JERSEY CITY, N.J.: Apr. 23, 2019 –The Jersey City Free Public Library announces the upcoming Grand Reopenings of two critical community facilities: the Main Library Reference Department and the West Bergen Branch Library will reopen on Mon., Apr. 29 and Tues., Apr. 30, respectively. The Library will hold ribbon cutting ceremonies to celebrate the reopenings:
Main Library Reference Department, 472 Jersey Avenue, Second Floor: Mon., Apr. 29, 11 A.M. West Bergen Branch Library, 546 West Side Avenue: Tues., Apr. 30, 11 A.M.
Renovations in Reference
As the first major project of the third and final phase of the Main Library’s ongoing renovations, the Reference Department underwent a complete upgrade. The intricate plasterwork and ceiling details were carefully restored and repainted in beautiful blues, yellows and earthy reds. The department was completely refurnished with new shelving, new light fixtures were installed, and an electrical upgrade brings power supply directly to the restored original oak reading tables.
The reopening of the department ends a period of closure that began in September 2016. Work on the Reference Department was delayed in 2018 when asbestos was unexpectedly found in the floor of the room; after the additional asbestos abatement work was completed, the restoration of the interiors moved forward.
“The ongoing renovations of the Main Library will ensure that this marvelous cultural and educational asset will continue to play a vital role in our community for another century to come,” said Library Director Priscilla Gardner. “We thank our patrons for their patience during construction and we invite everyone to come see and enjoy the beautifully restored Reference Department.”
Phase III of the renovations at the Main Library will also include restoration of the roof penthouse structures, ornamental copper cresting, and shingles, as well as replacement of the roofing systems and storm drainage. The fourth floor clerestory windows will be brought back into use. Biblioteca Criolla and the Federal Documents Department remain closed during the roof restoration work; bilingual library services are available in the New Jersey Room on the third floor.
“We recognize that Library closures can be inconvenient to our patrons, so we have planned the renovation in phases in order to maximize the amount of time that we can keep the building open during construction,” said Library Director Priscilla Gardner. “Temporary closures of individual departments allow us to minimize the overall disruption to our patrons.”
Phase I of the renovations, which was completed in 2016, included: the restoration of the exquisite architectural details in the Lending Department; a new elevator; barrier-free access to the Main Library entrance and renovated restrooms; and a new basement sprinkler system. Phase II, completed this year, called for a complete overhaul of all street-facing windows, replacing the existing aluminum with historically-correct, energy-efficient wood. The renovation of the Main Library is a large-scale, top to bottom restoration of a cherished historic building. The Library is grateful to the ongoing support of Mayor Steven Fulop for this critical undertaking.
A New Home for West Bergen
The West Bergen Branch Library, formerly located at 476 West Side Avenue, was closed in August of last year after a series of facility issues that were not addressed by the property owner made the location unsafe for patrons and staff. With the support of Ward B Councilwoman Mira Prinz-Arey and Hudson County Freeholder Bill O’Dea, a new location was identified in the neighborhood at 546 West Side Avenue. The new West Bergen Branch Library is housed on the ground floor of a newly constructed building on the corner of West Side and Lexington Avenues. During the branch closure, patrons were provided with free shuttle bus service to the Miller and Morgan Branches.
“Closing the West Bergen Branch left a major gap in our services for the residents of this neighborhood,” said Gardner. “We are thrilled that we have been able to secure and move to a brand-new location in such a short time frame, and we are grateful for the support of Mayor Fulop and Councilwoman Prinz-Arey in this major undertaking.”
Mayor Fulop and Councilwoman Prinz-Arey are expected to attend the April 30 ribbon cutting at the new West Bergen Branch.
About The Jersey City Free Public Library:
The 127-year-old Jersey City Free Public Library serves New Jersey’s second-largest city – and the most diverse city in the nation. The library system consists of a Main Library, nine branches, and our wheelchair-accessible traveling branch, the Bookmobile, that was custom-designed by Chairman Ryan and Director Gardner and custom-built in Virginia, and on the road since May 2008. The Jersey City library system provides access to a diversified collection of 400,000+ pieces of printed, audiovisual, and electronic resources that addresses the needs of the truly multicultural clientele of 247,597 residents (U.S. Census 2010). The Library offers patrons automated catalog and circulation services, for searching at home or from library Public Access computers. As of today, April 23, 2019, the Jersey City Free Public Library has 241,197 valid card members.
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