The Emerson Public Library was founded by a small group of dedicated residents in 1957 as a private Library, charging one dollar per year dues. The size of the collection on opening day, November 1, 1958, was only 5,000 books. Initially, the Library was open ten hours a week and contributed to the quality of life for residents by hosting an annual art show, author talks and a yearly dinner dance.
In 1962, the Library joined the Mid Bergen Federation of Public Libraries. This allowed residents to borrow books as well as framed paintings, sculpture replicas, and record players from nearby towns. Within the Federation, Emerson became known for its American Art books.