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On May 18, 2017, more than 300 gathered to support the Jersey City Free Public Library Foundation at the 14th Annual Black & White Ball and Silent Auction Fundraiser. The event, held in the elegant Gallery at Liberty Prime on Montgomery Street in Downtown Jersey City, brought out Jersey City’s stars to raise funds for the ongoing renovations of the Main Library. Dress for the event was black-tie optional, with many guests going all-out to impress in a fabulous black-and-white ensemble. Attendees enjoyed a pasta station and other light fare, unlimited beer, wine, and soft drinks, and live music provided by the Eamonn Ryan Band. Attendees also had the chance to bid on incredible Silent Auction items such as a brand-new television, a home audio sound bar, a designer handbag, and wine baskets, as well as major gets like a complimentary one-night weekend stay at the Hyatt Regency Jersey City, including breakfast buffet for two, or a 3-month membership to BASE Fitness Jersey City, including a 60-minute massage and much more. One very lucky winner also took home a Michael Kors watch, the proceeds of a 50-50 raffle, and a “salad bowl” full of “greens” including cash and scratch-off tickets.

Speaking about the ongoing renovation of the Main Library, Jersey City Free Public Library Foundation Board President Michael Ryan said, “We are delighted to have the opportunity to restore this community treasure. The work we are doing now will guarantee that the Main Library will continue to serve the residents of Jersey City in glorious condition for at least another century.”

 “The Library Foundation relies on the support of the community to realize our mission of sustaining and growing the Library’s facilities and services,” Ryan added. “In the current climate, public funding for educational and cultural institutions is unfortunately a bit of a question mark. One of the goals of our upcoming Fundraiser is to come together and show off the strong community support we have in this city for this beloved institution.”

 Library Director Priscilla Gardner noted that Jersey City’s Library must rise to special challenges. “Jersey City is the most diverse city in the nation. The Library is a place where all of our city’s diverse communities – every single resident of Jersey City – can find information and resources to enrich their lives and improve their opportunities.”

 Gardner noted that the objective of the ongoing renovations at the Main Library is to better serve the city’s residents. “As the population of Jersey City grows and changes, the Library’s role is to grow and change along with it, to fulfill our mission of serving everyone in this city.”

Read more: Black & White Ball

More than 50 community members gathered at Biblioteca Criolla on Monday, May 1, 2017 for an evening of history, music, and conversation. Scholar Tim Lawrence, author of Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983, shared his deep knowledge and passion about New York’s dance and party scene in the tumultuous and productive years of the early 1980s – a time and place that left an indelible mark on our region and on popular culture throughout the world. The evening’s soundtrack was provided by Wyse Rodriguez and Saint Sanchez of Soulful Cypher, a Jersey City organization that produces free events for DJs, poets, spoken word artists, and dancers. Refreshments were generously provided by PJ Ryan’s Squared.

Read more: Scholar Tim Lawrence, author of Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983

“It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” So begins the story of an unlikely revolutionary: the doomed hero of George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984. On April 4, 2017, the Jersey City Free Public Library (JCFPL) and the Friends of the Loew’s (FOL) teamed up to present a screening of the film adaptation of Orwell’s novel at the Landmark Loew’s Jersey Theatre. When the film was released in its namesake year of 1984, the story of everyman Winston Smith – and his “thoughtcrimes” against the totalitarian state – had for a generation been a symbol of resistance against censorship, surveillance, and unquestioning submission to authority.

The JCFPL and FOL joint screening was part of a nationwide event on April 4, with over 200 independent and art house cinemas presenting the film in honor of the first date inscribed in Winston Smith’s diary: April 4, 1984. The goal of the national event was to raise awareness and advocate for freedom of expression, particularly in support of the National Endowment for the Arts and other federally funded programs, such as the Institute of Museum and Library Services. We were also very proud to distribute 100 free copies of the novel to the first guests who arrived, compliments of the Jersey City Free Public Library Foundation.

Read more: 1984 at the Loew's Jersey