Ferguson library named Library of the Year

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The municipal library in Ferguson made international headlines after staying open throughout last year's riots. (Associated Press)

The Ferguson Municipal Public Library, which stayed open to the public during the intense civil unrest that rocked the Missouri town last year, has been named Library of the Year by Library Journal.

scott-220-ferguson.jpgFerguson's library director Scott Bonner (pictured on the right), the tiny library's only full-time employee, gained international attention after he and a handful of volunteers kept the doors open for patrons despite the breakout of riots last November. Buildings were torched in anger after the U.S. Grand Jury decided not to indict the police officer in the shooting death of resident Michael Brown.

"I want to stay open every minute that we can," Bonner told CBC Radio's As It Happens in an interview last year during the chaos. "Because Ferguson needs us. Libraries perform many core services that are exactly the kind of thing that this community needs right now."

You can listen to the interview here.

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With school openings affected by the riots, the library became an ad-hoc classroom, with teachers and volunteers coming in to offer lessons. It also became a central place for community meetings and hosted activities for families.

Library Journal decided to honour the Ferguson library's efforts by presenting it with the $10,000 cash award.

"We join the many in and beyond the library world who take great pride in and stand in awe of the Ferguson team's calm commitment to its community in the face of frightening days and nights and now as they strive to foster a stronger Ferguson," said Rebecca T. Miller, editorial director of Library Journal.