Meet Kurt Lemai-Nguyen, an undergraduate and co-leader of the Student Friends of Princeton University Library

The Student Friends of the Princeton University Library (SFPUL) is a student-run group that sponsors events and activities related to libraries, books, collecting, and other bibliographic endeavors, with a dedicated emphasis on Princeton University Library’s collections.

Kurt Lemai-Nguyen in front of the Openbare Bibliotheek Amsterdam

What are you studying at Princeton? What interests you about the subject?

I am planning to concentrate on comparative literature. I'm fascinated by the ways that the subject approaches literature, taking a more interdisciplinary route, by crossing languages, mediums, and anything imaginable to fully dissect a text. I also just think it's cool to learn multiple languages.

How did you get involved with SFPUL? 

I attended the first event at the Scheide library where I was enthralled by the collection and kept coming ever since. 

What has been your favorite SFPUL event and why? 

My favorite event so far has been our tour of "Piranesi on the Page," as it gave incredible insight into the ways that exhibit objects are selected and the role that librarians play to help assist in research for these projects and the setting up of exhibitions. It was awe-inspiring to see all the different objects pulled from our collection, ranging from books, coins, and even a piece of an aqueduct, all to create this one cohesive showing.

What have you learned since joining the Friends? 

The most exciting thing that I've learned has been how open all the resources are. Princeton's library is enormous and to imagine that almost all of it is open to the students is an amazing thing.

How have you used the Library in your time at Princeton? 

Besides the reading and studying I do in the library, I often visit the librarians during my research to try and find sources or even to discuss my research topic and goals. In particular, I think the “Ask Us!” librarian chat on the website is a great starting point for any project.

Why should someone join the SFPUL? 

These events we host are tons of fun, and you get to have an insight into the way the library operates that isn't usually discussed. Even more so, is that we explore many parts of the collection outside of just Firestone, giving a more comprehensive view of Princeton's libraries. If you're even slightly interested in history, culture, archives, and of course books, then the SFPUL will have something for you.

Published on March 28, 2022

Interview by: Brandon Johnson, Communications Specialist

Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications