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Shane Smith
Public Information Officer

Jersey City Free Public Library
472 Jersey Avenue
Jersey City, NJ  07302

Joe Bataan

When talking rhythm ‘n’ blues and Latin influences, there is no one that compares with Joe Bataan.

Born of the street, in early 1940s Spanish Harlem to an African-American mother and a Filipino father, Joe Bataan (née Bataan Nitollano) traversed those streets, absorbing its rhythms from the Puerto Rican culture living there. The gangs, especially the Dragons, absorbed him, too, including doing a stint in prison. Joe Bataan found his muse there as well, according to an interview by Canadian music critic Errol Nazareth, with Bataan crediting a music teacher and self-improvement courses taken while in jail lockdown that helped him turn his life around.

Joe Bataan’s music has been turning people around with its infectious sound since 1965 when his first band surfaced, and then in 1967, when he began to record with Fania Records, arguably, the most important Latin music label of its time.

In fielding a question from regarding his musical creativity, Joe Bataan answered, “After listening to Show Musicals, Rock and RnB I got the idea to fuse Latin with English lyrics as an experiment. I listened to Joe Cuba, Hector Rivera and Pete Rodriguez and was inspired to do the same. Only difference was that my style had stories of life in the streets and much of my life was involved in my songs. This is why I became a street singer.”

Read more: Joe Bataan

Limited Library Services TODAY, November 7

Only NJ Room & Federal Documents departments Open

JERSEY CITY, N.J.   November 7, 2014 – Ready or not, here it is! The Main Library in Jersey City, 472 Jersey Avenue, will close five of its seven departments originally open to the public for the beginning of the construction that will make the Main Library barrier-free and accessible to people with disabilities.

The Bonetti Children’s Room, Biblioteca Criolla and the Literacy, Lending and Reference departments will be closed on Friday, November 7, 2014. Full services will be restored on Saturday, November 8.

Also, the Bookmobile is off-road today, Friday, November 7.

For the latest on programs, events, and special announcements please follow the Library on Facebook (, Twitter (JCFPL_NJ) or Pinterest ( at Jersey City Free Public Library. Visit us on the web at for all information on the Library, including all press releases in The Press Room. As of today, November 7, 2014, the Jersey City Free Public Library has 182,958 valid card members.

Main Library Renovations to Start in Late October 2014 Ushering in Disabled Accessibility When Completed

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With its cornerstone set in 1899, the 115-year-old Main Library in Jersey City will be getting a top-to-bottom overhaul over the next five years, guaranteeing this historic building’s service to the public for the next 100 years.

Residing in the heart of the Van Vorst Historic District, the Main Library, by all accounts, is a community asset that is an architectural masterpiece, designed by architects Brite and Bacon. Its grand opening to the public occurred with pageantry in 1901.

According to the Library’s architect, Helena Ruman, AIA, there will be two phases of construction, owing to ongoing funding procurement. Phase I starts with creating barrier-free access to the Main Library’s building and facilities. The work will start with construction of a new entrance that will allow wheelchair-bound patrons to access the building at grade level. Public and staff restrooms on the first floor will be altered and improved with consideration for a barrier-free access. A new elevator shaft will be constructed from the basement to the fourth floor, in the rear of the building large enough to accommodate individuals with disabilities, and a sprinkler system installed in the basement.

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Read more: Main Library Renovations to Start in Late October 2014

JERSEY CITY, N.J.   November 3, 2014 – If you’re looking for a kind and giving way to usher in the 2014 holiday season, the Jersey City Free Public Library has something – and someone’s story – that will warm your heart.

Damaris Aviles and her family are lifelong residents of Jersey City. Recently, she came to speak with Patricia Vega, manager at Biblioteca Criolla, about an idea she has. “I have the desire and hunger to help the unfortunate because of personal experience,” Ms. Aviles said, who has spent long periods of time in shelters, though in the states of Iowa and Rhode Island where her shelter experience was considered pleasant.

While walking in the summertime with her daughter, who was 12 at the time, both came upon a woman in a cardboard box thought for dead. When one foot began to move, Damaris approached the woman, and found out it was her sister.

Read more: Library to Help Homeless Through One Woman’s Personal Appeal

Ward F Councilwoman Coleman ‘Wows’ as Guest Storytellerat the Bonetti Children’s Room Story Hour on Monday, October 6

If the answer is, “Anything Dr. Seuss!” Then, what’s the question?

That’s the answer given by Ward F Councilwoman Diane Coleman when Bonetti Children’s Room Librarian Francina Stevens asked what books she wanted to read when scheduling a guess visit during Fall 2014 Preschool Story Hour on Monday, October 6th.

A mother of four children, Councilwoman Coleman was a natural, reading with an animated voice and an enthusiasm to read to Jersey City children at the Main Library. Not only did she read three Dr. Seuss titles – Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!, I Can Read with My Eyes Shut! and I Wish That I Had Duck Feet – but the Councilwoman participated in all the sing-along activity. It was clear she enjoyed every last shaking of her hands and stomping of her feet!

Read more: Ward F Councilwoman Coleman ‘Wows’ as Guest Storyteller