Ferguson Librarian Scott Bonner to receive ALA’s Lemony Snicket prize

by Elizabeth Vogt

The American Library Association has announced the winner of its second-annual Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity, and it couldn’t be a more worthy recipient. Scott Bonner, the director of the Ferguson Public Library in Missouri, was described in the announcement as a “quiet hero” for keeping the library’s doors open despite the protests and crises that erupted in the wake of the Michael Brown shooting this past August. With schools closed, the library served up to 200 students per day, providing educational resources and a safe place for the community. Once the story of Bonner and the Ferguson Library reached social media, over 13,000 people across the country raised over $175,000 in donations, which Bonner used to create a collection of books focused on diversity and civic engagement. While Bonner was the only full-time librarian on staff at the time of the incident, he has consistently refused any sort of special praise, saying instead that any other librarian would have done the same.

The award, a $10,00 cash prize, will be presented by Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket and recent National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson at the ALA Annual Conference & Exhibition in San Francisco on June 28th.