from the archive


Author: Erica Bess

Erica Bess is currently Assistant Director at Princeton Public Library, having joined the library in 2011 as Head of Adult Services. She has a passion for customer service, lifelong learning, and connecting others to ideas, information, and resources. As the mom of a curious, strong-willed, and sassy toddler, she enjoys blogging about the experiences of reading and discovery through the lens of her daughter.

Research your roots


Beginning research on a family tree is exciting, but can also be a bit intimidating. You might find yourself asking questions about which resources to trust, effective ways to organize information, and how to keep moving forward when you’ve reached an impasse. Where do you start? We’ll be addressing some of these topics and more […]


Beyond “Serial”


In 2014, when the buzz about This American Life‘s riveting podcast Serial reached a fever pitch, it felt as though you couldn’t get through the day without having a conversation about it. Since then, the heightened awareness of podcasts coupled with technology upgrades that make the listening experience friendlier have led to a wild increase in popularity. I started […]

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Searching for the perfect gift?


It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for book lovers! As 2017 nears its end, book reviewers are starting to release their “best of” lists for titles published in the past 12 months. And the timing couldn’t be better. If you are in search of the perfect book to give to your loved ones […]

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Past and present


Last month, PBS debuted the highly-anticipated and critically-acclaimed documentary film series, “The Vietnam War,” directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Broken into 10 episodes and running 18 hours, the series offers nearly 80 interviews that present a variety of first-hand perspectives through archival footage, photographs, and recordings. The project, which took 10 years and […]

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Getting to brighter days


For many, the challenges of life are what make the day exciting; for others, those same challenges can seem dreadfully insurmountable. While the quest for that ever-elusive answer to why things are the way they are can be debilitating at times, maybe comfort comes in knowing that you are not alone. The Princeton community is filled with resources to support you and those you care about when facing struggles of mental illness, grief, loss, and other hardships.


1,000 Reasons to read


Last year, my daughter and I signed up to participate in the library's early literacy initiative, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten. The program, designed to promote reading to newborns, infants, and toddlers, encourages parents to bond with their children through shared reading experiences and provides structure and incentive for reaching the 1,000-book goal.


Reimagining great


In "The Great Good Place," author Ray Oldenburg writes of the places we go – the coffee shops, community centers, taverns, salons, cafes – that encourage informal, public gathering. The places where people get to know each other and develop a sense of innate belonging. They are the "third places," the ones aside from home (first) and work (second) where we choose to spend our time.


A lifelong love


As a child, I adored every opportunity I had to visit my neighborhood library. It was the first place my parents allowed me to go by myself, and I would take every advantage of that freedom to ride my bike the few blocks to my favorite destination. Then, I would race to the children's section, select enough books to last seven days, and when my pile became too heavy to carry home, agonize over which ones to leave behind.


What should I read next?


There are few things librarians enjoy more than connecting readers with characters that resonate, storylines that entertain, and information that enlightens. "What should I read next?" is a question that PPL staff receive often, and it's one of our favorite challenges. In addition to making suggestions to you from our own knowledge, reviews, word-of-mouth, and other research, we also rely on a tool that captures the collective recommending power of all librarians who love to read – LibraryReads.

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