When Ferguson, Missouri, elementary school teacher Carrie Pace learned schools would remain closed all week after violence erupted on their city’s streets in the wake of the shooting of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, it never occurred to her to sit at home and wait it out. “[I was] just looking for something to do, looking for a way to help,” said the 31-year-old art teacher.
Pace decided to start reaching out to other teachers to see if she could organize programs for the kids of Ferguson. She immediately thought of the library.
It started small at first. Pace and her teacher friends began to email parents and post on social media, inviting kids to come to the Ferguson Municipal Public Library. Initially just 12 showed up, but by Thursday they had 60 volunteers and roughly 150 kids, with some spilling out to another space in a nearby church.
“We’ve essentially taken over the library,” said acting principal Antona Smith. They are offering math, writing and literature classes just like in school. “They’re having full academics and teachers are coming with full curricula ready to teach!” And the kids, from pre-k to high school, are ready to learn.