Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 17
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
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Terra Momo Supplants Chez Alice as Princeton Public Library Cafe

Ellen Gilbert

The bread being broken at the Princeton Public Library cafe will have a different source beginning late Spring. After reviewing responses to its recent call for proposals, members of the PPL Board voted last Tuesday night to accept the plan submitted by the Terra Momo Restaurant Group.

Terra Momo is already a familiar Princeton presence with its restaurants, Mediterra and Teresa Caffe, and the Witherspoon Bread Company. The latter, which is right across the street from the library, will provide most of the food that will be offered in the library cafe and prices will be the same. PPL Director Leslie Burger reported that she had their focaccio pizza for lunch that day and “it was delicious.”

The final menu for the cafe has not yet been chosen, though Ms. Burger expressed the hope that it would offer “more kid-friendly items,” noting, though, that an attempt by Chez Alice to sell “carrots and peanut butter” didn’t fly. Soup, cookies, and other “grab and go” items will probably be available. She said that the library will not be required to use Terra Momo to cater the numerous PPL events.

The arrangement between the Library and Terra Momo includes a three-year contract, with an option to renew. An “opt out” clause will insure that neither party is locked in to an unsatisfactory situation. Unike Chez Alice, which has occupied the space since the library opened in 2004, paying 5.4 per cent of its sales to the library, Terra Momo has agreed to enter into a cost sharing arrangement with PPL. Ms. Burger reported that Terra Momo will provide “a detailed spreadsheet” itemizing everything sold in the cafe each month. Like Chez Alice, they will pay for utilities and costs associated with services like pest control. Details have not been finalized, Ms. Burger said, and could be subject to change after a year.

Stepping Down

In other meeting news, Board president Katherine McGavern announced that attorney Grayson Barber, whose term was not scheduled to end until December of 2009, was leaving the Board. Ms. Barber, a First Amendment litigator and privacy advocate with a solo practice in Princeton who does volunteer work for the American Civil Liberties Union, was recently appointed to Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy. The appointment, and her involvement in two new lawsuits were cited as her reasons for leaving. Ms. McGavern quoted Ms. Barber as saying that it had been a “tremendous privilege” to serve on the library board.

Benefits Survey

Ms. Burger reported that preparation of an online survey of benefits offered by peer libraries in neighboring states was near completion and would be circulated soon. Borough, Township, and Princeton Regional School district benefit packages are also being reviewed, and she anticipated reporting the results and discussing their implications for library employees at the Board’s June meeting.

Info Specialist

Shaun Pall, PPL’s newest employee, is the library’s “one and only” information technology specialist. The Board lauded him at last week’s meeting for his can-do attitude. “There’s no question that he can’t answer,” said Ms. McGavern. “He has a wonderful way of identifying problems we don’t even know we have,” added Ms. Burger. Mr. Pall reported that he is excited about the coming “deep freeze” project, which will lock down all the public computers so “nobody will be able to do anything to them,” and they will be “fresh” each day. Another significant project, he noted, is an upcoming inventory of the library’s aging computer equipment, which was all purchased in 2004.

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