The Old Ho-Ho-Kus Library

The old Ho-Ho-Kus Library

It’s funny how small, unassuming places can have big, lasting impacts on our lives.

The old Ho-Ho-Kus  library offered Story Hour in the summer, library cards with the child’s own name typed on them, and endless satisfying hours of exploration and discovery. Its physical structure may look humble but inside, it seemed to contain the whole exciting, faraway world. 

Along with the Scholastic Book Club at Ho-Ho-Kus Elementary School, the library and its staff and treasures within nurtured a love of books and reading. Where else would a budding small-town adolescent, thrilled finally to be allowed into the adult section, have discovered those impossibly clean-cut romances by Emilie Loring, my first one chosen because the couple on the cover held tennis rackets? How lucky we were, to have this little, welcoming building in the center of our town.

At some point after I left, Ho-Ho-Kus acquired a new library just up the hill from the old one, in a house on Franklin Turnpike donated to the town for this purpose. I’ve never seen it inside. It has steep steps and my mother and her friends ultimately stopped using it because the climb was difficult for them and became slippery in winter. They used the Waldwick Library instead, with its flat entry and parking lot.

I suppose today’s children of Ho-Ho-Kus  don’t even notice the new library’s steps — if they go to a physical location at all to find their reading material. Their library card and much of what they read may now be electronic, but I like to think they still find joy in exploring the library’s shelves.

On this Thanksgiving weekend, I’m thankful for the memories I have of the old Ho-Ho-Kus Library and for all libraries everywhere.

Cheers for now and more soon.

9 Responses

  1. I suspect the library has had to make itself more accessible, or lose out on the chance of any kind of public funding.

  2. Almost American, hello! and great to see you.

    We’ll be going by the library again today so I may just check this out — excellent point about accessibility. My mom and her friends were really frustrated for a long time about the lack of it.

    Anyway, cheers and hope to see you again!

  3. I remember my childhood library with fond memories. I hope they aren’t all going to disappear.

  4. Libraries saved me. We moved so often I generally had little time to get to know my classmates when I was growing up, but I always found my way to the library. I worry that they won’t survive the budget cuts both here in the UK and back home in the US.

  5. Thanks again for the happy memories! I loved the HHK library, too. Used to rude my bike down in the summer and fill my bag with Beverly Cleary books! Libraries are in my blood. My mom worked at the HHK PS library from ’80-’93. My first real job was shelving books in the children’s room at the Ridgewood library. Before they moved to MN from HHK, my dad was on the board of the “new” library. I’ll ask him if he knows about how they got around accessibility issues.

  6. Linda, great you also have those fond memories – they mean so much.

    Elizabeth, so poignant re ‘libraries saved me’ – I too worry about all the funding cuts, but am thankful you found your way to those libraries in the past (and then to blogging)!

    Amanda, hello! That is *so* cool about the libraries in your blood – HHK, HHK school, and Ridgewood — and it would be wonderful to have your dad’s take on the new library’s steps! Thank you!

    Riding bikes to the library and coming home with a new batch of books … what could be more idyllic for a child (or, for that matter, an adult!)?

    Cheers and thanks!

  7. Wasn’t that library by the brook? I remember going in as a kid and in the spring when the water was running high, I could look out the window in one of their rooms and see the water; however, I had the impression that they moved the library or at least did something to that old one because of flooding. I’m really vague about that. Perhaps you will remember. I looked at the current library’s web site and I noticed that based on the results of a survey, the steps are among the largest concerns of patrons.

    I too was excited when I was able to take out books from the adult section. That is where I discovered two of my favorite therapy authors: Elswyth Thane the author of “The Williamsburg Novels,” a series of 7 novels set in Williamsburg, VA; London, and New York. The other author was D.E. Stevenson, a British author who set her novels in Scotland and England. When things get too tough, I get them out and re-read them.

    I don’t remember the name of the librarian, but I do think of her sometimes because she was so nice to me and always had an idea for a book I might like.

  8. Carolyn..I think we one time had an old newspaper photo of you during story hour. So were totally enthralled with the whole thing. I loved the smell of the books..still do.

    Martha and John

  9. Eleanor, yes definitely – HHK Brook runs behind the old library! The writers you discovered sound wonderful 🙂

    Martha, that story hour was great! And ooooh yes, there is just nothing like the smell of the books.


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