National Endowment for the Humanities at

Princeton Public Library

Princeton Public Library is committed to sustaining and growing humanities programs and projects to enrich the lives of our patrons through thought-provoking public programs, collections development, and broader access to all things humanities related. Humanities programs at the library support the library’s mission to serve as the community’s living room, connecting people through words and ideas to enrich their lives.


The Humanities at Princeton Public Library

The driving force behind humanities programs at the library is a Challenge Grant received in 2007 from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The endowment created through the grant and local fundraising efforts provides funding for humanities programs, collections development, and other projects now and into the future.

Princeton Public Library Humanities Advisory Group

This group of volunteers advises the library and helps helps guide and evaluate humanities-based programs and projects. This group includes scholars, practitioners, educators, and community members who help build and maintain relationships  between the library and local institutions, offer suggestions for  community partnerships, and provide ideas and feedback on programs and projects.

What are the humanities?

The term ‘humanities’ includes, but is not limited to, the study and interpretation of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.

National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, 1965, as amended


2016 Summary  | 2017 Summary

Upcoming Events Spotlight

Author Talk with Julian E. Zelizer on “The Presidency of Barack Obama: A First Historical Assessment”

April 25, 7-8:30 pm in the Community Room at Princeton Public Library

Julian Zelizer, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University.

Join Julian Zelizer, editor of The Presidency of Barack Obama: A First Historical Assessment and Princeton University professor of history and public affairs, as he discusses his latest book, an original account of the Obama presidency from a group of leading political historians. The writers offer assessments of the big issues that shaped the Obama years and put the president and his administration into political and historical context. This program is co-sponsored with Princeton University Press.

Julian E. Zelizer is the Malcolm Stevenson Forbes, Class of 1941 Professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and a CNN Political Analyst. He is the author and editor of eighteen books on American political history, has written hundreds of op-eds, and appears regularly on television as a news commentator.

Radio Interview: “Person, Place, Thing with Randy Cohen” featuring Dan-el Padilla Peralta

May 21 @ 7:00 pm in the Community Room at Princeton Public Library

Cohen interviews author and Princeton University Assistant Professor of Classics Dan-el Padilla Peralta for his public radio program, during which guests are asked to speak about a person, a place and a thing they find meaningful rather than about themselves. Padilla’s award-winning memoir is “Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless Shelter to Ivy League.” Cohen won multiple Emmy awards as a writer for “Late Night with David Letterman” and for 12 years wrote “The Ethicist” column for The New York Times Magazine.

This program is part of the Princeton Migrations Project. #PrincetonMigrations

The Challenge Grant from the NEH makes all these things possible

Collections Development

Both print and digital collections are continually enhanced to keep up with new releases and to build collections on specific themes.

Voices of Princeton

The goal of the project is to collect, share, and archive stories and memories of Princetonians. Voices of Princeton is a collaborative oral history project between the Princeton Public Library, the Historical Society of Princeton, and the Arts Council of Princeton.

Museum Pass Program

This program provides cardholders with free access to 19 local and regional cultural destinations.


Kanopy provides access our new video streaming service which offers a broad selection of quality documentaries, feature films and training videos from producers including The Criterion Channel, The Great Courses, PBS, Music Box Films, Kino Lorber, First Run Features, BBC, and many more.

Films on Demand

Films On Demand is an online digital video delivery service that allows you to view streaming videos from Films Media Group anytime, anywhere, 24/7. Choose from more than 6,500 educational titles in many subject areas relating to the humanities and social sciences.