Source: The Bergen Record, Friday, November 20, 1964

Townships Librarian Retiring From Institution She Founded

Mrs. Ward Has Served The Community For The Past 39 Years

By Frank Lalli (Staff Writer)

Mrs. Ethel S. WardTeaneck -- The Township Library was a friendly place to which to bring the whole family back in 1925, and the librarians knew most of Teaneck's 5,000 residents by their first names.

That's how Mrs. Ethel S. Ward describes the old 1-room operation which she helped to found.

Now, 39 years and three library directors later, Mrs. Ward, who insists she is only 80 -- not 81 -- is ready to retire.

People who remember Mrs. Ward in those early days say that she hasn't changed very much.  She still occasionally walks to the library from her Elm Street home, 1 mile away; she's still friendly and efficient.

No one has asked her to retire.

"Don't get the idea that I'm going to vegetate at home because I'm retiring," she said.  "I think I deserve a little time to myself, and I plan to go to Broadway shows, and spend some time with my three grandchildren."

Many Changes Seen

Mrs. Ward seems to be the only thing at the Township Library that hasn't been transformed since 1925.

She said that the old library has become the Young Adult Room.  A huge reception room was added, and wings were built at the north and south sides of the library.

"The library has become a big businesslike operation," she said, "as the population has gone from 5,000 to 45,000.  Sometimes I feel like a stranger behind the reception desk, because I don't know any of the persons I help."

Mrs. Ward wasn't angry about the businesslike attitude.  "It is the only way a library this size can be run efficiently."

But she was disturbed by the number of youngsters who have been using the library as a hangout in recent years.

"Students come here to work every day," she said, "but some come only to meet their friends.  I read that the problem got so bad in the River Edge Library that youths were told to stay away.

"We've had to tell some students to leave here too, because they wouldn't let others work"

Of course, youths weren't a problem back in 1925 because they were usually accompanied by their parents, she said.

"But don't let me talk on like a crank.  We still have many families who come here together, and most of the youngsters are serious students.  I'm not sorry about any day I spent here during the last 39 years." 

Back to The Library History Home Page

Back to Township History Main Page