University donates $300,000 for new public library

Princeton University has contributed $300,000 towards the construction of the new Princeton Public Library, according to a joint announcement by Princeton Public Library Board of Trustees President Harry Levine and Princeton University President Harold T. Shapiro.

The gift reflects the University's appreciation of the considerable benefit that all members of the Princeton community will derive from the new library, said Shapiro, adding that the University hopes the gift will be a stimulus for others to join in supporting this "significant and worthwhile project."

In accepting the gift, Levine spoke of the extraordinary example the University's leadership provides. "It is hard to imagine a greater gift to a community than the enhancement of its public library," he said. "We are heartened and appreciative by the leadership of Princeton University. This support, at a critical stage of our fundraising, is a huge step toward making our new library a reality."

More than 2,350 Princeton University students, faculty and staff members have public library cards, borrowing more than 40,000 items over the past year, according to library officials. Members of the university community also participate in many enrichment and community service activities sponsored by the library.

The Campaign for the New Princeton Public Library is a partnership of the trustees of the Princeton Public Library, the elected officials of Princeton Borough and Princeton Township, and the citizens of our community. The objective is to create a new, vibrant, diverse library which better addresses today's needs in the community.

Planners hope to raise $11.5 million in private funds to launch the construction of the new library at its current location at the corner of Witherspoon and Wiggins streets. Total project costs are estimated at $17.5 million. Of that, $6 million has been contributed by a combined gift from Princeton Borough and Princeton Township.

Originally designed to house 80,000 books, the library today has more than 128,000 books and 11,000 audiovisual items. One-third of the collection always is in circulation

The expanded facility will double current capacity to over 57,000 square feet. The Hillier Group has produced a design for the new library that will create a new three-story building located within the existing library "footprint."

In the new library, technology use will be spread throughout the entire facility; the children's room will become the children's floor, tripling the amount of space allocated to youth; community availability for meeting and study space will be significantly increased; and the library will gain flexibility to incorporate additional changes over time.

Construction is expected to begin the middle of next year, with doors to the new library projected to open in spring 2003.

Contact: Justin Harmon (609) 258-3601