“History & Heritage” is a series on Montclair history, written by representatives of the Montclair History Center and the Montclair Public Library. Molly Hone is head of adult services at the Montclair Public Library.

If this kind of activity seems like a distant memory, it might be because this photograph was taken in 1935 by the Newark Evening News. (The Newark Evening News archives can be viewed online, courtesy of the Newark Public Library at digital.npl.org).

These readers are enjoying books in the garden at the Main Library’s third location on Church Street, which is now part of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation. The Church Street library building served the Montclair community from 1904 to 1954.

I am not sure of the exact functions of the library garden at the Church Street building or how often it was used, but it appears in several photographs in our collection. In this one, it seems that carts of books were brought outside specifically so that folks could enjoy them in the sunshine. And they do appear to be enjoying them! Note how every reader here is thoroughly engrossed in a book.

I can’t think of anything better than reading a good book in one of Montclair’s many beautiful parks and outdoor spaces. I look forward to the day when we can all read together again.

To see more historic photographs, visit digifind-it.com/montclair/home.php and search the photo collection. In partnership with the Montclair History Center, the library offers over 10,000 digitized photographs, plus city directories, and more for your enjoyment.