Princeton Baby Lab visits Cotsen Children's Library and Special Collections to view rare materials on children's learning and development

Princeton Baby Lab at Cotsen Children's Library

The Princeton Baby Lab, a University research group that studies children's learning and development, visited Cotsen Children's Library and Special Collections to learn more about Princeton University Library's educational programming and special collections in children's literature. Photo by Stephanie Ramírez, Princeton University Library


Nearly 20 Princeton University graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, faculty, and staff from the Princeton Baby Lab visited Cotsen Children’s Library and Special Collections to learn more about Princeton University Library's educational programming for children and special collections in children's literature. The Baby Lab, a University research group led by the Department of Psychology, studies the early learning and development of children, inviting volunteer families and children to campus to examine how the children learn and how that learning ultimately supports the child's development. 

At Cotsen Children’s Library, Education and Outreach Coordinator Dana Sheridan led the group through Bookscape, the Library’s public gallery, and spoke in depth about Cotsen’s history: its benefactor, 1950 Princeton alumnus Lloyd E. Cotsen, his vision for the Library to serve as both a research and community space, and its place within the Princeton community now as a center for educational programming for children. Sheridan, who has over 10 years of collections-based educational programming for children, offers a variety of programs in the Library for youth, open to the public. 

Princeton Baby Lab in Special Collections

The group also viewed rare materials from the Cotsen collection, selected by curator Andrea Immel (far right), in Special Collections.

In Special Collections, curator Andrea Immel provided the researchers a guided tour of rare materials from the Cotsen research collection, such as the first known illustrated alphabet of animal noises, Commenius’s “Visible World"; illustrated fable collections written for children at different developmental stages, "Fables by Mrs. Teachwell : in which the morals are drawn incidentally in various ways"; and original artwork by renowned writer and illustrator Beatrix Potter. A unit within Special Collections at Princeton University Library, Cotsen Children's Library is home to an extensive collection of rare illustrated children's books, manuscripts, original artwork, prints, and educational toys from the 15th century to present day.

The event, held on Jan. 15, was organized by Behavioral Sciences Librarian Meghan Testerman. “Events like these," she said, "can be a real treat for researchers in the sciences who work largely with electronic materials and who rarely have the opportunity to marvel at rare print works even if they are related to their field. My hope is that these researchers leave the library uplifted and inspired and excited to continue their work with a new perspective.”

For more information on behavioral sciences events, services, and resources at PUL, contact Meghan Testerman.

Written by Stephanie Ramírez, Library Communications Specialist and Staff Writer

Media contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications