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With Christmas music serenading the Greenville ‘elves’, the stage was set for the Christmas party revelers on December 22nd, which meant, the proscenium stage was covered from end-to-end with toys arranged in age order, to make it easier when duty called for toy distribution.

‘Santa’ Kenny (Uko, who heads the Greenville Branch) served as Master of Ceremonies.

Since 2010, the Greenville Branch Library has been serving the community by holding a Christmas Toy Giveaway, making sure that no child, regardless of the family’s economic disadvantage, has a Christmas with not one present. All parents/guardians have previously registered each child, to make sure there is something waiting, as well as to ensure the family’s need.

For Christmas 2014, over 100 children were served, with over 170 adults in attendance. The stage held over 200 presents, so there was enough joy to be spread around.

This year, the Marines’ Toys for Tots program donated 49 toys for the Greenville Christmas 2014 Toy Giveaway. However, it was the effort by P.S. 38, coordinated by Christine Ditrolio that really brought joy to a Jersey City child’s heart. P.S. 38 provided 152 presents for the children!

The Greenville ‘elves’ included Assistant Branch Head Ellen Rice (who came to help while on vacation) and the Greenville Branch Team, as well as Literacy Program Coordinator Darnelle Richardson and Public Information Officer Michele Dupey, who took photographs.

And… A great time was had by all!


Biblioteca Criolla closed it celebrations for Hispanic Heritage with a “big bang” on Saturday, October 11th.  It was great to see many enthusiastic people coming together for this occasion. The program was well attended by the Latino community of Jersey City. In attendance there were approximately 60-plus people, among them 20 teenagers.

The program commenced with welcoming remarks from Criolla Department Head Patricia Vega, and her introducing everyone to the treasures in Biblioteca Criolla, such as services and resources. Also mentioned were the contributions and impact Latinos have made in this great nation through our strong commitment to family, faith, hard work and service.

The commemorative program consisted of guest speaker Honorable Amilkar Velez-Lopez, retired municipal judge in Newark, N.J., who was a former judge of the Central Judicial Processing Court in Essex County (Court CJP) and has resided in the Garden State for over 40 years. He

talked to the audience about the importance knowing our heritage and not forgetting where we come from. This native of Puerto Rico, whose family moved to New York in 1959 for better opportunities, gave the audience an inside look at his personal and professional experiences, and family life. He mentioned the many resources (like the libraries) available to all, urged the youth of the importance of being community-minded individuals, and to volunteer. He spoke from the heart and Criolla’s audience responded to his very easy demeanor. He ended with the philosophy that his parents taught him: “!!EL QUE PERSEVERA—TRIUNFA!!  “DIOS ME LO BENDIGA”.  (THE ONE THAT PERSEVERES, TRIUMPHS!! And he always greets and says goodbye with a, “GOD BLESS YOU.”) There was a Q & A session and many in the audience took the opportunity to ask questions.

Read more: Hispanic Heritage Celebration

No one wants to admit it, but, chances are, you could take better care of yourself.

With the Introduction to Wellness program, hosted by the Federal Documents Department in the Main Library on October 2, 2014, the 11 people in the audience soaked up the information presented by Pinky Nawani, PT, DPT, OCS, of the Kessler Rehabilitation Center in Jersey City (2854 Kennedy Blvd. 07306 / 201-792-2582 /

Asking, ‘would you change one thing tomorrow if…?’ Kessler’s Doctor of Physical Therapy opened her presentation, and launched into a variety of statistics: * Approximately half of the premature deaths in the U.S. are caused by lifestyle concerns (lack of exercise / poor eating habits / smoking / alcohol / stress) * Obesity is at epidemic levels – 127 million Americans (64.5% of the adult population are obese) * Being overweight or obese increases the risk factors for 15 different diseases (including, Type II Diabetes / High blood pressure / High cholesterol / Heart disease / Congestive heart failure / Strokes) * Women vs. Men – Women now eat 22% more calories than they did 30 years ago & Men are eating 7% more * SAD Exercise FACTS – 25% of all trips in the U.S. are less than one mile & 75% of those are made by car (U.S. Dept. of Transportation), 27% of the population admit not to exercising, 7 out of 10 adults get too little & 4 out of 10 get none!


Special Gala Reception at Main Library in Jersey City Kicked Off Major Fundraising Appeal for Major Renovations

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Over 100 people attended the special reception, Wine, Renovations & Song, sponsored by the Jersey City Free Public Library Foundation, Inc., held on Tuesday evening, June 24, at the Main Library in Jersey City. The reception took place on all four floors, with the Library’s architect, Helena Ruman, on hand to explain the individual renovation projects that are planned throughout the building.

Focusing on a fundraising target of $3 million, Library Director Priscilla Gardner began the reception with acknowledging the many elected and appointed officials that have shown previous support, which has included capital improvement funding from the City of Jersey City and grant funding from the Hudson County Open Space Trust Fund for the replacement of energy-inefficient and historically incorrect aluminum windows with ones made of wood that are energy-efficient and historically correct.

In attendance: Hudson County Freeholder Bill O’Dea (District 2); representing Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop – Deputy Mayor Vivian Brady-Phillips and Chief of Staff Muhammed Akil; Council President Rolando R. Lavarro Jr.; Councilwoman At Large Joyce Watterman; Ward C Councilman Richard Boggiano; Ward F Councilwoman Diane Coleman; and Superintendent of Jersey City Public Schools Dr. Marcia V. Lyles. Sending regrets, but wanting to be there: NJ State Senator Sandra B. Cunningham (D-31st LD), Councilman At Large Daniel Rivera, Ward B Councilman Khemraj “Chico” Ramchal, and Ward D Councilman Michael Yun. Missing: Ward E Councilwoman Candice Osborne confirmed, yet didn’t arrive, and Ward A Councilman Frank Gajewski did not respond at all.

Read more: Special Gala Reception at Main Library