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.