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Robbins Library, Arlington

Robbins Library

The Robbins Library, located in Arlington Center, is one of two libraries that make up Arlington’s public library system. The main library boasts a vast collection of books while offering plenty of services to its residents. From book packs, and homebound delivery services, to library singalongs, the Robbins Library stays true to its mission to create opportunities for lifelong learning, meaningful connection, and discovery for all.

Library cardholders also have access to neighboring communities, being part of the Minuteman Library Network.

Getting a library card

Residents can get a library card online or in person by showing their Mass driver’s license or state ID card. Children are eligible for a library card beginning at age 5. Teens and Children who cannot meet the ID and proof of address requirements will need parents or guardians to provide proof of identification and address.

Read more here: Robbins Library – Get a library card

History

Robbins Library Postcard

Constructed in 1892, The Robbins Library was built thanks to the generous contribution of Maria C. Robbins. Robbins gifted the building in memory of her late husband Eli and gave the library a permanent home and a new name. At the time of construction, the building cost an estimated $150,000 to erect. The architects designed the Robbins Library to hold up to 60,000 volumes. Many considered it “one of the more noteworthy pieces of architecture at the time”.

In addition, the Trustees described the building as “of a style … which will command the admiration of future ages as it does that of all good judges today.” Today, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Architecture

Robbins Library Stairwell

It was the architectural firm of Cabot, Everett and Mead that gave life to the design of the Robbins Library. The firm chose Italian Renaissance as the style of the building. They modeled the formal entrance after the Cancellaria Palace in Rome.

The chief material used on the exterior of the building is Ohio sandstone quarried from Amherst, Ohio. On the inside, marble adorned the floors, walls, and fireplaces. Gold leaf accented the arches, columns, and ceilings. Finally, gas and electric fixtures from Shreve, Crump, and Low and custom-made antique oak furniture completed the interior.

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