As a cloud of disappointment hovers over Ferguson, Mo., after the announcement of the grand jury’s decision to not indict Darren Wilson led to more protests, a sign of hope shone on a local library that received more than $175,000 in donations.
Contributions to the Ferguson Municipal Library covered nearly half of the entity’s annual budget, according to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“It doesn’t seem real yet,” Scott Bonner, the library’s director told the paper. “I had no idea there was anything like that coming.”
The library remained open after the announcement was made on Monday, even though other organizations closed. Schools closed for the week and local businesses boarded up their windows in anticipation of protests after the announcement.
Bonner stayed late on the night the grand jury’s decision was announced. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, that he “heard a couple of attempts to kick in the building’s glassdoors.” But the library was left undamaged.
The library’s Twitter account posted Monday night that it would be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday since the Ferguson-Florissant school district was closed. Teachers and volunteers were available at the library to assist kids who couldn’t go to school.
“Wifi, water, rest, knowledge,” the library’s staff tweeted on Tuesday. “We are here for you.”
Later that afternoon, the library tweeted: “Lots of kids, lots of teachers, lots of knowledge at the #Ferguson library today! Thanks! Support each other & stay safe! #whatlibrariesdo.”
The library received donations from nearly 3,000 people in just 20 hours after the announcement, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Word about what the library remaining open amidst the unrest in Ferguson spread quickly through social media.
On Twitter, people were sharing the donation website link and tagging the library’s handle, @fergusonlibrary.
— Joelle Charbonneau (@jcharbonneau) November 26, 2014
The library is even accepting Bitcoin donations.
— Ferguson Library (@fergusonlibrary) November 26, 2014
“Every dollar of that is going to go towards serving the community one way or another,” Bonner told Newsweek. He also said there was a need for more community programming and improvements on the library that are “way, way overdue.”