Bookmobile Unit Manager: Eddie Perez
The first Bookmobile of the Jersey City Free Public Library was dedicated on March 15, 1954. At the time, it had a capacity of about 1,500 volumes. The Bookmobile quickly became a fixture on Jersey City’s streets, providing families and seniors with an additional convenient option to check books out of the Library.
The Bookmobile was refurbished in 2002, with a new chassis, fresh paint and lettering, and a new generator, thanks to the support of The Provident Bank, Goldman Sachs and East Coast Collision, Inc. of Jersey City.
But it was on May 8, 2008 that the history of the Bookmobile took a major turn in the road, when the brand new, custom-designed and -built, wheelchair-accessible Bookmobile made its debut at the Jersey City Free Public Library Foundation’s 5th Annual fundraiser, the Casino Night & Silent Auction.
The new 33-foot-long Bookmobile was unveiled at the event, which was held at Casino in the Park, a legendary restaurant in Jersey City’s historic Lincoln Park. The walls of the Bookmobile are lined with bookshelves that hold 2,000 books, as well as public access computer terminals, a media station, and restroom facilities. The new Bookmobile can accommodate disabled patrons easily, with a retractable elevator lift that is hidden behind moveable bookshelves within the Bookmobile, designed to maximize internal space.
The funding for the new Bookmobile was the result of three years of work by the Jersey City Free Public Library Foundation Board of Trustees – especially then-Treasurer Michael A. Ryan and Library Foundation Executive Director Priscilla Gardner, who spearheaded the fundraising and design efforts. Fundraising for the new Bookmobile was supported by five fundraisers sponsored by several local businesses, including Casino in the Park, Liberty House, Puccini's, and P.J. Ryan’s. Along with the generous contributions of numerous corporate, nonprofit, and individual supporters, the Bookmobile’s costs, totaling more than $220,000, were paid in full without using taxpayer dollars. The Jersey City Free Public Library is grateful to key sponsors, including: Comcast; Goldman, Sachs & Co.; PSE&G; The Jerramiah T. Healy Charitable Foundation; The Provident Bank Foundation; and the Estate of Raymond Landis.