Baristanet Profile: Denise O’Shea


Denise O'SheaName: Denise O’Shea

Where do you live? Right in the heart of downtown Montclair – on Forest Street.

When did you move there? Right after I got married, back in 1997. We were inspired by a magazine cover story that named Montclair as the top town for mixed race couples and their families, and by the wonderful vibe of the somewhat eclectic downtown.

Where did you grow up? Not far from here – I grew up on one side of the Passaic River (in Passaic) and my husband grew up on the other side (in Rutherford).

How do you make a living? I am a librarian, a tech librarian. I love books in any format – paper or electronic, and I love technology. I’ve worked with mobile devices for over 15 years. I used to work for an off shoot of the National Library of Medicine and train medical professionals and other librarians to search for medical information on the original Palm Pilot devices. Now I train library patrons to do research and to access their library accounts on smart phones and tablets.

Coffee, tea or … ? I grind fresh coffee beans every morning and brew a strong cup in my cherished French press. This week it’s the Montclair Community Blend from Terra Tea. At night I drink tea. My husband’s family introduced me to the wonderful Irish tea – Barry’s Tea on one of our trips to Ireland.

What’s your idea of a perfect Saturday? Walking around town and enjoying the beauty of Montclair, getting some exercise by doing my errands on foot, and relaxing with my husband and daughter. One of my favorite places to walk to is the farmer’s market on Walnut Street.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? This is a tough question as it changes all the time and I have many favorites. Favorite pizza & pasta is Enzo’s, my favorite Mexican food is Casa Piquin, and my favorite breakfast spot is a tie between Le Sabuen and Ray’s luncheonette, but my current favorite all around restaurant is the Orange Squirrel. Sorry, I can’t pick just one.

What’s on your nightstand? Books, my Kindle, my Nancy Drew notepad, pens, hand cream, and sleep mask.

Your iPod? I am a former high school (WPHS) and college radio DJ (WRSU) and so is my husband so we have tons of vinyl at home. I’m probably in the minority of folks that still miss record stores. The music that I have stored on our iPod and in the cloud is only a fraction of what we own. Most of my mp3s are pop, alternative music, hip hop and jazz.

What are your current addictions? Whole Foods pumpkin cheesecake sandwhich cookie

Talent you would most like to have. I wish that I could sing. I’ve been told that I have a wonderful speaking voice. I enjoy public speaking and would like to get some work doing voiceovers, but I can’t carry a tune. My daughter is singing at Hillside School’s Winter Concert this week. Thankfully she did not inherit my singing gene.

What’s the worst-kept secret about Montclair? That Montclair residents have access to the wonderful library where I work – the Harry A. Sprague Library at Montclair State University. Come on down with your MPL library card and your driver’s license. We’ll register you for an account at our library and you can borrow some of our books. If you stop by, ask for me at the Circulation Desk and I’ll come out to say hello.

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? I really have not given that much thought.


  1. That would have been a 1997 cover of New York Magazine–Montclair, the Upper West Side of New Jersey, etc. We’re about due for another magazine cover, though this time it will probably be Cigar Aficionado.

  2. Thanks for doing this (of Denise). She’s a great gal, and I’m (always) glad to see her (smiling face). (:-D)

  3. idratherbeat63,

    As the person who interviewed Denise and a friend of hers, I’m not sure I care for your comment. “Surprisingly revealing. Connecting the dots.” Can you explain?

  4. @Georgette, you did a wonderful job interviewing Denise O’Shea, bringing out some lovely qualities. As we add these all together, we get a beautiful portrait of an interesting and accomplished woman.

    Apologies for having perhaps expressed this too succinctly above.

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