Election night at the library

Every four years, the community gathers at Princeton Public Library to watch the presidential election returns come in, and November 6 marked our third go-round with this tradition. More than 125 people gathered in the community room, where we tuned in to CNN to watch the vote tallies and analyze the results with our election night commentator, Ingrid Reed. At the same time, PPL staffers were busy checking Twitter feeds for early calls on each state’s results while tweeting to others in the community about what was happening at the library.

We first began doing this with the 2000 presidential election, when we promised to keep the library open until a winner was decided. You might remember that 2000 was the year when the election results were not finalized until December. We were careful not to overpromise this time, but when the television networks declared President Obama the winner, we decided to stay beyond the previously announced end time of 11:30 pm to watch the concession and acceptance speeches. When we heard the news that there might be some dispute about state returns, there was a sense of dj vu that history might repeat itself. We called it an evening at 11:45 pm.

I love election night at the library. For me, it captures the essence of what our library is all about: a comfortable community gathering place where people of all ages and differing opinions can come together to watch history as it’s made, a place where we can be serious but also have some fun, and a place where democracy happens on November 6 and every day.

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