- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 9, 2014

FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) - The Ferguson Municipal Public Library has received more than $350,000 in donations and books since violent protests erupted following a grand jury’s decision not to indict the local police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Contributions have soared since Nov. 24, when the library decided to stay open despite the protests in around the St. Louis suburb, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported (https://bit.ly/1yvYGbh ). The gifts are just about $50,000 shy of the library’s annual $400,000 budget, said the library’s director, Scott Bonner.

The donations started pouring in after people began tweeting their support for the library, including well-known novelist Neil Gaiman, who has more than 2 million followers on Twitter. Author John Green, known for “The Fault in Our Stars,” said he sent signed copies of his books to the library.

The library, founded in 1930, is in a relatively new building, but it could use some capital improvements, Bonner said. Its carpet could be replaced, and the library’s computers are old. But he said his main goal is to hire a full-time children’s librarian who can work on programming.

Protests turned violent in and around Ferguson after the grand jury investigating Brown’s death decided there wasn’t enough evidence to criminally charge Ferguson officer Darren Wilson. Wilson, who is white, fatally shot Brown, who was black and unarmed, after a struggle in a Ferguson street in August. Wilson resigned from the local police department late last month.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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