University lends support to new public library

The University has donated $300,000 toward the construction of the new Princeton Public Library.

The gift reflects the University's appreciation of the considerable benefit that members of the Princeton community will derive from the new library, said President Shapiro, who announced the contribution Dec. 4 at a news conference with Harry Levine, president of the library's board of trustees.

Some 2,300 University faculty, staff and students hold public library cards. During the past year, they have borrowed more than 40,000 items and have participated, along with alumni, in many of the enrichment and community service outreach activities sponsored by the library.

Shapiro added 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 on this project provides. "It is hard to imagine a greater gift to a community than the enhancement of its public library. As we begin our campaign to raise $11.5 million in private funds for the new Princeton Public Library, we are heartened and appreciative by the leadership of Princeton University. This support, at a critical stage of our fund raising, is a huge step toward making our new library a reality."

The campaign seeks to raise 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, a total of $6 million has been contributed by a combined gift from Princeton Borough and Princeton Township.

The current facility was constructed in 1968. Originally designed to house 80,000 books, the library collection today includes 128,000 books and 11,000 audiovisual items.

The expanded facility will double current capacity to more than 57,000 square feet. A new threestory building will be erected 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; and the availability for community meeting and study space will be significantly increased.

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


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