As the summer concludes with a well-attended season of programming at the Princeton Public Library, the Board of Trustees is beginning to look toward the fall line up.
Summer programming at the library brought out a total of 666 residents in July, according to report from Library Director Leslie Burger. In addition, as of the beginning of August, 1,337 children and teens were registered for the library's Summer Reading Club, with 113 already completing the program by the beginning of the month.
Some of the library's successful programs this summer included the Student Film and Video Festival, which was screened to a standing-room-only audience, the Harry Potter Trivia Contest, and the library's volunteer program, which brought out more than 100 teen volunteers to help this summer.
"We really have a great package of activities. People are starting to realize that we're the 'hub' of the community," said Library Board of Trustees President Nancy Russell at the board's meeting on Tuesday, August 16.
Along with several new programs this fall, the library will also begin offering downloadable audiobooks from NetLibrary and Recorded Books, which are digital versions of the latest best sellers, book club favorites, works of award-winning authors, and language-learning texts. The library's collection will consist of 857 downloadable MP3 audiobook files, which can be loaned for a period of 21 days.
Library patrons must establish a netlibrary account to download an MP3 book, and each book may be loaned out to multiple residents at the same time. While the audiobooks currently use Windows Media Player, and do not work with iPods or other Apple products, the library intends to offer an iPod-compatible product later this year.
In other news, the library is continuing to lay the groundwork to launch this fall's endowment campaign. The most recent figures show that approximately $3.9 million has been raised. The library's goal is to raise $8 million in gifts and pledges by March 2007, and reach its goal of $10 million by December 2009.
Highlighting this fall's programs at the library will be the debut of the Christopher Reeve Lecture Series and the dedication of the Christopher Reeve Theater and Dramatic Arts Collection, to be held on November 18.
Bryan Singer, the director of Superman Returns, due in theaters in June 2006, will be the inaugural speaker for the lecture series, which is co-sponsored by the library and the Friends of the Library.
Mr. Singer, who graduated from West Windsor-Plainsboro High School, released his second feature-length film in 1995, The Usual Suspects, which won Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor (Kevin Spacey) and Original Screenplay. Mr. Singer also directed the box office hit X-Men, as well as its sequel, X2.
Christie Todd Whitman, former governor and former administrator of the federal Environmental Protection Agency, will be visiting the library on September 27 to discuss and sign copies of her book, It's My Party Too: The Battle for the Heart of the GOP and the Future of America.
On October 28, The Friends of the Library will hold its annual benefit, which will bring a group of internationally-acclaimed writers to Nassau Presbyterian Church. Russell Banks, the author of Affliction, The Sweet Hereafter, and Rule of the Bone, will give a talk. Information on how to purchase tickets, which will help raise money for the library's collections and programming, can be found in Connections, the library's fall newsletter.
Other authors who will give talks this fall include Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor, who will discuss Einstein on Race and Racism, on September 18; and Peter Lawson-Johnston, who will give a talk on Growing Up Guggenheim, on November 9.
Residents will enjoy a visit from Walt Whitman on September 23, as part of the library's Unquiet Series. Unlaunch'd Voices, a play written by Michael Kearney and performed by actor Stephen Collins, celebrates the poet on the 150th anniversary of the publication of Leaves of Grass.
This fall's McCarter Live at the Library series will include Tony Award-winning actor Ruben Santiago-Hudson's September 30 talk on McCarter's upcoming show, Gem of the Ocean. On December 7, the Princeton Writers' Block will perform one-act plays of 20th century masters such as Bertolt Brecht and Tennessee Williams.
As part of a national effort known as The September Project (www.theseptemberproject.org), the library will hold a September 20 forum on immigration, where immigration experts will discuss the ramifications of September 11th and their own immigration experiences.
Coming to the library this fall for children, the Kende Trio three sisters who attend or have graduated from Princeton University will perform an interactive musical concert on Sunday, September 25.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz will be reenacted through the use of furniture, houseplants, and everyday objects in the children's production of the play on November 10, which is geared toward children aged 5 to 10 years.
And on Saturday, November 12, singer-songwriter and Princeton High School graduate Joel Frankel will share songs from his latest CD for children, Ship of Chocolate Chips.
Friday Afternoon Action Day and Friday Night Live are two teen programs that will be held at the library on October 21 at 3:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. respectively, offering teens a substance-free environment for dancing, listening to and participating in performances, and enjoying refreshments.
More information on these and other programs coming this fall to the library can be found in Connections, the library's fall 2005 newsletter, which will be available to residents within the next week.
Information is also available by calling (609) 924-8822, or by visiting www.princetonlibrary.org.