image Library Love: Ferguson Municipal Public Library

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A story about hard work, humility and hope: A small American library is serving as an oasis for a community in crisis.

The Ferguson Municipal Public Library in Missouri responded to recent troubling events with this:

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The library stayed open while schools, public services and businesses closed down due to safety concerns: Librarians, teachers and volunteers all worked together to serve their community in a time of need (and it’s not the first time).

To top it off, they have been reaching out to the community with messages of love and hope on their twitter feed.

The story has garnered praise from around the world. Like this, from author Neil Gaiman:

People are sending in books and donations, which are currently at $175,000 and sure to rise.

The library, headed by Scott Bonner, is responding to this praise with great humility by saying: It’s what libraries and librarians do every day (#whatlibrariesdo). It’s not a political act, he said in a recent interview (here), but a way to support and celebrate community.

For me, this is a reminder that public libraries provide an essential service to many communities: they create a safe, equal-opportunity space for sharing books and knowledge, and building community. Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie said it best more than a century ago–and it still holds true today:

“There is not such a cradle of democracy upon the earth as the Free Public Library, this republic of letters, where neither rank, office, nor wealth receives the slightest consideration.”

~Andrew Carnegie

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Photo credits: Ferguson Public Library


How to help:

1. Financial donations can be made online at the Ferguson Municipal Public Library website here: <http://www.ferguson.lib.mo.us/>

2. Book donations can be made by choosing books from the library’s wish list here:<http://www.powells.com/cgi-bin/wishlist?email=booksforferguson%40gmail.com&list=Books+for+Ferguson+III&gt;

3.  Support your own local library: Ferguson Municipal Public Library said today: “Lets get our communities energized and promote libraries together!”

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