A library secretary’s report from 1932 noting that the Mahwah Public Library was something helping locals get through the Great Depression is just one of the artifacts that township historian Carol Greene plans on sharing at a talk Thursday celebrating the centennial of the library.
The story of the library, “is a part of our history,” Greene said. “And, how it came about, really is a charming, very warm story.”
The Mahwah Library started as the Mary Bugg Memorial Library in 1912. Cragmere Park resident Eleanor Bugg started the library in her home as a tribute to her deceased sister.
Looking through hundred-year-old artifacts housed in the current library’s records department to prepare for her talk, Greene told Patch earlier this week that she feels Bugg was a strong woman who wanted to create a resource for the community.
“She really meant it to be for everyone,” Greene said. And, judging from postcards and thank you notes addressed to Bugg from early 20th Century Mahwah residents, “people seemed so enthused about having a library here.”
Though the library movement began in the 1700’s, Greene said it did not begin until the early 1900’s in Northwest Bergen County.
“She was definitely on the cutting edge in terms of forming a library in this area,” Greene said of Bugg.
As part of her talk Thursday evening, Greene plans to discuss the early days of the library, as well as its growth from a private establishment that required a membership fee, to a free public library.
Along with her discussion of the library’s history and the display of artifacts from throughout the library’s 100-year history, Greene will also have on display many of the “original Bugg books” that the library still has. Though they have been out of circulation for about 25 years, all of the titles still contain the original Memorial Bugg Library stamp and number placed in them by the township’s first librarian.
The talk, being sponsored by the Mahwah Museum, is happening Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Ramapo Reformed Church. Admission is $3, and reservations can be made by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org, or 201-512-0099.