Mission & History

The Friends of the Princeton University Library play a vital role in supporting the acquisitions and operations of the Library, while enjoying regular programs and unique opportunities to participate in special events. The Friends welcome all members of the community who have an interest in books, libraries, and the graphic arts.

Founded in 1930, the Friends association has grown from a small group of individuals to include more than 800 members, across the country and overseas.

The Friends secure gifts and bequests, provide funds for major acquisitions that could not otherwise be purchased, support special programs and projects within the Library, and offer short-term fellowships for visiting researchers and scholars.

The Friends have published a journal continuously since their founding as well as more than twenty monographs, such as the best-selling Afternoon of an Author: A Selection of Uncollected Stories and Essays by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Friends of the Library receive a Newsletter and three issues of The Princeton University Library Chronicle. The Chronicle publishes articles of scholarly importance in the humanities or social sciences, reports on rare or unique materials in the Library, and essays on books or book collecting—all written for the general reader.

Friends are invited to participate in a variety of activities and events during the academic year, including exhibition openings, lectures and talks, gala dinners, workshops on topics such as preservation, bookbinding, and print collecting, and special events for members only, including trips, performances and workshops for children in the Cotsen Children's Library, and backstage tours of Library services and facilities.

Student Friends of the Library

In the fall of 2005, a student branch of membership was formed that not only has access to the vast array of activities coordinated by the Friends, but also hosts events specifically designed for students. The Student Friends will build upon its vision to enrich our curiosities about libraries and the rare books they house through lectures, tours of special collections embedded within the Princeton community, and excursions throughout the greater East Coast.

On behalf of the dedicated individuals who have contributed to the founding of the Student Friends, it is our sincere hope that the organization contributes to the mission of the Friends of the Library while building upon Princeton's philosophy to spark intellectual curiosity through the exploration and discovery of books, libraries, and the treasures hidden therein.