it on Wednesday December 20 at 7pm in the 4th floor conference room. Hope to see lots of you there!

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QBG’s Annual “Are You Feeling Pot-lucky?” Potluck!

It’s November, which means Wednesday November 29th @ 7pm (in the downstairs Community Room) will be our annual “Are You Feeling Pot-lucky?” Potluck!  Bring a dish to share with the group if you’re able, otherwise come enjoy the labor of others!  We’ll feast like royalty!  (Note that this meeting will be taking place in the downstairs Community Room, not our usual meeting place in the 4th floor Conference Room!)

Please be aware that neither the food at this event nor the facilities in which the food at this event were prepared in have been inspected by the state or a local public health department.

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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Robbins Library Book Discussion Group: “The Wordy Shipmates” on 12/4

The Robbins Library Book Discussion Group will next meet on Monday December 4 at 7 pm in the Robbins Library Community Room.

The group discusses “The Wordy Shipmates” by Sarah Vowell. New members are welcome. Book will be available at the Circulation Desk after November 6.

Here’s the description from publisher:

To this day, America views itself as a Puritan nation, but author Vowell investigates what that means–and what it should mean. What was this great political enterprise all about? Who were these people who are considered the philosophical, spiritual, and moral ancestors of our nation? What Vowell discovers is something far different from what their uptight shoe-buckles-and-corn reputation might suggest. The people she finds are highly literate, deeply principled, and surprisingly feisty. Their story is filled with pamphlet feuds, witty courtroom dramas, and bloody vengeance
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Not-So-Young Adult Book Group meets on 11/15

The NSYA Book Group will meet next Wednesday evening, November 15, at 7pm in the 4th floor conference room.

We’ll be discussing The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz. A few copies are still available at the front desk if you haven’t yet picked one up.

Copies of the next book, Vincent & Theo by Deborah Heiligman, are on their way and will be available by the time we meet next week.


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Who Would You Like To Meet?

We asked our librarians for some characters or people from books, film, music, or games that they would like to meet in real life.  Here are the answers!

There are so many characters I’d love to hang out with, it was hard to narrow it down!

  1. Talking about art and family with Astrid Magnussen from White Oleander would be a dream!
  2. I’d love the opportunity to explore life & other things in Portland with Juliet from Juliet Takes A Breath.
  3. I think Kevin from Power Up & I would have some great conversations.  Kevin shares the spotlight with a lot of other characters in this book & I’d love to have some one on one time to learn more about Kevin!
  4. Getting to ask Pen from Girl Mans Up some questions would make me so happy – I read the character in such a different way than a lot of other people did & it would be amazing to get some clarity on who Pen really is.
  5. Joan of Arc: A History was a great biography of one of my favorite historical figures & having the opportunity to speak with Joan would be incredible! History has a way of warping the truth & the true story of what happened to Joan is something I’ve always really wanted to know.
  6. Every character on Steven Universe are such fun and interesting people & I’d love to just hang out with them on the beach during their downtime.
  7. Makoto Niijima from Persona 5 seems like someone I’d have liked to be friends with in high school.  She’s super loyal, caring, & smart, but still has a sense of humor & enjoys having fun.

Other honorable mentions are:

I’m a bit paralyzed thinking about meeting Lucy Pevensie or Lyra Belacqua in person. Instead, I’d want to spend time with the authors: coffee or tea with Ann Patchett in her bookstore, Parnassus; a walk through Ulster with poet Nick Laird; a tour of Oxford with Philip Pullman; a chat with David Mitchell, in this universe or another one; and while we’re dreaming, a meal with Ruth Reichl (though I doubt I’d be able to keep up)!

E.B. White – I would like to sit with E.B. White on the steps of his saltwater farm in upstate Maine and just listen…

Many of the characters I admire in books happen to be teenagers, so here’s a list of characters I wish I had met in high school:

Frankie Landau-Banks from The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
Vivian Carter and Lucy Hernandez from Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Starr Carter from The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Dimple Shah from When Dimple Met Rishi
Amanda Hardy from If I Was Your Girl
Ramona from Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

They are all strong, independent, interesting girls, many of whom are very different from me, and it would have been so inspiring to know them when I was in my formative years!

I don’t think these are really in order, but here’s my list for today! It could change tomorrow. lol.

  1. Baz from Carry On (2015) by Rainbow Rowell – he’s a parody of Draco Malfoy from Harry Potter, but he’s also a vampire, and his sass is incredible! He’s also painfully in love with the parody of Harry Potter, called Simon Snow.
  2. Dan Humphrey from Gossip Girl – The ultimate outsider-insider. Our underestimation of Lonely Boy is unreal. I just rewatched the series, and I’m still REELING. I won’t spoil it, but I have some questions for him!
  3. Alexander Hamilton from Hamilton: An American Musical – I’m prepping for a teen Hamilton trivia night, and I could use all the help I can get! We’ve certainly built Hamilton up to restructure the narrative, and I’d love to meet him or Lin-Manuel. Either would suffice!
  4. Cindi Mayweather AKA the Electric Lady AKA Janelle Monáe – Cindi is Janelle’s droid character from the Metropolis, ArchAndroid, and Electric Lady albums. She’s a part of her futuristic space epic from 2719. Janelle’s a boss, so I’m sure Cindi is just as FIERCE. I also just appreciate the continuity of Cindi throughout Janelle’s career. We’ll see what she puts out next!
  5. Zero and Agatha from The Grand Budapest Hotel – Beyond the fact that the relationship is tied to helping M. Gustave’s escape, their relationship is endearing and honest beyond the scheming.

    Who would you most like to meet?  Leave your answers in the comments below!

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December Cookbook Club and Potluck

Flyer for December cookbook club

Registration is now open for the December meeting of the Robbins Library Cookbook Book Club! This group is open to all, but registration is limited to 20 people for each event, so sign up soon if you’re interested! (Likewise, if you sign up but are unable to attend, please cancel your reservation.)

At our December meeting, we’ll be cooking and baking from Cooking for Jeffrey by Ina Garten (better known as the Barefoot Contessa). Copies of the book can be checked out at the circulation desk. Once you’ve registered and picked up your book, e-mail me ( to claim the recipe you’d like to make for our potluck.

I hope to see you on Monday, December 11, at 6:30 p.m. in the Robbins Library Community Room, to share our dishes and and discuss while we taste!

Please, no alcoholic beverages (even if there’s a recipe for one in the book!). And, as per Massachusetts state law regarding potlucks, please be advised: Neither the food nor the facilities have been inspected by the state or by a local public health agency.

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Robbins Library Building 125th Birthday Celebration

This fall, we celebrate two milestones: the Fox Branch Library turns 100, and the Robbins Library Building turns 125! Enjoy a slice of birthday cake with us and share your favorite library memories. 

The celebration for Robbins Library Building will be held on Thursday November 16 from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm in the Reading Room at Robbins Library.

Want more historical photographs of Robbins and Fox? Check out our collection on Digital Commonwealth.

Birthday celebrations are sponsored by the Arlington Libraries Foundation.

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Open Enrollment for Health Insurance Starts November 1st

In case you haven’t heard, Open Enrollment for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is November 1, 2017 through January 23, 2018 in Massachusetts.  (A more generous time frame than the federal government’s enrollment period, which is only open November 1, 2017 to December 15, 2017.  States that operate their own marketplaces, like Massachusetts, have the flexibility to set their own open enrollment period dates.)  Massachusetts residents can click here to get started: (The link to start an application is at the bottom of the page.)

If you’re not a Massachusetts resident, visit to get started.

If you need coverage that starts before January 2018, you can still apply for coverage any time of the year if you:

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In Case of Emergency: Are you ready?

It’s been quite a year so far in the natural disasters department, from hurricanes and floods to blazing wildfires. You may have thought about putting together an emergency plan – but have you done it?

There are three important steps to take in disaster preparedness: have an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, and be informed about the different types of emergencies that could occur and their appropriate responses. You can learn more about planning ahead for disasters from (“Be informed. Plan ahead. Take action”).

The FEMA website says, “After an emergency, you may need to survive on your own for several days. Being prepared means having your own food, water and other supplies to last for at least 72 hours. A disaster supplies kit is a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.” recommends including the following items in your basic emergency supply kit:

  • Water – one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert
  • Flashlight
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers and a backup battery

To assemble your kit, store items in airtight plastic bags and put your entire disaster supplies kit in one or two easy-to-carry containers such as plastic bins or a duffel bag. FEMA recommends having a second emergency kit at your workplace, school, or in your car – anywhere outside the home where you spend a lot of time.

Additional items you may want to include in your kit:

  • Prescription medications and glasses
  • Important documents (in a waterproof, portable container)
  • Cash
  • Sleeping bags or blankets
  • Changes of clothes
  • Matches (in a waterproof container), fire extinguisher
  • Paper and pencil
  • Paper or plastic cups, plates, utensils, paper towels
  • Personal hygiene and feminine hygiene items
  • Books, puzzles, cards, or other games or activities

For those with infants, add formula and diapers to the list.

Australian shepherd puppyFor those with pets, Arlington Animal Control Officer Katie has a separate list, from the ASPCA:

  • Pet first-aid kit and guide book (ask your vet what to include)
  • 3-7 days’ worth of canned or dry food
  • Litter and disposable litter trays (aluminum roasting pans are perfect)
  • Liquid dish soap and disinfectant
  • Disposable garbage bags for clean-up
  • Pet feeding dishes and water bowls
  • Extra collar or harness as well as an extra leash
  • Photocopies and/or USB of medical records and a waterproof container with a two-week supply of any medicine your pet requires.
  • At least seven days’ worth of bottled water for each person and pet
  • A traveling bag, crate or sturdy carrier, ideally one for each pet
  • Flashlight
  • Blanket
  • Recent photos of your pets (in case you are separated and need to make “Lost” posters; bring photos that contain both you and your pets for easier identification)
  • Especially for cats: Pillowcase, toys, scoop-able litter
  • Especially for dogs: Extra leash, toys and chew toys, a week’s worth of cage liner

Katie advises keeping your pet’s emergency preparedness kit next to your human kit, and adds the important reminder that both kits need to be updated – especially food, water, and medication! Read more about disaster preparedness for pets from the ASPCA; in addition to an emergency kit, they recommend getting a rescue alert sticker, arranging a safe haven, choosing designated caregivers, and using the free ASPCA mobile app. The Humane Society has even more tips, including an obvious one – make sure your pets are wearing collars with ID tags!

Copies of these emergency kit checklists will be available all month on the Disaster Preparedness display table in the lobby area of the library. Come pick one up, and make this the month you get prepared!

Do you have any helpful tips for emergencies, Arlington-specific advice, or suggested items for emergency supply kits? Let us know in the comments!

2017. Disasters don't plan ahead. YOU CAN.





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