The renovation of the second floor of the library (known as the 2Reimagine project) is nearing completion. As we gear up for the re-opening of the floor I’ve been reflecting a bit on the Augustine Birrell quote on our Witherspoon Street cornerstone: “Libraries are not made: they grow.” I would not presume to disagree with Mr. Birrell but in this case the library is not growing: it’s transforming.

The second floor obviously cannot grow any bigger but the space is being transformed to be more accommodating to how people want to use the library today. Just to name a few of the changes: there will be more study and collaboration rooms, we have added a larger and redesigned technology center and a quiet reading room, and book collections will be organized in our new subject “neighborhood” areas for easier browsing.

This is going to date me, but I remember when the library did grow from the ground up at 65 Witherspoon Street. The collage below shows one of the highest beams being hoisted into place in 2004 after being signed by library staff and some of the Princeton community.

I began working here when we were at our temporary quarters in the Princeton Shopping Center and I never saw the former (much smaller) building that once stood at the same site as our current one. However, I did recently find a piece of it hidden away in our attic. The heavy plaque below includes the names of the library Board of Trustees along with the month and year of the opening of a building that lasted for 35 years.

The Princeton Public Library has been growing and transforming for 108 years. The newly redesigned second floor will be part of this history and will hopefully help the library fulfill its mission for years to come. I hope to see you there.

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