Confessions of a Library Card Holder

By Anthony Buccino

Nutley Free Public Library-by Anthony Buccino

NUTLEY PUBLIC LIBRARY -- My library card is a key which opens many doors. It gives me access to every word and picture you see around us. The notes and backgrounds I’ve found here helped me fill three books about Nutley.

I’ve enjoyed being a member of the Friends of the Nutley Library – you have no idea how much they do for the library. This day’s events, in fact, are sponsored by the Friends.

It was also exciting to be here and be a part of the Centennial celebration of this Andrew Carnegie library.

Belleville and Nutley in the Civil War - a brief history`So, not only do the books and pictures reach out and teach you, the staff and friends are also always here to help.

You need an article on Eaton Stone, the earlier owner of the Roche property, who died a hundred years ago – ask the folks at the reference desk to help find it.

I went into another library – in my home town and asked for information on the town in the Civil War.

The associate cheerily led me to a section on local history … and handed me my own book, Belleville and Nutley in the Civil War.

This beautiful library is a great place to visit, walk in, and work in peace and quiet and to get whatever help, literally and figuratively, you may need. Everyone should take advantage of it.

A Father's Place: An Eclectic CollectionIn 1991, this library hosted my first Nutley book launch. Jean Roberts, the children’s librarian, read a brief passage from my book – about painting lilies of the valley on the ladder for my daughter when she elopes – and I had to think, Yeah, I wrote that!

As a kid I wasn’t a big fan of the library in my hometown. It was across town, a big scary place where you had to be quiet.

Finally in Junior High School we had to do reports, and that involved a trip to the library to copy articles from US News and World Reports.

Do people really read this boring business and politics stuff? We’re talking back in the 1960s when everything was perfect, right?

I do have to admit that there was a report due in 1967 on Belleville in the American Revolution where I should have spent more time at the library.

I never turned it in in seventh grade … somehow I dodged my Social Studies teacher’s request to speak with her after class until we moved on to the Industrial Revolution and Cyrus McCormick and his reaper which I looked up in the school library (which no longer exists, split up for classrooms).

Flash forward from 1967 to 2019 and I have finally finished the ultimate Second River in the American Revolution, just in time for the Nutley Sons Honor Roll book updated earlier this year and available online.

As all Nutley historians know, Nutley and Belleville at that time were known as Second River, and yes, about 150 years ago General George Washington and his troops passed through our town and may have camped here, as later did the troops on their way to defeat the British at the war-ending battle of Yorktown.

Almost 20 years ago, I had the idea to research the names of the fallen Nutley service men, starting with World War Two. I enlisted my daughter, in college then, and she struggled with images and faded print-outs of the library’s microfilm tapes.

Microfilm was state of the art in its day, its day had passed.

And yes, today, much of the information we struggled to decipher on microfilm is now digitized – you can enlarge it and have a better chance of reading it! To this, my old eyes say Amen.

The great thing is, now, with your Nutley library card, you have access here in this building to local history and from home with your library card to an enormous digital library of online lessons and so much more.

Yountakah Country - A Poetic View of Nutley Old and New by Anthony Buccino About ten years ago, I was cranking our verse like nobody’s business. So, what happens when a historian crosses swords with verse?

You know the Third River was the Yountakah River. And you’ve heard of Ann Troy and Annie Oakley, the Nutley pizza wars, Brookdale soda, Plenge’s farm, the stolen post office, Drewe’s, caroms at summer rec, the valium breeze and the UN Garden?

Well, they all ended up in a quirky collection called Yountakah Country, a Poetic View of Nutley Old and New. 

I always wanted to be a humor writer, and nonfiction is hardly the stuff of big laughs.

Nutley Notables, Nutley, New Jersey by Anthony BuccinoFor two of my books, my library card brought me here to research local, uh, Notable people. Two volumes so far in Nutley Notables.

In several wooden file cabinets – yes, wooden file cabinets, were stored a treasure trove of files and news clippings that had been impeccably HAND-TYPED – yes, on a typewriter! – from the original articles, back in the 1940s and 1950s and – forget about digital – they provided a wealth of source material.

The Nutley library archives have helped me research my next long-awaited book. Anyone who has heard about it is anxious for me to sit down and get it done.

Do writers ever stop writing? There’s always the next book and the next project and every article can benefit from a research trip – library card in hand – to find that obscure fact or that missing piece of the puzzle.

Nutley Notables - Volume Two - by Anthony BuccinoIt’s been said that copywriters know 10 percent about everything. Historians feel that way too. Just when you think you’ve exhausted a subject, some new fact or hint comes along and before you know it you’re in the rabbit hole trying to find the cute little bunnies.

My wife and I call the Honor Roll books the never-ending-project because after 20 years we continue to discover new information and hear from relatives of those lost.

This local library is a tremendous asset to an author, especially an author of local history. And the library is free!And it's a privilege to visit here for research and other events.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank ALL the people who work here. I don’t want to list names in case I leave someone out. But these folks do an amazing job, and they make my job, and the job of my fellow panel members, possible.

Thank you, Friends of the Nutley Library. And, thank you for coming out on this super beautiful September afternoon.

LIBRARY CARD MONTH - Nutley Authors and Artists for the 21st Century: a Rich Tradition Continues.

From left, David Wilson, Catherine Greenfeder, artist Gary Erbe, Supervising Librarian Kiran Patel, Library Director Maria LaBadia, Nutley Town Historian John Demmer, Anthony Buccino, Barry Lenson.

Adapted from a Library Card Day presentation at the Nutley Free Public Library on September 21, 2019.

For more information, visit the Nutley Free Public Library.

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New Jersey author Anthony Buccino's stories of the 1960s, transit coverage and other writings earned four Society of Professional Journalists Excellence in Journalism awards.

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