476 West Side Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07304
Phone: (201) 547 - 4554
Branch Manager: Beatriz Urrutia
Chief Librarian: Hussein Odeh
In 1971, then-Library Director William J. Roehrenbeck presented plans to the City Council for a satellite library in the vicinity of West Side and Mallory Avenues. Requesting $10,000 for setup, Director Roehrenbeck emphasized that the library’s budget could not accommodate this satellite library, which would be a direct extension of the Miller Branch.
At that Council meeting, Councilman Morris Pesin was quoted saying, “I think it is deplorable that thousands of our children are being denied an essential part of their educational life. I feel confident that I shall be able to secure the aid of my fellow councilmen in financing this project, which is a mere pittance compared to the millions of dollars that our city is spending.”
(“Director Cites $10,000 Need to Set Up Satellite Library,” Jersey Journal, July 29, 1971: 46s.)
The West Bergen Lending Service set up operation in September of that year at 503 West Side Avenue. Its hours were Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 12 noon, and from 1 to 5 p.m. Besides using books from the Miller Branch Library, the West Bergen Lending Service contracted with the McNaughton Co. and rented books for patron lending. As the 1971 Jersey Journal article explained, “Under this plan, the most popular books are rented each month and returned at the end of the month in exchange for new ones.”
Within four years, the West Bergen Lending Service demonstrated its need. A report entitled Jersey City Public Library Achievement and Progress 1971-1975 gave the satellite library high marks: “The Library’s service potential was significantly increased with the establishment of the West Bergen Lending Service in a storefront on West Side Avenue.”
By 1980, the West Bergen Lending Service had grown into a full-fledged library. The West Bergen Branch Library opened daily for library patrons.
In 1990, the West Bergen Branch moved to its current location at 476 West Side Avenue.
In the first half of 2015, the West Bergen Branch expanded into the adjacent storefront in order to open a new Children’s Room, while also receiving major upgrades, including brand-new floor tiles, a new air-conditioning system, renovated windows and restrooms, and an overhaul of the backyard space.
“I am elated to bring a brand new West Bergen Branch Library to our loyal patrons, who, I’m certain, will be happy with all the changes,” said Library Director Priscilla Gardner on the occasion of the West Bergen Branch’s grand reopening on June 29, 2015. “This may be one of our three smaller branches, but the amount of people that call it home is much larger than one would think!”