Source: The Town Manager, May 1932, p. 9

Traces Origin and Development of
the Free Public Library

About sixteen years ago the first movement toward establishing public library was started in Teaneck.

Books were donated and a loan of books was secured from the New Jersey State Library Commission with which to make a start.

The library (as it was called) was first opened for distribution of books in a private home, but soon was moved to a store on Station Street.

There it flourished until a commodious new store building was erected at the corner of Station Street and West Englewood Avenue. The library was given quarters in the new building (now Cutler's Drug Store) and there operated for a number of years.

When the terrible scourge of infantile paralysis swept through New York City and the surrounding country the library closed its doors to the public as did the churches and theatres.

After the anxiety caused by this dreadful epidemic was over the work was opened up anew under the sponsorship of a public spirited group of women known as the "Schools-Civic Association" and subsequently as the "Library Association."

It was decided by this small group of women that unless permanent quarters were secured the work would not develop. So with their good names as security for funds, they procured a temporary loan from the Palisade Trust Co., of Englewood, and purchased the old Slone cabin, at the corner of Teaneck Road and Bedford Avenue (now a gas station). They then took shares in the Franklin Society and permanently financed their venture. Not only were they now obliged to look after the distribution of books, but equally important, they must regularly meet their building and loan payments. To this end these women bent every energy.

Teaneck was then but a village with a population of about thirty-five hundred scattered over its seven miles of length and three miles of width, and dollars were not plentiful nor easily gathered together. However, by conducting food sales, card parties and fairs, the women met all payments. About two years after they had taken title to the property they had purchased for two thousand dollars they were offered seventeen thousand and five hundred dollars for this valuable location and they sold it.

The active members of this association who carried this work to a successful culmination were: Mrs. Emma Ahrens, Mrs. Eveline D. Caddy (deceased), Mrs. Agnes S. Campbell, Mrs. Georgiana H. Greenlaw, Mrs. Margaret S. Hawkey, Mrs. Louise S. Jordan, Miss Lillian Kennedy, Mrs. Sarah Kennedy, Mrs. Doris Nibbe, Mrs. Rose Peinecke, Mrs. Frances S. Quasdorf, Mrs. Elizabeth S. Sample, Mrs. Ella Schumann, Miss Mattie Scott, Mrs. Irene Thackwell.

Fifteen thousand dollars of their money these women now offered to the township of Teaneck for the purpose of erecting a public library on the municipal grounds.

After holding a referendum on the matter the township accepted the donation and voted to add five thousand dollars to this building fund and to organize a library under township control.

The Free Public Library of Teaneck was then organized, March 8, 1927.

With the twenty thousand dollars building fund the charming library building on the municipal grounds was then constructed from a plan drawn by Frederick T. Warner, a busy architect and builder, who displayed fine public spirit by donating his time and talent in planning the library and supervising its construction.

The building was finished and dedicated to the public in November, 1927, and opened with 650 books on its shelves.

Today the library has a circulation of over 86,000.

Under the supervision of Miss Agnes Norton, librarian, branches are run in the primary and grammar schools of the township so that small children may find it easy to procure fine reading material. The high school school also has a permanent loan. Thus all Educational centers are being provided with excellent materials from our Free Public Library.

Charmingly furnished and with an atmosphere of friendliness toward all, the library is undoubtedly one of the most popular resorts in the town. The rapid growth in its list of patrons fills the building to capacity on almost all afternoons, taxing to the utmost the resources of the library.

It is hoped that in the near future an adults' reading room, a children's room and a reference room may be added to the present fine beginning to care for the rapid growth of population in Teaneck.

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