from the archive


Author: Janice Painter

Janice Painter is a technology librarian and has been Access Services Manager at Princeton Public Library since 1997. As part of the cross-departmental systems team, she builds, supports, and promotes the use of technology and new applications to engage library staff and customers in their 21st century learning and library experiences. She loves fresh, thought-provoking ideas and occasionally turning the world upside-down and inside-out.

Looking where you step


Looking down

On a January weekend when the day was too unexpectedly beautiful not to get a bit of sand in our shoes, my little family set off to find somewhere we had never been in our quarantine state of New Jersey. The path we took was largely unplanned and our destination unset. After recent days spent […]


Native American Heritage Month


Local Autumn scene

As we move into November and tune personal thoughts to our 2020 harvest celebrations, this month we also commemorate the heritage and history of the native peoples of North America. We’re featuring a selection of poetry, memoirs, history, and fiction from our collections, as well as related links to elibrary resources  and Indigenous People’s Day […]


Sounds of music


For the last three months, we’ve lived through adjusting to confinement and social distancing. In the new normal brought by New Jersey’s COVID-19 restrictions, sharing music has brought some light and relief to many of our days. We’re missing local music scenes and professional concerts, but the silver lining could well be all of the […]

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Library works


Virtual Princeton Public Library is open. While our building is off-limits for the community and staff, the business of the library moves along, with staff planning online events, curating digital collections, providing research assistance, and recommending reads. We aim to stay connected. In these homebound days, work is done on time we carve out of […]


Borrowed time


Watch face- borrowed time

One of the most commonly asked questions we receive is, “Can you show me how to download a book?” The library’s ebook collection has proven to be incredibly popular, as evidenced by the steadily increasing number of items borrowed each month. To many people, electronic copies of books feel magical. It can be hard to […]


Listen local


Listening Locally image

When I’m not in the middle of an audiobook and looking for a “good listen” for my commute, I look to podcasts to occupy my drive time. Recently I opened up my long-neglected list of favorite podcasts in the Stitcher app, and selected an installment of This American Life with the intriguing title “In Defense […]


Course corrections


Picture of streetscape with mural and sign saying Begin One Way

As retired MLB pitcher Tim Hudson once said, “There’s more than one way to do things. There’s always different points of views and styles of pitching.” Baseball season is back again, with new and eager hopefuls starting in Spring Training, familiar faces returning to rosters, and the shuffle of big money trade deals adding a […]


Looking back, looking ahead


Washington Crossing Reenactment

In the midst of anticipating a new year, there’s time to make a difference. As the winter solstice slides by and days begin to lengthen, we’re literally welcoming more light every day, but how, in these fraught times, do we each bring more light to the world? I’ve recently gleaned some lessons from George Washington, […]


Growing the poet-tree


View of Autumn tree Nassau Street

Anticipating autumn’s arrival, our library’s first poet-in-residence, Dara-Lyn Shrager, recently taught some eager families about poetic forms in a weekend workshop. The purpose was to learn, have fun, and prepare for an art installation for which original poems are written by community members and hung on colorful paper leaves to form a “poet-tree.” The poet-tree, […]

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Into the woods


Tree roots in the city

As my grandmother said, “A change of scene is as good as a rest.” With this in mind, a friend and I have been planning weekly lunch hour work breaks this summer to get in a rejuvenating hour somewhere other than the Witherspoon Street corridor, preferably outdoors. We managed to picnic in the Institute Woods, walk […]


Get out there and read


Reading gargoyle

My inbox has been deluged with summer reading recommendations– from publishers, from professional organizations, from other libraries and from some famous people. Taking a quick survey of summer reading lists I’ve been sent over the month of June (not counting the summer reading lists we have been busy making for adults, for kids and for teens), there are […]


The Great Courses and Caliphate


photo US Army, Mosul, Company assesses security during patrol

I have been listening to reporter Rukmini Callimachi unveil fascinating accounts of her team’s work on the frontlines of the war against ISIS in a new podcast from the New York Times, Caliphate, which explores the Islamic State and the fall of Mosul. The approach is intimate and personal, building from the opening episode’s posed question, “Who […]


Princeton and slavery


“I do endeavor to improve every opportunity I have in writing and studying my book. I would have written to you before but I was anxious for you to see my own handwriting.” Harriet Beech, a free African-American woman living at the residence of Mr. Searcy in Princeton, wrote in 1838, in a letter describing religious […]

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It’s personal, isn’t it?


"If only life could be a little more tender and art a little more robust" Alan Rickman

What we take away from an experience can morph over time. The secrets we all carry still are ours, even when we reveal them. I wrote these two sentences with some recent reading recommendations, which follow, in mind. I’m also thinking about experiences my colleagues and I had this past month while attending Book Expo, […]


Language changes


Rolleiflex film camera image

April had Princeton denizens looking backward and forward at the same time. Record Store Day celebrated musical sound recordings on vinyl, Earth Day 2017 revived and took on a campaign for environmental and climate literacy and the March for Science commandeered Hinds Plaza and gained momentum as more than 2,000 people rallied and marched to Monument […]


Behind the scenes


Jenga block tower building

As we are nearing the grand opening of 2Reimagine, big and small details are coming together to transform your experience using our second floor. Let’s take a glimpse at some of what’s been happening behind the scenes lately as we prepare for the big day. Planning for and bringing to life all of the services and […]

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Picking up threads


Abrah Griggs Hobo Spider

Twelve days into 2017: long enough to consider resolutions passé but not yet time to give up hope for improvements. It’s an aging new year we’re facing. As we multitask to juggle our goals and lives, we’re craning to peer forward, straining to glimpse sight of our hopes and to spark brief touches with our dreams. […]


Popular truths


2nd Floor wishes

With the second floor closed for renovation, the majority of our non-fiction collection has been stored offsite this year. When the books moved out of the building this past June, we pledged to fulfill your requests for these items within two to three days of your holds being placed. We’ve delivered (literally) and we’ve had lots of compliments […]


Finding the award winners


When you’re visiting the library in search of a good read, we have several collections designed explicitly for that purpose, including Library Reads, Staff Picks, and Book Group collections. Located near the Welcome Desk on the first floor, these displays of grab-and-go books often showcase award-winning writing. You may not know that we also have some great online […]


Book buzz: selections from a non-fiction lunchbox


As daily news of violence unfolds, the question of what we’re doing and what we leave behind seems to loom ever larger. I’m hungry for order, logic, beauty, looking for understanding. Poet Mary Ruefle writes, “Someone reading a book is a sign of order in the world.” Exploring other voices and wanting to stay based […]


Book buzz: families full of drama


There was gasoline to set a house on fire, a wronged wife, a dead husband and a sister in danger, with suspected crooked law enforcement agents and politicos galore, so nobody could be trusted. At this critical point in the story, my audiobook loan inconveniently expired. My book was deleted from my app's bookshelf, leaving me waiting in suspense while several people behind me with holds finished their borrowing and my turn came up again.


Windows


If you happened to look up into the second floor windows of the Library on a recent Friday evening, you'd have seen figures moving in dim light. You might have seen the figures dancing. You might have seen them hugging. You wouldn't have seen the tears. Or the boots kicked off on the floor and the heels shed. Inside, library staff bid their fond farewells to our departing Executive Director, Leslie Burger.


We need big magic now


As daylight hours shrink and the news expands our worries, perhaps we're all looking for spiritual and inspirational light more often these days. When fear's giant shadow blocks our view, we're left wondering what we have to hope for. When the unknown and the unthinkable preoccupy our minds, we yearn to invest our energy carving out safe and known refuges, gathering with cherished friends and family, and shoring up our strength with familiar beliefs, traditions and rituals. We need big magic now.


Escape the everyday


We all crave an escape from our everyday concerns and routines – some experience or adventure to energize us or tilt our perspective away from the ordinary. I recently read an account of a friend’s unusual experience early one foggy morning. As she walked alone in her yard through the mist, she “felt comforted by unseen hands.” When she returned later, as the fog lifted, she found “thousands of glittering threads, a multitude of intricate webs… a message for me created by hundreds of baby spiders.”


Mobile pain and pleasure


Now, more than ever, I find myself in a love-hate relationship with my smartphone. I love the convenience of reading a magazine, listening to an audiobook, playing a podcast, plugging in my headphones and enjoying music, or reading an ebook from the small electronic device I carry everywhere. At the touch of a fingertip I have available the world at large, together with the smaller universe of my own personal contacts. My camera is always with me. So useful. So many possibilities. So much potential for connected burnout.


Michael Graves: an everyday treasure


Crossing Witherspoon Street from the library, the shiny blue tiled Arts Council of Princeton building beckons, a Graves design. Scattered in rooms throughout my home, there’s a small but mighty collection of beautiful everyday objects, practical to use, pleasing to view and to handle. I live with the gift of Michael Graves’ creativity every day. Not a day goes by without my taking a moment to appreciate this man’s work.


Get ready for Princeton Environmental Film Festival


Mark your calendars. The Princeton Environmental Film Festival is being held this year from March 19 through March 29. You can keep up with news about, and find official selections for, the ninth annual festival on our PEFF website and the PEFF Facebook page. Our planning committee is a real community effort, with enthused and dedicated people from all walks of Princeton life shaping an exciting series of films and presentations.


A community of readers


This month in a Kirkus Reviews interview, our readers’ services librarian, Kristin Friberg, gives her thoughts about our Princeton-centric corner of the publishing industry. We’re very pleased to see our library’s readers’ advisory services and the broader local reading community recognized as a trend-spotting mecca in one of the premier journals previewing books before their publication.


Cooking chez Dorie


"Miam-miam" is the appreciative exclamation you'll hear in Paris, as a delicious mouthful of food is consumed. To the American ear it even sounds like "yum, yum." Dorie Greenspan brings the art and craft of French cooking to life in her books as she shares recipes culled from 16 years of part-time Paris residency.


Six reasons to listen to audiobooks


Sometimes you have to listen to get it. Here’s a riddle: You are the bus driver. You drive three blocks and pick up two people. You drive three more blocks and one person gets off. You drive around the corner and pick up five people. How old is the bus driver?  Read it aloud, slowly and clearly, one time, to someone and watch the reaction of puzzlement. (If you still haven't figured it out, scroll to the bottom of the screen.)


I read (and watch) banned books


I remember the first time I heard a book was "banned." I was most likely in fifth grade, left with the librarian to keep an eye on me while I studied and did homework in my little town library on a Saturday afternoon. Stanley Kubrick’s movie, "Lolita" had been in the news over the summer. I wasn’t allowed to see it. "Not for children," my parents pronounced. I figured I’d go looking for the book at the library and see what all the hubbub was about.


Due back later


Borrowing downloadable titles to read, listen or watch from our elibrary collections is convenient, day or night, at home or on the road. Check out from your device app or your browser without visiting us in person. In fact, you loved the e-book (audiobook, album, movie) you downloaded so much that you stayed up late into the night to finish. Now you’re ready to borrow more. How do you return that title before it is due and automatically deleted from your device?


Help us win $1500 this month


June is the gateway to the summer season– a busy month of milestones and activities. Getting ready to travel? Looking for something to read or listen to on your commute or while you work out? Or do you just want to keep your mind occupied while you garden, walk the dog, or clean the house? This month we encourage you to discover our handpicked collections of e-books and audiobooks on OverDrive and help the library get more good reads /good listens at the same time by helping us win a contest. 


Bestsellers and award winners, anyone?


Want to get a quick look at what Princeton Public Library has on the shelves from The New York Times bestseller list? How about finding which award-winning movies are available to check out? Here's an inside tip: our BiblioCommons website shows you the most up-to-date title lists, at your fingertips, just a quick click away.


Love is in the air and on the page


February, 2014, marks the third year in a row that Princeton Public Library is playing matchmaker. We’ll set you up with a blind date, specially chosen from our collection, if you take a chance and borrow one of the gorgeous gift-wrapped books from the display behind the first floor Welcome Desk. 


Remembering a librarian


Earlier this month, as 2014 was ringing in, a quiet and touching tribute to Princeton Public Library’s former special collections librarian, Terri Nelson, was published in Town Topics. You might have missed it, just like you might have missed seeing Terri, "the librarian on the bench." Library staffers found the piece to be an interesting personal testimony, and we shared it together. We hope you will, too. 


For 2014: A new e-book and audiobook collection


Changes are on the horizon in 2014 as we continue to improve our digital collections. Right after New Year’s Day, Princeton Public Library will unveil a new version of our e-book and digital audiobook library, via OverDrive®, Inc. While the library has been offering digital content to our customers since 2005 as part of the eLibraryNJ consortium, on January 2, 2014 we strike out on our own with a new PPL OverDrive collection and website. 


What are they doing in there?


On Veterans Day, Princeton Public Library was closed, but staff did not have the day off. If you walked through Hinds Plaza during the daylight hours on Monday, you may have noticed a fully occupied Community Room. What were library staff members doing while they weren’t checking out and checking in materials, cataloging and ordering for the collection, fielding questions, and helping with computers? It’s no big secret, just our annual Staff Development Day.


Lessons learned


Last week, the Princeton Public Library and Princeton Day School welcomed author Jhumpa Lahiri to Princeton as part of Lahiri’s tour to promote her new book, “The Lowland.” Onstage with friend, colleague, and fellow Pulitzer Prize winner, Jeffrey Eugenides at PDS’s McAneny Theater, the two offered an intimate evening of conversation about the book’s story and context, writing challenges and recognition.


In our neighborhood:PPL movie collection


How often do you go to a theater to see movies these days? Probably less than you did a few years ago. How many TV series do you watch episode-by-episode when they air “live?” We’re finding and consuming our film and broadcast entertainment in our own homes, or wherever we choose, at random and convenient times. Want to add to your mix of viewing options? Find out a bit more about the Princeton Public Library’s collection of over 14,000 feature films, TV series, world cinema movies, documentaries and kids’ movies.


Everybody eats


If you’ve spent time watching "Sesame Street" with a child, you probably remember the Joe Raposo song called “Everybody Eats." As the song says, eating is part of everybody’s life.  Whether you eat to live or live to eat, you might be interested in classes offered at Princeton Public Library where you can explore online offerings to enhance your appreciation of all things food and drink.


Travel companions


There's nothing I like more than to have someone read me a good story. My packing routine to go on a trip includes downloading a couple of good audiobooks so I have listening choices en route. I just got back from a quick getaway to Florida. On both legs of my flight I sat next to retired seniors who wondered what I was doing with my cell phone while the plane was in the air. I was listening to reader Jeff Woodman unfurl "The Life of Pi," Yan Martel's story of an Indian boy lost at sea.


Hot audiobooks from OneClickDigital


Listening to books just keeps getting better. I always have at least one audiobook in progress on my “reading shelf.” Recently I’ve started borrowing audiobooks from Princeton Public Library’s OneClickDigital collection. No more shuffling CD discs in the car stereo; my phone holds my audiobooks. They travel where I go and OneClick’s new iOS, Android, and Kindle apps make it easy to play them whenever I have a moment to listen.


Be the change: TEDxYouth


Ask a teenager, “What is your unique vision for the future?” It’s no surprise that local teens have answers to this question and want to share their thoughts, dreams, and plans with the community. As part of Princeton Public Library’s TEDxYouth event, “Imagine the Future,” on November 16, we have eight teens presenting talks about their passions and showcasing their visions for how their generation can change the world for the better.

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