Five Corners Branch
678 Newark Ave.
Jersey City, NJ 07306
Phone: (201) 547 -4543
Map of Library Location
Branch Manager: Liz Cartaina (Interim Manager)
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Now one of the busiest Regional Branch Libraries in the Jersey City Free Public Library system, the Five Corners Branch Library has been in existence since 1924. Dedicated on June 17th of that year, the Five Corners Branch initially served the neighborhood in the rented space of a two-family house at 558 Summit Avenue.
By the early 1960s, the need was great for a modern building to serve the area's burgeoning population. The current building was erected at 678 Newark Avenue, replacing the former Five Corners Branch, as well as the Palisade Avenue Branch, which had been a storefront branch opened in 1932 at 115 Palisade Avenue, across the street from Christ Hospital.
According to Fifty Years of Service 1891-1941, a history of the Jersey City Free Public Library written by Librarian and former President of the Library Board of Trustees Edmund W. Miller, "several small branches in other parts of the City had been planned but any further extension of the branches had to be abandoned because of the Depression." (Miller’s years of service to the people of Jersey City and their Library was honored in 1954 when the Bergen Branch Library was rededicated in his honor as Miller Branch Library.)
At its dedication on June 10, 1962, the Five Corners Branch Library opened with fanfare, heralding a new era for cultural and arts presentations. Nicknamed the Fine Arts Library, Five Corners was home to the Art and Music Reference Collection, as well as the Fine Arts Collection on the Mezzanine, which was a circulating collection of “phonograph records, filmstrips, educational films and framed prints,” along with “record players for listening,” highlighting the technology of the day.
The facility cost $500,000 to build, which is equivalent to more than $4 million today. Designed by architects Hugh C. Clarke and Leroy A. Cowan, Five Corners features a Main Floor for general use, a Mezzanine level, and an auditorium. The building, now in its sixth decade of service and always in a high degree of use, is in need of renovation. This branch is slated to be renovated after the Main Library renovations are complete.
The Mezzanine houses Media Arts, which is a collection of foreign films, educational materials, and modern video and audio recordings. The Chaplain Major Charles Watters Vietnam Veterans Memorial Media Arts Center, located on the Mezzanine, was dedicated on November 19, 1987, the 20th anniversary of his death.