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NEH funding to help library create digital repository of Atlantic City history

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Atlantic City Library Tennessee Avenue Improvement Project to begin early in 2022

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The library's William K. Cheatham Building (Main Library) – which opened in 1985 at 1 North Tennessee Ave. – will receive extensive exterior repairs and upgrades in 2022 as part of the Atlantic City Free Public Library Tennessee Avenue Improvement Project. The library has received grant funding from the first round of the New Jersey Library Constru...

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Longtime Board of Trustees member passes away

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It’s with great sadness that we announce the loss of longtime Atlantic City Free Public Library Board of Trustees member Curene Clark Ervin, who passed away Oct. 20, 2021. She served on the library board from 2003-20.

Mrs. Clark Ervin worked for Chase Manhattan Bank from 1967, moving up through the ranks, until she retired in 2001 as a Vice President.

She became very involved in her community when she moved to Atlantic City following her retirement.Mrs. Clark Ervin served as secretary for the Venice Park Civic Association from 2001-06 and treasurer from 2006 until her health failed. She was a member of Union Baptist Temple since 2002, serving as a trustee. She was assistant treasurer in 2003 and treasurer from 2004-07. She was also a church school teacher.

"Mrs. Clark Ervin brought her extensive knowledge and experience to the Board of Trustees having served as a Vice President of Chase Manhattan Bank,” Atlantic City Library Director Robert Rynkiewicz said. “Through her volunteering of her time and knowledge to the board, she helped in making the library and city a better place.”

(Pictured are Curene Clark Ervin, left, and former Atlantic City Library Director Maureen Sherr Frank  1988-2016 at a library volunteer luncheon.)



Public invited to attend virtual discussion on domestic violence Oct. 22

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The Atlantic City Free Public Library will host a virtual panel discussion – "Shining the Light on Domestic Violence" – on Friday, Oct. 22 from 1-3:30 p.m. via Zoom. A Q&A will follow the discussion. The panelists will be: Donna D'Andrea, Domestic Violence Response Team/Legal Services Coordinator at Avanzar; Naomi Jones, PhD, Senior Director of...

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NEH funding to help library create digital repository of Atlantic City history

The Atlantic City Free Public Library’s extensive archival collections related to African American history in the city will soon become easier for the public to explore and utilize.
The library received a grant of $128,826 from the National Endowment for the Humanities to implement “The City of Dreams: the Atlantic City Experience” project.


The project will be the first stage in creating “The Atlantic City Experience Research Library Digital Repository” to provide a new level of online access to the library’s extensive Atlantic City Heritage Collections. The online repository will make available those collections by digitizing, cataloging and placing text, audio and video content on an internet platform for unlimited access.

The initial project will focus on digitization of the African American history collections. The Atlantic City Heritage Collections offer a wide variety of materials documenting African American history from the city’s inception in 1854 to present day. The collections feature dissertations, oral histories and biographies which capture the voices of African Americans who grew up, lived, and worked here.

“Digitizing the many collections concerning African American history in Atlantic City will allow city, the state, the country and the world to see how much African Americans contributed to the growth and the history of the city,” library archivist Jacqueline Silver-Morillo said.
To preserve and digitize these resources, the library will contract with Preservica, an internet cloud-based company, to create an online digital repository.

The Atlantic City Experience and Atlantic City Free Public Library websites will be linked to the new repository, allowing persons seeking greater detail about the city’s history to access information 24/7 on the internet. This will greatly improve research services to our historical collections for residents, students, teachers, authors, archivists and researchers throughout the world.

Those interested in tracking the progress of the City of Dreams: the Atlantic City Experience project can visit the library’s website and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts. Please call Silver-Morillo at (609) 345-2269, ext. 3064, for more information.

The City of Dreams: the Atlantic City Experience project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy demands wisdom.

 


Photo IDs
(Photo credit: Atlantic City Free Public Library/Atlantic City Heritage Collections)

(Left) Sarah Spencer Washington founded the Apex News & Hair Company and became one of the nation’s first Black female millionaires.

(Front) Parade float participants for Walls Bath House pose with members of the Atlantic City Beach Patrol in 1922.

Author virtual talk about last Steel Pier diving horse set for Oct. 19

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Join animal rescuer, Cynthia Branigan, as she discusses her book "The Last Diving Horse in America," the story of the rescue of the last Atlantic City Steel Pier diving horse. This program will be held Tuesday, Oct. 19, at 3 p.m., via Zoom. Registration is required.

It was the signature attraction of the Steel Pier from the 1930s-70s, the golden age of “America’s Favorite Playground”: Doc Carver’s High Diving Horses. Four times a day, seven days a week, a trained horse wearing only a harness ran up a ramp, a diving girl jumped on its back, and they both sailed 40 feet through the air, plunging into a 10-foot-deep tank of water.

Decades later, after cries of animal abuse and changing times, the act was shuttered, and in 1980, the last Atlantic City Steel Pier Diving Horse was placed on the auction block. The author, on a rescue mission for her employer—the animal-rights pioneer Cleveland Amory—spent $2,600 in a fierce auction, and Gamal was hers: she who knew almost nothing about horses.

Cynthia Branigan tells the story of how horse and new owner came to know, educate, and trust one another, teaching each other important lessons of living and loving.

National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

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The library and La Casa Dominicana will present a Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration in Center City Park (Atlantic Avenue between North and South Carolina avenues). There will be music, activities, giveaways and local organizations providing information.  Saturday, September 18, 2021 from 11 AM to 4 PM at Center City Park, South Carolina and ...

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September is Library Card Sign-up Month

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September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when the Atlantic City Free Public Library joins the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries nationwide to remind parents, caregivers and students that signing up for a library card is the first step on the path to academic achievement and lifelong learning.

There is nothing more empowering than signing up for your own library card. Through access to technology, media resources and educational programs, a library card gives students the tools to succeed in the classroom and provides people of all ages opportunities to pursue their dreams and passions.

Libraries offer everything from early literacy programs to virtual homework help, helping transform lives and communities through education.

The Atlantic City Library, along with libraries everywhere, continue to adapt and expand services to meet the evolving needs of our community. To sign up for a library card or to learn more about the library’s resources and programs, please stop by the Main Library or Richmond Branch Library, or visit www.acfpl.org.

This year, Marley Dias, founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, author and executive producer, is taking on a new role as honorary chair of Library Card Sign-Up Month. In her new role, Dias will promote the value of libraries and encourage everyone to get their very own library card. Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year.

Library eliminates overdue fines

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The Atlantic City Free Public Library is happy to announce that as of this month, it no longer charges fines for overdue library items. Also, overdue fines previously accrued by library members will be waived, regardless of the amount.

The goal of eliminating overdue fines is to improve equity of access — that all people have the information they need, regardless of age, education, ethnicity, language, income, physical limitations or geographic barriers.

Melissa McGeary, the Atlantic City Library’s Adult Services Librarian, spearheaded the change in policy to eliminate all overdue fines. She extensively researched the topic, wrote a proposal and presented her findings to the Board of Trustees, which approved her recommendation in July 2021. The library already had a long-time no overdue fines policy in place for children, and it has not charged overdue fines for anybody during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The library’s mission is to provide free access to information and services for all members of the community regardless of socioeconomic status,” McGeary said. “Overdue fines are a form of social inequity. They present barriers to access and penalize the most vulnerable members of society. We hope that eliminating fines will make the library a more inclusive institution and encourage more people to take advantage of what we have to offer.”

A national survey conducted by Library Journal in January 2017 found that going fine-free was a growing trend nationwide. In 2019, the American Library Association passed a resolution declaring overdue fines discriminatory and called for libraries to dismantle the
practice. As of 2021, more than 500 U.S. libraries have gone fine-free.

Research shows that fear of fines keeps low-income families out of libraries. Studies have shown that fines are not an effective tool for preventing late returns. Many libraries that have gone fine-free have reported increases in returned materials.

The library believes that going overdue fine-free is good for the community, which is healthier and stronger when everybody has access to all of the library resources, programming and services they need to pursue their goals.

The Road to Reopening

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children reading

Status of Library services at a glance: Bookmark this page for the latest information. Updated August 31, 2021.

On this page:

Expanded Services in September

More open hours:  Beginning Tuesday, September 7, 2021, the Library will offer more hours at our main branch on Tennessee Avenue. The Main Library will be open on Tuesday through Saturday 9:30 AM to 1 PM and 2 PM tp 4:30 PM.

Bookmark this page, sign up for emails or texts or follow our social media channels for regular updates.

Masks Required in Libraries

 

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The Library requires the use of masks by staff and visitors regardless of vaccination status. Children under two years old are exempt from this requirement.

Modified Services

As we continue to work toward a return to normal services, some modifications remain in place. These services are affected by staffing levels or health and safety restrictions.

  • We are not currently offering in-person events at Library locations. You can still attend many Library events virtually.
  • All services at Library locations are offered from a distance and without physical contact.
  • The Richmond branch has limited hours due to staffing issues or space restrictions.
 

Holds Pickup (Curbside)

We will notify you when your holds are ready to be picked up.  You can choose any open Library location for holds pickup. Holds will be available inside the building, unless you request that we bring them out to you.

If you are unable to stand in line or need help picking up your items, please call the number found on signs at the branch to let staff know you have arrived.

Computers & Wi-Fi

Computers with internet access are available for you to use for up to two hours per day. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Free Wi-Fi is available to use with your own device at all Library locations. WIFI printing is also available.

Common Tasks

Atlantic City Experience available again for public viewing

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The Atlantic City Experience™ (ACX), presented by the Atlantic City Free Public Library, is once again available for public viewing. ACX, which is located in the lobby at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, had been closed to the public since March 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.
ACX showcases the culturally diverse heritage and exciting history of Atlantic City through a series of topical exhibits and nostalgic timeline. The exhibits highlight many of the important events, places and people for which Atlantic City is known. ACX features iconic images, digital touch screens, artifacts, an interactive timeline and a mini theater to view video clips.
ACX is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Masks are required. Presented in a modern, creative design, the exhibit is self-guided and can be browsed in as little as 15 minutes or provide hours of entertainment.
Many of the items on display are part of the library’s extensive Atlantic City Heritage Collections and from the former Atlantic City Historical Museum, which the library operated from 2012-16.

Library's board president passes away

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The Atlantic City Free Public Library is saddened to announce that longtime Library Board of Trustees President William K. Cheatham passed away in late June.
 
He was appointed to the board in 2005 and became board president in 2008, a role in which he served until his death. While board president, the library experienced tremendous growth and many accomplishments that benefited the Atlantic City community:
  • Built and opened the new Richmond Branch Library
  • Opened the Atlantic City Experience at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, and the Learning Center for Computer Literacy, Education and Career Advancement, Teen Space and Makerspace at the Main Library
  • Assumed operation of the Atlantic City Historical Museum
  • Introduced Career Connections, Communications Skills for 21st Century, Fresh Start @ Your Library and Fade to Books programs
  • Offered new events such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Read-in, Atlantic City Library Family Fun Festival, International Night Concert Series and Third Thursday Concert Series while seeing long-running programs such as English as a Second Language (ESL), Kwanzaa celebration and Summer Reading Program grow in popularity
“Mr. Cheatham cared so much about the City,” Library Director Robert Rynkiewicz said. “He never stopped being an advocate for improving this city and was very much a father figure in the city. The library presented many innovative programs and new services during his appointment as President of the Board of Trustees. His dream was to have a library branch in the Inlet section of the City. Perhaps one day his dream will come true.”
 
In addition to his work as the Library’s Board of Trustees president, Cheatham served many other organizations, including Big Brothers Association, United Way of Atlantic County and Atlantic County Board of Public Transportation, Municipal Utilities Authority Board, CRDA and Atlantic City Shade Tree Committee.
 
In November 2019, the City of Atlantic City recognized him for his dedication to the city by officially designating the corner of Atlantic and Maryland avenues “William K. Cheatham’s Block” during a special ceremony. He spent much of his adult life as a resident of that block, living there more than 50 years.
 
“They used to call me the Mayor of Maryland Avenue way back, because I’d get out here and ask questions about whatever went on in the block,” he said on the day of the ceremony.
 
Mayor Marty Small Sr. and members of City Council praised Cheatham and what he meant to the city that day.
 
“This is a great day in the City of Atlantic City, as Mr. Cheatham is someone who blazed the trail for so many,” Small said. “He has fought hard for the little people, and no one can question his love for the City of Atlantic City.”

Main Library to be closed Aug. 28 at noon through Sept. 1

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The Main Library – located at 1 North Tennessee Ave. – will be closed temporarily while the library replaces the HVAC system in its server room. It will be closed from 12 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, through Wednesday, Sept. 1. The library website and telephone service will also be unavailable during this period.

The Main Library is tentatively scheduled to resume its normal business hours Thursday, Sept. 2. We are sorry for any inconvenience this may cause our library users and encourage you to please use our Richmond Branch during this closure.

The Richmond Branch will be open Tuesday, Aug. 31, and Wednesday, Sept. 1, from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4:30 p.m. Customers will be able to return and check out library materials from Richmond. Internet services will not be available.

The library’s book drops will be open all day for those who wish to return their materials. Virtual classes will be held as scheduled.

Enjoy instant access to digital comics, graphic novels and manga

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Those who love comic books, graphic novels and manga will want to check out ComicsPlus, the newest addition to the Atlantic City Free Public Library’s digital collection.
With Comics Plus, Atlantic City Library members have unlimited, instant access to thousands of digital titles from more than 100 publishers, including Archie Comics, Andrews McMeel, BOOM! Studios, Capstone, Cartoon Books, Classics Illustrated, Dark Horse, Dynamite, Fanbase Press, Humanoids, IDW, Immedium, Kodansha, Lerner, Manga Classics, NBM, Tokyopop, Valiant and Zuiker Press.
The vast catalogue offers age-appropriate digital comics to both adult and juvenile readers in curated collections. Every title is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There are no wait times or borrowing limits.
Download the ComicsPlus app or visit comicsplusapp.com to get started.

Summer Reading Programs for children, teens and adults

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The Atlantic City Free Public Library will hold its annual Summer Reading Program online this year from June 23-Aug. 18. There are programs for children, teens and adults. The theme is “Tails and Tales.”

Registration for the children and teens Summer Reading Program is open. Click here to register online. Those who wish to register in person can visit the Main Library Youth Services Desk or call (609) 345-2269, ext. 3050, during our normal hours. Those who register will receive free library giveways, including books. We will also provide reading logs. Our top readers this summer will have a chance to win prizes.

Click here for Summer Reading Program flyer for adults

Registration for adults will be held June 23-30. Those interested can register online, in person at the Main Library or Richmond Branch Circulation Desk, or by calling (609) 345-2269, ext. 3070. The adult program will also include a Moby Dick online discussion group and virtual coloring social hour. Visit our online programs page for more information.

Those interested must have an Atlantic City Library card. Adults who sign up for the Summer Reading Program will receive a tote bag filled with books and other giveaways, while supplies last.

Adults who participate will have a shot at winning prizes, including the grand prize — a Kindle Fire 10. Adults will receive an entry form each time they read a book, attend a program or write a review. The grand prize drawing will be held Aug. 19. There will also be second and third-place prizes. Also, those who complete their summer reading logs and return them by Aug. 18 will receive a prize.

Digital Resources series to teach how to access eBooks, movies, music, newspapers and more

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The Atlantic City Free Public Library is offering a monthly Introduction to Library Digital Resources virtual series via Zoom. A librarian will teach participants how to access and use the many digital collections, which include eBooks, audiobooks, movies, music, comics, newspapers and more, that are available to library members any time of day.
Registration is required for these free programs. Register online or call (609) 345-2269, 3075.
Overdrive and Axis360 on Tuesday, June 1, at 3 p.m. – This session will teach participants how to download and borrow eBooks and audiobooks — including new releases and best sellers – from Overdrive and Axis360.
Hoopla and ComicsPlus on Tuesday, July 6, at 3 p.m. – This session will show attendees how to borrow titles from hoopla’s collection of movies, music, audiobooks, eBooks, comics and TV shows – and how those selections can be streamed instantly or downloaded to phones, tablets or computers for enjoyment later. Also, participants will learn about the library’s newest digital resource, ComicsPlus, which offers thousands of digital comics, graphic novels and manga selections.
NewsBank Access World News and Press of Atlantic City Collection on Tuesday, Aug. 3, at 3 p.m. – This session will detail NewsBank’s extensive content, including local, regional, national and international news and topics. Also, the NewsBank collections include current and archived, full-color digital editions of The Press of Atlantic City and The Philadelphia Inquirer.

National Library Week is April 4-10

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The Atlantic City Free Public Library encourages all community members to explore and access virtual services and programs available at its website – www.acfpl.org – during National Library Week, which runs April 4-10.
The theme for this year’s National Library Week is “Welcome to your library,” which promotes the idea that libraries extend far beyond the four walls of a building and that everyone is welcome to use their services. Whether people visit virtually or in person, libraries are accessible and inclusive places that foster a sense of belonging and community through learning, discovery and exploration.
During these challenging times, libraries of all types have been going above and beyond to adapt to our changing world by expanding their resources and continuing to meet the needs of their patrons. Libraries across the country are making a difference in people’s lives by providing electronic learning resources, such as online homework help.
Since COVID-19 began to impact the country early last year, the Atlantic City Library has supported the community with the additions of the hoopla digital streaming media service, WiFi availability outside of the library, contactless Curbside Pickup Service, mobile printing, virtual programs for all ages, new premium eResources, library eCards and more.
Those who would like to utilize the library’s services and resources in-person are able to do so. The Main Library is open Wednesday through Saturday, and Richmond Branch on Tuesday. The hours for both locations are 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4:30 p.m.
During National Library Week, the public can show its appreciation and support by visiting www.acfpl.org or one of our library locations, following the library on social media and using the hashtag #NationalLibraryWeek in social media posts. Stay tuned for our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts this week to find out how you can win prizes.

Library lifts some restrictions instituted due to COVID-19

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The Atlantic City Free Public Library is pleased to announce that it has lifted some of its restrictions that were instituted due to COVID-19 concerns.

• Unfortunately face masks are required for staff and the public due to the resurgence of the virus.
• Unlimited visits to the library per day
• No time limit on length of visits during normal library hours
• One hour of public computer time daily

Main Library hours are Wednesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4:30 p.m. Richmond Branch Library is open Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m.-1 p.m. and 2-4:30 p.m.

Live, online tutoring help available for library members

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Atlantic City Free Public Library members now have access to Brainfuse – live, on-demand online tutoring for students in fourth grade through college. Expert tutors are available 2-11 p.m. daily.
Students and tutors use an interactive, virtual whiteboard to chat, write, draw, copy/paste text or images and graph homework problems. Other features include skills building and test preparation, a writing lab to receive feedback on papers, foreign language lab and question center for students to reach out to tutors.
As part of the CARES Act Investment, the New Jersey State Library is providing this service to state public libraries in an effort to expand digital access and provide support services to citizens in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
To access Brainfuse, visit www.acfpl.org and click on Homework Help located under the Teens & Kids tab (or, click on the image above or the link in the first paragraph). Students will need an Atlantic City Library card and an internet connection to get started.

Celebrating Black History Month: A Visit with Langston Hughes

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In celebration of Black History Month, the Atlantic City Free Public Library will host a virtual program - A Visit with Langston Hughes - on Wednesday, Feb. 10, via Zoom. Actor and historian Keith Henley from American Historical Theatre will portray Hughes.

The program is free. Registration is required. Register online or by calling (609) 345-2269, ext. 3075.

Hughes was a poet who utilized the American language, music, slang and religious views to educate the world about African American lifestyles during the Harlem Renaissance. His jazz poetry depicted the "low-life", or the real-life experiences of Blacks in the lower social-economic strata. His criticisms focused on the divisions, and prejudices, based on skin color within the black community.

Henley’s portrayal deals with the issue of how to be oneself, and encourages all to join in the knowledge that “I too have a song to sing” and to ask the question “why not me?”

Henley began his historic interpretation career with Historic Philadelphia Inc. and has since worked for American Historical Theatre and History First Hand, and has performed for the Smithsonian Associates Teaching American History program, Historic Germantown, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia as well as local libraries.