Archive for November 2017

Citywalk News for November

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Library = Books.


That’s the equation in my brain. But Ferguson’s Municipal Public Library has a much longer, much more complex equation: FMPL = Books + Safety +Education + Art + Employment Support + Outreach +Creative Response to Community Needs.


An essential part of that equation is Scott Bonner, the Director of the Library. Yes, Scott has a Master’s in Library Science. He also worked in mental health. The combination of these work experiences helps to broaden the vision of “library” as more than a repository for print media. The library can be a source of many forms of help for citizens of Ferguson. Scott began his directorship on July 1st, 2014. He took the position because he fell in love with what he saw at the library, and then proceeded to fall in love with Ferguson.


Six weeks later, he was part of the unfortunate history that has been played over and over in mainstream media across the globe. The civil unrest that erupted that August and again after the grand jury’s verdict in November of 2014 made for synergy, as Scott asked: “How can we help? What do people need? What more can we do?” The library staff followed his lead as the library began to morph into: an “ad hoc school on the fly,” an oasis of safety, a gallery for “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” – an exhibit by the Alliance of Black Art Galleries, a location from which the U.S. Small Business Association could give emergency assistance to ailing businesses, and an agent of social outreach in many other ways. Donations poured in that constituted 95% of the annual budget. The Ferguson Municipal Library was awarded the Gale/LJ Library of the Year Award for 2015 for Courage in Crisis.


What are Scott Bonner’s dreams for the future? Now that the most severe time of crisis has waned, so have the big donations that were realized in 2014 and 2015. How can we make sure that financial support continues at an intensity that will allow the library to hire a reference librarian to support small businesses, and provide other means of business support? The library wants to expand its outreach to schools, businesses, neighborhoods – reaching into corners of Ferguson that may have great need but don’t have easy access to the location. With such a vision of outreach, the building at 35 No. Florissant Road, while remaining a destination, can grow as a base camp to empower the library in providing resources beyond its brick walls, to schools, to businesses to all Fergusonians, while serving as an example across the country as to what “library” can mean in the 21st century.




Welcome to The Nehemiah Epicenter at 104 S. Florissant Road, which houses the Nehemiah Housing Agency and a business incubator to both support and attract new businesses–small, new, and major businesses that can additionally contribute to the growth and well-being of the future of Ferguson.


And yes, where there is smoke, there is barbecue – Red’s is coming. Red’s One and Only will be opening at the corner of S. Florissant Road and Compton Street. The recent smoke and lines were just a preview during a special, temporary permit.


Business seeds being planted: more businesses to be sprouting up soon.

CONTACT

FERGUSON CITYWALK
110 Church Street
Ferguson, MO 63135
(314) 524-5197
citywalk@fergusoncity.com

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