During 1920, the circulation of books for home use amounted to nearly 1.25 million.
The branches already established were becoming insufficient to meet the requirements of the public. Smaller branches were needed. The Lafayette Branch initially was a group of rented rooms that stored up to 8,200 books on its shelves.
Located in what used to be the heart of Jersey City 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.
In The Jersey Observer, dated November 14, 1924, 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….well-equipped reference department and a reading room…”
Interesting to note, The Observer reported 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.”
Current borrowers of library books at the Lafayette Branch tend to read fiction, as book acquisitions indicate.
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.