The Clifton Libraries Offer So Much More Than Just Books!


If you’ve ever read “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn,” a novel by Betty Smith, you know how important the library was to the book’s main character, Francie Nolan. It’s at the library that Francie learns about the world around her and is so captivated by all that she reads, that she starts to write down her thoughts and dreams, essentially, journaling.

Now, the Clifton Public Library is offering a program for teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 19 called a “Teen Workshop on Journaling,” held at the Main Memorial Library on Wednesday, September 27th from 4:00 to 6:00 PM and then the following three Wednesdays from 4:00 to 5:00.

The course, led by Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Master of Social Work Najamah Davis, is designed for teen girls who want to learn how to journal effectively and explore the benefits of self-expression. It’s a wonderful way to express thoughts, emotions, dreams, and aspirations. The workshop is free of charge and once you sign up through the library’s online calendar, they ask you to attend all sessions.

The Library also offers a series for children in 6th to 9th grades to communicate ideas and tell stories through different media in a Digital Storytelling series. This means developing story ideas and chronicling them through photo and video editing. The program will be held Thursdays starting September 28th and running through November 16th. Online pre-registration is required.

And as they say on late-night TV, “But wait, that’s not all!” In addition to checking out books, CDs, and DVDs, and using the library’s computers or the Internet, the libraries offer so much more. Community rooms are available to a group that wants to have a small event, such as local political meetings, special interest groups, health and wellness events, and much more. Rooms are available at both libraries and must be reserved in advance. There is no charge for most reservations.

There are regular book discussion groups, as well as lectures from a variety of speakers on topics such as Clifton history, current events, art, music, as well as local musical performances.

Mahjong is a tile-matching game developed in the 19th century in the Far East that made its way to America in the 20th century. It’s a simple game to learn but difficult to master. The Allwood Library has a regularly scheduled Mahjong group that meets for two hours every Tuesday at 1:30 PM and Fridays at 11:00 AM.

Bridge is one of the most popular card games in the world, played by two teams of two players each. It involves bidding, taking “tricks” and winning hands. It requires skill, memory, communication, and strategy and it’s offered at the Main Library on Wednesdays from noon to 4:00 PM.

If you don’t like cards and would rather create a scarf for a loved one (or yourself?) then check out the knitting and crocheting groups at the Allwood Library on Fridays at 3:00 PM. Knitters of all ages and levels are welcome. No experience is necessary and the current members are more than happy to share their knowledge and advice. Materials are not given so bring your own needles and yarn…and imagination!

Other regular activities include story times for different ages at both libraries, as well as stress relief, stretching and yoga, workshops to help seniors learn internet navigation skills, and so much more. A complete schedule is available on the library’s website calendar section.

One more amazing service offered that you can get from the comfort of your living room chair is the Hoopla app. All you need is a library card and a phone or electronic pad. Hoopla lets you borrow eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, comics, music, movies, and so much more. It syncs to all your devices and it is organized by genre. It is literally your library at your fingertips and best of all, it is free! Simply download the app and create an account – no more running out to the library just to borrow a book!

The heroine of “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” whose life was changed by the magic of libraries would be stunned and delighted by our Clifton libraries.

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