After discovering that the Princeton Public Library still had power on Tuesday, Oct. 30, the day after Hurricane Sandy moved through New Jersey, the Communications Director Tim Quinn, the Associate Director Peter Bromberg, and the Executive Director Leslie Burger opened the library in an effort to help out the community.
Almost immediately they assembled Team Worst Case Scenario, a group of local librarians and their family members and friends who came in and helped open up the library. For the next three days, the Princeton Public Library became a haven for locals suffering from the power outage and lack of Internet.
According to Quinn, up to 19,000 locals came with their laptops, cell phones, extension cords and children and huddled into the library until as late as 9PM at night.
Though there were no issues with power shortages due to the heavy use, the library suffered problems with the wi-fi.
Shela Tibaut, a recent Rutgers New Brunswick graduate and Princeton local attended the library for three days. She said, “It was overwhelming. It was hard to get onto the computers and the Wi-Fi. And they had 1,000 people there at the time. I am grateful though. It was a useful thing for people to be able to communicate with their loved ones.”
Quinn said of the experience, “For us, this was a time to serve. We were really providing the same kind of service we do every day, a customer focused self service.”
In addition to giving locals shelter, power and support in the aftermath of Sandy, the Princeton Library offered its regular