#BBCTrending: Ferguson library gets online support

Image caption A father and son looked over a book at the Ferguson library this summer

In the unrest following the grand jury decision in the case of Michael Brown, several groups tried to kick in the big glass doors of the Ferguson Public Library.

They failed, and now the space has become a sanctuary.

On a desk inside the library, a homemade sign reads "During difficult times, the library is a quiet oasis."

While many businesses in Ferguson have closed their doors, the library - two blocks from the police station and centrally located among the protests - is open. On Tuesday when schools were closed, children participated in crafts and story time programmes and ate lunch. On Wednesday, reporters worked in the quiet space, while business owners took part in archive-preservation programmes.

Scott Bonner, the library director, says visitors have been emotional.

"A couple of patrons came in and grabbed my hands and cried a bit because they were trying to process everything," said Bonner. "The teenagers - the ones who are coming in here - you can see that they have anger and fear and frustration in their eyes."

And out of this quiet space, a community fundraiser - with anonymous roots - grew, providing 3,000 donations for the library in the first 20 hours.

Using the PayPal button on the library's home page, many have given what they can, says Bonner. That may be $5 or $20. Others have given larger sums.

Image copyright Twitter

Bonner says donations have reached into the six figures with more than 7,600 people donating.

A call for donations on Reddit reads "The Ferguson Public Library has been a beacon of hope and civilization for these ordinary people in these sad times. … It's stayed open and gone beyond the call of duty where other organizations, to say nothing of elected officials, don't seem to have a good answer."

On Twitter, @StefHoffman tweeted "Libraries have always been my sanctuary, my escape, my happy place. Support @fergusonlibrary for the people who need all the above esp now."

Bonner, who is the only full-time employee at the library, says he hopes to hire a children's librarian or a programming librarian, to expand their reach.

"It is rejuvenating and regenerating," he said of the donations. "I'll go home exhausted and then I'll jump on the page and read some of the nice comments and share them onto my staff."

The library is not the only institution in Ferguson to receive a crowd sourced boost - a local bakery that was damaged during the protests raised over $100,000 (£63,320).

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