Glenn D. Cunningham Branch

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Special Tribute to Glenn D. Cunningham

 

Location:
275 Martin Luther King Dr.
Jersey City, NJ 07305


Phone:
(201) 547 - 4555
Contacts:
Branch Manager: Mary Quinn
Chief Librarian: Hussein Odeh



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Hours:

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
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6:00pm
10:00am -
6:00pm
12:00am -
8:00pm
10:00am -
6:00pm
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5:00pm
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Walter Dean Myers is the critically acclaimed New York Times bestselling author of more than eighty books for children and young adults, including Sunrise Over Fallujah, Fallen Angels, Monster, Somewhere in the Darkness, Slam!, Jazz, and Harlem. Mr. Myers has received two Newbery Honors, five Coretta Scott King Awards, and the inaugural recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement. In addition, he was the winner of the first Michael L. Printz Award and the 1994 recipient of the American Library Association’s Margaret A. Edwards Award honoring an author for a "significant and lasting contribution to young adult literature." He is considered one of the preeminent writers for children.

In 2012, Walter Dean Myers was named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. The National Ambassador program, sponsored by the Library of Congress and the Children’s Book Council, was established in 2008 with the naming of Jon Scieszka for the first two-year term. Candidates are selected based on their contribution to young people’s literature and their ability to relate to children.

Walter began writing at an early age. "I was a good student, but a speech impediment was causing problems. One of my teachers decided that I couldn't pronounce certain words at all. She thought that if I wrote something, I would use words I could pronounce. I began writing little poems. I began to write short stories, too." Realizing that his family would not be able to afford college, Walter joined the Army on his seventeenth birthday. When he got out, he worked various jobs and he wrote at night. "I wrote for magazines," says Walter. "I wrote adventure stuff, I wrote for the National Enquirer, I wrote advertising copy for cemeteries." A winning contest entry with the Council on Interracial Books for Children became his first book, Where Does the Day Go?

Amiri and Odette: A Love Story is a modern retelling of Swan Lake. "I had seen the ballet of Swan Lake as a child but it was as an adult, when I saw a production featuring Erik Bruhn, that I first noticed how significant a part the ever-present threat of violence played. This juxtaposition of great beauty and grace with a backdrop of pure evil stayed with me for years. As a writer, I absorb stories, allow them to churn within my own head and heart — often for years — until I find a way of telling them that fits both my time and temperament. In listening to Pyotr Tchaikovsky's score," Walter continues, "I found the violence muted, but slowly, in my head, the sometimes jarring rhythms of modern jazz and hip-hop began to intervene. I asked myself if there were modern dangers to young people similar to the magic spells of folklore. The answer of course, was a resounding yes, and I began to craft a modern, urban retelling of the Swan Lake ballet." 

"I so love writing," says Walter. "It is not something that I am doing just for a living, this is something that I love to do. When I work, what I'll do is outline the story first. That forces me to do the thinking. I cut out pictures of all my characters and my wife puts them into a collage, which goes on the wall above the computer. When I walk into that room, I see the characters, and I just get very close to them. I rush through a first draft, and then I go back and rewrite, because I can usually see what the problems are going to be ahead of me. Rewriting is a lot more fun for me than the writing is."

Walter Dean Myers died in New York City on July 1, 2014 after a brief illness.

 

CUNNINGHAM BRANCH HONORS WALTER DEAN MYERS – His many books displayed on the window shelf and table chronicle a writing career, but do not begin to tell the story of the penetrating impact that Jersey City-resident Walter Dean Myers made on children’s books – especially those for young adults. Library Director Priscilla Gardner called him a friend, and there were times he presented at the Jersey City Free Public Library, the last of which was at the Greenville Branch Library, describing the process by which he wrote his novels.

 

 

Upcoming Glenn D. Cunningham Branch Events:

July 2014 Calendar

 

Picture Galleries:

Glenn D. Cunningham Summer Reading Program (2013)



Branch History

‘It may only be a store to start out with, but we’ve got to do something to relieve the need in that area,’ said William Roehrenbeck, new assistant to Edmund W. Miller, city librarian.” (The Jersey Journal, February 19, 1952)

That revealing comment, applied to the creation of the Claremont Branch Library, could still be applied today, only the original storefront facility has been replaced by 5,200 square feet of library and community room, with outdoor shaded reading area and children’s paving stone maze.

The Glenn D. Cunningham Branch Library and Community Center, constructed on the site located on the west side of Martin Luther King Drive (between Myrtle & Bostwick Avenues) and opened to the public on August 18, 2004, replaced the Claremont Branch Library, which was located at 291 Martin Luther King Drive. The Grand Opening took place on August 17, 2004.

Library Director Priscilla Gardner, who served as project manager in the making of this first new library construction since 1962, takes pride in providing 21st Century Library services and programs to the citizens in this neighborhood and in providing a community meeting space for the many organizations working in the M.L. King Redevelopment Area.

During the intervening years since its grand opening, Mary Quinn, MLS, head of the Cunningham Branch, has worked diligently to build the collection, having had its original holdings come from the much smaller Neighborhood storefront, the Claremont Branch. This Regional branch now has lots of picture books for children, fiction and non-fiction for young adults, and significant collections of books on Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Civil War, in commemoration of the 200th birthday of our nation’s 16th president and in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the U.S. Civil War. Books in the Reference area needed much augmentation as well. Library materials were acquired on African-American history and literature on other subjects, with test preparation materials, such as the SAT, GRE, and Civil Service, also becoming available for the public.

The new Glenn D. Cunningham Library was made possible by $1,740,000 in Community Development Block Grant funding and by $500,000 granted from the City Council’s Reinvestment Account during the administration of former Mayor Bret Schundler. The Library Board of Trustees developed this project in cooperation with the Jersey City Redevelopment Agency, then-Board President Ervin L. Haynes, and then-Assistant Director Priscilla Gardner. The Cunningham  Branch’s architect was Helena Ruman, A.I.A.

The Claremont Branch Library, the library system’s ninth, officially opened on Tuesday, February 11, 1954 at 639 Ocean Avenue, at the corner of Claremont. A converted retail establishment, this storefront library, from an account in The Hudson Dispatch on February 8, 1954, was deemed “a complete departure from tradition. It is modern in every detail, completely functional n design. The furniture and equipment are of metal. The 2 long side walls are chartreuse, and the end wall and pillars are forest green. Division of the single, rectangular room into adult and juvenile areas is made with low free standing book cases. Children’s department is in the front, with the adult section toward the rear. A reading corner for adults is furnished with informal furniture and modern lamps. Nearby are the new books section and the current magazines. Branch seats 40 persons and can house a collection of 6,000 volumes.” The Jersey Journal, reporting on February 17, 1954, identified that “according to Director William Roehrenbeck, although at present, it contains only 2,500.

In an article on February 5, 1954, The Journal reported that the Claremont Branch was the “Free Public Library’s answer to demands by parents and community leaders who had pointed to the remoteness of existing library facilities from the east side of Greenville.”

Unfortunately, The Claremont Branch Library on Ocean Avenue succumbed to fire in the early 1980s. The resulting damage from fire and flood, stemming from extinguishing the fire, necessitated, according to a news brief in the January 19, 1982 issue of The Jersey Journal, a $22,784 appropriation from the State Education Board as partial reimbursement of the uninsurable loss. The Claremont Branch then relocated to Martin Luther King Drive.

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472 Jersey Avenue
Jersey City, N.J. 07302
(201) 547-4526