Ferguson Public Library is a member of the Municipal Library Consortium, one of our sister libraries. Most of the nine Municipal Libraries in our group are geographically contiguous, clustered here in the center of St. Louis County, but two, Ferguson and Valley Park Municipal Library, are at some distance.
Joan Henderson, the long-time director of Ferguson Library, retired last year. She was replaced by Scott Bonner, who had been at the helm there a few short months before all of the problems developed. Talk about a trial by fire. Scott is a very experienced librarian, having worked his last ten years or so at the Richmond Heights Memorial Library; but it goes without saying that no amount of education or experience prepares you for something like this.
During the unrest this past August and September, the Ferguson Library worked with local elementary teachers to create a makeshift schoolroom, inviting kids in for learning activities, crafts, storytelling and more. It served as a safe zone amid so much confusion and chaos. Other local libraries, Webster Groves Public included, gathered supplies and sent them up to Ferguson.
Scott closed the library last night, just ahead of the announcement of the grand jury decision; but he has opened the doors today, and hopes to stay open all day. He hopes the library will once again be a place of refuge. As he has told his staff and tells people who come to the library—all of that political bickering and protesting is for out there, not in here. If you want to come in here you are welcome, just as everyone else is welcome, but this is a politics-free zone.
We wish the best to Scott and his staff at Ferguson Public Library. Stay safe, and keep up the good work.