The Ferguson Public Library is just a block away from the center of demonstrations at the Ferguson Police Department. NPR reports that when violent protests led to the burning of more than a dozen businesses and the uncertainty caused schools to close, the library stayed open.
It has become a quiet refuge for adults and children alike in this St. Louis suburb. And the nation has taken notice. The outpouring of support for the library has reached “orders of magnitude” more than any previous amount, says library Director Scott Bonner. He’s the only full-time librarian there — and he started his job in July, just weeks before the town became an internationally known name. Bonner says the donations may allow him to hire another person to help. Since the latest unrest began Monday night, more than $175,000 has poured in.
For community leaders and business owners, the library has become a place to convene. “Small Business Administration came in and did staging of emergency loans out of the library,” Bonner says. “When there’s a need, we try to find a way to meet it. I have a very broad definition of librarianship.”