Friday, December 29, 2017

READ ALL ABOUT IT: Updated Volunteer Page

It's been awhile since we've updated our volunteer page for teens. We're sorry, and now its updated! The updated page includes our organization page on GiveBackTime, ideas for helping out around the library, and small, but not so minor CORI form that we need volunteers to complete while working in the physical library! 

Want to learn more? Check out the How To Volunteer tab
(We'd love some fresh book/movie/TV/music/video game reviewers!) 

Happy volunteering, and all the best in 2018! :) 

Thursday, December 28, 2017

LGBTQIA+ Drop-In: Evening Hours


Thursday, January 4th

7:00 pm to 8:30 pm 

Robbins Community Room 

(Lower Level)

We're quite excited to announce evening hours for our LGBTQIA+ Drop-In Session this month! We look forward to seeing teens, and planning for the future, which could include more inclusive movies, potlucks, books, and gaming! Let's make 2018 spectacular for Arlington teens! We'd also like to discuss 2018's Drag Prom put on in partnership with Queer Mystic! Have thoughts or ideas brewing in your mind?!  We'd love to see you! 

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Experience a #BOOKFACE

What's your favorite day of the week?! In terms of Insta statuses, our favorite day of the week is FRIDAY! On Fridays, libraries and book lovers alike create 'bookfaces' in which book cover art is taken just a step further by completing a face, hand, horn etc. Talk about complementing the narrative, we're also about complementing the book cover too!

So, are you looking for something to do on an afternoon after school? Looking to create an optical illusion for others to gawk at?! 

We've got just the place, and we'd love to have you come through and create a bookface!

Step 1
Find a book that suites your bookface needs! (What's the illusion you're looking to create?) 

Step 2
Find a buddy or two to help you create the look! (One person to pose and one person to take pics)

Step 3
Take more and more pictures! (Give yourself a break, perfection is not the goal, just fun!) 

Step 4
Caption it (what's funny, ironic, or even true about your bookface?!)


Step 5
Get. it. out. there. Send it to me, Megan, Teen Services Librarian at OR tag us on Instagram at @robbinslibraryteens or #robbinslibraryteens. (If you're looking to go above and beyond, see if the author or the publisher has an instagram to tag them) 

We look forward to seeing your adventures in bookfacing! We certainly enjoy it, and we hope you do too! 

 Thanks for sharing! :) 

Friday, December 22, 2017

STOLEN: 15 Sci-Fi Books To Read After Star Wars: The Last Jedi

The adult library blog has some pretty cool posts lately, and I've been thinking of stealing a few...The first edition of 'STOLEN' is a post about Sci-Fi Books to read after you've seen the latest installment of the Star Wars franchise, The Last Jedi.

The post outlines 15 books written by women authors you may be into if you like Star Wars! CHECK IT OUT HERE!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Needle DOES NOT Recommend Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Jumpstart the World by Catherine Ryan Hyde

“Since we all know for a fact that we're all going to die, why don't we all treat each other like we could lose each other at any minute?” (124-125)

There aren’t that many good books about or with transgender characters, and unfortunately Jumpstart the World is yet another that falls short, in my opinion. I remember distinctly reading Luna by Julie Anne Peters and remember liking it at the time because it was one of the first times I was exposed to the idea of being transgender. Looking back on it, I realized that it was a less than ideal portrayal of transgender characters, and Jumpstart the World shares many of the criticisms I now have towards Luna. They both are from the point of view of a teenage cisgender girl (a girl who identifies with the gender she was assigned at birth), and the story is about her interactions with a transgender person.

In Jumpstart the World, 15-year-old Elle has to move into her own apartment because her dysfunctional mother’s boyfriend doesn’t want her around. She ends up developing feelings for an older, transgender man who lives with his girlfriend next door, apparently because he listens to her while nobody else does. There’s also a supporting cast of Elle’s new friends, a small group of two-dimensional characters that are mostly there just to propel forward Elle’s journey through discovery, confusion, then acceptance of the fact that Frank is transgender. Elle herself comes off as a whiny, childish, privileged teen, and she was generally an unlikeable character. It’s pretty clear that the book was written by a cisgender person who likely doesn’t have any close relationships with transgender people. 

I wish I could recommend a good book about transgender characters for you to read instead of Jumpstart the World, but there already are so few books that even mention the subject, much less, books that are any good. Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger is not bad, but it’s very informational and perhaps more suited for younger teens because of the plot and writing style. If you do find yourself reading a book that less-than-meets your standards, remember to feel free to stop reading! There are lots of great books out there that are more worth your time. 

Hyde, Catherine R. Jumpstart the World. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010.

Review written by Needle, Teen Volunteer

Sunday, December 17, 2017

6th Grade Book Club READS The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez

Hey Everyone,

Is your sixth grader looking to read more in 2018?! We have just the place! Our 6th Grade Book Club meets once a month to discuss a book, eat snacks, and create something based on the book out of paper!

6th Grade Book Club
Thursday, January 18th 
4:30 pm to 5:30 pm 
Robbins Conference Room (4th Floor of the Library)

We're pretty low-key crafty with some book discussion that's more organic and not based upon a predetermined list of questions. We want to know what you thought of the book, how it relates to your experiences, and potentially, how you would make connections to other books you've previously read. We're looking to do-away with the heavy lifting of answering the question the 'right' way. We want you to explore how books feel to you and your experience, which means there's no right or wrong answer!

Does this feel safe and fun? Join us! You could even recommend books to us that you may want to read in the future! Click HERE for the link to sign up for January's meeting.

In January, we'll be reading The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez. As one of the bigger titles from a first-time children's author in 2017, this book is all about identity and learning to feel comfortable in your own skin. With that said, spoiler alert: the first rule of punk is to BE YOURSELF. Pérez's book also outlines how failure can sometimes be an excellent tool to find out who you are!

If you're looking to be yourself and possibly find what 'yourself' may be, stop by for some book discussion, free food, and zines!



Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Young Writers Workshop - Sign-ups start 1/3

Each academic year we host two sessions of our Teen Writers Workshop. Alongside published author and writing instructor, Lynette Benton, teens in grades 6 to 12 will use this time to shape and develop their ideas and previous writings. We encourage teens to bring writing projects, including poetry, short stories, and novel excerpts! Sign-ups for this event will begin Wednesday, January 3rd via Eventbrite. Find the appropriate link HERE.

In terms of logistics, this group will meet Mondays from 6:00 to 7:30 every other Monday evening, starting January 22nd. The workshop will finish with a Writers Presentation on Sunday, May 20th from 3:00 pm to 4:30pm. The presentation is not required. Writers will meet in the Robbins Library lobby prior to each meeting.

Have questions? Give us a shout at Want to learn more about Lynette Benton? Check out more HERE.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Hamilton Trivia - One Week Away

Believe it or not, we're a week away from our Hamilton Trivia evening. Don't throw away your shot at some solid pizza and prizes for teens who compete in this musical theatre extravaganza!

You can still sign up as an individual participant at the Robbins Reference Desk or by emailing Megan at Please feel free to email me if you have questions as well!

At this point, we've decided it would be easier to have everyone participate as individuals.

Want more information, please take a peek at our fb event!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Are you Interested in a Gap Year Experience?!

Gap Year Presentation
Thursday, December 7th
6:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Community Room (Lower Level)

Have you looked into gap year options and feel overwhelmed by what is out there? Do you worry about what the cost of a gap year? Come learn all about gap year options and experiences from Jane Sarouhan, Vice President of the Center for Interim Programs, the first independent gap year counseling organization in the United States. As an educator, programmer, director and counselor, Jane has been working with young adults, families, and programs for 20 years. Students, parents and staff are welcome to attend!

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Book Recommendations

We're approaching that time of year where teens come in for book recommendations for a myriad of assignments! We're here to help in that process. Whether you look for recommendations at the Reference Desk or the Children's Desk, we're here to help you find the book you're not only required to read, but also looking forward to reading! There's nothing worse than forcing yourself to read something you're not actively interested in reading.

Here are a few things you may want to consider before you visit:
  1. What is the assignment? (feel free to show us) 
  2. What do you enjoy reading about? (genres? authors? format - listening, graphics?) 
  3. What was the last book you couldn't put down?
  4. What keeps you intrigued by a book? (characters? world-building and setting? plot twists?) 
  5. Are there requirements for the assignment? (genre? topic? subjects? number of pages?) 
  6. When is the assignment due? (we're with you on managing your time!) 
  7. Any other personal requests you'd like to make us aware of! 
You may not even know what you're looking for when you get here, but we're here to help you change that forced reading into fun reading! Let us know what you need, and we'll focus on combing our shelves for options that fit you! 

Here's an example: 
  1. The assignment: 
    • I need read 600 pages that revolve around historical fiction and mystery, not on World War II.  
  2. What do you enjoy reading about? 
    • I enjoy reading about realistic situations that are relatable.
  3. What was the last book you couldn't put down? Why? 
    • All Rights Reserved (2017) by Gregory Scott Katsoulis. The author's presentation on how the government copyrighted and censored speech seemed super possible in today's world. 
  4. What keeps you intrigued in a book? 
    • I enjoy resolution. I want a fixable moment, and I know that doesn't always happen, but it's nice when something in the book works out. It can be a series of books, but I enjoy conflict resolution.
  5. Are there requirements for the Assignment? 
    • 600 total pages for potentially two books
    • Genre: Historical Fiction and/or Mystery 
    • No Historical Fiction Books on World War II 
  6. When is the assignment due? 
    • It's due in 3 weeks, and I'd like to find both books today! 
Recommendation time!

Mystery Fiction with contemporary situations:
A Line in the Dark by Malinda Lo (2017) - 281 pages 
When Chinese American teenager Jess Wong's best friend Angie falls in love with a girl from the nearby boarding school, Jess expects heartbreak. But when everybody's secrets start to be revealed, the stakes quickly elevate from love or loneliness to life or death. 

Boarding school drama with psychological undercurrents that lead to a definite whodunit conclusion. 

Disappeared by Francisco X. Stork (2017)  - 326 pages 
Four months ago Sara Zapata's best friend, Linda, disappeared from the streets of Juarez, and ever since Sara has been using her job as a reporter to draw attention to the girls who have been kidnapped by the criminals who control the city, but now she and her family are being threatened--meanwhile her younger brother, Emiliano, is being lured into the narcotics business by the promise of big money, and soon the only way for both of them to escape is to risk the dangerous trek across the desert to the United States border. 

Relevant current political issues in a true crime format that pull on family heartstrings.

Warcross by Marie Lu (2017)  - 353 pages
When teenage coder Emika Chen hacks her way into the opening tournament of the Warcross Championships, she glitches herself into the game as well as a sinister plot with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire. 

Think Mr. Robot with a tenacious female main character that secretly fights computer crime for the owner of a massive tech company.


Historical Fiction with the exception of World War II:
Dodger by Terry Pratchett (2012) - 360 pages
In an alternative version of Victorian London, a seventeen-year-old Dodger, a cunning and cheeky street urchin, unexpectedly rises in life when he saves a mysterious girl, meets Charles Dickens, and unintentionally puts a stop to the murders of Sweeny Todd.

A Victorian adventure that will satisfy any anglophile leanings with special guest stars and Terry Pratchett's dry humor.

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (2017)  - 371 pages
When Rowan finds a skeleton on her family's property, investigating the brutal, century-old murder leads to painful discoveries about the past. Alternating chapters tell the story of William, another teen grappling with the racial firestorm leading up to the 1921 Tulsa race riot, providing some clues to the mystery.

Follow the horrific events of the race riot in Tulsa 1921 written parallel to a story of the discovery of human bones beneath the floorboards of a house in present-day Tulsa.

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee (2015) - 374 pages
In 1845, Sammy, a Chinese American girl, and Annamae, an African American slave girl, disguise themselves as boys and travel on the Oregon Trail to California from Missouri.

The book not only demonstrates pioneer hardships but also delves into what it means to be a nonwhite person in the U.S. in 1849, including insights on Chinese culture and slavery.

While this is just an example, we can also find what's right for you and your assignment! Truth be told, this example is very similar to an Ottoson Middle School assignment...

Don't have the time to stop by the library? 
Send me, Megan, Teen Services Librarian, an email at

We look forward to making your assignments less arduous and more fun! Happy reading, and best of luck!

Friday, December 1, 2017

NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up Event

NaNoWriMo Wrap-up Session
Tuesday, December 5th
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Community Room (Lower Level)

So, you gave National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) a shot! Well done! How did it go? Come share your experience with other NaNoWriMo participants, and share a writing sample if you want to. No registration required; open to teens and adults. Light refreshments. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Hour of Code - December 4th to 10th

Some Hour of Code FAQs

Who can complete the Hour of Code? 
Anyone can take part in an Hour of Code! From pre-readers to adults, there are activities for everyone!

What is Hour of Code? 
Hour of Code is an annual week of programming for people around the world to take an hour of time out of schedules to code.

When is Hour of Code? 
This year, the week of Hour of Code falls between December 4th and 10th. You can conduct your hour anytime throughout this week! We're hosting one at the library for middle schoolers, but you can complete your own hour by visiting to learn more about what tutorial may work for you!

How do I complete the Hour of Code? 

If you're looking to complete a tutorial from the Hour of Code website, there are many options to complete anything from fandom block coding to language specific tutorials! Once you make it to the website, you can browse to see what options work for you! If you're not sure about which hour you'd like to complete, there are different ways to narrow your search by topic, age, activity type, length, language, and necessary technology!

Where can I complete the Hour of Code? 

Anywhere! There are even activities to be completed without wifi or a device. The Hour of Code is meant to be for all, and we're certainly looking forward to promoting and hosting a session! Our session is December 4th from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm. You can check for availability HERE!

Why take part in the Hour of Code? 
The core people and organizations behind Hour of Code believe that a quality computer science education should be available to every child, not just a lucky few. To make this an essential subject and goal in all education systems around the world, Hour of Code is meant to demonstrate the solidarity and significance of coding for all! If you think this is a pretty solid goal, get involved and complete the Hour of Code!

Would you like more information or to coordinate your own Hour of Code at the library?
Please contact Megan, Teen Services Librarian at

Happy coding!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Teen Early Release Movie - Spider-Man: Homecoming

Next Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, we'll be showing Spider-Man:Homecoming (2017) on the big screen at 12:30 pm in the Community Room on the lower level of Robbins! There will refreshments for teens! We look forward to seeing you! 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

6th Grade Book Club Reads NIMONA

This month we're taking on Nimona by Noelle Stevenson! Nimona, a young shapeshifter with a knack for villainy, and Lord Ballister Blackheart, a villain with a vendetta, set out to prove that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his friends are not the heroes everyone thinks they are, but Lord Blackheart soon realizes that Nimona's powers are as murky and mysterious as her past. Her unpredictable wild side might be more dangerous than he is willing to admit. This graphic novel is relatable and entertaining.

This will be our second session of 6th Grade Book Club this year. The last session we read Ghost by Jason Reynolds, and in our December club meeting, we'll be tackling The Metropolitans by Carol Goodman. We'll continue throughout the school year and hopefully meet at the Fox Library once this academic year!

Beyond being a place for discussion and hang out, we'll also complete an activity related to the book each month. Last month we made and raced origami frogs to demonstrate the metaphoric hardship of Ghost's past and his track career. We'll enjoy another activity this month for Nimona!

While book club will be every month, there will be sign-ups via Eventbrite each month.

Feeling interested? You can stop by the Robbins Library Circulation Desk to pick up the book, and join us for our meeting on November 16th at 4:30 pm. Please sign up HERE

Not quite sure you can make it this month, but maybe you'd like to try our December 14th meeting? You can sign up for The Metropolitans HERE.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Time To Decompress - TEEN YOGA!

Experience an afternoon of yoga with Erin Carter from Strength in Connection. This workshop integrates the timeless mind, body, and social wellness principles of yoga into a fun, meaningful and relevant class for teens. There will be movement activities to have fun, get energy flowing, and clear the mind. Followed by yoga sequences to release tension and stress, strengthen and stretch the body, and calm and center the mind. We will end with guided relaxation and simple, guided meditation. No yoga experience necessary, all levels of experience and ability are welcome! Bring a mat if you have one. We look forward to seeing you on Thursday! 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Build Something Competition!

We're less than a week away from our Build Something Competition! While the word competition is in the name of the event, this isn't your typical game or race. We're looking for you to put on your creative thinking cap, and build something out of the random materials you're provided with at the beginning of the event! Here's a quick agenda of our afternoon:


                                        1:30 - 1:40 pm Explain building rules and answer questions
                                        1:40 pm Begin building
                                        2:40 pm End building 
                                        2:40 - 3:00 pm Share our creations to the group! 

Sound interesting? Sign up HERE today! We look forward to seeing you and your creations next Tuesday afternoon!

PS. Here's a SMALL SNEAK PEEK of SOME of the MATERIALS you'll be able to use on TUESDAY! There's sooooo much more to come! :) 

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Needle Recommends: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith 

Book cover of 'Wild Awake' by Hilary T. Smith, orange background with hints of yellow and purple with person whipping long hair in foreground.
“People are like cities: We all have alleys and gardens and secret rooftops and places where daisies sprout between the sidewalk cracks, but most of the time all we let each other see is a postcard glimpse of a skyline or a polished square.” (282) 

When Kiri Byrd’s parents go on a summer cruise, leaving her alone to practice for Battle of the Bands and her audition for a prestigious piano program, she’s happy to be left alone to her own devices. When she gets a call from a sketchy old man claiming to be holding the belongings of her late older sister, who Kiri idolized before she died in an accident, Kiri gets pulled into a series of discoveries that lead to her meeting her “love-bison”, a mysterious Canadian boy who collects old radios and finding out that she hadn’t been told everything about her sister’s death.

Book cover of 'We Were Liars' by E. Lockhart, two figures playing in the water with text in the forefrontI liked the book because it is told in a very interesting voice that clearly degenerates along with Kiri’s mental health. The story deals with various characters that are clearly mentally ill, the narration follows and reflects their struggles. Although there is a lot of music and art within the plot, it is by no means only for those interested in the arts. The writing style and subject matter together form an interesting storyline and lively, vivid narrative that is different from many other YA novels. I wouldn’t say Wild Awake is a romance, although there is some romance: it is more of a messy, convoluted story about grief. This book reminded me of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart because they both are narratives by someone in an altered mental state and both unfold like a mystery.   Warning: There is a lot of drug use, mainly marijuana so it might not be appropriate for younger readers.
Smith, Hilary T. Wild Awake. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2015.  
Review was written by Needle, Teen Volunteer

Friday, October 27, 2017


Monday, October 30th
3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Conference Room 

Are you a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, ace, or questioning teen? Are you a teen ally for LGBTQIA teens? If you answered yes to either of these questions then we invite you to come to this event! Meet like-minded teens from the community and enjoy an afternoon of fun.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Pumpkin Flavored Food Friday!


Similar to Linus' search for the Great Pumpkin, we're in the search for the latest and greatest pumpkin flavored food gimmicks, including Oreos, trail mix, M&Ms, and even Pop-Tarts. Experience pumpkin pandamonium this Friday in the Teen Area. This event for grades 6 to 12.

Food Friday
Friday, October 27th
3:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Teen Area 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Volunteer with the Library

Hey Teens!

Are you in high school? Looking to do some volunteering or complete community services hours with the library? We're happy to have you help us make library life better for all teens!

Here's a list of just a few things you can help us do in the library:
  • Write book reviews - Enjoy writing reviews or making videos? We could use some teen-produced book reviews to inform other teens of new books to read! Click HERE for an example.  
  • Join the Teen Cleanup Crew - Enjoy the space of the Teen Area? Make it your special mission to keep it clean by dusting, cleaning shelves and tables, straightening bookshelves, and refilling book displays. 
  • Takeover the Teen Area  - Interested in making a book display or two? You could make a book display with your favorite books. Make a display sign, decorate the display space, and even grab 10 to 20 books you think everyone should read! Look at Bryce's example above.
  • Write postcards to ARL newborns - The library sends a postcard to every child born in Arlington to come to the library to get a free book. We'd love to have you address postcards! 

Have we pulled you in yet? If not, let us know what you'd like to do for the library! We're open to many possibilities, and we'd love to have teen input and ownership over new projects! :) 

Want more information? Please email Teen Services Librarian, Megan at

We hope your school year is off to a brilliant start, and we look forward to hearing from you! 

Monday, October 16, 2017


Looking for something to do after school tomorrow? Stop by our early release big-screen showing of Wonder Woman in the Robbins Community Room! We'll have refreshments and snacks!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Teen Read Week Is Almost Over - Vote Now for Your Favorite Books!

There's ONE more day to vote for the Teen Top Teen! Vote for your three favorite books on the list, and see what ones make the top ten teen books of the year! For more information on Teen Read Week and the Teen Top Ten, please feel free to visit the Young Adult Library Services Association!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Time to Prepare for NaNoWriMo!

Have you ever considered writing your own book?

National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo or even just NaNo, encourages writers to stretch their writing muscles and write nonstop for one month!

The challenge: draft an entire novel during the month of November. 

Adults are set to complete 50,000 words and must do so by 11:59 pm on November 30. For participants 17 and under, the Young Writers Program (YWP) allows for writers to set a 'reasonable-but-challenging individual word-count goals.' In other words, you can write as much as you'd like over the month of November! 

Are you interested in noveling this November? Stop by our NaNoWriMo Prep event on October 23rd at 6:00 pm with local author, Lynette Benton! She'll give you some motivational advice, tips, and some pacing goals for your challenge!

We look forward to hearing all about your experience! Best of luck in your NaNo adventures! 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

What is Teen Read Week?

Teen Read Week began in 1998, almost 20 years ago, by the Young Adult Library Services Association. It brings awareness to teen choice and literature, which we think is pretty solid!

This year, we'd like you to get involved in Teen Read Week, which will be October 8th - 14th. Each year, there are activities put out by YALSA that explore more about libraries and young adult books. This year, we're asking you to vote for the Teens' Top Ten.

The Teens' Top Ten is a 'teen choice' award for the best books each year. The best part of this process is that teens pick the nominees and determine the winners! We're a bit behind in the nomination process, but Arlington Teens can still choose the winners!

Want to know what books were nominated? Take a peek at this list or watch this video by the stars of this year's Everything, Everything film!

Want to choose your favorite books? Go to this link to vote for your top three books!

Missed a nominee? Don't worry, we've got a display of nominees! Want to vote in the Robbins Teen Area? Do it! Find this book display, and place your nominees in the jar!

Finally, want to celebrate Teen Read with us?! Join us for a special Food Friday, October 13th at 3:00 pm where we'll celebrate Teen Read Week with some cake and refreshments.

Thanks for reading, and we look forward to seeing you on Friday the 13th! ;)

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Needle Recommends: Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork

Marcelo In the Real World by Francisco Stork

“‘Be in the world but not of the world.' The words are from Jesus. But I have not the slightest idea how to accomplish that or even if it's possible. The world will always poke you in the chest with its index finger.” (201)

Marcelo Sandoval, a 17-year-old with an unidentifiable autism-like condition of that allows him to hear music in his head, has always gone to a school for kids with disabilities where he is cared for and is among other people who understand him. However, during his summer before senior year, his father, a lawyer, thinks that it will help him to get out into the real world and has Marcelo start working at the law firm mailroom instead of with his beloved ponies at his school. There, he is plunged into a world of competition, jealousy, and selfishness, and he realizes that in the real world, things are not always the way they should be. When his curiosity and desire to do the right thing lead him deep into what could become a scandal for the law firm, Marcelo has to make decisions that balance justice, morality, and his father’s job, as well as get used to the unfortunate reality that not everyone
always has pure intentions.

Marcelo is very interested in religion, but the story is in no way only aimed towards religious people: both religious and nonreligious readers will understand and relate to the struggles he has understanding the injustices of the world in context with his own morality and belief in God/humanity. The narration is quiet, honest, and elegantly simple, but peppered with gorgeous passages. The book reads quickly: it's an intriguing mystery as well as a study on morality. It’s very much on the same wavelength as The Curious Incident of a Dog in the Night-Time, if maybe slightly more mature, so if you read and liked that, definitely look into Marcelo in the Real World.

Stork, Francisco. Marcelo in the real world. NY, NY: Scholastic Corporation, 2009.

Review written by Needle, Teen Volunteer

Wednesday, September 27, 2017


Just a quick update! Our Girls Who Code open house is tomorrow. Need more information?! Check out this link to find more details! We look forward to seeing all prospective coders and parent/guardians!

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

6th Grade Book Club

6th Grade Book Club
Thursday, October 12th
4:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Robbins Conference Room 

Enjoy reading and talking about books? Looking to continue reading throughout the school year? Join us for our first 6th grade book club! Every month we’ll read a new book, and choose a book for the following month. Refreshments will be provided. This is not a series. Each participant will have to sign up monthly via Eventbrite. In our first meeting, we’ll be reading Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Sign-up for the first meeting here.Please pick up the book in the Teen Area at Robbins or at the Circulation Desk at Fox, and bring the book to the meeting on October 12th at 4:30 pm.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Teen Coffeehouse

Teen Coffeehouse

Friday, September 29th
3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Teen Area 

In recognition of National Coffee Day, we’ll be providing a coffeehouse-style afternoon for teens! We’ll have several coffee flavors as well as juice and a few snacks! This event is for grades 6 to 12.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Needle Recommends: The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

“There’s not a single thing on this planet – not an organism, a sea, a river or lake, and even the weather that surrounds us, that hasn’t been changed by human beings. For good or bad, we’re in charge of the rate at which everything changes now. Every living thing and the majority of nonliving systems too. We’ve become our own God, I suppose" (263).

This not-your-average YA dystopian is undeniably weird. It tells the story of Ariel, a 15-year-old boy who is brought to a semi-dystopian America to live with a foster family after his war-ridden home in the Middle East is attacked. The story is told in several different sections that are interspersed throughout the book then connected at the end: the primary narrative is a first-person account by Ariel about his time at a summer camp that offers to separate teenaged boys from technology. This narrative is broken up by sections detailing Ariel’s hardships during the time between the attack on his village and his arrival in America, told to his foster brother Max (another teenaged boy who talks almost exclusively in euphemisms for masturbation), sections about Leonard Fountain, the melting man, who hears Joseph Stalin’s voice in his head, and logs from an expedition on a ship named the Alex Crow in the 1880s. Other relevant topics are biotech, the process of reviving extinct animals, and the role of masculinity in society.

This was a fast read for me, the story is captivating and well-written
yet very chaotic: things are treated in a matter-of-fact way in some of the sections, so very little is explained for much of the book. Readers must be patient and accept the fact that they will be confused for the vast majority of their time reading The Alex Crow.

Like some of Smith’s other books, the characters are predominantly male teenagers and behave pretty much how you’d expect, so if you’re looking for strong, women-centric stories, this book may not be for you. If you liked Grasshopper Jungle, also by Andrew Smith or Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner, you might enjoy this book (conversely if you liked The Alex Crow, you might like those other two).

Warning: there is a fairly graphic rape scene.

Smith, Andrew. The Alex crow. NY, NY: Speak, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC, 2016.

Review written by Needle, Teen Volunteer

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Teen Writers Workshop - Spaces Still Available!

Teen Writers Workshop

This workshop will occur o the following Mondays from 6:00 to 7:30 pm: 9/18, 10/2, 10/16, 10/30, 11/13, 11/27 with a presentation on 12/10.

Work with Lynette Benton, published writer and writing instructor, to begin or move forward on your writing projects (poetry, short story, novel excerpt). Ms. Benton will inspire and guide you on your writing journey. If you’d like to, bring writing you’ve been working on (this is not required). For ages 12-18. Register now via Eventbrite

Saturday, September 9, 2017


Library of Things Petting Zoo   

Tuesday, September 12th, 2017
3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Teen Area

Did you know that you can check out 'things' from the library? Stop by the Teen Area to learn more about board and lawn games, kitchen gadgets, a record player, outdoor screen to watch your favorite movie, or a kit to learn a new skill or craft! A staff person will be present to assist teens in learning more about things to check out from the library. This event is for people in grades 6 to 12.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


Hey Everyone!

For the second year, the Robbins Library will be hosting a Girls Who Code club open to girls in grades 6 through 12. The club will meet Wednesdays October through May from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. We invite interested girls and their guardians to an Open House to learn more about the club and to be entered into a lottery to receive one of the 24 available spaces.
The first part of the evening will go over club specifics and introduce the girls to our volunteers. The second part of the evening will be a lottery for the 24 available spaces in the club. Attendance at the open house is mandatory for lottery participation.
Please attend the meeting with a personal email address that the participant can use to create an account for the Girls Who Code software!
Register for the Open House at Go to to learn more about the organization and other programs in the area.
Please use the Eventbrite sign up as a way to demonstrate your interest for the Open House. Spaces will not be drawn on the evening of the event. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me, Megan, Teen Services Librarian, at 

Thanks for your time and interest! We look forward to seeing everyone on the 28th! 

Friday, September 1, 2017


Children who read just four books over the summer fare better on reading-comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books. We are challenging everyone in Arlington to choose four books to read over these summer months! We'll be sharing the 4 titles from some of our staff and community members this summer to inspire you! Share your selections on social media. Use the hashtag #WhatsYourFour?

In this post, our Head of Adult Services, Linda, will be sharing her four for this summer! As we're edging towards the end of summer, Linda may have already completed some of her picks. Like Jenny, Linda reads a lot of teen books, as she also runs our "Not So Young Adult" Book Club for adults that like to read young adult books! 

Linda, Head of Adult Services

A Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee: Think of this as an18th-century take on the road trip novel. Two teenage boys embark on a grand tour of Europe, as was the fashion at the time. Monty and Percy are best friends and are super excited about taking this long trip before they have to deal with the realities of their adult lives. Monty's sister Felicity is coming with them for part of the trip and will be dropped off at a finishing school along the way. They're also accompanied by a chaperone (boo!) But of course, the trip is complicated by many things: Monty is in love with Percy. Percy has a medical condition he's been keeping secret. Felicity would rather go to medical school than finishing school. And Monty steals something along the way that changes the course of their trip - they are attacked by highwaymen, captured by pirates, and have a very different sort of adventure than they had planned!

The Good Braider by Terry Farish: Written in verse, this short novel follows a teenage girl as her family flees war-torn Sudan, settles in Cairo for a couple of years, and finally arrives in Portland, Maine. Viola's life in Sudan was hard and dangerous, and they risked their lives to come to the United States. Once here, they have a more comfortable life than they're used to, but some parts of American culture are very different. Do they give up their Sudanese heritage to fit in, or stay in their close-knit community of people from their homeland? This book is very short and quick to read, but is so vivid and filled with emotion!

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman: This is another novel in verse, but this time it takes place in India! Veda is a dance prodigy, who lives and breathes dance and has dreams of becoming famous. But then she's in a horrible accident, and one of her legs is amputated below the knee. Everything she has lived for is now lost. But maybe Veda adjusts to her new prosthetic, she also starts taking beginning dance lessons, determined to continue doing what she loves most. When she meets a young man who sees dance as a spiritual pursuit, Veda gains a whole new perspective on what dancing truly means to her.

Allegedly by Tiffany Jackson: What the media reported is that a white baby died under the care of a church-going black woman and her 9-year-old daughter, and that becomes the only story that matters. Mary doesn't speak out in her own defense and is sent to a juvenile detention center for 6 years. When she is moved to a group home, she soon has a boyfriend and her own baby on the way. Now that she is threatened with losing custody of her baby, Mary must finally tell the truth about what happened. This is a gritty novel about truth and the failures of the American justice system.