The Plainsboro Public Library will open an interactive “memory” exhibit on Friday, May 3, in honor of the Township’s year-long centennial celebration. A reception from 1-3 pm, in the library art gallery, will kick off the exhibit which will run from May 3 through May 29. The exhibit is just one way in which the library will seek to inspire residents to share their memories and their experiences of community. The other is a book they will all create together.

In the Gallery

The interactive exhibit will feature index cards on which residents have jotted down favorite memories – of their hometowns, or of interesting Plainsboro experiences. Some memories will have multiple authors, as several people comment on the same event. Predictions and wishes for
Plainsboro’s future may also be included; and patrons may pose questions about the township’s past on their cards -to which library personnel or others may respond. It is possible that people from the same hometown may find one another through this exhibit. Certainly, it will stimulate a conversation among residents.

The library is also inviting patrons to submit both vintage and modern photos of the township, either in person or through email – (Original photos will be returned.) In addition, two of the library’s millennium exhibits from 1999 — “Flying High Over Plainsboro “, a col lection of aerial photographs of the town by photographer Captain Jessica R. Stearns; and “Plainsboro Then and Now, ” a compilation of historical photos of Plainsboro – will adorn the gallery walls.

‘Universe of Stories’

Residents will also be invited to contribute entries to Plainsboro Library’s “A Universe of Stories,” a bound volume that will include thoughts on a variety of subjects chosen by participants. Topics can be as diverse as the imagination. Participants may focus on holiday traditions, favorite foods, childhood memories, favorite places — or on any other subject that is important to them. Signed or anonymous, these pages may be simply written or may be combined with visual content, like drawings or sketches.

The library will conduct informal “journaling” workshops for older children and adults who want to contribute to the book. Plainsboro artist and sketchbook journalist Paula Ridley will lead residents through the process of recording their thoughts in visually creative ways. Since most participants will not be professional artists or writers, Ridley will provide ideas for discussion and writing; and she will suggest various simple visual options.

Three sessions for adults will allow participants to share and develop their ideas; and blank sketchbooks will be distributed to them which can also used at home. Individual writing and drawing styles will be encouraged, as will diverse cultural content representative of Plainsboro’s various ethnic communities. There will be two workshops for older children and teens.

Toward the end of each workshop, participants will choose entries they feel comfortable sharing, to be reproduced on archival paper. Plainsboro resident, Maria Pisano, award-winning printmaker and bookbinding artist, will bind the pages together for a future exhibit. The book will be part of the library’s collection, and will showcase the vibrant Plainsboro community.

Partially funded by a grant from the Middlesex County Office of Arts and History, the workshops will take place in May and June for adults; and in June and July for children and teens. Adult sessions will be held on Wednesdays and Saturdays; and one session will take place at the Plainsboro Recreation Department through the Seniors’ programs.

For information about specific times and dates for the workshops, check the library’s website, Flyers will also be available at the library and at Plainsboro Township’s recreation department.


Donna Senopoulos
Plainsboro Public Library