from the archive

Author: Nora Walsh

Nora, an Adult Services Librarian at PPL, loves fantasy and speculative fiction, old movies, 19th-century British literature, memoir, and the occasional work of contemporary fiction.

Finding the library connection

September is library card signup month. In Princeton, as in many towns with colleges and universities, signups are boosted by new students moving in, looking for connections and study spaces. Individuals and families of all ages who are either new to town or just new to the library are coming in and getting to know […]

Shivers in the summer heat

A lightning bolt flashes against a purple and cloudy sky.

Everyone connects horror and Halloween, but summer is the perfect time to give yourself a fright. Summer travels can lead you to places with mysterious pasts, campfires were made for telling ghost stories, thunderstorms abound, and even the most charming B&B can make strange noises in the night. Horror can run the gamut from generally […]

Checking in

Multicolored graphs are visible on a sheet of paper on a desktop.

Suddenly, it’s June. I’m not sure how the first half of 2023 got away from me like it did, but I’m a little startled to realize where we are in the year. It’s time to take stock of my plans and goals. Naturally, some of those revolve around my reading life!  How’s your reading year? […]

Engaging with Women’s History Month

March marks the annual observance of Women’s History Month. While women’s history is relevant year-round, this month offers an opportunity to focus our efforts to explore the stories and perspectives of women, past and present. Hopefully, these annual commemorations aren’t just repetitive; instead, they can be an ongoing invitation to engage with the world around […]

When a little goes a long way

Image of stacked, thin books with multicolor covers.

As much as I love to sink into a long novel, and even a series of long novels, sometimes a shorter tale is exactly what you need. Enter the novella, loosely defined as being shorter than a novel and longer than a short story (and usually smaller than a breadbox); generally, in publishing terms, a […]

Tastes of the season

In the spring I wrote about some dream food scenarios to enjoy the fine weather; now that we’re into the colder seasons, I begin to fully commit to my bread lifestyle and, like many people, I crave hearty, comforting foods and desserts with a little spice in them, like my mom’s molasses cookies. These few […]

Library resources for small businesses

Three people collaborate while looking at a computer screen.

If you’re a small business owner, are self-employed, or have a side gig, then you know that every little bit of support helps. The library has an array of tools that we hope will help your business thrive. Explore these resources, and let us know if you have any questions. Meeting spaces – Seating areas are […]

New to you

A person is reading on the floor surrounded by books, candles, and a teapot

Working on the library’s service desks, I see plenty of people who are very aware of new and forthcoming books, particularly fiction, and add their names to multiple hold lists immediately. Many library staff, booksellers and reviewers have the opportunity to read books ahead of publication dates to prepare to share new titles with you […]

Sharing for the summer

A display of books included in the staff list.

Summer can be a glorious opportunity to indulge in some quality reading time. If you’re lucky enough to go on vacation, packing an unwieldy pile of books (or a fully stocked e-reader) is its own kind of tradition for many people. Aside from discovering new favorites, or revisiting old ones, there are even more incentives […]

A meal to build a dream on

I am a natural introvert, and I honestly don’t cook very much on normal days; still, sometimes I dream of lavish dinner parties, themed summertime cocktail gatherings, tea parties, and picnics. I do occasionally gather with some aunts and cousins for tea parties, and I once had a Lord of the Rings movie marathon where […]

Connect and enjoy

The library’s mission is to engage, inspire, educate and unite everyone in our diverse community. We want to help you learn, work, and be entertained through all of our resources: books, movies, music, and now our expanded Library of Things. These non-traditional items can be checked out and used at home or on the go […]

Five on a theme: the choices we make

A person walking has a choice of two paths

I had a conversation recently with some of my colleagues about our college experiences, sharing how our initial plans for majors and careers changed in the realities of adult life, and the things we can’t believe we didn’t know when making potentially life-altering choices. More than once, someone said “if I could make the choice […]

Paying attention

A map of North and South America emphasizing the Rockies and the Andes

I’m currently listening to the audiobook of John Green’s rather delightful The Anthropocene Reviewed, in which he reviews and rates aspects of our human experience, from our capacity for wonder, to whispering, to CNN, to Canada geese. In his introduction, he quotes his friend, author Amy Krouse Rosenthal: “For anyone trying to discern what to […]

Change your view this summer

As easily as a song can get stuck in your head, so can a story. Whether it’s a book, series, film, or something else, you’ll find yourself continuously thinking about it, mentally replaying your favorite parts, or the parts that challenged you, and wondering what comes next. The stories that stick with you can change […]

Navigating your year of reading

Photo of a pathway of books in the grass

When planning library programs or book lists throughout the year, our staff takes into consideration heritage months, or other national or state recognitions. For example, celebrating Women’s History Month is a wonderful way to help highlight the rich tapestry of experiences and histories that form the American consciousness. However, it’s also important to consider these […]

Make a change with the cottage spirit

Trends, styles, and aesthetics come and go over the years, and most of us grab bits and pieces of them to build something of our own. One trend that gained traction in 2020 and continues into 2021 is #cottagecore, an aesthetic that celebrates an idealized version of cozy cottage life, featuring home baking, knitwear, and […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Bridging the past, present, and future

My grandfather’s cousin Jack was incredibly focused when it came to genealogy. Working in the pre-internet days, he traveled, called, wrote letters, and faxed to dig up records from the U.S. and across Europe to fill in as much of his family tree as he could. He filled a bin full of binders that contained […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Reading the world

Image of a wall map covered in pins indicating travel

The Christmas when I was 12, my uncle gave my mother the audiobook tapes of “Angela’s Ashes” by Frank McCourt as a gift in our family exchange. She may have listened to the first tape once, but otherwise I don’t think she ever heard them, because I stole them away almost immediately. I began listening […]

Job seeking tools for uncertain times

Looking for a new job, or thinking about a career change, can be both exciting and terrifying. About three and a half years ago, I was in the middle of deciding if I should change careers and go back to school to become a librarian. Once the decision was made and school was underway, it […]

Making the most of our digital collections

It’s clear that one of the things that keeps us connected in this time of quarantine and distancing is our love of, and reliance on, stories. It’s often books, but it’s also TV and movies, podcasts and comics, and those funny short videos that pop up on social media about the excuses you can make […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Every two minutes

Every two minutes, someone is forcibly displaced. This staggering statistic was shared by husband and wife photojournalist team Daniel Farber Huang and Theresa Menders during the Sept. 22 discussion of their photographic project, “The Power of Faces,” which is currently on exhibit in the library. The figure comes from statistics compiled by UNHCR, the U.N. […]

Posted in Uncategorized

Testing the waters

Our Summer Reading program for adults has begun!  This year, we’re challenging you to read in a variety of genres and formats. Most readers already know what they like, and what they really don’t like, but it’s the stuff in between that poses the problem. You know people who read romance, fantasy, or poetry, for […]

Another kind of storytime

This won’t surprise you, but we’re big into storytelling at the library. I presume that, by now, you’ve noticed the books, but we also share stories through our film and cultural festivals, oral history programs, music and the arts, food, and sometimes through objects.   I’ve long been a collector of small objects: coins, sea […]

Posted in Uncategorized