307 Pacific Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07304
Phone: (201) 547 - 5017
Map of Library Location
Branch Manager: Vanessa Benekin
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In 1920, the Jersey City Free Public Library’s circulation of books for home use amounted to nearly 1.25 million.
The branches already established at that time were becoming insufficient to meet the requirements of the public. Smaller branches were needed in order to expand the Library’s locations to more parts of the city. The Lafayette Branch initially was a group of rented rooms that stored up to 8,200 books on its shelves.
Located in a neighborhood that at the time was the heart of Jersey City – the area is still known as “The Junction” – the Lafayette Branch Library has been situated at 307 Pacific Avenue, near Communipaw Avenue, since the branch’s opening on November 13, 1924.
The Jersey Observer of November 14, 1924 reported that the new branch included “a circulation department for adults with a large collection of books of all kinds, and a children’s department with a carefully selected collection of books for young people, [a] well-equipped reference department and a reading room.”
The Observer noted that “[f]iction, however, is not the most important part of the collection. Books of history, biography and travel, and works on science and art may be found in generous measure on the shelves of the new library.”
On the other hand, circulation statistics show that current borrowers of library books at the Lafayette Branch tend to read mostly fiction.
When the Lafayette Branch Library opened in 1924, it became the sixth branch library in the Jersey City Free Public Library system, in addition to the Main Library on Jersey Avenue. In that November 14th article, the Jersey Observer observed quite proudly, “Jersey City now has one of the best equipped and most efficient systems of book distribution in the country.”
By the end of the 20th century, the building at 307 Pacific Avenue was in need of major renovation, which was done in late 1999 and into early 2000. Upon re-opening, on Tuesday, March 28, 2000, the Lafayette Branch Library became the first automated branch of the Jersey City Free Public Library system.