Jersey City library renamed in honor of its longtime director

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- They renamed the main library in Jersey City in honor of its longtime director Monday.

Mayor Steven M. Fulop announced the renaming of the Jersey City Free Public Library's Main Library building in honor of Priscilla Gardner.

The honor comes as Gardner steps down from her post. She is retiring after 50 years of service.

"It is fitting that the main library be named in honor of Priscilla and all of her hard work," said Fulop in a statement. "The Jersey City Free Public Library is a valuable resource in our community, and Priscilla created a community that opened doors for people who may not otherwise have had access to books and other educational resources. The impact she has made on our City will last a lifetime."

Gardner began her career as a junior library assistant in 1969. She became the library's first African American director in 2002. She spent 30 years working at Miller Branch Library, serving as branch head there from 1987-1999.

"While I am beyond grateful the mayor has chosen to recognize me, I simply worked to serve as the best Library Director for our community and never imagined being recognized in this way," Gardner said. "I am excited to start this new chapter in my life, but am also thankful for the change we have been able to create in Jersey City. It is my hope that the work I started lives on, and the Jersey City community continues to have endless access to free resources through the Jersey City Free Public Library."

Gardner established the Jersey City Free Public Library Foundation in 2004 to raise funds for capital improvements to the Library and to support Library services and programs.

Under her leadership, the foundation made critical contributions to the library, expanding the resources offered to Jersey City residents.

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