Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Needle recommends 'The Talented Mr. Ripley' by Patricia Highsmith

The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

“If you wanted to be cheerful, or melancholic, or wistful, or thoughtful, or courteous, you simply had to act those things with every gesture” (182).

Throwback Thursday! (or whatever day you might be reading this on)! Patricia Highsmith, author of The Price of Salt (the book that was later turned into Oscar nominee Carol) wrote The Talented Mr. Ripley in 1955 yet unlike some books that are over 60 years old, this one felt barely dated. It is well written and not overly old-fashioned in style, so it’s not difficult to read in any way. 

The Talented Mr. Ripley is a psychological thriller/mystery about a young man, Tom Ripley, who is asked to visit an old acquaintance in Italy and convince him to return to the US. Charmed by his friend, a wealthy and spoiled man named Dickie Greenleaf, Tom’s intrigue turns into infatuation which quickly turns into a terrifying obsession. Threatened by Dickie’s girlfriend and the notion that Dickie may be growing tired of him, Tom falls deeper into his obsession and his desire for living the lavish life that Dickie leads. 

The book is told from Tom’s point of view, although he is hardly a protagonist. In fact, the most interesting thing about this book is that the story is told from such a clearly unreliable narrator, but his reasoning, no matter how flawed, is honest and his emotions are true, despite the fact that they lead to… well, I won’t spoil it. 

There are plenty of mystery books out there, and if you’re looking for a truly suspenseful story where you have no idea what happens next, this may not be the book for you. There is suspense and mystery, yes, but the real charm of the book is observing the twisted, horrifying inner workings of the narrator’s brain and thinking about how easily his mundane feelings of jealousy, greed, and infatuation, which are all relatable to some extent, turn horribly, horribly sour. Thematically, this book reminded me heavily of A Separate Peace because of the corrupting power of the narrator’s jealousy and admiration toward a more successful, more handsome peer. If you liked A Separate Peace or if you’re just a fan of mysteries and psychological stories, definitely check out The Talented Mr. Ripley.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


We've had a few questions via email regarding this weekend's DRAG PROM! We can't believe its finally here! At any rate, we've put together a list of what we think may be questions you have or have already asked us! 
  1. Q: Do I have to pay to come to the event? 
    • A: No, like most things that happen at the library, this is a FREE EVENT.
  2. Q: Is it required that attendees dress in drag? 
    • A: No, you can absolutely come as yourself! If you change your mind, we'll have plenty of materials to fit the persona-clothes and makeup, you envision. 
  3. Q: Do I have to be queer/LGBTQIA+ identifying to attend the prom? 
    • A: No, as long as you're a teen from 12 to 19, that respects and considers yourself an ally to the queer community, you're more than welcome to attend! 
  4. Q: Will there be food and drinks at the event? 
    • A: Yes, we'll have food and drinks for people to enjoy. 
  5. Q: Can I come to the event late? 
    • A: Yes, you can show up late, but you cannot leave and come back to the prom. 
  6. Q: Are middle schoolers welcome to attend? 
    • A: Yes, middle schoolers are more than welcome to attend! 
  7. Q: Are teens outside of Arlington allowed to come to prom? 
    • A: Yes, absolutely! We want teens to meet new teens and enjoy an alternative prom experience. 
  8. Q: Will there be adults at the prom? 
    • A: Yes, there will chaperones that have had background checks for the event. 
  9. Q: Where is Drag Prom being held? 
  10. Q: Will the Drag King and Queen do a number for everyone? 
    • A: Yes! They will do an opening sequence as well as a performance during the prom.
  11. Q; Can I just come to dance? 
    • A: Yes, absolutely. We've got a solid DJ to help you have a fantastic time! 
  12. Q: Will there be a photographer? 
    • A: Yes, there will be a professional photographer that will be there to take 'prom pics' for teens! The pics will be uploaded to a private online gallery.
  13. Q: Will I need to bring a date?
    • A: No date necessary! You're more than welcome to come stag or with friends! 
If you have other questions, please feel free to reach out and contact us! We'll be here, and we're happy to make this queer prom season wonderful! 

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Needle SORT OF Recommends 'Jaya and Rasa' by Sonia Patel

Jaya and Rasa: A Love Story by Sonia Patel

This retelling of Romeo and Juliet is about two teens living in Hawaii. Rasa is of mixed race, the daughter of a neglectful prostitute and forced to delve into prostitution herself after she was raped at a very young age just to keep her and her younger siblings alive, and when she and her siblings are put into foster care, she ends up under the control of a manipulative, violent pimp. Jaya is an Indian, transgender boy from a wealthy family that, despite looking like the perfect family from the outside, is being destroyed by his father’s cheating and his mother’s eating disorder. The characters meet and feel an instant attraction, are kept apart by their families/pimps, you get the idea.  

Jaya and Rasa is one of those books that’s just chock-full of diversity: while many authors (and especially filmmakers) seem to believe that “diverse traits” can only appear one at a time and are mutually exclusive, this book does NOT have that problem. Now, I’m about to start talking about what I didn’t like: if you already are planning on reading this book, please do and skip along to the last paragraph. I’m almost afraid to jinx it by typing this but… I think Patel went just a little TOO above and beyond with her diversity quota. The story feels rushed and the characters underdeveloped: they are supposed to be 16 or 17 but unfortunately Patel’s immature writing ends up portraying them in an unsophisticated and immature light. In my opinion, she would have done her characters more justice by focusing less on making her book a poster child for diversity through tons of cliched, textbook situations of abuse, mental illness, and general bad situations. Instead, I wish she’d taken the time to develop her characters as people, as teenagers, with more original, nuanced, and deep representations of the effects of horrible life situations.  

But the truth is, I don’t want to bash this book and I still think you should read it. Unfortunately, we still struggle to see tabooed real-life issues in media, and it’s incredibly important to have book and movie characters that help reflect issues that teens all over might face, and start the conversation about these topics that will hopefully lead to support and understanding for victims of abuse, sex trafficking, neglect, racism, homo- and transphobia, eating disorders, and the many other problems people still fight against daily but are rarely discussed in the media. So yes, Jaya and Rasa was far from perfect as a novel, but I still support it because of the topics it deals with and the ever-present need for more books that aren’t afraid to deal with hard topics. 

WARNINGS: This book is very dark and deals heavily with sexual and physical abuse, rape, homo- and transphobia, eating disorders, attempted suicide, and neglect. If you are particularly sensitive about these things this book might not be for you. 

Thursday, April 26, 2018


First come, first serve! Want to learn more about CHOCOLATE?! Experience the world of chocolate with special guest, Kim Larkin! You’ll learn about the history of chocolate, partake in some chocolate trivia, and last but not least, MAKE and TAKE your CHOCOLATE creations home! This event is for grades 6 to 12.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018


In keeping with National Poetry Month, Thursday, April 26th is Poem In Your Pocket Day! Poem in Your Pocket Day intends to unite people in a day of celebration for poetry! Stop by the Poem Display on your way in the Robbins Library where you can pick up a poem to place in your pocket! Take a printed poem or write your own poem to keep or share!
Want to know what poem I'll have in my pocket?!


Let Evening Come by Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don’t
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

While the poem is definitely about the sadness of life ending, it always reminds me to appreciate the natural world as well as the brevity of life. Jane Kenyon lived in my hometown and was married to National Poet Laureate, Donald Hall. There's a Bill Moyers PBS documentary on the couple from the early 90s. CHECK.IT.OUT. As with her later poems, this one took a darker turn as she succumbed to her leukemia.

The nerdy part regarding this poem pertains to our middle-high school band playing an arrangement of this poem. Like the poem, the musical arrangement was sad but accepting of the circumstances of life. Feel free to hit up youtube for some sound middle school arrangements!

Jane's work has been compared to Sylvia Plath's and has been praised for its use of rural description, which was no doubt inspired by her Northern New England surroundings!

Let Evening Come stayed with me over the years, and that's why it'll be in my pocket!



PS. What poem will/would you put your pocket?!

Monday, April 23, 2018

Celebrate National Poetry Month with BLACKOUT POETRY

Blackout Poetry
Wednesday, April 25th

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm 

Teen Area 

In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’ll be providing pages to make your own unique erasure poetry! With existing text, blackout poets isolate then piece single words or short phrases to create poems and in some cases, magnificent artwork! While the initial pages of text won’t be unique, the framing and creating of your personal poem and artwork will be! Be loud and be heard! Happy National Poetry Month!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Needle Recommends 'From Here to Eternity' by Caitlin Doughty

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death by Caitlin Doughty

“I have come to believe that the merits of a death custom are not based on mathematics (e.g., 36.7 percent a "barbarous act"), but on emotions, a belief in the unique nobility of one's own culture. That is to say, we consider death rituals savage only when they don't match our own.”
I rarely read nonfiction. So rarely, in fact, that my parents felt the need to get me this book as a gift to “expand my horizons.” Needless to say, I was hardly thrilled with the prospect of starting it but I ended up enjoying it more than I expected.

From Here to Eternity is a recounting of author/mortician Caitlin Doughty’s travels through different cultures and the different ways people deal with the death of their loved ones, and often more importantly, celebrate their lives even long after they have died. Each section of the book is dedicated to a different funerary custom from around the world, including cultures in Indonesia, Mexico, Spain, Japan, Bolivia, and even a few non-traditional practices in the United States.

The topics she explored were very interesting and were definitely the highlight of the book, which I guess is to be expected from a work of nonfiction. Doughty is supposed to be funny, and unfortunately her style of humor and writing in general wasn’t doing it for me. It felt just a little too immature and like she was trying too hard, but the fascinating subjects and exploration of different customs were just enough to make up for the somewhat lacking writing.

I was also worried that this book would be overly depressing, since it is literally all about death. However, it is important to know that the tone is overall very uplifting. While she does discuss the nitty-gritty of various funerary practices, the real emphasis of the book is the importance of family, celebration, and remembrance of those who have passed.

I recommend this book to anyone who, like me, is looking to dip their toes into the realm of nonfiction writing, or anyone who is perhaps already submerged and is interested in learning about different cultures and family practices from around the world.

Doughty, Caitlin. From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good in Death. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2017.

Review written by Needle, Teen Volunteer

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Teen Vacation Events!

Hey Teens!

Are you around this fine April vacation week?! We'd love to see you for the events we're hosting this week!

Tuesday, April 17th
Teen Movie - Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
1:00 pm to 3:30 pm
Robbins Community Room

Wednesday, April 18th
Teen Drop-In Video Games
WiiU or PS4. Nintendo Switch COMING SOON.
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Teen Area

Thursday, April 19th
Teen Drop-In Wanderlust Crafts
Map Magnets & Bracelet Cuffs
3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

All these events are for grades 6 to 12. Please check out our events calendar for more information on each individual event!

Thanks for your time and support, and have a fantastic vacation!

See you around!


Sunday, April 8, 2018

Want to Listen to a Book?

Climbing statistics from 2017 demonstrate that LISTENING to books is a THING. A THING. According to the Pew Research Center, about three-quarters of Americans picked up a book in the last year. The shocking change revealed that about one in five Americans listened to a book! SAY WHAT?! Furthermore, one in four 'young adults' listened to an audiobook! With these promising stats, we have a lot of LISTENING TO DO in 2018!

As someone who frequents audiobooks, I want to address some common misconceptions for commanding adults and teens alike...
  1. Audiobooks are bulky in CD or Playaway form. 
    • FALSE: You can listen to books on your smartphone with the help of a little app called Libby. Like an audiobook physically in the library, you may have to place a hold and wait for an available copy. However, its free and worth the wait! 
  2. Audiobooks via apps take up a lot of my phone's storage.
    • TRUE: If you continue to download files via the elder app, Overdrive, yes, it will take up some space for a bit of time.
    • WORKAROUND: If you download Libby, the flashy younger sibling to Overdrive, it will be quicker, and you won't have to store said files!
  3. Audiobooks take forever to finish.
    • TRUE: Yes, some audiobooks take forever!
    • WORKAROUND: You have 30 minutes to commute to school...Guess what you could be doing with those 30 spare minutes?! YESSSS, you could be listening to a book!  
    • WORKAROUND 2: Choose some teen audiobooks - most max out at around 10 hours. Think about that commute back and forth. You'll complete a book in 10 days! 
  4. Audiobooks are kind of like continuous podcasts.
    • TRUE: If that's how you want to consider it, YES. You could basically listen to a mystery and finish it, not having to wait for the following episode! WHAT?! 
  5. Regarding comprehension, listening to audiobooks just doesn't compare to reading books.
    • TRUE/FALSE: There are no real conclusive findings that demonstrate what works for each individual. According to psychologist Daniel Willingham, there's really no difference in the mental processes that are involved in listening and reading to a book. In other words, they're both beneficial! 
    • TRUE/FALSE: Your teacher tells you audiobooks are not comparable to physical books. Again, if we look at Willingham, it depends on your individual strengths!
    • HONESTLY, it depends on how you like to take in information! Do you enjoy listening to stories or would you instead immerse yourself in words on a page?! Similar to the books you choose to read, genres and topic habits, it depends on what you enjoy! 
Give yourself the time to read one book, and then try listening to another book. Compare & contrast how you retained the information from each book - the plot, characters, world-building, info from specific chapters, etc. See what happens! Surprise yourself or better yet, confirm what you already knew! 

Ultimately, we're here to help, and we look forward to finding you your next great book or audiobook! ;) 

See you soon! 


PS. We have at least a few listeners on the Reference Desk, and we'd all be happy to recommend an audiobook that fits your needs! 

Thursday, March 29, 2018


Teen Nail Art
Tuesday, April 3rd
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Robbins Community Room

Local teen and nail art extraordinaire, Natasha Colman, will walk teens through how-to make your own nail art! For each patron, she will paint one accent nail, and let you create your own art!  She will also discuss being a content creator for social media outlets like Instagram! Join us for an afternoon of nail artistry!

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Varun Recommends 'Scythe' by Neal Shusterman

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

Recently I read the book Scythe by Neal Shusterman. In the book, there are two teens, Rowan and Citra. They live in a world where humanity has conquered death. As a means of population control, specially chosen men and women called scythes carry out random acts of murder, known as gleaning in the post-immortality world. The only way to truly die without a scythe gleaning you is to be burnt alive. A scythe known as Faraday, visits Citra’s home. He also visits Rowan, and suggests they both train to become scythes. They both accept with some reluctance and begin their training. During it, however, tragedy strikes and the two are forced into very different paths.

Overall, I think the book had some very strong parts and some not so strong parts. One thing I found that did annoy me was the relative predictability of the plot. Compared to some more spontaneous books, Scythe was definitely much easier to guess what would happen next. Also, a very large part of the book was covering the training of Rowan and Citra, and while I do agree it is important to show that they were training, and that they were working to become good scythes, I think too much of the book was more a training montage than filled with action scenes.

However, the book had many great things about it as well. The most interesting part about it would have to be the concept that the book explored. The concept of a post-immortality Earth, where people cannot die, where the act of killing is a necessity, and must be done by someone is a very chilling, yet interesting one. Another thing I really liked about the book was the character development and change over the book. We learned lots about all the characters from their actions, from Citra’s stubbornness, to Rowan’s easygoingness. Also, many of the characters changed across the book, them, and watching that development is very interesting.
especially the two main characters. Citra went from a cold, stubborn person to a much nicer, understanding person. And Rowan went from a joke-cracking, grinning person, to a much sadder, colder person. Their differing paths change

Overall I would probably give the book 3 out of 5 stars. While its concept and characters were very creative and interesting, the simple plot and lack of high-intensity thriller scenes made it lose two stars. I would, however, still recommend it to read, as even though it is a longer book, I think it is definitely one to read if you are a fan of dystopian, future books. It has similar themes to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, so fans of that book will enjoy this one as well.

The first review written by teen volunteer, Varun! Thank you and welcome, Varun!

Friday, March 23, 2018

6th Grade Book Club Reads 'Bronx Masquerade' by Nikki Grimes

6th Grade Book Club

Thursday, April 12th

4:30 pm to 5:30 pm 

Robbins Conference Room (4th Floor)

For our April edition of 6th Grade Book Club, we'll be reading a novel in verse to celebrate National Poetry Month.

Enjoy reading and talking about books? Looking to continue reading throughout the school year? Join us for our 6th Grade Book Club! Every month we’ll read a new book, discuss the present book, complete a papercraft activity based on the book, and choose a book for the following month. Refreshments will be provided! You can sign up HERE via Eventbrite.

Our selection is Bronx Masquerade by Nikki Grimes - while studying the Harlem Renaissance, students at a Bronx high school read aloud poems they've written, revealing their innermost thoughts and fears to their formerly clueless classmates.

Please pick the book up at the Circulation Desk of the Robbins Library or at the Fox Library and bring it to the meeting held in the Robbins fourth-floor Conference Room!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


We're ECSTATIC that we can now share all the information for our LGBTQIA+ Alternative Prom! Please refer to the Drag Prom 2018 page for more information on all the lead-up events and the ULTIMATE event, DRAG PROM! :)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Middle School Advisory Board - THIS THURSDAY!

Hey Middle Schoolers!

We're having our second Middle School Advisory Board meeting this year, and we'd love for you to join us! We find that middle schoolers have a unique perspective and place in our library! If you looking to help the library, recommend items for us to purchase, or just hang out in the Teen Area, this group is for you! Drop-in to our meetings to help create fun events, meet new people, and get involved with the Teen Area and its future. There will be pizza and refreshments for attendees!

Have questions?! Please feel free to email Megan, Teen Services Librarian at

Thanks for your time and support, and we look forward to seeing you! 


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Feed the Pig!

There's this PIG we have in the Teen Area that takes suggestions. The PIG likes to know what you think we should offer for events, how the Teen Area can evolve, and what things we may be missing in our collections that you want to see!

The PIG lives on the laptop bar in the Teen Area. The PIG enjoys being feed every now and then...We look forward to hearing your feedback so we can have the Teen Area be a place for everyone to feel safe and comfortable! :)

Monday, March 5, 2018

Teen Early Release Tomorrow Afternoon @ 2:00 PM

Looking for something to do after school tomorrow?! Experience 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' on the big screen! Written and adapted by author Stephen Chbosky, the film is a coming-of-age story exploring themes of mental health, friendship, and empathy for others in a time of need. It will make you laugh, cry, and feel infinite! Sound interesting? We'll have snacks and drinks for a 2:00 PM start! This event is for grades 6 to 12.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

What is a Zine?!

Zines are independently made “magazines” about whatever you want! Zines are a way to express yourself and to read about topics that aren’t addressed in 'officially' published books. YOUR voice matters and zines are an excellent opportunity to express yourself and share your experiences with the world! In short, zines can be about whatever you want! 

According to Dawn Stahura, resident Zine Librarian at Simmons College, a zine is...
  • Self-published and the publisher (you) doesn't answer to anyone
  • Small, self-distributed print run
  • Motivated by desire to express oneself rather than to make money
  • Outside the mainstream media 
  • Low-budget - no special equipment necessary! 
  • Support DIY culture/ethos - you write the stories that need to be heard 
Want more information, including a history, refinement, cataloging, and description of why you should make zines? Click HERE to take a look at Dawn's recent presentation for Simmons students!  

Want to learn even more about zines and zine libraries? Check out Dawn's guide HERE

Sound interesting?! Join us for an afternoon of Zines with zine enthusiast and librarian, Des Alaniz, to physically construct and build narratives for your zine! In addition to zine supplies and paper, we'll also have zine related and adjacent books!

Teen Zine Workshop
Tuesday, March 27th 
3:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Robbins Library Teen Area 

We look forward to seeing you! 

Monday, February 19, 2018

STOLEN: Dare to Share for the Talking Chair!

For National Poetry Month, we'll be hosting poems from you, the people of Arlington! Want to submit a poem?! Check out this stolen post HERE! Teens can submit their poems to the following address

We look forward to hearing your poems! :)

Tuesday, February 13, 2018



GAHHHH. It's that time of year! Just like film, library award season is upon us! Yesterday, the following awards relating to the teen and young adult world we announced: the Coretta Scott King Book Award, William C. Morris Award, Michael L. Printz Award, Stonewall Book Award, and the Alex Award. Below, you will find the winners and the honorees for each award along with a link to each in Minuteman catalog! If you're curious about the winners and honored books from previous years, please click HERE to look at Minuteman's listing of all awards. If you'd like to know more about the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards, please click HERE for this year's press release.

Coretta Scott King Book Award recognizing African American authors and illustrators of
outstanding books for children and young adults.

Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds

William C. Morris Award for a debut book published by a first-time author for teens. 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
Devils Within by S.F. Henson
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman 

Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults.  

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor 

Stonewall Book Award for children's and young adult books of exceptional merit relating to lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience.

Little & Lion by Brandy Colbert
The 57 Bus by Daska Slater

As The Crow Flies written and illustrated by Melanie Gillman

Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books that appeal to teen audiences.

All Systems Red by Martha Wells
The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel H. Wilson
Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing
Malagash by Joey Comeau
Roughneck by Jeff Lemire
She Rides Shotgun by Jordan Harper
Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Learn about the 'Insides' of a Computer!

Deconstruct a Computer!
Tuesday, February 27th
5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Robbins Library Community Room 

Ever wondered what was inside our technology? Well, more specifically a Central Processing Unit? Join us to take apart a CPU, and learn what lives inside it! We’ll use tools to take a computer apart, look at its brain, and talk about the different components! This event is for those in grades 6 to 8. Please sign up via Eventbrite HERE.

Here's a sneak peek of some of the computers that are just begging to be taken apart by some lovely middle schoolers!

Have questions? Feel free to email, Megan, Teen Services Librarian at

Friday, February 9, 2018

LGBTQIA+ Recap from 2/8

We were thrilled to have a drop-in last night! It's been AWHILE! We introduced ourselves with name, alternate persona, and pronouns. We also had a short brainstorming session to consider what we'd like to do in future drop-ins, but we may have been a bit too distracted and excited to fully consider our options!

For our next drop-in, which is Thursday, March 1st, I've asked teens to complete a small task as an icebreaker...

  • Each person will bring a favorite queer book 
  • We'll each book talk or sell our book choice to the group - tell us why this book resonated with you and why someone else may like the book!

In the meantime, I've given myself a task too! I will update and revamp our booklists! 

Here's the info on our next meeting:

Thursday, March 1st
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Robbins Library Community Room

Beyond the next drop-in, I wanted to make you aware of two events in the near future:

Zine Workshop w/Des Alaniz
Tuesday, March 27th
3:30 pm to 5:30 pm
Robbins Library Teen Area

Drag Prom 
Saturday, May 19th
Time TBD
Arlington Senior Center Main Hall
*We will also be hosting a shopping trip and a possible contouring session prior to the event. Check the blog for more details in the coming weeks! 

Have more questions or ideas?! Shoot me an email at or find me in the library!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018


Teen LGBTQIA+ Drop-In
Thursday, February 8th
7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Robbins Library Community 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 evening of fun!

Thursday, February 1, 2018

OMS 810 English Assignment Ideas

So you have to read a Sci-Fi and Fantasy book? We're here to help! With a masterful reading assignment in progress for Ms. Packer's English class, we've come up with a list of 60 books that we think would fit the Term 3 reading assignment.

Here's a quick reminder about the assignment:
  1. Total page count: 700 pages 
  2. Read one Science Fiction book (no fantasy crossover) 
  3. Read one Fantasy book (no horror or sci-fi crossover) 
  4. No books that are movies 
Want to look over the assignment? Click HERE to go to 810s class website. 
We'll let you worry about the reading part with post-it notes!

Each recommendation will have the title, a link to our catalog, and the number of pages in our copies of the booksWe've done our best to fit the requirements of the assignment, but please remember to check-in with your English teacher to make sure the book is appropriate for the task at hand. Finally, the number of pages may differ in various editions of the book. I've pulled the numbers from our available editions in Arlington. 

Science Fiction Recommendations
  1. All Rights Reserved by Gregory Scott Katsoulis (392 pages) 
  2. Artemis by Andy Weir (305 pages)
  3. Ashfall by Mike Mullin (466 pages) 
  4. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (468 pages) 
  5. Cinder by Marissa Meyer (390 pages) 
  6. Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray (503 pages)
  7. The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid (407 pages)
  8. Feed by M.T. Anderson (299 pages) 
  9. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer (380 pages) 
  10. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff  (599 pages) 
  11. Larklight by Philip Reeve (399 pages) 
  12. Legend by Marie Lu (305 pages) 
  13. Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (440 pages) 
  14. Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer (347 pages)  
  15. Little Brother by Cory Doctorow (416 pages) 
  16. The Living by Matt de la Peña (311 pages) 
  17. Matched by Ally Condie (369 pages) 
  18. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson (422 pages) 
  19. Orleans by Sherri Smith (324 pages) 
  20. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (486 pages) 
  21. Proxy by Alex London (379 pages) 
  22. Railhead by Philip Reeve (333 pages) 
  23. Salvage by Alexandra Duncan (520 Pages) 
  24. Scythe by Neal Shusterman (433 pages) 
  25. Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (325 pages) 
  26. Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson (386 pages)
  27. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (406 pages) 
  28. Unwind by Neal Shusterman (335 pages) 
  29. Want by Cindy Pon (327 page) 
  30. Warcross by Marie Lu (353 pages) 

Fantasy Recommendations
  1. The Accidental Highwayman by Ben Tripp (303 pages) 
  2. Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor (349 pages) 
  3. The Alchemyst by Michael Scott (375 pages) 
  4. All the Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater  (311 pages) 
  5. The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (462 pages) 
  6. The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco (411 pages) 
  7. The Book of Dust by Phillip Pullman (449 pages)
  8. Caraval by Stephanie Gerber (407 pages) 
  9. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell (522 pages) 
  10. Cruel Prince by Holly Black (370 pages)
  11. Deep Secret by Dianna Wynne Jones (375 pages) 
  12. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee (310 pages) 
  13. The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig (454 pages) 
  14. Graceling by Kristin Cashore (471 pages) 
  15. The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare (295 pages) 
  16. Mark of a Thief by Jennifer Nielsen (339 pages) 
  17. Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell (307 pages) 
  18. Railsea by China Miéville (424 pages) 
  19. The Reader by Traci Chee (442 pages) 
  20. The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan (516 pages)  
  21. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (388 pages) 
  22. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (317 pages) 
  23. The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson (378 pages) 
  24. Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong (406 pages) 
  25. Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older (297 pages) 
  26. Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (536 pages)
  27. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (398 pages) 
  28. Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan (376 pages)
  29. A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (251 pages)  
  30. The Young Elites by Marie Lu (355 pages) 
All of these selections can be found in the Teen Area at Robbins. Additionally, we may have copies in the Robbins Children's Room or at the Fox Library. 

Want more recommendations that fit your assignment and your interests? Don't hesitate to stop by the Reference Desk or shoot me an email at

Happy Reading 810! 



Next week's nail event has been postponed until sometime in April. We apologize for the inconvenience!  We will get back to you with a new date as well as a more local nail artist for everyone to meet!

Saturday, January 27, 2018

STOLEN: Early 2018's Upcoming Queer Programming

As I've said before, the adult library blog has some pretty solid content! We've seen a few teens at adult LGBTQIA+ events lately, and with that in mind, today's stolen post links to our upcoming queer programming for teens and adults! I'm especially excited about our screening of Suited (2016) this Tuesday, January 30th at 6:30 pm. CHECK IT OUT HERE

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

6th Grade Book Club Reads Brave!

Enjoy reading and talking about books? Looking to continue reading throughout the school year? Join us for our fifth 6th Grade Book Club! Every month we’ll read a new book, discuss the present book, complete an origami activity based on the 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. Click HERE to sign up.

This month, we’ll be reading Brave, a graphic novel by Svetlana Chmakova. As a superhero in his daydreams, Jensen has a pretty active imagination for a Berrybrook middle schooler. With the difficulty cranked up on academic and social problems at school, Jensen has to decide to escape to his daydreams or find real-life solutions to real-life problems. There’s only one way to find out which way Jensen sways! Join us to read Brave!

Please pick up the book at the Circulation Desk at Robbins, and bring the book to the meeting on February 15th at 4:30 pm.

For March, we will be reading the Arlington Reads Together selection Wonder by R.J. Palacio.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Teen Video Games are on the Move!

We've moved... 

In an effort to streamline video games for adults and teens, we've placed our teen collection alongside our adult collection to the left of the reference desk.

We have games for the following consoles:
  • Nintendo Switch 
  • Playstation 3 & 4
  • Wii & Wii U 
  • XBox 360 & XBox 1
As we've moved the games, here's a reminder of our policies surrounding video games:
  1. 1-week loan for all of our games with no renewal.
  2. Games may not be placed on hold to pick up
  3. Games must be returned to the Arlington.
  4. Cap of 6 games per library card.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions, comments or concerns by stopping by the reference desk or emailing Megan, Teen Services Librarian at

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Middle School Advisory Board - TOMORROW

Hey Everyone!

So we're starting up this new thing for all middle schoolers in the library! We're hoping to increase middle school use of the Teen Area, allocate opportunities for middle schoolers to help out around the library, and also take time to discuss what middle schoolers would like to see in their library!

Sound cool? Want to meet new people and get involved in the library's future for teens! Join us! THERE.WILL.BE.PIZZA!

Thank you for your time and support, and we look forward to seeing you for our first official meeting TOMORROW, THURSDAY at 6:00 pm!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Early Release Snowflake Henna - TOMORROW

Early Release Snowflake Henna
Tuesday, January 9th
2:00 pm to 4:00 pm
Teen Area - Laptop Bar

Join Professional Henna Artist Mandy Roberge in this unique workshop where library patrons can receive beautiful henna tattoos while learning about the cultural and historical significance of the art form, known as mehndi. The henna paste is applied artfully to the skin in breathtaking designs and stains the skin for several weeks. It is safe for all skin types. For more information about the artist, visit Wicked Good Henna. Patrons are welcome to bring designs of their choosing, and there will also be plenty available for perusal. For grades 6-12.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Needle Recommends The Secret History by Donna Tartt

The Secret History by Donna Tartt 

“We don't like to admit it, but the idea of losing control is one that fascinates controlled people such as ourselves more than almost anything. All truly civilized people – the ancients no less than us – have civilized themselves through the willful repression of the old, animal self.” (38) 
I have given a five-star review to less than 5% of the books recorded on my Goodreads account, and The Secret History is now among the select few. That being said, I could easily understand why someone would dislike this book, or be simply unable to finish it.  
The story is presented as Richard Papen’s reflection, as an older man, about his years at a small liberal college in Vermont. Having studied classical Greek for two years in high school back in California, he becomes infatuated with the college’s mysterious, exclusive Greek class, composed of five pretentious students and led by the strange yet charismatic Julian Morrow. He drops all his other studies to join the class and soon becomes wrapped up in a dark, secretive business that results in him and four of the others murdering their classmate (this is revealed on the first page of the book). The first half of the book is more of a mystery, with Richard slowly getting to know his eccentric classmates and becoming aware that something even stranger than he realized is going on. The climax is only about halfway through the book, and the rest details the repercussions of their actions and all six students’ slow descent into madness, immorality, and evil. 
There are many things that I loved about The Secret History: it was intense, well written, complex, and suspenseful; the characters were, for the most part, fascinating and, for better or for worse, I saw aspects of myself reflected in them. As you might be able to tell from this winding, disjointed review, days later I've barely recovered from reading it. This all has a flipside, though: all of the characters are incredibly pretentious and annoying at times, which might make them distant and unrelatable for some. Even Richard, who is supposed to be a more average California kid, writes with a convoluted voice and vocabulary that some readers might find unnecessarily difficult. 
It’s also very long. The 500+ pages went by quickly for me (it was such a page-turner that I finished in 2 days), but if you find yourself easily tired by winding, more old-fashioned style writing then this may not be the book for you. I found strong connections to John Knowles’ A Separate Peace and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies, so I highly recommend fans of those books to check out The Secret History

Note: there are COPIOUS amounts of drinking throughout the novel

Tartt, Donna. The Secret History. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1992.

Review written by Needle, Teen Volunteer

Friday, January 5, 2018

Happy New Year: Lists ON Lists!

At the end of a year as well as the beginning, publishers, book reviewers, and librarians alike enjoy making lists of books that were well-loved in one year and books that are most anticipated in the coming year.

It's a lot. There are so many books to be read (TBR), but probably not enough time to sort through the noise of what you should have read versus what needs to be read in the coming year.

With that said, lists should not overwhelm you! They are merely suggestions from book industry people, and sometimes it's worth sifting through all the hype for one book that fits your needs as a reader.

So, here's my chance to overwhelm you with said lists! I'll start with the best books of 2017 and then the most anticipated books of 2018.

Best Young Adult/Teen Books of 2017
28 Of The Best YA Books Released In 2017 That You’ll Want To Read Immediately
Buzzfeed's more mainstream list gives you what the book is about and why the book 'shines.'

Best Teen Books of 2017 
Kirkus Review is a book review journal produced in NYC with reviewers from all over that write mostly quality reviews about new materials.

Best Books of 2017
National Public Radio combines reviews by staff and book critics to create a fabulous list for any reader! The NPR list is by far my favorite. NPR's visual representation of this list is so clean and stunning!

Best Young Adult Books of 2017
Similar to Kirkus, School Library Journal provides reviews for school-based populations, which includes teen books, otherwise known as young adult books.

Most Anticipated Young Adult/Teen Books of 2018
18 YA Novels that are Currently Being Developed for TV And the Big Screen
Buzzfeed's movie and TV list has you thinking about what you may want to read before you start watching it on a screen.

Guide to 2018 YA Releases
Book Bird is a blog put together by a woman in the UK who collates all the books with releases in 2018.

17 YA Books By Authors Of Color To Look Out For In The First Half Of 2018
Bustle's diverse book list covers all genres for the first half of 2018. Personally, I can't wait for Sandhya Menon's new book!

Most Anticipated YA Books of 2018 
As a fandom site, Hypable has some pretty intriguing picks for 2018!

If the lists above are not enough material for you to look through, there's always our favorite, Goodreads to get you going!

I particularly like looking at the monthly releases to create a TBR list. There are also lists that are organized by debuts, genre, and of course, all the books to be released this year for teen, which is 744 books thus far! You can also check out what we're reading at the library via Goodreads HERE.

Happy Reading!