Learn about the Main Library
The Jersey City Free Public Library (JCFPL) has a rich history dating back to its founding in 1889 by Dr. Leonard Gordon. JCFPL’s first facility opened in 1891 on Washington Street, and throughout the 1890s, the library acquired property at Jersey Avenue and Montgomery Street. The cornerstone was laid in 1899, and the doors officially opened in 1901.
JCFPL has greatly expanded its services and resources, particularly since the early 2000s, with the addition of digital resources. It has a significant circulating collection and is home to the Reference Department, Bonetti Children’s Room, New Jersey Room, Biblioteca Criolla, Literacy Department, and administrative offices. Major renovations began in October 2014 and are currently ongoing.
On September 16, 2019, the Main Branch library was renamed in honor of Jersey City’s first African-American library director, Priscilla Gardner, who retired after 50 years of service.
Learn about the Lending Department
The Lending Department is JCFPL’s largest circulating collection.
JCFPL coordinates an Interlibrary Loan Service (ILL), enabling patrons to access materials from other libraries. It also implemented an automated library catalog that is available online. This system allows patrons to search quickly and reserve materials from the library’s collection, streamlining the borrowing process.
In 2016, the library completed renovations that included restoring the Italian Renaissance-style ceiling, new book stacks, and flooring.
Information Services Department
Learn about the Reference Department
The Information Services Department is a valuable resource for anyone seeking materials on various subjects and viewpoints. The library’s collection includes books, periodicals, microfiche and film, and an online database, providing diverse sources and media for patrons to explore.
New Jersey Room
Learn about the New Jersey Room
The New Jersey Room, JCFPL local history collection, covers New Jersey, particularly Jersey City and Hudson County. The collection includes rare historical books, maps, images, periodicals, manuscript collections, and topical files. Knowledgeable staff members are always available to assist patrons with their research inquiries.
One unique aspect of the collection is its Hudson County high school yearbook collection, which boasts nearly 1,500 volumes. This collection provides an invaluable resource for genealogists, historians, and anyone interested in local history.
In 2016, the New Jersey Room underwent renovations that improved the library’s facilities. These renovations included the installation of new flooring and lighting, restoring original furniture, and the upgrading document storage.
Bonetti Children’s Room
Learn about Bonetti Children’s Room
JCFPL offers a lending collection and programs for youth up to grade eight.
In 2002, a dedicated children’s area was established in honor of Vincenzo Bonetti, who sadly passed away at two years old.
The space was completely renovated in 2008, including updates to electrical work and lighting, refinishing original woodwork, new vinyl flooring installation, and acquisition of contemporary furniture and a Circulation Desk.
The Bonetti Children’s Room is a testament to this commitment and is a valuable asset for families in the area.
Learn about Biblioteca Criolla
Biblioteca Criolla opened in 1972 on Newark Avenue to serve the Spanish-speaking population and is now New Jersey’s largest collection devoted exclusively to Spanish-language works and Latino-centered programming.
Biblioteca Criolla relocated to the Priscilla Gardner Main Library in 2010. It includes a circulating collection and programs serving patrons of all ages, offering various materials and events.
Learn about the Literacy Program
JCFPL provides essential literacy instruction to Hudson County residents ages 18 and up. This program offers tutoring in basic literacy, English as a Second Language (ESL), citizenship preparation, mathematics, and TASC (GED) preparation.
JCFPL recognizes the importance of education and literacy in empowering individuals to achieve their goals and succeed personally and professionally. Through this program, the library provides a supportive and welcoming environment where individuals can receive personalized instruction and guidance from skilled tutors.
Glenn D. Cunningham Branch
Learn about the Glenn D. Cunningham Branch
The Glenn D. Cunningham Branch Library is a notable addition to the library system, which opened in 2004 as the first new building constructed since 1962. The branch was named in honor of the late Jersey City Mayor Glenn D. Cunningham, Jersey City’s first African-American mayor and a New Jersey State Senator and U.S. Marshal.
The library features a community meeting and program space, an outdoor shaded reading area, and a children’s paving stone maze. It offers a wide range of programs, especially for young adults and children.
Five Corners Branch
Learn about the Five Corners Branch
Now one of the busiest Regional Branch Libraries in the Jersey City Free Public Library system, the Five Corners Branch Library has been serving the community since 1924, initially in a rented space and then in a modern building erected in the 1960s. The current facility, costing $500,000 at the time and designed by architects Hugh C. Clarke and Leroy A. Cowan, houses various collections including the Art and Music Reference Collection, as well as a Mezzanine housing Media Arts. Its dedication marked a new era for cultural and arts presentations, and it’s renowned as a Fine Arts Library, with needs for renovation after six decades of high usage. The library’s history intertwines with local figures such as Edmund W. Miller, former President of the Library Board of Trustees, and Chaplain Major Charles Watters, whose memorial is located on the Mezzanine. The branch stands as a testament to the evolution of libraries, the cultural growth of the community, and is slated for renovation after the Main Library renovations are complete.
Learn about the Heights Branch
The Heights Branch opened its doors in 1911 on Central Avenue under Hudson City Branch. In 1918, the library relocated to its current address. Over the years, the branch underwent renovations and upgrades and was completed in 2001. In 2002, an additional seating area was completed providing even more space for visitors to enjoy.
The Heights Branch features a presentation and program room, offering a space for various events and activities. The library is dedicated to providing engaging programming for all ages, from storytimes and arts and crafts to author talks and technology workshops.
Learn about the Lafayette Branch
The Lafayette Branch is a longstanding part of the Jersey City Free Public Library system, first opening in 1924. The library underwent renovations in 2000, creating a modern and welcoming space for patrons.
The Lafayette Branch is dedicated to serving the needs of the diverse and rapidly changing neighborhood it serves. The library offers a wide range of services and programming, including storytimes, computer classes, and author talks.
Learn about the Marion Branch
The Marion Branch has served the community since 1930, providing access to a circulating collection of over 8,000 volumes. The library’s collection includes various materials, from books and periodicals to audiobooks.
The Marion Branch is dedicated to providing engaging programming tailored to the needs and interests of the neighborhood, with a particular emphasis on children’s programs. The library offers many opportunities for learning, creativity, and social interaction, from storytimes and crafts to technology workshops and summer reading programs.
Learn about the Miller Branch
Founded in 1914, formerly known as the Bergen Branch, the Miller Branch Library is a historic part of the JCFPL. Located at 489 Bergen Avenue, the current location became the branch’s home in 1921.
Since 1994, the Miller Branch has been home to the Computer Learning Resource Center, the first facility in the JCFPL system. The center provides access to technology, computer-based resources, and technology training and support.
In addition to its technology resources, the Miller Branch is also home to the JCFPL’s Teen Center. The Teen Center provides a space for young adults to study, socialize, and participate in engaging and educational programming.
Earl A. Morgan Branch
Learn about the Earl A. Morgan Branch
The Earl A. Morgan Branch Library opened in 1917 as the Greenville Branch on Danforth Avenue. It relocated in 1927.
The Earl A. Morgan Branch has been home to the Afro-American Historical and Cultural Society Museum since 1980. The museum preserves and shares the history and culture of African Americans in Jersey City and beyond.
In 2008, the branch had extensive renovations, which included wheelchair access, new furnishings, and the brand-new state-of-the-art Barack Obama Auditorium.
The Earl A. Morgan Branch was renamed in 2018 in honor of the late journalist and community activist Earl A. Morgan, who was a longtime advocate for the library and its role in the community.
Learn about the Pavonia Branch
The Pavonia Branch serves a neighborhood with significant development and population change over the last two decades.
Pavonia Branched opened in 1924, closed in 1970, and moved to a series of temporary locations before reopening at its current address in 1989.
The branch has a particular focus on children’s programs. From storytimes and crafts to technology workshops and summer reading programs, the branch provides a safe and engaging space for children to learn, grow, and explore.
West Bergen Branch
Learn about the West Bergen Branch
The West Bergen Library has been a part of the library system since 1971. In 1990, the library moved from 503 West Side Avenue to 476 West Side Avenue. It was expanded and upgraded in 2015.
The West Bergen Branch Library is moving to a newly constructed space at 546 West Side Avenue, expected to open soon. The new location will consist of modern and state-of-the-art facilities, ensuring that the library can continue to provide a welcoming and inclusive space for patrons of all ages.
Learn more about the Bookmobile
The Bookmobile runs daily, Monday through Friday, with two routes covering the entire city.
The Bookmobile is a full-service, wheelchair-accessible library branch, providing access to a circulating collection of materials and public access computer terminals. The Bookmobile is custom-designed and built to meet the specific needs of the community it serves and has been on the road since May 2008.