Beyond the Stacks
Even though the library is now open with limited hours, many of us are still staying at home and practicing social distancing. Meanwhile, the internet and social media continue to provide new ways to keep us entertained and informed without leaving the comfort and safety of our homes. In addition to the library’s digital collections for ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, movies, and more, we’ve gathered additional resources that we hope will entertain you, allow your world to expand beyond your living room, and help you learn a new skill or brush up on an old one.
We will be updating this list on a regular basis so be sure to check back. And don’t miss the STAFF PICKS section at the end to see what we are doing. The Information Desk is available for questions during opening hours which are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and also 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. You can contact us by phone, chat, or email.
“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens, a Seasonal Classic
Missing this year’s live performance of “A Christmas Carol” at McCarter Theatre? Here are a number of ways to connect with this timeless holiday classic. This section focuses on free options for viewing, reading or listening though there are many local theater companies who have online performances for a fee that we chose not to include at this time.
And don’t forget to register and tune in on December 4 for the library’s and McCarter’s annual community reading which is available virtually this season.
- Explore the library’s online catalog for “A Christmas Carol” and find many choices and formats to enjoy this tale and its many adaptations. These include print, ebook, audiobook, audio CD, DVD, Blu-Ray, and Large Print as well as picture books.
- PPL cardholders may view multiple film versions on Access Video on Demand.
- There is a cartoon version on Kanopy for PPL cardholders.
- McCarter Theatre’s A Christmas Carol@Home offers a number of ways to experience the story from (for a fee) a box of creative ideas to a free online version of McCarter’s actual production script.
- LibriVox, which provides free public domain audiobooks read by volunteers, has many “A Christmas Carol” versions, all with different readers. Version 5 gets good reviews and is also available on youtube.
- A freely available online ebook version can be found here.
- Project Gutenberg also has a free online ebook here.
- And the Library of Congress has one as well here.
- Ford’s Theater (Washington, DC) will present a radio play on various radio stations and also on their website at different dates and times. Please visit the website for more information.
- Trinity Rep (Providence, RI) offers a free on-demand video, available December 17-January 10. Visit the website to register.
- To add to your Dickens knowledge or interest, visit the Charles Dickens Museum or take a virtual walking tour of Dickens London.
Best of 2020
The year isn’t over yet! But, enjoy these “Best of” lists to find a new movie you may have missed or a favorite book to curl up with during these cold winter months.
- The Largehearted Boy Blog has put together a list of 2020 book lists. From The New York Times and Publishers’ Weekly to Time Magazine and Goodreads, all your trusted sources are accounted for. They have even included lists from popular bookstores, book bloggers, authors and celebrities such as Dolly Parton, Bob Woodward, Hoda Kotb and Janet Evanovich.
In addition to the list here, check out Creativebug, one of the library’s databases, where you can find instruction from experts and video tutorials for every type of artistic endeavor, from knitting and sewing, to beading, upholstery, and bookmaking, journaling and writing. It’s also the 11th annual Knit for Others, a program at the library to collect newly hand knit or crocheted hats, mittens, and scarves to donate to area organization. Click here to read more about it and register for a yarn kit if you need supplies.
- Wonderful instructions and printables from PBS on how to make Finger Puppets
- Coloring pages from the Zimmerli Art Museum (Rutgers University)
- Color Our Collections, a collection of printable pages from libraries, archives, and special collections
- Free printable and downloadable adult coloring pages from Just Color
- Coloring books from RBDigital magazines (for PPL library cardholders only)
- Free from the New York Public Library store: coloring pages, word searches themed on classic books such as The Great Gatsby, and mazes
- Center for Book Arts offers online art classes and programs that include calligraphy, book art, and papercutting
- Drawing and painting lessons on The Virtual Instructor’s YouTube channel, including video tutorials for charcoal and colored pencil drawings, watercolors, and pastels
- Art you can make from everyday objects such as corks, buttons, magazines, and box lids
- MOMA free online courses
- How to Sew a Face Mask from the New York Times with written instructions and a video tutorial
- List of online art classes that are fun for the whole family!
- Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s virtual Listen Up! Gallery, displaying students’ original and creative artwork
- Free articles and printable shadow puppetry templates from Past Times. Fun and educational, themes include Black History, Greek Myths, Folk and Fairytales, and so much more.
- Open Access Image Collections
Books & Reading
Even though the library building is closed, there are still many ways to find your favorite reading material, whether it’s an ebook, audiobook or a digital magazine. The library has its own digital collections that PPL library cardholders can access from home and others are available freely on the internet for everyone. To find new titles or read reviews, check out some of the sites below. If you need help learning how to download to your computer or mobile device, please contact us.
- For ebooks: Princeton Overdrive/Libby, hoopla
- For audiobooks: Princeton Overdrive/Libby, hoopla (Note: the collection of audiobooks that were previously on RBDigital are now accessible through Overdrive/Libby)
- For magazines: RBDigital (Effective February 1, the digital magazine collection will move to Overdrive/Libby)
Book Reviewing and Reader’s Advisory Sources
Many of these are aimed at librarians but are excellent sources for all readers to discover new titles and authors on the horizon and are particularly useful for book groups. Or try Book It and get personalized recommendations from the Princeton Public Library’s Adult Services Department. Also, try our new service, Book It for the Holidays, designed to help you find the perfect book to give as a gift this holiday season.
- Early Word
- Book Riot
- Library Journal and Publisher’s Weekly, currently available online at this time without a subscription
- What Should I Read Next?
Plus Library Thing, a free resource to catalog your home library
Virtual Book Clubs
- Princeton Public Library’s Book Groups have gone virtual! Visit our website to view meeting dates and times of our Black Voices, Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, and Mystery Book Groups.
- Folger Shakespeare Library offers free, monthly book club meetings that are open to the public. Book choices are favorite novels inspired by Shakespeare.
- New York Public Library hosts monthly book groups and discussions. Events are held virtually, including a live audience Q&A with the author of that month’s book.
- Book Riot’s list of Best Online Book Clubs covers a wide variety of topics and genres, ensuring that there is a discussion group for everyone.
Online Digital Collections for Current and Historical Books
- Digital Public Library of America: Choose from 6300 ebook titles in its Open Bookshelf collection which includes classic novels, children’s books, and textbooks in the public domain. Read about accessing the Open Bookshelf here.
- Project Gutenberg: Over 60,000 ebooks to read online or download in EPUB format or for a Kindle. Focus is on older books whose US copyright has expired.
- HathiTrust Digital Library: Search for particular titles or use the collections lists, such as this one for genealogy to browse by subject.
- Library of Congress Free to Use and Reuse Set: Includes images, maps, posters, and books such as the Classic Children’s Books collection, with titles that include The Secret Garden and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
- International Children’s Digital Library: A collection of children’s books in a wide variety of languages
- Authorama: a collection of open-access books
Other Audiobook Collections
- Free listens from Audible: Included are children’s titles, children’s titles in multiple languages, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone read by Stephen Fry, and many adult classics such as Brave New World, Atlas Shrugged, and Jane Eyre.
- Check out this article from BookRiot with 11 sources for free, legal audiobooks
- LibriVox, a collection of freely available public domain audiobooks read by volunteers
Classes, Lectures and Online Courses
The library has a number of resources for online learning available for PPL cardholders. These range from Creativebug and The Great Courses in Kanopy to language learning from Mango and Rosetta Stone as well as the Pimsleur audiobook series in hoopla and Overdrive/Libby, plus lynda.com for technical and business application tutorials and lessons. Even more classes are available online. Most of the options listed here are free.
- Princeton Public Library’s Conversation Classes have gone virtual! Registration is required by sessions are free.
- McCarter@home from McCarter Theatre
- Labyrinth Books: Many events in partnership with PPL
- Arts Council of Princeton: Try your hand at Handwritten Haiku, also has Zoom virtual art classes
- Historical Society of Princeton: Virtual events and walking tours, digital exhibits and collections, and learning activities
- Princeton YWCA virtual events: ESL, breast cancer support groups and more
- Princeton Online: Free online University classes available through Coursera, edX, and Kandenze
- Virtual Events at Princeton University: Includes online lectures joined via Zoom
- Princeton University Art Museum: Virtual events
- New Jersey State Library Webinars on a variety of topics that include genealogy and resume writing. Ongoing, with different webinars each month
- Free courses available through Coursera, during this time. Includes all subject areas for high school and college students, technology, career development, mental health, learning Spanish, and even beginning guitar.
- Open Yale Courses: Description says “provides free and open access to a selection of introductory courses taught by distinguished teachers and scholars at Yale.”
- Open Harvard Courses: Many are free, with topics in the humanities, coding, and health
- Camp NaNoWriMo: A month long writing adventure taking place in July, from the creators of the National Novel Writing Month
- Center for Book Arts Online Classes and Programs: Fee is by donation
- List of free online coding courses from skillcrush.com
- List of online art classes that are fun for the whole family
- MOMA free online courses
Cooking & Food
Many popular food bloggers, cookbook authors and food companies are featuring recipes that can be made either in small batches or with pantry staples. Often, their Instagram accounts or blogs feature video tutorials along with the recipes. We’ve chosen a few highlights here.
- King Arthur Flour
- Smitten Kitchen
- Hummingbird High: Search for small batch brownies, scones and muffins
- Bake from Scratch
- New York Times Cooking and search for pantry recipes
- Pantry substitutions from The New York Times
- Easy Recipes to Cook While Self-Quarantined also from The New York Times
- Melissa Clark’s From the Pantry column teaches readers how to cook with what they already have on hand. You can follow her on Instagram too.
- Food Network’s How to Stock Your Pantry Like a Pro
- Cooking with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra
- The Farm Cooking School in Titusville is doing live cooking demonstrations on Facebook. and offering reduced fee live streaming cooking classes.
Health & Wellness
Places to visit to soothe the mind and body.
- How to Meditate from mindful.org
- How to Meditate from The New York Times
- Livestream Dance Classes
- Princeton Local Mental Health & Wellness Resources
- Harvard University Online Courses in Health & Medicine: Covers a wide variety of subjects, not all health related, many are free.
- National Institute of Mental Health’s Publications and Fact Sheets on a wide variety of topics and Your Healthiest Self: Wellness Toolkits, in English and Spanish
- Rubin Care Package Art and Practices for Navigation Our World from the Rubin Museum of Art. Information blog post which “share techniques for quieting the mind and managing anxiety for both families and adult” as well as mindful meditations and videos.
- YMCA: Your Y at Home: Videos on creative activities, staying active, and exercise classes for all ages, including Tai Chi and yoga.
Movies & Theater
The library offers streaming movies through Kanopy and Access Video on Demand for library cardholders. Even though we were not able to have our Princeton Environmental Film Festival this spring, many of the films from previous years can be found on Kanopy using this link. Check out these other viewing options, available to all.
- Princeton Garden Theatre is streaming virtual events, including movies, performances and cartoons. Also streaming some films for a fee.
- McCarter@Home is offering virtual programs and events, readings and talks, plus archival content.
- DC Environmental Film Festival “Watch Now” Collection is available to stream.
- The National Theatre will stream a different production each Thursday evening on YouTube and videos will be available for 7 days.
- Caveat Livestreams are entertaining, informal lectures, discussions, presentations, and storytelling events hosted by comedians, musicians, drag queens, scientists, lawyers, professors, etc., in a NYC basement bar on the Bowery.
- Watch virtual performances from Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London
- Enjoy Broadway plays and musicals from home from Playbill
- Watch National Film Registry selections from the Library of Congress website and also on YouTube, along with many other films in the LOC collections.
While our Museum Pass program is on hold, treat yourself to the online exhibits or virtual tours of these museums, plus ones from around the world.
Museum Pass Program
- Academy of Natural Sciences: Visit the Exhibits and Science from Home, hands on activities for children
- American Museum of Natural History: Also includes activities and links to guided tours on Facebook Live
- Battleship of New Jersey: Visit their YouTube channel for new daily content as well as Facebook and twitter.
- Eastern State Penitentiary
- The Frick
- Grounds for Sculpture
- Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum: Digital resources, tours, oral histories, student activities and virtual programs
- Morven Museum and Gardens: Explore the garden
- Museum of the American Revolution digital resources
- Museum of the City of New York: Video collections and various online exhibits
- Museum of Modern Art: Virtual views, free online classes, art activities for children
- Mutter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia: No virtual tours but look for exhibit information from past and “current” ones, under the Exhibits tab
- New Jersey Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Vietnam Era Museum: Visit the Wall of Faces
- Old Barracks Museum: View the exhibits
- New York Historical Society: View the Collections
- Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts: Includes exhibits and a program of upcoming virtual events, not all are free
- Princeton University: Explore Campus Art, Art Museum
- Storm King Arts Center: Explore the collections
Selection of Noteworthy Museums
- Spy Museum (Washington DC): Includes gallery highlights, online programs and Spycast, weekly interviews with ex-spies and others
- National Baseball Hall of Fame (Cooperstown, NY): Digital collections from the MLB, women in baseball and Negro and International Leagues that include oral histories, photos and artifacts of the game.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York)
- The Met 360 Project: 6 short tours to explore the Met
- Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History: Pairs works of art in the collection with essays and includes digital exhibits for the hundreds of diverse subjects such as Baseball Cards in the Jefferson K. Burdick Collection, Board Games from Ancient Egypt and the Near East, and The Bikini
- The Smithsonian Museums: Link is to the master list of all 19 museums in Washington DC. Almost all museums have online exhibits and virtual exhibits such as The National Museum of Natural History. For more information, read this article, “How to Virtually Explore the Smithsonian from Your Living Room” from Smithsonian Magazine.
- The Louvre (Paris): Multiple tours, including the Remains of the Louvre’s Moat
- The Pitt Rivers Museum (Oxford): great museum, well worth the visit
- Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam)
- The Vatican: Includes the Sistine Chapel
- British Museum (London)
- Imperial War Museum (London)
- Google Arts & Culture: Explore 2000 collections, from museums, galleries, and institutions from 80 countries including
And one more
MCN: Advancing Digital Transformations in Museums: This is an enormous list of links to art and culture museums, history museums, natural science museums, online exhibits plus e-learning, kid’s activities, online collections in the areas of art, culture, science and history and digital archives and libraries. A treasure trove of resources!
Library cardholders can take advantage of downloadable music offerings through hoopla. Everyone can enjoy these additional musical sites.
- Literary Jukebox: “Quotes from beloved books, each thematically matched with a song”
- Visit Princeton Symphony Orchestra’s Play It Forward for weekly webcasts of PSO performances
- Visit the Library of Congress’s YouTube playlist of concerts. Includes hundreds of specialties including folk music from various cultures, classical music, songwriters. Most are introduced by music librarians, ethnomusicologists or other professionals. Sound quality is good.
- Sofar Sounds: a YouTube channel featuring videos of small, intimate concerts hosted all over the world in interesting public places
- NPR Music Tiny Desk Concerts on YouTube
- Tune in daily for programs at Lincoln Center at Home, both past and present
- The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: Recordings, videos, and livestreams
- Recording Academy Grammy Museum: Includes online exhibits, music lessons, and conversations with musicians
- Billboard’s Lists of Virtual Concerts and Livestreams, continuously updated
- Library of Congress Historic Sheet Music Collection
Nature & Wildlife
There’s nothing cuter than an animal cam! Enjoy nature from the inside while we wait patiently until we can explore the outdoors again.
- Live cams:
- Audubon Guide to North American Birds Guide: Identify the birds in your backyard and neighborhood, along with activities.
- Feather Atlas of North American Birds: Feather identification
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Birds, birds, birds!
- Educational webinars, webcasts and videos from The Smithsonian Institution including the Smithsonian Science How Archives.
- Virtual Resources from The National Park Service: Includes virtual tours of parks, webcams, galleries, podcasts and live programs OR, visit this comprehensive list of virtual tours, photos, webcams and videos of 62 of our nation’s national park sites.
- Nautilus Live: Photos, videos and blog entries about science and marine life including biology, fish and shipwrecks
- NASA: Galleries include images and videos about space, exploration and discovery
- NatGeo@Home from National Geographic: Includes videos and programs that are fun for the whole family.
- Hubble Space Telescope
- Rutgers Floricultural Virtual Greenhouse Tour: Enjoy a virtual tour of the Rutgers Floriculture Greenhouse, a 15,000 square foot complex, without having to leave your living room!
News & Newspapers: Past & Present
Read all about it! Access to the New York Times is available to all PPL cardholders with a special code that can be obtained by contacting us. Keeping up with local news can also be a challenge at this time but made easier since many local publications are available online. If you want to explore news from the past we’ve got you covered as well.
Current Local News & Newspapers
- Mayor Lempert’s Weekly Newsletter
- Princeton Public Library Weekly Newsletter
- Town Topics: View the current issue online as well as issues from the past
- The Princeton Packet: Read the current issue, find recent back issues at issuu.com
- Princeton Magazine
- Princeton Alumni Weekly
- Princeton Echo
- Papers of Princeton: An online searchable database of full text digitized images from area publications including Town Topics, Princeton Herald, Princeton Recollector, The Daily Princetonian, Princeton University Weekly Bulletin, Local Express, and Nassau Literary Review. Dates vary.
- NJ Digital Newspaper Project: An index to all known digitized newspapers published in New Jersey, including how to access them. Not all access to all newspapers is free.
- New York Times Archive, 1851-2014: A database that is searchable from home for PPL cardholders
- Chronicling America, Historic American Newspapers from the Library of Congress
When you are tired of Netflix and an audiobook is too much of a time commitment, try a podcast!
- The Moth, The Art and Craft of Storytelling: Story Library, founded by novelist George Dawes Green, The Moth is a community, a podcast, an award-winning Radio Hour and a series of live events
- This American Life: Each week is a different theme from summer camps and break-ups to funny stories.
- Fresh Air: From NPR, episodes involve news, interviews and human interest pieces that range from books and movies to politics and current events.
- Home Cooking: A brand new podcast from Hrishikesh Hirway and Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat! author Samin Nosrat. A funny and amusing podcast that helps you decide what to cook.
- Life Kit: From NPR, this podcast answers life’s questions and helps listeners get things done. Topics include how to write a book and how to start a garden, as well as help with COVID-19 tips for disinfecting your groceries and how to stretch your budget.
- The Librarian is In: Need your library fix while you stay at home? This podcast from New York Public Library discusses books, current culture trends and what to read next.
Projects from Home
Digital Transcriptions Projects
If you have some time and are looking for an ongoing volunteer project, consider participating in a digital transcription project. The library’s Public Humanities Coordinator, Hannah Schmidl wrote about the subject in a recent post on the library’s blog . Here are some opportunities for you to help organizations, including libraries, transcribe historical documents from their collections in order to make them available online to all.
- Smithsonian Digital Volunteers’s Transcription Center: Many projects to choose from including Women’s History, Field Book Project, Freedmans Bureau Records, and Transcribe Girlhood History. There are multiple projects in each category.
- Library of Congress By the People: Multiple projects including transcribing the papers of Walt Whitman, Susan B. Anthony, Clara Barton, Civil War soldiers and so many more.
- National Archives Citizen Activist Dashboard: Transcribing and tagging records from the Archives.
- Yale University Library’s Digital Humanities Laboratory: Transcribe handwritten documents.
- Stanford University Archives’s From the Page: Multiple projects including individual’s papers, radio transcripts and laboratory notebooks.
- Newberry Library’s Newberry Transcribe: Documents, such as diaries and letters from 19th century and early 20th century American history.
- New York Public Library’s What’s on the Menu?: Help NYPL transcribe its Historical Restaurant Menu Collection.
Oral History Projects:
Another way to participate is to consider contributing to an oral history project or creating one of your own by collecting and recording family stories when reaching out to relatives during this time.
- Voices of Princeton: Princeton Public Library’s own project to collect, share, and archive stories and memories of Princetonians
- Rutgers’ Oral History Project
- Princeton University’s Oral History Projects
- National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
- Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences
- The British Library’s Oral History Collections
- National Library of Medicine’s Oral History Collections
Puzzles & Games
Miss the New York Times daily crossword or the library jigsaw puzzle table? Had enough of Solitaire? Check out these games to keep yourself entertained and your mind active.
- Work an online jigsaw puzzle: Lots of choices here but you can start by typing Princeton in the search box for local scenes or look for these Rutgers University puzzles
- More jigsaw puzzles from USA Today
- Learn to play chess at chess.com. Create a free account and play online with friends, challenge the computer, solve puzzles and more.
- Jumble (a word scramble game), plus Solitaire, KenKen, Backgammon and many other word games from USA Today
- Mahjong Dimensions and lots of other games from AARP
- Test your trivia skills with Sporcle quizzes such as naming all 197 countries of the world
- Spelling Bee, Tiles, Vertex, Suduko, KenKen and Set are all free to play from the New York Times
- Archived older daily crossword puzzles from the New York Times are always available even though the current puzzle is only available to subscribers.
- The Los Angeles Times daily crossword is always free as are the many other puzzles such as word searches.
- Emoji Mix and Match from Zimmerli Art Museum
Enjoy a variety of Escape Rooms from PPL and other libraries
- Princeton Public Library has added a new escape room, Desktop Decryption, for teens and adults but also family friendly
- Princeton Public Library has three additional escape rooms: Mystery and Adventure, Saving Professor Wick, and Rover’s Quest
- Hogwarts Digital Escape Room (Peters Township Public Library)
- The Search for Gold: A Treasure Island Virtual Escape Room (The Cotsen Children’s Library)
- Escape from Wonderland Digital Escape Room (Moultrie-Colquitt County Library System)
- Space Explorer Training Digital Escape Room (Campbell County Public Library)
- Spy Apprentice Digital Escape Room Adventure (Washington-Centerville Public Library)
- Additional escape rooms can be found in this Library Journal article, “Family Friendly Digital Escape Rooms.”
If you are missing our Technology Class series, here are some options to learn a new skill or brush up on a current one. On this list you will find resources for learning to code, selecting your electronic equipment, gaining expertise in a variety of software applications, Zoom tutorials, and more.
General Online Classes
- Lynda.com: Princeton Public Library cardholders can use this link to access this online education platform offering video courses taught by industry experts in software, creative and business skills. Check out the many courses available to learn Mac essentials, iPhone essentials, along with Microsoft’s Word and Excel, and Google Drive, gmail and more.
- Harvard Online Courses: Many are free, though some have fees, with topics including the humanities, coding, health, Microsoft, Google and Apple.
- Princeton Online Courses on Coursera: Includes a number of computer-related offerings.
- Swift Playgrounds: From Apple, learn coding the fun way through interactive puzzles.
- Enjoy this list of free, online coding classes.
Product Training & Help
- Microsoft Training Center: Tutorials, how-to instructions for all Microsoft products, such as Office, Word and Powerpoint, and includes Teams Video Training.
- Learn Google at the G Suite Learning Center
- Learn how to use Zoom, plus additional assistance from their Help Center
- Visit Slack Help Center for assistance, tips and tricks
- Apple Support: Search by product, watch video tutorials and more.
- Wirecutter: Reviews and ratings on appliances, technology and gear
- CNET: Reviews and Best lists for all manner of electronics
- PCMagazine: Reviews for all types of computer and electronic equipment
- Consumer Reports: Some reviews are available on their website. Full text articles and complete ratings charts can be found by searching MasterFile Complete, a database available on our website for PPL cardholders to access from home. Don’t have a PPL library card? Access CR in MasterFile Elite from JerseyClicks and login with any NJ library card.
While you are at home and unable to visit the library, take this time to explore new places without getting up from the sofa.
- United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) World Heritage List: Travel to historic sites from across the globe. From America and Argentina to India and Italy.
- Virtual Trip to Aruba
- 360 Cities: Enjoy panoramic and 360° images from places all across the world, from Princeton to Bali.
- Virtual Tours of America’s Battlefields from Gettysburg to Yorktown
- Virtual Tour of the Great Wall of China
- Northern Lights Live Cam from explore.org
- Google Arts & Culture: Travel to museums, galleries, institutions and historic sites across the world including Easter Island in Chile, Chichen Itza in Mexico and U.S. National Parks.
What are we up to while we work from home and stay at home?
Andre: We have been using Disney+ here to re-watch some Marvel movies and The Mandalorian, AND some of the later seasons of Star Wars “The Clone Wars” before diving into the final season. I also love following @nycurbanism and @nytarchives (the New York Times Archives) on Instagram to get my fix of New York City history and architecture.
Bonnie: I’ve been keeping up with my knitting projects in my spare time, binge watching “Homeland”, catching all episodes of SGN (Some Good News) with John Krasinski (I’m a big Office fan), and helping my son with jigsaw puzzles.
Dana: I follow various independent bookstores on Instagram. Stores like @eastcitybookshop in Washington, D.C. and Princeton’s @labyrinth.books are my current favorites for discovering new titles and read-likes for my favorite authors. I have also been spending a lot of time on the ESPN app to get my “sports fix.” The app is free and you stream games matches from all sports, plus interviews and other videos and shows.
Gayle: I’m following @thebakefeed on Instagram which is a companion to the magazine Bake from Scratch, available on RBDigital magazines. Every day, the editor, Brian Hart Hoffman, has a baking tutorial showcasing recipes such as the recent, Doubletree Hotel Chocolate Chip Cookies. Most of the recipes used are also on their website. And, I often treat myself to a Dalgona coffee in the middle of the afternoon.
Janice: I am trying to figure out how to journal in images. My instagram feed follows #TellurideColorado, #SummerInAmsterdam, #AbstractFloral and #BookNerds, and I have come collections I add to for return visits. I am enjoying using two apps for creativity, Dreamscope for photo art and Story Art for collages, and I love SnapSeed as a photo editor. Any time I open one of these, I feel calmed and more centered in the moment!
Jennifer P.: I enjoy watching my idol, Dr. Jane Goodall, share some of her books from her home in Bournemouth, England during “Storytime with Dr. Jane”. I look forward to her upcoming “Hopecast”, which promises to discuss Jane’s vision for making the world a better place for all. I’m also following Patrick Stewart’s #ASonnetADay. Sir Patrick’s readings are very relaxing and a great stress-reducer.
Kristin: Aside from keeping tabs on the Cuomo brothers, there are a few distractions that occupy some of my time. A blog I have continued to occasionally pop over to for the last decade is A Cup of Jo for a fix of practical blog posts covering food, design, parenting, and more. Inevitably, I will find my way to yet another site as a result, like Dinner: A Love Story, a blog by Jenny Rosenstrach, author of a book by the same name. It ends up being a rabbit hole as I lose sight of where I began. But, good things are found, like Epicurious’ Cook With What You’ve Got Recipe Finder. Sensing a pattern here?
Martha: My family and I have been listening to Tumble: A Science Podcast For Kids. Each episode features a different science topic full of discoveries, mysteries and interviews with scientists. It’s something the whole family can listen to while cooking, folding laundry, cleaning, tinkering, drawing, sorting Legos, whatever! Bonus, it’s also got plenty of corny jokes.
Nathalie: I’m getting spiritual sustenance from the Let My People Sing Soundcloud page, and for comfort and inspiration, I am also reading my favorite cooking blog, The Woks of Life, written collaboratively by a Chinese American family here, in New Jersey.
Nora: I’m re-watching the Great British Baking Show (the Mary years) and Masterclass on Netflix, and finding it very soothing. I’m using Twitter more and am enjoying seeing really incredible artists sharing their work on that platform: try searching #illustration, #blueart (any color will do), and #linocut to get started. And, of course, I’m finding out about lots of exciting books from publishers sharing information across social media.
Sandra: I make a cup of tea, put on my favorite fireplace video from YouTube, and read or listen to a book. I am also enjoying browsing tor.com, the “What’s the name of that book?” group on Goodreads, which helps readers crowd-source the titles of books they remember only scant details of, and participating in PPL’s Wandering Book Club on Tuesday nights.
Sundari: With family here and back in India homebound with time on their hands, I am reviving the oral history project I started last year, to preserve the memories of our older family members. PPL’s own Public Humanities Coordinator, Hannah Schmidl, pulled together some great resources for us, including UCLA Library’s Tips for Conducting Oral Histories, tutorials from The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program, and Family Tree’s Quick Guide to Recording Apps. I am also preparing to start a Little Free Library. Their website has some really simple and creative designs.
Yun-Yi: I’ve been enjoying Monmouth University’s Tuesday Record Club online. It’s a book club for records!