June 10, 2015
Ferguson Public Library named “Library of the Year”
by Claire Kelley
Library Journal and Gale, a part of Cengage Learning, have declared the Ferguson Municipal Public Library to be the “Library of the Year”—an annual designation. In a detailed description of why the library was chosen, the magazine explained that the library served an important purpose in the midst of the traumatic events this year.
The Ferguson Municipal Public Library (FMPL), MO, became a model for all libraries in the way it reacted to the crisis and the aftermath of riots brought on by the shooting of Michael Brown, a young African American man, by local police.
The library was nominated by Steven V. Potter, director and CEO of the Mid-Continent Library System in Independence, Missouri, who wrote that “The Ferguson Library provided the example for all of us to live up to. It behaved as all of us hope that we would behave if confronted by a similar situation.” His nomination was submitted by the Urban Libraries Council and signed by more than 100 directors of libraries across the United States. The library was selected to be the winner from a “competitive field.”
Some of the areas of merit highlighted by Library Journal included the way the library stayed open in the midst of the Ferguson turmoil as a “center of community support” and a “place for learning and in which students and teachers could meet to create a level of normalcy” while the public school system closed. As we reported at the time, the library received hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.
The library was also a gallery for an art exhibition called “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” and set up a place where the U.S. Small Business Administration could provide emergency loans to businesses in the community.
Claire Kelley is the Director of Library and Academic Marketing at Melville House.