Humorous Fantasy Books

Need help finding books and movies to complete your Summer Reading bingo sheet? Here are some recommendations for the Humorous Fantasy bingo square!

Many fantasy titles offer a variety of humor, below are some examples:

The Big Over Easy by Jasper Fforde

The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

The Color Of Magic by Terry Pratchett

Deep Secret by Diana Wynne Jones

The Hike by Drew Magary

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Gil’s All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez

Good Omens by  Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Kill The Farm Boy  by Delilah Dawson

The Order Of The Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho

Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

SuperMutant Magic Academy by Jillian Tamaki

To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones

>Click here< if you’d like to participate in this year’s summer reading challenge.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Future of Policing and Justice: what does it all mean?

Why is Policing in the Spotlight?

The death of George Floyd at the hands of police on May 25th served as a catalyst for widespread protests all over the USA. What began in Minneapolis soon spread to most major metropolitan areas in the USA. Other cases such as Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and Rayshard Brooks (among many many others), began a nationwide conversation regarding policing and the history of police and black communities. These events brought about a surge of ideas that one point were considered fringe (even among people critical of police actions), such as de-funding and abolition. Media outlets such as NPR began running articles highlighting these ideas and the city of Minneapolis would eventually vote to dismantle their police force. Along with this shifting narrative around  policing, there is also a shifting narrative regarding justice and punishment with restorative justice being sought out as a replacement to the prison system. This blog post aims to define and highlight the ideas of policing reform, de-funding, and abolition along with  restorative justice. The relationship and discussion around these terms is extremely complicated and cannot be fully explained in a blog post. However, with the growing shift of discourse around policing and justice it is important for us as information professionals to connect patrons to resources and definitions. The bulk of this post will focus on policing, although restorative justice will be defined and featured in some articles.

Terms and Definitions:

Encyclopedia Britannica: Restorative justice

Center For Justice & Reconciliation: What Is Restorative Justice

Reform, Defund or Abolish the Police? by Jason Scavone.

Calls to reform, defund, dismantle and abolish the police, explained. by Ben Kesslen.

The Importance of Minneapolis
Because of the events surrounding George Floyd’s death, Minneapolis has become the center of much of discussion surrounding the future of policing in the USA. It is important to note that much of the legislation passed by the city is still relatively new.NPR Code Switch: How Much Do We Need The Police?

All Things Considered: Minneapolis Mayor Wants ‘Full Structural Revamp,’ Not Abolition of Police Department

Defund and dismantle: Minneapolis looks towards a police-free future by Susan Du, Emily Cassel, and Hannah Jones.


These articles below explain what police reform is as well some of the controversy surrounding the Minneapolis PD’s reform attempts.

What does actual police reform look like? More training and more oversight by Charles Blain.

Before George Floyd’s Death, Minneapolis Police Failed to Adopt Reforms, Remove Bad Officers by Jamiles Lartey and Simon Weichselbaum

8 Can’t Wait, explained by Matthew Yglesias


These articles below explain what de-funding is, and how it seeks to change the role of policing.

There’s a growing call to defund the police. Here’s what it means by Scottie Andrews

Defund the police? Here’s what that really means. by Christy E. Lopez

The Rush to Redefine “Defund the Police” by Melissa Gira Grant


By far the most complex and comprehensive discussion about the future of policing. The large amount of articles below, cover various aspects of what abolition entails.

If You’re New to Abolition: Study Group Guide by abolitionjournal

Are Police Obsolete? by V. Noah Gimbel & Craig Muhammad

What a World Without Cops Would Look Like by Madison Pauly

Yes, We Mean Literally Abolish the Police by Mariame Kaba

Police Abolition: A Curated Collection of Links by The Marshall Project

The Deep Roots-and New Offshoots-of ‘Abolish the Police’ by Ruairi Arrieta-Kenna

8 to Abolition is Advocating to Abolish Police to Keep Us All Safe by Leila Raven, Mon Mohapatra, and Rachel Kuo

Additional Reading

“I Don’t Want to Shoot You Brother” by Joe Sexton

The City that Really Did Abolish the Police by Katherine Landergan

How racist policing took over a American cities, explained by a historian by Anna North

Boston police union ‘angry, frustrated, insulted’ by lack of public hearing on sweeping reform bill by Benjamin Kail

10 Nonfiction Books on Why We Need to Defund the Police by Jae-Yeon Yoo

George Floyd, Minneapolis Protests, Ahmaud Arbery & Amy Cooper| The Daily Show

Are Prisons Obsolete -Angela Davis

Carceral Capitalism -Jackie Wang (not available in MLN)

The End of Policing -Alex S. Vitale

This blog post is a collaborative effort by the Robbins Library EDI (Equity, Diversity & Inclusion)  Task Force.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Don’t Judge A Book By Its Cover

This month we asked our librarians – what are some books that you thought had a bad cover, but ended up being great? Check out their answers below!

LindaRiddley Walker by Russell Hoban. There are several different cover versions, none of them appealing to me. But it’s one of the best post-apocalyptic novels I’ve ever read.
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara. I hate the cover so much, but I really loved the book.
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This is one of those covers that looks ok when it’s brand-new, but the moment the book gets a little worn it’s rather unappealing. But I love this author and this is probably my favorite book of hers.
Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl. Cover is here. This is another one that probably looks fine when new, but does not age well. The stories are great though – creepy and weird!

NickClickers by J.F. Gonzalez: The cover has a horrendously pixelated crab on the cover. The fact that the book was about giant crabs attacking a town didn’t help the cause much. It ended up being a solid creature horror with well developed characters. I ended up reading the whole series, although the quality pretty much drops after the first book.

VeroI try not to judge a book by its cover, but Theory of Bastards by Audrey Schulman had me wondering. The cover makes the novel look like a sultry, sexy romance when in reality it’s climate science fiction with a hint of dystopia. The novel had more bonobo character development than actual romance.

RobThe cover for Butch Heroes by Ria Brodell is very plain and brown, which belies the gorgeous artwork & captivating history contained within.
The cover for The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson did not appeal to me at all, with the weird doll mask shattering.  There’s something slightly uncanny valley-esque about it.  It doesn’t do the fascinating narrative and the deep world building of the novel justice, nor give a sense of the story at all.
The cover for Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake is a little cheesy and not really attention grabbing, but the story is so good!

What are some books you loved that has not-so-great covers?  Let us know in the comments below!
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Robbins Library Business Series: FREE Access to a Collection of Harvard Business Review (HBR) Ebooks

The Robbins Library subscribes to Hoopla, a provider of always available digital content. Below is a curated selection of Management EBooks that you have access to with your library card. If you need a library card, please go here to obtain one now:

Hoopla currently contains 582 Harvard Business Review (HBR) Press titles. You can browse all of the titles here.

32 Titles in the Harvard Business Review Classics:
Including Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker and Turning Goals Into Results by Jim Collins

HBR produces a number of series of highly curated content on key business and leadership topics. If you are looking for an overview or a quick insight into a particular topics, these are great practical resources.

HBR’s 10 Must Reads:
41 titles including Women and Leadership, On Mental Toughness, etc.

HBR 20-Minute Manager:
13 titles including The Virtual Manager Collection, Difficult Conversations, etc.

HBR Emotional Intelligence Series:
13 titles including Resilience, Authentic Leadership, etc.

HBR Guide Series:
29 titles including Getting the Right Work Done, Delivering Effective Feedback, etc.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Adult Summer Reading Bingo Square: Fabulism

Need help finding books and movies to complete your Summer Reading bingo sheet? Here are some recommendations for the Fabulism bingo square!

According to Wiktionary, Fabulism is ” A form of magical realism in which fantastical elements are placed in everyday settings.”  Because of the open-ended nature of the genre; fabulism encompasses a variety of styles that all readers can enjoy.

A Guide to Being Born by Ramona Ausubel

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter

Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino

Crystal Eaters by Shane Jones

Eva Luna by Isabel Allende\

Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

The Isle of Youth by Laura Van den Berg

The Last Illusion by Porochista Khakpour

The Lonesome Bodybuilder by Yukiko Motoya

Madeleine is Sleeping by Sarah Shun-lien Bynum

The Master and the Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Mr. Fox by Helen Oyeyemi

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

One Hundred Apocalypses and Other Apocalypses by Lucy Corin

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Skin Folk by Nalo Hopkinson

Stranger Things Happen by Kelly Link

What I Didn’t See by Karen Joy Fowler


>Click here< if you’d like to participate in this year’s summer reading challenge.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Low(er) Cost Internet Access Options

Many of us are currently limiting our time out & about and therefore not utilizing free internet access throughout the community. Instead, we are relying on internet access at home more frequently. Here are some resources to help you find discounted options.

If you currently have internet service, contact your provider or check their website to see if there are lower priced options or specials that are less expensive compared to what you current have. These are constantly changing and worth looking into. If you have the option, consider changing services or asking your provider to match another provider’s current new customer option.

The following are discounted programs for families and other low-income households.

Lifeline Program Discounted Internet Access Application
Lifeline is a government benefit program that provides a monthly discount on one communications service from a certified Lifeline service provider. Find out more about this service and the qualifications to utilize it at the link above.

Internet Essentials from Comcast
Internet Essentials is a program for families and other low-income households who currently do not subscribe to Internet at home.

InternetFirst from RCN
The Internet First program is affordable Internet designed to help families and students in low-income households have reliable access to the internet. Fast internet for home schooling, homework, accessing educational resources, and more.

Lifeline Discount Program from Verizon
Verizon is offering the 100% fiber-optic network for less to those who qualify.


Posted in Technology | Leave a comment

Database How-To – Boston Globe

Want access to the latest issues of the Boston Globe at home?  Here’s a basic guide to get started using the library’s Boston Globe database.  This database “provides full text access to The Boston Globe – 1980-current.”

Posted in Databases and Research | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Geek out on Magical Realism films with Library Adult Summer Reading
















Play Bingo and win prizes.

Sign up  here  for Robbins Library’s annual Adult Summer Reading program and find the Magical realist films’ Bingo square

But what exactly is  the genre known as Magical Realism?

Magical Realism is complicated and defies a one-size-fits-all definition.

Here  are some of the ways this genre has been described…

 It’s what happens when a highly detailed realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe.            …from Netflix

Magical realism  blurs the line between fantasy and reality.

Magical realism is based on the representation of what is possible – but not probable.

A realistic narrative-  aided by fantasy.

While watching a (magical realism) film, consider the narrative and setting  –  then continually ask yourself – is  this normal?

a book cover illustration


Are you ready to play Bingo?

Click to reserve any of  these magical realist films

About Time (2013)                                                       

Amélie (2001)

Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)

Being There (1979)

Big (1988)

Big Fish (2004)

Birdman :  or (The unexpected virtue of ignorance) (2015)



Black Swan (2011)

Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

Delicatessen (2006)

Donnie Darko (2001)

Dreams (1990)

Edward Scissorhands (2005)

Groundhog Day Day (1993)

Life of Pi (2013)

Like Water for Chocolate (1997)

Love in the time of cholera  (2008)

Midnight in Paris (2011)

Midnight’s Children (2012)

My neighbor Totoro (1967-68)

Pan’s Labyrinth (2007

Porco Rosso (2005)                                             

Ruby Sparks : She’s out of his mind (2012)

Spirited Away (2001)

Synechdoche, New York (2009)


The City of Lost Children (1999)

The Dark Tower (2017)

The Green Mile (1999)

The Princess Bride (1987)

The Shape of Water (2017)


According to our most restrictive definition of the term, the magical realist aims at a basis of mimetic illusion  – while destroying it regularly with strange treatment of time, space, characters,  and what many people take as the basic rules of the physical world.                   -Jean-Pierre Durix

Posted in Movies, Summer Reading, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Contactless Pickup FAQ

What is Contactless Pickup?

In pre-covid times, you requested specific titles through the catalog or through a librarian, and once they were ready you’d get a notice and you could come to the library anytime to pick them up and check them out. Contactless Pickup is the system libraries developed to keep you safe and get you access to requested materials by appointment. Every library handles it slightly differently. Here is the first post we shared about this service, which covers the basics.

How do I request items for pickup? 

This part has not changed. Using your library card, request 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. 

I don’t care about specific titles, I just want a bunch of books for myself/my family. Can I get a grab bag?

We are working on a new service along these lines and an announcement will be coming soon.

How will I know when the items I request through the catalog are ready?
You will receive an email or phone notice once items are available for you.

Once I receive my notification, how long do I have to schedule a pickup time? 

We hold library materials for eight days.  Check your hold notification, and choose an appointment anytime up to and including the “must pick up by” date. Slots fill up quickly, so choose one as soon as possible after receiving your notice.

How do I reserve my pickup time? 

In your hold notification, you’ll see a link to the Minuteman Library Network contactless pickup booking tool, also located at on our home page. You will be prompted to choose a pickup date and hour.  If you do not have an email address associated with your library account, library staff will call you to schedule your pickup time.

What if I miss my pickup time?

The online booking system will let you cancel an appointment, but will not let you reschedule a missed appointment without staff assistance. If you know in advance you’re not going to make it, please cancel and free up the spot for someone else by going back to the Book Your Timeslot page and choosing “Manage Existing Pickup.” Your items will automatically be held for two more days. If you already missed your pickup time, you must call the library at 781-316-3200 and press 2 for the Circulation Department. 

Where do I pick up items? 

Items are located at the Robbins Library main entrance.  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!  

Can I pick up at Fox?

At this time we can only support contactless pickup at the Robbins Library. Fox Library staff are temporarily relocated to Robbins because they are needed to help support this new service.

Do I have to schedule a pickup time every time I receive a notice that materials are ready? 

No! Pickup slots are not linked to individual titles, so if you are placing many requests, here’s the hack that will save you trips to the library: when you receive a hold notice and you’re expecting more, schedule a pickup slot close to the “must pick up by” date for the item that’s available. That means a bit more waiting, but the advantage is that if additional items arrive for you before that pickup appointment, we’ll make sure those are included. 

What if I get a notice the day of my appointment about new items that are ready? Can they be added to my pickup time?

We prepare the pickup orders one business day in advance, which means we cannot support same-day fulfillment. You will need to schedule another appointment to pick up those items.  

I still need help, how can I talk to a human?

Call 781-316-3231 during business hours or email us at, we’re always happy to help. You may need to leave us a message due to high call volume.

Posted in Uncategorized, User experience | Tagged | Leave a comment

Adult Summer Reading Bingo Square: Epic Fantasy on Audio

Need help finding books and movies to complete your Summer Reading bingo sheet? Here are some recommendations for the Epic Fantasy on Audio bingo square!

According to, Epic fantasy is “generally serious in tone and often epic in scope, dealing with themes of grand struggle against supernatural, evil forces. Some typical characteristics of epic fantasy include fantastical elements such as elves, fairies, dwarves, magic or sorcery, wizards or magicians, invented languages, quests, coming-of-age themes, and multi-volume narratives.”

We picked titles that are available in Spoken CD, Playaway or Digital Audio format.

There is still time to sign up for Adult Summer Reading program and start filling out bingo squares. Click here to learn more and to register.

A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas:
A Court Of Thorns And Roses
A Court of Mist and Fury
A Court of Wings and Ruin
A Court of Frost and Starlight

Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James

Earthsea Series by Ursula LeGuin:
A wizard of Earthsea
The Tombs of Atuan
The Farthest Shore
Tales From Earthsea
The Other Wind

Gormenghast Series by Mervyn Peake:
Titus Groan
Titus Alone

Jade City by Fonda Lee

Ranger’s Apprentice Series by John Flanagan:
The Ruins of Gorlan
The Burning Bridge
The Icebound Land
The Battle For Skandia
The Sorcerer of the North
The Siege of Macindaw
Erak’s Ransom
The Kings of Clonmel
Halt’s Peril
The Emperor of Nihon-Ja
The Lost Stories
The Royal Ranger

The Riyria Chronicles by Michael J. Sullivan:
Theft of Swords

Shannara Series by Terry Brooks:
I. Legends of Shannara:
Bearers of the Black Staff
The Measure of Magic

II. The sword of Shannara

III. The Dark Legacy of Shannara:
Wards Of Faeries
Bloodfire Quest
Witch Wrath

IV: The Defenders of Shannara:
The High Druids Blade
The Darkling Child
The Sorcerer’s Daughter

The Avalon Series by Marion Zimmer Bradley:
The Mists of Avalon
The Forest House
Lady of Avalon
Priestess of Avalon
Ancestors of Avalon
Ravens of Avalon
Sword of Avalon

The Children of Húrin by J.R.R. Tolkien, edited by Christopher Tolkien

The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S Lewis

The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander:
The Book of Three
The Black Cauldron
The Castle of Llyr
Taran Wanderer
The High King

The Curse of Chalion by Lois Mcmaster Bujold

The Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini:

The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin:
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
The Broken Kingdoms
The Kingdom of Gods

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons

The Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson:
The Way of Kings
Words of Radiance
Rhythm of War

Three Hearts And Three Lions by Poul Anderson

Upon a Burning Throne by Ashok K. Banker

The Witcher Saga by Andrzej Sapkowski:
Blood of Elves
The Time of Contempt
Baptism of Fire
The Tower of the Swallow


Posted in Books, Summer Reading | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment