This is a heart-warming story about the public library in Ferguson. It stayed open when the schools closed. It was a haven for children. Teachers volunteered to teach. The staff kept the library as a safe place for learning, contemplation, and knowledge. With all the disorder in the town, the library stayed open. It has been overwhelmed with donations, receiving half its annual budget in just a few days.

 

The library has seen a wave of support online in the wake of its decision to stay open following Monday’s decision that state criminal charges would not be brought against police officer Darren Wilson for killing unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown on 9 August. “Many other orgs closing. But we will stay open to serve people of #Ferguson as long as safe for patrons & staff, up to 8p. Love each other,” its staff wrote on Twitter on Monday night. “Normal hours tomorrow. We will have teachers and volunteers here to help kids from 9-3 since FFSD [Ferguson-Florissant school district] is closed!”

 

Then on Tuesday: “WE ARE OPEN! Teachers and volunteers are here 9am-3pm to help kids who can’t go to school today. Library open 9-4, presuming it stays safe … Wifi, water, rest, knowledge. We are here for you. If neighbors have kids, let them know teachers are here today, too.”

 

The branch describes itself on its website as “your hometown library”, which “encourages lifelong learning and serves as a community information and technology gateway, dedicated to making the City of Ferguson a rewarding, attractive, and pleasant place in which to live, visit, and work”….

 

On Wednesday, staff at the library tweeted that they had been “overwhelmed” by “generosity from around the country”, with donations from more than 7,000 people. “Amazing and humbling,” they wrote.

 

Never doubt the value of the public library, whose uses are many, whose doors are open to all, a place to read, write, think, learn, and find respite.