What's in your collection?

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Jersey City Free Public Library

What’s in *your* collection?


Trading on the Capital One tagline, “What’s in your wallet?” the Jersey City Free Public Library celebrated National Library Week 2013 with the tagline, “What’s in your collection?”

By posing that question to each branch and department manager, this document chronicles the special collections throughout the Jersey City library system.

Each year, the American Library Association (ALA) holds court, honoring libraries all over, with National Library Week, held in 2013 the week of April 14-20. The ALA 2013 theme – Communities Matter @ your library – resonated as a specific version, Local Communities – The Heart & Soul @ the Jersey City Free Public Library.

“Come celebrate National Library Week at your local branch or the Main Library,” said Library Director Priscilla Gardner. “By identifying major collections throughout the library system, we give you the chance to know what’s here. We realize, these gems have been ‘hiding in plain sight’ and now, they’ve been highlighted for your personal exploration.”

Whether the local communities are distinct ethnic enclaves, or identified by historic years and eras, the Jersey City library system has been gathering and augmenting (and weeding!) its many collections since its inception in 1889. And, the 20th & 21st centuries brought computer training at Miller and the Main, respectively.

The departments of the Main Library focus on specific areas of study, with three considered actual special collections, i.e., Biblioteca Criolla, Federal Documents and the New Jersey Room.

The Reference Department, while a general reading and research room, does have specific collections of interest: Education/Professional Test Books, Foreign Language Dictionaries, Historical Newspapers, and New Jersey Law.

The Lending Department boasts of a large collection of audiobooks, musical CDs, and educational and regular videos. There also is a Reading List collection for the classics, such as Charles Dickens, that are required reading for school.

The Vincenzo Domenico Bonetti II Children’s Room on the first floor of the Main Library provides an excellent selection of easy readers for ages three to seven years old. The collection consists of books about weather, potty training friendship, family, colors, numbers, etc. This collection is also highly used for preschool story hour. The easy reader collection is typically a very large part of the children’s collection, and has a large circulation rate. The Bonetti Room also carries a wide collection of juvenile fiction, YA fiction, biographies, non-fiction, folklore and fairytale, reference books, the classics, and DVDs and audiobooks, and provides titles by award-winning authors from the Caldecott, Coretta Scott King, Geisel, and Newbery medals.

Of the 10 branches in the Jersey City library system, seven have special collections of interest:

Cunningham: * Books about Abraham Lincoln & the U.S. Civil War * Folk tales & fairy tales for children

* Poetry books for adults & children

Five Corners: * Books in Indian languages, including Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali & Punjabi, and books by

Indian authors writing in English * Books in Urdu (language of Pakistan)

* Books in Tagalog (language of the Philippines), and books about the Philippines in English

* Books in Spanish * Small number of books in Arabic & Portuguese

* Foreign music CDs * Foreign language movie DVDs * CDs & DVDs for learning different

languages & for ESL students

Heights: * Spanish language materials for children & adults * Small collection of Indian language books

Lafayette: * Books appealing to African Americans – urban & Christian fiction, and biographies

* Story Books for children * Holiday books collection

Marion: * Adult books in the Gujarati, Hindi, Bengali & Urdu languages

* Children’s short stories in Hindi, including the Amar Chitra Katha Series

Miller: * YA books * Teen Center * Black History books * Computer Learning Training Center

Pavonia: * Large collection of large-print books * Very Popular – Children’s basic history collection

* Very Popular – Elementary & High School Classic Literature selection

Four departments at the Main Library – Biblioteca Criolla, Federal Documents, NJ Room & Reference – have such extensive special collections (or, are considered actual special collections) that separate pages chronicle their library materials. These four pages follow.=

The over 120-year-old Jersey City Free Public Library serves New Jersey’s second largest city, consisting of a Main Library, nine branches, and a wheelchair-accessible mobile branch that was custom-designed and -built, and on the road since May 2008. The Jersey City library system provides access to a diversified collection of 400,000+ pieces of printed, audiovisual, and electronic resources that addresses the needs of the truly multicultural clientele of 247,597 residents (U.S. Census 2010). The Library offers patrons automated catalog and circulation services, for searching at home or from library Public Access computers. The Main Library is the repository of two special collections: New Jersey Room, a collection of about 20,000 volumes with an emphasis on Jersey City, and the Biblioteca Criolla, a collection of 18,000 volumes (11,000 adults / 7,000 children) in Spanish from different Latino cultures. Both departments hold special programs in deference to their respective collections. On August 17, 2004, the Library held the grand opening of its first new branch in 42 years, serving the M.L. King redevelopment area, the Glenn D. Cunningham Branch Library & Community Center, named after the late Jersey City Mayor and State Senator.

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