February 22, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Ferguson Public Library Offers Lessons for Students in Limbo


On Aug. 15, the Ferguson Library tweeted this photo. Photo courtesy of Ferguson Library’s Instagram feed.

According to an August 20 article on ABC.com, “teachers have set up shop… [in the library] providing activities and instruction for children awaiting the start of class.”

At present, the Ferguson-Florissant School District in Missouri has postponed the start  of school for  over a week—the first day was scheduled for August 14—leaving students in a state of limbo.

The Ferguson Library “has used Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to offer residents a place of respite for them to get bottled water, check their emails, and avoid the unrest developing on Ferguson’s streets,” according to the same article, since  the recent unrest  in Ferguson, after the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed  black teenager, by a Ferguson policeman on August 9.

On August 20, “about 120 children showed up to the library for lessons and activities, though staff only expected about 60. Teachers also began hosting classes in the nearby First Baptist Church.”


Carolyn Sun About Carolyn Sun

Carolyn Sun was a news editor at School Library Journal. Find her on Twitter @CarolynSSun.

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  1. Janet Wong says:

    Hooray for the librarians and teachers of Ferguson–so wonderful to see you leading the way toward healing, peace, and learning!

  2. Scott Bonner says:

    Thanks for the article. I am the Director for Ferguson Library. Just for update purposes, yesterday (21st) we had 210 students total. I do not know the numbers for today. Also, yesterday was when we started expanding to the space offered by the First Baptist Church. The hero of this program is Carrie Pace, the elementary school art teacher who came to me Monday morning asking if she could have some tables for teachers to use. We have been happily working nonstop ever since. If you want more updates, the library’s twitter feed is @fergusonlibrary, and mine is @scottybonner. We expect today to be the last day, since schools are scheduled to open Monday.

    • Carolyn Sun Carolyn Sun says:

      Thanks for chiming in, Scott. And we’re definitely following you and Ferguson on Twitter.

    • Blessings to you all and 3 (quiet) cheers for libraries making a difference in children’s lives!

  3. I am so proud to be a librarian all the time, but especially at times like this when I see what positive things libraries are doing “above and beyond.” It was like that here when we had the horrible forest fires a couple of years ago, and our library district set up a collection of books, provided computers, and offered children’s storytimes in the evacuation centers. Best wishes to all the librarians, teachers, and others in the Ferguson community as they provide their oases. “Blessed are the peacemakers…”