Jersey City Public Library’s Dennis J Hayes Retires from Library After 56 Years of Service


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Dennis J. Hayes
Dennis J. Hayes

With over a half century of librarianship under his belt, Assistant Library Director Dennis J. Hayes, MLS, 77, has decided to shelve his decades-long career amongst the book stacks for the relatively calm existence of retirement on Saturday, October 1st.

            A Jersey City-native, Dennis J. Hayes earned his B.A. degree from St. Peter’s College in 1956 and his Masters in Library Science from Rutgers University in 1958, taking additional coursework in 1960 at then-Jersey City State College and in NJ Civil Service policies and procedures in 1976.

Dennis J. Hayes began his career at the Jersey City Free Public Library in 1951, starting as a Junior Library Clerk on July 3, 1951, progressing through the ranks as Junior Library Assistant, Senior Librarian, Principal Librarian, Supervising Librarian, Deputy Director, and Director. In 1985, Dennis was named Deputy Director, the only such time that title has been used. In 2002, Hayes stepped down as Director, and has remained as Assistant Director, in charge of outreach.

When reflecting upon his career, as to, why? Hayes recounted his first assignment from Library Director Miller, in the School Extension Department (no longer in operation), where he would choose books for distribution to the public, private and parochial schools in Jersey City. Seems fitting that Dennis should begin and end his career finding a way to put books in the hands of others. He worked in every place but the Medical Center library, which distributed books to patients.

Hayes credits several people throughout his career with giving him “exceptional training”: Eleanor Corridon and Gertrude McNeice (working with children / children’s literature), Nelly Kaiser (reader’s services), and from the NJ State Library, Myrtle Comes (reference).

In his 56 years of service to the Jersey City Free Public Library, Dennis J. Hayes has served, in succession, under the esteemed Edmund W. Miller, whose own 60-year career dovetailed with Dennis’ at the end; William Roehrenbeck; Benjamin Grimm; Steven Welsh; Rita Roque; and currently, Priscilla Gardner.

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After 56 Years, Dennis Hayes Retires from the Library

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“For Dennis J. Hayes, it has been a 56-year engagement of dedication to the Jersey City Free Public Library. We all love, appreciate and thank our friend and colleague, Dennis, for his many years of service and wish him well in his most deserved retirement,” said Library Director Priscilla Gardner. “Dennis is a person who never meets a stranger. His pleasing personality, jovial laughter and jokes bring closeness to staff and patrons alike; all who know him, love him. I want Dennis to remember that retirement is a time to enjoy life, a time to do what he wants to do, when he wants to do it. This is the great finale of his career… Enjoy it!”

“On behalf of the Library Board, we acknowledge Dennis’ conscientious, dedicated and loyal service to the library system and staff over his 56 years of employment,” said Library Board President James K. Morley.

An affable man, Hayes praised Library Director Miller as a “friend to all” and Library Director Roehrenbeck, along with his Assistant Library Director Mary Duffy, as people who “made the library like a family.” Dennis has praise for Library Staff, too: “In all my years here, I was always taken with the dedication and high morale the staff had in all those 56 years.” Hayes has served under many a Board of Trustees, as well, and he describes all trustees as “dedicated, and they received no recompense.”

“Dennis has been a pillar of the JCFPL and a steadfast staff member; but most of all he’s been a good friend and colleague. I wish him the very best and hope he enjoys his retirement,” said Assistant Library Director Sonia Araujo.

“Now that Dennis is retiring, I will always remember his calm attitude when he interviewed me back in the summer of 1987. I appreciated his help throughout the years, and wish him the very best,” added Chief Librarian Hussein Odeh.

When considering the many organizations Dennis Hayes has, or continues to participate in, his retired life may not be much different from his working life. Of the many organizations, old and current, listed on his résumé, these are included: Lay Representative of St. Bridget’s to Deanary Council II; Lay Representative to Archdiocese of Newark Synod (1994); Brett Triangle Block Association; Kiwanis Club of Jersey City; Knights of Columbus, Star of the Sea, Bayonne; Journal Square Advisory and Action Committee; American Library Association; Hudson County Library Association, past president; Supervisor’s Association, past president; St. Peter’s College Alumni Association; Rutgers University Alumni Association, Graduate School of Library Science; Afro-American Historical Society Museum, Jersey City; Jersey City Library Literacy Advisory Board; Hudson Health Partnership; and two Filipino organizations, PACCAL and the Knights of Rizal.

One particular employee came to Dennis Hayes’ mind – John Shine, Supervisor of Technical Services – with a remembrance of this quote, “Make sure they go out of the Library with a smile on their faces.” It’s clear as the ever-present smile on Dennis Hayes’ face that Shine’s quote served as his life motto. Dennis’ personality and demeanor always radiates sunshine to everyone he greets.

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