Clifton's Public Libraries Offer So Much More Than Just Books!


The Clifton Times often sees questions regarding things to do in the summer so school-aged kids don’t lose their academic skills. Clifton is lucky to have two public libraries, Main Memorial at 292 Piaget Avenue, and the Allwood Branch at 44 Lyall Road. The libraries, which are funded through the city budget as well as from donations from citizens, fundraising through Friends of the Library, and sales of donated books from the Book Nook, have certainly grown from humble beginnings.

Originally a storefront on Main Avenue in 1921, the Main Library started with just 440 books. As Clifton grew, so did the needs of its citizens, both young and old. Groundbreaking was started for the Main Library in 1952 at its current location and renamed the Clifton Memorial Library in honor of Clifton’s war dead. In the late 1980s, a brand new, bigger library was built at the same location. The Allwood Branch was dedicated in 1970 before Clifton Memorial was rebuilt, bringing library services to the other side of town. This branch had its origins at School 9 in the late 1930s thanks to a donation of books from the Allwood Women’s Club, eventually growing into its own fully-functioning library close to Market Street.

Today, the libraries are active and a steady stream of visitors come not just to borrow books, movies, and music, but for a variety of different reasons. If you raised children in Clifton, you might have brought them for story hour in the dedicated Children’s rooms. That tradition continues with Baby Story Time where families enjoy songs, rhymes, and more with their babies up to 12 months on Wednesdays at 10:30 AM. Locations alternate each week; check the calendar for details. Story Time for one and two-year-olds includes stories, songs, rhymes, and movement activities on Tuesdays at 10:30 AM. Registration is required for all events and opens up two weeks prior to the event. Registration may be done online at the calendar tab, in person, or by calling the children’s room at the Main Library, 973-772-5500 or the Allwood Branch, 973-471-0555.

Events geared for older children include “Coding a Game” with Brain Bytes Academy for children ages six to ten. Experts will introduce them to coding with fun activities that will teach problem-solving and creative thinking in a fast-paced, fun environment. The Allwood Branch event will be Thursday, July 20th at 4:30 PM and the Main Branch’s on Saturday, July 22 at 4:30. This program is funded thanks to a very generous donation from the Friends of The Library. Registration is required using the listed contact information.

Children who can read independently, no matter their age, can join the Readathon and read for an hour to earn a prize! Children can pick a book from the library or bring their own and read in a quiet and comfortable setting. Light refreshments will be served. No registration is required, and the dates are as follows, from 3:00 to 5:00 PM.

Allwood Branch: Monday, July 19th, 17th and 31st

Main Branch: Thursday, July 13th, 20th and 27th

The Teen Summer Reading Program runs now through August 4th. The goal is to read a minimum of four hours a week and keep track with a flyer that’s available at the library. The completed flyers can be brought in at the end of each completed week for a small prize and a raffle ticket for a grand prize at the end of the program. There is also a Teen Painting Class for ages 11 through 17 on Wednesday, July 26th from 2:00 to 3:00 PM at the Clifton Arts Center at City Hall. Please call the Main Library for more information. Other crafts programs for teens are also available at both branches; please check the library calendar for details.

It’s summertime and maybe you want your kids to be outside and running – well, there are library programs for that, as well. It’s the Clifton Inter-Library Field Day Tournament, pitting Main versus Allwood in speed, balance, and hula hoop challenges! Set as a round-robin event, the tournament will be divided into three age groups on three different days at each team’s “home” library.

Allwood Branch:

Monday, July 24th, ages 5-8

Tuesday, July 25th, ages 9-12

Thursday, July 27th, ages 13-17

Main Branch:

Monday, July 17th, ages 5-8

Tuesday, July 18th, ages 9-12

Thursday, July 29th, ages 13-17

The finals of the tournament will take place on Thursday, August 3rd. All events start at 4:00 PM and registration is required. Come cheer on your favorite athlete (and library!).

Adults and children are urged to help get ready for “All Together Now” summer reading programs by tracing and decorating the outlines of their hands on a mural at the Library Community Mural. Supplies will be provided free of charge. No registration is required. Allwood is August 1st from 3:00 to 5:00 and the Main Branch is July 26th from noon to 2:00 PM.

A little-known but valuable benefit of our library system is the ability to borrow museum passes free of charge if you have a Clifton library card. Museums include the Montclair Art Museum, Yogi Berra Museum, Aviation Hall of Fame and Museum of NJ, the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens, and the Intrepid. Liberty Science Center offers a discounted admission fee for Clifton library card holders. More information is available at the front desk.

Our libraries provide valuable resources for all Clifton residents, from offering a quiet place to read to borrowing physical and virtual books, workshops, lectures, concerts, and computers. The list is nearly endless. Take the time to visit and you’ll see what we mean!

Complete list of Library events.

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified