Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Donations Pour into East St. Louis Library [Corrected 11/11/15]

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Donations Pour into East St. Louis Library [Corrected 11/11/15]

Article excerpt

EAST ST. LOUIS * After collecting about 50 boxes of books for preschoolers and children of all ages, Lisa Greening contacted the East St. Louis Public Library Monday hoping she could help fill some its empty shelves.

She had collected the books at a recent trivia night at John Burroughs School and through a book drive. But on Tuesday, Greening, who runs an area nonprofit, was looking to take the books elsewhere.

"They said that they had fully stocked shelves," Greening said, after calling the library's front desk.

Thousands of other donated books - including board books, picture books, teen novels, early nonfiction - have been accepted and are waiting to be cataloged.

In October, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch profiled the attempts of Ruth Dunn, the library's new children's librarian, to serve kids in East St. Louis who'd been out of school for four weeks due to the teachers strike. It ended Nov. 2.

Dunn has been employed by the library for about a month, working to restore children's programming and build a larger collection at what is the only public library for the city's 27,000 resident. At the time, the children's collection consisted of two banks of books whose shelves where only partially full.

The story struck a chord with librarians and others.

Three friends in St. Louis's Shaw neighborhood and Belleville invited more than 500 friends through Facebook to take part in a book drive by purchasing books off a wishlist they'd put together on Amazon.

Within days, more than 200 books for children and teens were being shipped to the East St. Louis Library, at 5300 State Street.

Colleen Dempsy Dotson, the Belleville organizers, took about 100 gently used books to the library on Tuesday. She posted her intent to collect more books for adolescents and teenagers for the rows of empty shelves in the young adults section.

"Reading was really important to me as a kid," Dotson said. "Kids should have access to this."

Lesley McGilligan used social media to galvanize friends and strangers who dropped off new and used books at her Webster Groves home. …

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