The Ferguson, Mo. Public Library saw a “staggering” spike in donations Tuesday in the wake of widespread unrest in the St. Louis suburb.
While area schools cancelled classes for the day following a grand jury’s decision not to indict white police Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown, the library pledged to open its doors and provide lunch for schoolchildren.
We are open 9-4. Wifi, water, rest, knowledge. We are here for you. If neighbors have kids, let them know teachers are here today, too.
— Ferguson Library (@fergusonlibrary) November 25, 2014
And Twitter users rushed to support its efforts at the suggestion of Buzzfeed’s Ashley Ford:
ICYMI: @fergusonlibrary is open tomorrow, but school are not. We all know books save lives. Please donate: http://t.co/OPJTnOD7qg
— Ashley Ford (@iSmashFizzle) November 25, 2014
The library’s director, Scott Bonner, told TPM in a phone interview that there was a “staggering” spike in the amount of donations pouring in after the grand jury announcement.
“I am flabbergasted and in disbelief as to whether or not it’s real,” he said.
Bonner said that the library received donations totaling “five digits” from about 1200 people through PayPal. The library had received a fair number of donations last summer when the first round of protests erupted over the Aug. 9 shooting of Brown, and eventually it added a PayPal donation link to its website, Bonner said.
The library was slowing filling with children Tuesday morning, according to Bonner, who described the atmosphere as a “mix of emotions.”
“I’ve had one or two people come in and just basically cry to me because of what happened last night, how they’re feeling about it and how tough it is for them,” he told TPM. “And we’ve had a whole lot of volunteer teachers come in here with this drive to help people, bring that kind of optimism in.”