Jersey City Library Main Branch Set to Reopen on May 1

JCI file photo © Harmony Media, NJ

The Jersey City Library’s Main Branch, located at 472 Jersey Ave., will reopen on Monday, May 1. The Main Library will resume its regular operating schedule: 9 am to 8 pm Monday through Thursday and 9 am to 5 pm on Saturdays. The Biblioteca Criolla, Bonetti Children’s Room, New Jersey Room and the Lending and Literacy Departments, will once again be open to the public. The Reference Department and Federal Documents Department will remain closed as those areas continue to undergo renovations.

“We thank everyone for their patience as we continue the renovation process,” said Library Director Priscilla Gardner. “The Main Library building is over 100 years old and an architectural treasure. We take our responsibility very seriously as stewards not only of the building, but the collections within it.”

“We recognize that library closures can be inconvenient to our patrons, so we have planned the renovation in phases in order to maximize the amount of time that we can keep the building open during construction,” Gardner added. “We are looking forward to reopening to the public on May 1 as scheduled.”

Phase I of the renovations, which was completed in 2016, included the restoration of the exquisite architectural details in the Lending Department, a new elevator, barrier-free access to the Main Library entrance, renovated restrooms and a new basement sprinkler system.

May 1, scholar and author Tim Lawrence, will read from his book Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983 – photo via Jersey City Free Public Library

The Main Library will celebrate the reopening of the building on May 1 at 6 pm, with an evening of conversation and music. Author Tim Lawrence, will read from and discuss his third book, Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor, 1980-1983. The book chronicles the New York party and dance music scene, painting a vivid picture of a tumultuous and exceptionally productive time — the first years of the 1980s — while delving into the social and economic context of impending gentrification, Reaganomics, corporate intrusion, and the spread of AIDS that would change our region and our culture forever.

After the reading, stay and mingle with neighbors to a period soundtrack provided by Jersey City’s own DJ Wyse Rodriguez of Soulful Cypher, and enjoy refreshments courtesy of PJ Ryan’s Squared. Copies of the book will be available for purchase and signing at the event. Book can be pre-ordered through Word Book Store. (There is no cost to attend the reading and discussion.)

As part of Phase II of the ongoing renovations, the Main Library underwent continued asbestos abatement while the building was closed from February to April 2017. Also part of Phase II, the aluminum windows will be replaced with historically-correct, energy-efficient wooden windows. Scaffolding has been erected and work on the windows is set to get underway.

“During the window replacement, departments within the building will be closed as needed, but the building will be open as a whole,” said Public Information Officer Shane Smith. Updates on department closures during the window replacement will be posted on the library website and sent out on the library’s social media.

“The ongoing renovations of the Main Library will ensure that this marvelous cultural and educational asset will continue to play a vital role in our community for another century to come,” said Gardner. “We invite everyone who can to join us in celebrating the progress we have made at the upcoming annual Foundation Fundraiser.”

The Jersey City Free Public Library Foundation a charitable, tax-exempt organization founded in 2004 to generate funds for library capital improvements, will celebrate the recent progress made on the ongoing renovations and raise additional funds to support the continued work needed at the Jersey City Free Public Library. The Annual Black and White Ball Fundraiser and Silent Auction will be held Thursday, May 18 at 6 pm at The Gallery at Liberty Prime (111 Montgomery Street). Tickets are $100 and include refreshments and live music. To purchase tickets, visit eventbrite.com.

For more information on the Jersey City Free Public Library, visit jclibrary.org.

© Harmony Media, NJ. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without written permission.

Catherine Hecht

is the owner of Harmony Media, NJ, the publisher of Jersey City Independent and blogs about urban gardening at dig a path. She's lived in Jersey City since 1999 and resides in the Heights section with her wife Beth Achenbach, they were the first couple to file as legal domestic partners in Jersey City. Cat has over 10 years experience in communications, marketing and publishing, she's studied anthropology, art history, woman & gender studies, botany, ethnobotany, and herbology and she is a graduate of the Rising Tide Capital Community Business Academy. She is also is a community activist, registered voter, gay rights activist, art lover, gardener, environmentalist, and an animal advocate.