We are the luckiest library in the world to have friends like you.
We recently had an open house here at the Ferguson Municipal Public Library, to reintroduce ourselves to the people of Ferguson, Missouri, and update them on what we have been working on. I owe you the same. After all, it is donations from you and others that have allowed us to blossom into a vibrant, responsive library, and I thank you every day for our opportunities. Our successes are due to you, as one of the people who support us and the Ferguson community. Please do help us keep this work going, if you can afford to. We will use every tax-deductible penny to keep building and improving our community.
Allison and Amy, our cataloger and children’s services librarian, respectively, made posters to help tell our story. You’ll find a brief history of the library that gives a few key dates. Donations have been vital since day 1, in 1930, when we were founded thanks to a generous donation from Chapter FH of the P.E.O. Sisterhood.
Your donations in 2014 helped remake us as a library. This poster has a few highlights of what prompted that support. 2014 shook our community to its core, and we at the library kind of lost our minds trying to help in every way we could. Our mantra was, “If safe, open. If open, do everything we can!” We did a lot of programs in 2014, like the “School for Peace”, where a lot of teachers came here to do what they could for the kids when the schools were forced to delay starting. Because we did all this, and because we were determined to stay open whenever we could, people across the country noticed this little library. For a lot of people, we were the counter-melody of the Ferguson song, a reminder that Ferguson is a real community with real people and real needs, not just a hashtag.
Because of that work, we got a lot of one-time donations from folks like you, who recognized that we were a community with great needs that could be perfectly met by a library. We received tons of books, lots of people volunteering time, and about $450,000. The Board, of course, moved quickly to make sure every penny was accounted for and used for the best long-term good, or safely invested until we could use it. As you well know, this was a huge deal for us. We have been allowed to blossom as a library even while the tax monies have been shrinking. In 2014, the library had been struggling financially for a very long time, with a lot of upgrades that were 20 years overdue, and we had to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to modernize what the library does and how the library looks, to make it more responsive and more welcoming. You’ll see some of our bigger projects in this poster, including some before and after pictures — carpet, handicap-accessible doors, new bathrooms, that sort of thing.
More impactfully, we radically improved our programming. In fact, we kind of changed what kind of library we are, becoming a far more outward-looking, community focused library. We hired Amy Randazzo as our Children’s Services and Programming Librarian. If you like the programming we’ve been doing, she is the person to thank at email@example.com. Check out some highlights of what we’ve been up to in 2015, 2016, and right now — First Lego League robotics team, Storycorps, science programs with Boeing, that sort of thing.
In 2015, we also got a lot of awards, the biggest, of course, being Library of the Year. I mean, that’s the biggest award in libraryland so it has to be the biggest for us. I thank you for that and for the delightfully named 2015 Lemony Snicket Award for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity.
Right now we’ve been extending this new community-focused approach in every way we can, with a lot of programming every month, both here and out in the community, partnering with other organizations as much as we possibly can to maximize our impact. Building up Ferguson is right there at the core of our mission, along with lifelong learning and cultural literacy. We’ve all seen how vital and important Ferguson is, how much the people here care for each other. At the library, we want to be right in the middle of it. With programs like the Readings on Race book club and our latest efforts to help the homeless in Ferguson, we are not just building community, but working to make it better, fairer, more welcoming, and kinder.
I hope you have the means and desire to help us again. If so, please go to http://tinyurl.com/FMPLDonation and do so. Or you can click the donate button on our website. We appreciate every penny, for the opportunity it brings to do more good work. We strive to be proof positive that, as long as communities care about lifelong learning, cultural literacy, and building community, libraries will be vital, both to our communities and to democracy.
As always, THANK YOU!
Our mailing address is:
35 N. Florissant Rd. Ferguson, Missouri 63135
The Ferguson Municipal Public Library District (43-0899661) is registered (per a Section 218 agreement) as a state or local government agency. We are tax deductible under this 170(c)(1) designation, for political subdivisions. Our type of organization is listed specifically in Publication 526 Charitable Contributions, as being tax deductible as long as the donation is being used for a public purpose, and we use all donation money to serve the public.