Library news

Library news

Library to host Charles Dickens show Thursday

Charles DickensCharles Dickens in 1838. / Samuel Laurence drawing

"The Dickens You Say," a show about Charles Dickens and his characters, will be presented on Thursday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Community Room (lower level) of Robbins Library.

The program, a creation of the Delvena Theatre Company, is sponsored by the Friends of the Robbins Library. It is free and open to all.

Charles Dickens wrote some of the most powerful, imaginative and adored novels of all time. Using lots of humor, the actors will take the audience on a journey into the life and loves of the great man. 

Through the use of monologues and scenes, the actors will embody the ridiculous, the romantic and the frightening characters that Dickens so richly created. They will also explore with the audience some of Dickens's romantic adventures, and how he loved with every “chink and crevice” of his being.

There’s a bit of scandal, and a whole lot of worship for the great man who loved Boston profoundly. The cast will open up after the show for a lively discussion regarding Dickens.

"The Dickens You Say" is supported in part by a grant from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency that is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency.

Monthly events at Robbins, Fox

This news announcement was published Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, based on information from  Amy McElroy of the Friends of Robbins library. YourArlington volunteer Kim Haase prepared it for publication.

Sculpture scholar speaks at Robbins Library

ChlorosCroppedResizedOptimized.jpgJessica Chloros of the Isabella Gardner Museum

“Uncovering a 12th-Century Buddhist Sculpture with Modern Technology,” featuring Jessica Chloros, objects conservator at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston, is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 9.

Chloros is also a visiting lecturer at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.

This program will be an in-person-only talk in the Community Room, on the lower level of the Robbins Library, 700 Mass. Ave. It is being sponsored by Friends of the Robbins Library and is free and open to all.

According to a news release from the Friends, Chloros plans to discuss her recent technical study of the 12th-century Chinese Buddhist sculpture, Guanyin, from the Gardner Museum’s collection.

Her study used a wide variety of techniques: from simple magnifying glasses to high tech forms of analysis including scanning electron microscopy and CT scanning at Massachusetts General Hospital. This was done to learn about the materials and methods of construction used to create this compelling sculpture.

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Short comedic play performed at Robbins Library

robbins logo 12

A comedy set during the London Blitz of World War II is scheduled to be performed at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 12, at Robbins Library, 700 Mass. Ave., in Arlington Center. The title is "A Cup of Tea, A Crumpet and a Gas Mask."

In the story, despite harsh wartime conditions, Mrs. Henderson, an upper-class British woman has been keeping one little theater alive in a unique way. Her friend Margaret Rutherford comes to visit, and they discuss matters of the heart and how to make dreams come true. The theme is that to get through difficult times, you need a lot of laughter and a good friend.

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Library Town Day book sale held

books bloom

It’s time again for one of Arlington’s venerable Town Day traditions -- the Friends of the Robbins Library’s Town Day Book Sale.

The sale will take place in the parking lot behind the library as well as in the library’s Community Room. There will be thousands of books at affordable prices. Shoppers may also purchase tote bags and more to support Arlington's public libraries.

This event will take place between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 17. Those who are members of Friends of the Robbins Library may come at 9:30 a.m. Any shopper may become a Friends’ member that morning if desired.

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Arlington Reads Together: Nomination deadline passes

Arlington Reads Together logo

The Arlington Reads Together selection committee is seeking nominations for the 2023 community-read book pick.

Have you read a book that explores issues facing Arlington? Have an idea for a great community read book that will inspire discussion and connection?  Please share it with the committee via the 2023 ART Title Nomination form by Friday, July 8.

Since 2002, the annual Arlington Reads Together program has inspired the community to come together to learn and engage with inspiring ideas through book discussions, author talks, and events for children, teens and adults. In March 2022, hundreds of Arlingtonians read Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants by Robin Wall Kimmerer. 

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Libraries director leaving for Albany after nearly a decade

Andrea Nicolay, library director, 2022

Arlington’s director of libraries, Andrea Nicolay, has accepted the position of executive director of the Albany Public Library in Albany, N.Y. Her last day in Arlington will be Friday, July 1.

“Andrea has been a tremendous leader for both the libraries and the Arlington community and her contributions will be sorely missed," said Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine in a May 24 news release.

"From her work on library programming to the Reimagining Our Libraries effort to her leadership role in the creation of Arlington’s first cultural district, Andrea has exemplified a true passion and care for Arlington, its libraries and its residents.”

Nicolay began as assistant director of Arlington’s Libraries in 2012 and was appointed director in 2015. Read about that here >>

 In her nearly 10 years in Arlington, she increased access to library resources by eliminating fines and rental fees, adding summer Saturday hours in July and August, and securing municipal funding for Sunday hours.

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Friends of Library hula program held


UPDATED June 8: Join the Friends of the Robbins Library for a hula program by Hui Lehua o Kamawila, set for Thursday, June 9, at 7 p.m., has been postponed two weeks because of expected rain.

The free program will take place on the lawn outside the Whittemore-Robbins House, behind the library.

Hui Lehua o Kamawila is a collaborative hula group dedicated to preserving and sharing Hawaiian dance traditions in Somerville and the New England area.

Hula is a storytelling dance. The dances describe the many special and storied places of Hawai’i. At the end of the program, the audience will be invited to join in a demonstration of some hula dance moves.

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Summer reading for kids, teens, adults; registration underway

robbins logo 12

Summer reading programs are back at Arlington’s libraries with fun activities and reading suggestions for kids, teens, and adults. 

Registration for all ages opens Saturday, June 18. Children aged 0-14 are also invited to the Kids Summer Reading Kickoff Party in the Children’s Room and adjacent garden patio on Saturday from 10 to noon.  Kids who sign up can pick up a free book, play games, blow bubbles, eat a Popsicle, enjoy face painting and more. 

Kids can sign up for summer reading all summer long at either the Robbins or Fox library, and choose a free book to keep. 

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Online access to Arlington newspapers from 1871-2005

Arlington Newspapers, 1871-2005Click to access >>

UPDATED April 11: Local-history research has become easier in Arlington. Thanks to a gift from local historian Richard A. Duffy to the Arlington Libraries Foundation, The Arlington Advocate and other Arlington newspapers dating from 1871-2005 have been digitized.

The Historical Arlington Newspapers online resource is available at and includes searchable full-page scans complete with photos and vintage ads. Look through the archive here >>

Users can search by topic or browse by publication or date. Entire pages of the newspaper or individual images and articles are downloadable.

Local-history librarian Steven Prochet said in a April 4 news release: “People will be able to easily discover the life events of their loved ones, moments in Arlington history, and details related to homes and businesses in Arlington.” 

Read more ...

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