top of page

History of the Tenafly Library

History of the Tenafly Library, 1895 - 1963 

March 25, 1895

February 15, 1910

Image of Tenafly Public Library first Librarian, Mrs. Callie York circa 1912



The first librarian, Mrs. Callie York (pictured here), earned an annual salary of $40 for her work on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays (with no time off for legal holidays).


Tenafly Library Society was “formed for the promotion of learning in the study of literature and art” (as quoted in The Tenafly Public Library : A History 1891-1970 by F. Emerson Andrews).

The members of the society investigated the procedures and practices needed to form and run a free public library and, finally, the Tenafly Public Library began service to the public in a previously unused room of the Browning Public School.


The Library began as a private-subscription library with dues of $1.00 annually and a collection of 300 books.

The library moved to its own building on Washington St.

Voters of Tenafly approved to publicly support their library which officially became the Borough of Tenafly Free Public Library.

In 1939, the retiring Library Board of Trustee President, William Dean Embree noted that libraries were “a living symbol of the freedom of individual thought and the freedom of individual life in this great land of ours”

(Andrews, 1970, p.26)

During the 1950's, the first “picture book hour” for three to five year olds began. Patrons were allowed to take out as many as 10 books at a time for summer vacation . An “electric book check out machine” was installed in 1953.

March 11, 1963

The library moved into its new (and current) space.

Image of the interior of the Tenafly Public Library from the south of the building looking north toward the children's room circa 1963
The adult reading area in the Tenafly Public Library circa 1963
bottom of page