from the archive

Author: Gayle

With the celebration of her 30th anniversary at PPL, Gayle has the dubious distinction of being the longest employed staff member in residence. She keeps busy answering reference questions, matching customers to books, keeping up with mystery genre trends, and wrangles with technology. In her private life, she quilts, knits, bakes, and is somewhat of a hoarder, all of which she occasionally blogs about.

Building bridges

Every telephone conversation with my mother starts much the same, “Well, Louise died last week, she was 91, you know. You remember her, right? Didn’t you graduate with one of her children?” It’s rare that some catastrophe or calamity hasn’t befallen someone from my past in between these phone calls. My hometown was small back […]

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The mountains are calling

I am a woman who hikes. And not just little weekend scrambles in the woods, but real, significant miles long hikes. Being a female of a certain age, the fact that I can say this with a straight face is amazing in and of itself. That it’s completely true is something else altogether fantastic. I never […]

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Lost that lovin’ feeling

The last thing you’d expect to read is that one of your local librarians has lost her zest for reading. It’s a perplexing problem because I have always been a huge consumer of the written word, in all its manifestations-books, magazines, newspapers, advertisements, etc. I’ve been known to read the cereal box when nothing else […]

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I spy…

with my little eye. Everyone loves a scavenger hunt. Birthday parties for young and old, club and organization get togethers, day campers on an outing, orientations for students, newcomers learning their way around town, team building exercises from area businesses, anybody and everybody at some point in time has participated in one.  It’s easy to spot […]

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A quiet place to write

I’m on a deadline. Truth be told, I’m way past said deadline. So past it that the next one is looming on the horizon. The blogging schedule is prepared well in advance so it’s not as though I don’t know ahead of time that I have these due dates. Yet every month, I find myself […]

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Noticeably new

If you’ve visited the library in the past few months, you will have noticed that we are in the midst of a major renovation, one that completely closed the second floor as it undergoes a “reimagining” to provide a better use of space and resources for the future. But our physical space is not the […]

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Mapping treasure

Twin Towers

Getting ready for a trip in my house usually means hauling out my tourist maps to refresh my memory about where I’m going, what I want to see, and where everything is, relative to each other. According to the modern world, I should be using Google Maps for this task, but oftentimes, I need a […]

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A Princeton walkabout

I am always on the lookout for ways to incorporate technology into my everyday life. It seems a bit odd to say that these days, knowing that most folks have the complete opposite problem of trying to disconnect from their electronic lives. As I look out at the sea of customers in the library or […]

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Recipe for change

Tick. Tick. Tick. The hands of the clock are moving closer and closer to the dinner hour, begging the question, what should I make tonight? I always wait until the last minute and then have to rush. Should I try something new or fall back on an old favorite? However, I’m tired of most of […]

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By the book, library edition

Each Sunday, The New York Times Book Review has a column, By the Book, in which famous authors are interviewed about their reading habits, past and present. The chosen authors are asked a variety of questions, which can differ from week to week, and include ones about what is on their nightstand, what would they recommend, what's overrated, couldn't get finished, or which famous authors you would have to dinner if you could pick three.

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In the doldrums

It's quiet here at the Welcome Desk. In this lull between customers, I have a chance to restock the displays, check out the newest books and thumb through a few professional book reviewing magazines. So why is it, with all of this lovely reading matter literally at my fingertips, can I not find anything I want to read. Nothing appeals to me at the moment. Nada. How is this even possible? It makes no sense whatsoever. I am in the (reading) doldrums.

Spin a yarn

It seems everyone knows someone who knits, used to knit, wants to learn to knit, is related to someone who knits, or just appreciates the handiwork of others. Seeing someone pull out knitting in public is an invitation for a conversation. I've seen people knitting on buses, in line at the grocery store, even here in the library. So that makes knitting, which might seem like a solitary activity, a shared one and I have yet to meet a knitter who does not knit for others, be they family, friends, or their community.

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Go with the flow

There is something so timeless about watching a movie in an old-fashioned movie theatre that I jump at the chance to see as many movies as I can at the Princeton Garden Theatre. Whenever I step through the door, I am reminded of the Lyric Theater in southwestern Virginia, which I would visit in my childhood. Recently, I went to see "Mr. Holmes" at the Garden.

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Put your feet up

I live in a small house. And I'm not just saying that to garner sympathy. It's just a fact. My daughter recently referred to it as "dainty." It is one room wide, tall and deep, built shotgun style. Just for fun, I measured it: 13-feet-3 inches wide at the front narrowing to 8-feet-5 inches at the back which is about the width of a sofa. With tiny closets, a crawl space basement, an under the eaves attic and no garage, there is basically no useful storage space.

My (fledgling) digital life

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am a late adapter to just about everything, particularly technology. I'm sure I was the last person using dial-up Internet, last to get a cell phone, very last to get a smart phone, and I still own a computer with Word Perfect on it.

Heart of remembrance

Boxes. Boxes. Everywhere, boxes. In a house already bursting at the seams, I wonder where I am going to put their contents. Current popular lore says that the way to a less stressful and happier life is to dispose of your clutter (i.e. your lifetime of treasures), hence, the overwhelming popularity of "The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing" by Marie Kondo.

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The tax clock is ticking

Have you put off preparing your tax returns? It's not too late. Appointments at the library with AARP tax volunteers are still available between the hours of 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Monday, April 13. The volunteers will be on hand at the library to prepare and file your personal New Jersey and/or federal tax returns.

Knit for others

Next time you are in the library, check out the clothesline at the Welcome Desk. The 5th annual Knit for Others program is well underway and a dedicated group of generous knitters has supplied us with a wide variety of knitted items for donation. We are always looking for more knitters so if you have time, please contribute an item or two.

This year we are focusing on collecting hand knitted or crocheted items for our youngest neighbors who need warm and fuzzy winter wear. So far we have hat and mitten sets, child friendly scarves, sweaters, and even a few afghans.

Into the woods

Spring has sprung (almost!) so now is the time to start planning some outdoor adventures. Even though it feels as though we are trapped in a tangle of highways and a sea of asphalt here in central New Jersey, there are a surprising number of hiking trials, open space areas, and wilderness spots practically at our doorstep. So take a look at some of these websites, grab a map, the dog, your kids or partner and step out into the wilds of New Jersey.

Tis the season or “the tax man cometh”

It's that time of the year when we all have to turn our minds to the dreaded annual task: income tax returns. Many people hire an accountant or buy software to help them with this necessity of life, but for those who are not able to do so, the library is here to help. Every Monday, now through April 14th, PPL is once again partnering with AARP's Tax volunteers, led by Bob Altman, to offer free tax filing (Federal and New Jersey) to seniors and people of low and moderate income.

Waiting for Downton Abbey?

Love “Downton Abbey”? Wondering what you are going to be watching for the next few months until the next season begins in January? The library has a fairly extensive collection of British period dramas, some new and some old that will make the wait a bit easier. Many are BBC or Masterpiece Theatre productions; some are multi part series and others are shorter.

File it away

Did you ever wonder how librarians answered questions before the age of the Internet, when there were no computers, and Google, Wikipedia, online bookmarks, and saved files were not available at your fingertips?  All librarians had were print reference books, the circulating collection, print magazine indexes, hard copy magazines, the telephone, and each other.
How did we keep track of all those little bits of pertinent information and answers to commonly asked questions?
We had the Funny Facts File.