By Danielle Ray

Princeton Public Library patrons once again have the option to browse and check out materials in person as of March 9. For now, this is by appointment only for 25-minute windows. 

Library Director Erin Redihan said they will continue offering curbside pickup to all library patrons, as well as delivery of materials to Princeton residents on Wednesdays. 

“Curbside pickup and book delivery will be permanent features of the library going forward,” Redihan said. “Curbside is very convenient for patrons and it is easy for us to continue. Even with vaccines becoming more common, there are bound to be patrons who are uncomfortable coming into the building, or they know exactly what they want and feel it is faster for us to just grab the items and check them out. Our goal as a library is to provide strong public service and offering multiple options for checking out materials is a key part of this.”

Redihan said keeping delivery as an option is just another way library staff are able continue serving patrons in the best ways possible during these unprecedented times and beyond. 

“I think delivery is a really important service everywhere, because there are always people in a community who are interested in library services and reading, but cannot physically get here,” she said. “Princeton is a rural town without public transit or sidewalks, so the library has a social responsibility to bring our services into the community. Demographically speaking, Princeton is an older town, so some of our residents are not as mobile as they used to be. Getting to the library can be difficult, particularly during the winter. We want to make sure that these residents don’t feel isolated or left out. Anyone who lives in Princeton and would like library materials can visit our website or call the library.”

The library was last open for in-person browsing from October, 2020 through January, 2021. Redihan said library staff members have remained busy over the last year and have adapted well to how they serve patrons during the pandemic. 

We have adjusted to the routine and adapted our services to keep helping the public even while the doors have been closed,” she said. 

Library staff assemble around 50 curbside pickup bags and make between three and five deliveries each week, totaling at least 100 library materials including books, magazines, video and audio items, and more. 

“We also offer grab-and-go crafts monthly for kids and adults, and do five or six virtual programs each month,” Redihan said. 

The next virtual program will be held on March 24 at 7 p.m. featuring Len Haug, a Princeton resident who wrote a book on local artist Gamaliel Waldo Beaman. 

Redihan took over as director last August when longtime director Mary Barroll retired. 

“I like my job very much,” she said. “It’s much more fun to have patrons in the building, but the pandemic circumstances have forced us to get creative, which I think will lead to better library service in the end.”

Redihan said she and the other library staff members are looking forward to the return of some sort of normalcy, and the opportunity to expand to a full offering of in-person programs and services, “especially kids’ programs.”

“We don’t have a timeline for this yet,” she said. 

Patrons are encouraged to visit the library website and click on ‘online resources’ for a list of all of the electronic resources available. Classes, music, e-books, e-Audiobooks, and Ancestry.com, a genealogical research site, are just some of the resources that library patrons can access. In addition, patrons can visit mass.gov/libraries to find more resources including activities and online storytimes for children. 

The library spotlights different electronic resources on the Princeton Public Library Facebook page, including the Gale Virtual Reference Library, which features databases on a variety of subjects including Heritage Quest, a genealogy site. 

Patrons who do not have a Princeton or CW MARS library card can go to bpl.org/ecard and sign up for a Boston Public Library card. 

For more information call 978-464-2115, visit princetonpubliclibrary.org, and follow Princeton Public Library on Facebook.

The Princeton Public Library reopened for public browsing by appointment on March 9.
CREDIT: Danielle Ray

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