"We've asked the schools to give us exhibits," said Library Director Sneh Bains.
Joseph Ryan, spokesperson for the mayor's office, said these works would try and capture the spirit of the library as the children see it.
"This is the culmination of a yearlong celebration," said Joanne Rosen, director for music and art for the school district. "I've been charged with creating the arts component."
The celebration started last spring with a series of student performances.
"A piano was brought down to the library's gallery, and students came from all over the city," she said. "There was no set program, just music and a couple of speakers."
With the latest effort, Rosen said she hopes to have 100 people presenting artwork and poetry.
"We're trying to have one person represent each of the years," she said. "We're looking for images of the library, impressions of the library - this can be something a student saw or felt when visiting the library."
All the schools in Bayonne, public and private, have been invited to participate in the effort. Resident Tom Hart and staff members from the library will select the pieces that will appear in the show.
The event will also feature musical renditions at a special ceremony to be held on Oct. 29 from 6 to 7:30 p.m.
The artwork, however, will be featured in the library's gallery for a month starting the second week in October.
A long history
The library system in Bayonne dates back to 1894 after the residents of Bayonne voted on a referendum to establish it.
The first library was located at Broadway and 22nd Street after trustees leased a building formerly used as City Hall.
The increasing population in the city and a significant spike in book circulation made the trustees realize that they would need to construct a larger building to house the more than 3,500 volumes in the library's collection. In 1902, the library purchased the property at the corner of Avenue C and 31st Street for $8,000.
Andrew Carnegie, a noted industrialist and philanthropist of the time, agreed to provide the library with the $50,000 needed to construct a new building at the site, provided the City of Bayonne agreed to pay for the costs of operations.
"Carnegie helped build thousands of libraries around the country," Ryan said.
Edward L. Tilton, who designed the Ellis Island Immigration Center and had worked on libraries and museums elsewhere, was commissioned to design the Bayonne Library.
The library was built of granite, limestone and brick in what is called a Classical Revival style, very popular for public buildings at the turn of the century. The Jefferson Trust Company and the Clinton Street Engine Company in Hoboken and the Fairmount Apartments and YMCA in Jersey City are other examples of the style.
Kept getting better
The grand opening took place on Oct. 19, 1904, after about a year of construction. The new library had room for about 35,000 volumes. In 1914, the library added a west wing with an additional $30,000 Carnegie Grant.
In 1932, the library expended $304,000 for another expansion that included a U-shaped addition that enclosed earlier portions of the building and created a courtyard entrance. The library provided an expanded selection of materials, too, that included new sections for science and business. Overall, the library added shelf space for an additional 200,000 books.
On Memorial Day, 1959, a fire - later attributed to arson - destroyed the central part of the roof and library. Rain the following day caused even more extensive damage especially to the books.
While Librarian Mary O'Conner and her staff did everything possible to save the books, the damage was significant. Bayonne Mayor Alfred Brady and the city commissioners supported O'Conner's proposal to rebuild and modernize the building.
The reconstruction took four years and cost $1.4 million. When the building reopened in 1963, it had a new second-floor gallery which connected the two previously unconnected wings, a new law section, an art and music department, a young-adult section and more shelf space.
In 1989, the trustees changed the library's name, partly because it had taken on a larger role than in the past, providing a space for concerts, exhibits, and other cultural, ethnic, and community events.