[This letter was sent out to many of the people who donated to our library in 2014, and since.]
Greetings! It has been a busy year at Ferguson Municipal Public Library, and you are due for an update!
So, it’s been 5 years. Five years since Ferguson was roiled in controversy and change as the nation shifted its thinking on race relations, and you and others like you donated what you could to our little library, because you appreciated what we did in response. Our response at the time was to do what libraries do – step up, work harder, provide shelter. We’re a little library, independent, but determined to be the Little Library that Could. With the donations we received in 2014 and since, YOUR donations, we have been able to blossom, radically expanding our reach and impact on the daily lives of the people Ferguson!
I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about where we were in summer of 2014, before everything changed, versus where we are now in late 2019, and what you have made possible. Here are a few highlights:
2014: Almost no programming
2019: Dozens of programs every month. Highly responsive to patron needs. Willing to take chances and try new ideas. Ongoing successes include Readings on Race Book Club, Lego Robotics League competition team for the kids, one-on-one resume and job skills training, storytimes in local schools and daycares, and so much more! Every month, we make a bulleted list of the programs we have done recently and are about to do. Most months, that bulleted list of programs is 3 pages long! That’s normal for us now. We do a lot with what we’ve got. How fun and exciting it is to change lives one person at a time, and open up opportunities that our people never thought possible!
2014: One full-time librarian, and a dozen part-time employees.
2019: Director, Children’s Librarian, Adult Services Librarian, Technical Services Librarian, Circulation Lead, and a dozen part-time employees. Staffing is far more robust and responsive. Staff are empowered to help people creatively. We have far more expertise. We have much better books and movies. We have a spirit of wanting to do everything we possibly can for our community!
2014: A building overdue for improvments, like patchy carpet, doors that were not handicapped-accessible, and 9 outdated public-access computers.
2019: New handicap-accessible sliding doors, modern shelving, beautiful carpet, energy-efficient windows, LED lighting, more energy-efficient HVAC. This library is more beautiful and inviting and green, sporting a smaller carbon footprint that makes better use of taxpayer and donor monies. We now have 16 up-to-date public-access computers, plus 20 laptops and 10 tablets for programming. That means we can better help our people cross that digital divide to grow their skills and reach.
This change is YOUR change! These wins are YOUR wins!
Libraries are the ladders America has built to help its people out of poverty and want. We strive daily to be the best helpers we can. Being open and doing everything we can is kind of our thing. We’ve made huge improvements in our community, helping our people improve their own literacy, job skills, and ability to create new opportunities for growth.
We’ve been extending this new community-focused approach in new and exciting ways, partnering with other organizations and schools whenever possible to maximize our impact. Building up Ferguson is right there at the core of our mission, along with lifelong learning and cultural literacy. We work to make Ferguson 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. We appreciate every penny, for the opportunity it brings to do more good work. We have more growing to do. 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.
And, don’t forget to support your own local public library! They’re doing everything they can for your community, too!
As always, THANK YOU!
Scott Bonner, Director
Ferguson Municipal Public Library District
@fergusonlibrary on Twitter
35 N Florissant Rd, Ferguson, MO 63135