Glen Ridge Library

There are so many things that make a first-rate library, and according to our readers, the Glen Ridge Public Library is one for the books. “The first summer we lived in Glen Ridge, the library’s children’s programs were a lifesaver,” says Meredith Lopez, a mother of two. “The staff is extremely knowledgeable and friendly. They’ll go out of their way to help you, and if they can’t do it themselves, they’ll bend over backwards to connect you to people who can.”

The Glen Ridge Library is all about making connections with the community, whether through events like the annual family LEGO challenge, a town-wide yard sale, family fun night or paper shredding day. “There are events, museum passes, online resources to learn just about everything from languages to coding, a monthly cookbook club that builds community [and] programs for kids and hard-to-please teens,” explains Ellen Rooney Martin, a mother of three. “Incredibly, this year they added [a] Makerspace and GoPros to their electronic offerings already including Wi-Fi hotspots and more.”

Library director Jennifer Breuer knows exactly why people keep coming back. “We have small town library charm while providing access to quality programming, excellent services and through BCCLS, access to over 5 million items,” she says. Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS) is a group of 77 public libraries in Bergen, Essex, Hudson and Passaic counties. While the library has a small town feel, it offers tons of perks like its 3-D printer, STEAM kits and a local history archive, which houses yearbooks, newspapers, photographs, directories and more from the 20th century. “The majority of the collection has been digitized and can be accessed on any library computer through a searchable database,” she says.

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The library itself is living history. It was built in 1918 and is now listed on the New Jersey Register of Historic Places. It was later expanded in the 1990s and renovated in the mid-2000s to create a bigger children’s department and house more collections. For local residents like Lopez and Martin, the library truly is the heart of Glen Ridge.

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