Library Receives $4 Million Lead Gift From Emerson

Today, February 11, 2010, Emerson announced a lead gift of $4 million to the Capital Campaign for the St. Louis Public Library, with the funds designated for a new Locust Street Atrium in the revitalized Central Library downtown. The gift was jointly announced by Waller McGuire, executive director, St. Louis Public Library, and St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay.

The capital campaign for the St. Louis Public Library is part of a $20 million philanthropic effort to support the $74 million total restoration and revitalization of the main library, which is located between Locust and Olive, and 13th and 14th Streets downtown. Central Library will be renewed as a vibrant downtown library center, including double the amount of space for public use, new children’s and teen sections, a 250-seat lower-level auditorium and other amenities, including a café. Construction is expected to begin later this year, with the grand re-opening slated for 2012, coinciding with Central’s centennial celebration. Alison Ferring and Thomas F. Schlafly are campaign co-chairpersons.

“The St. Louis Public Library is one of our city’s most treasured and valuable assets, and the restoration and modernization of its Central Library is essential to the library’s continued success and service to our community,” said David N. Farr, chief executive officer and president of Emerson. “A reinvigorated Central Library also will play an important role in the renaissance of downtown St. Louis. The success of this project is vital to the entire St. Louis region and we are pleased to be able to play a major role in making it a reality.”

Commenting on the gift, Mayor Slay said, “I applaud Emerson’s phenomenal leadership towards this important downtown project. Emerson’s $4 million gift demonstrates the company’s strong commitment to the citizens of St. Louis and to the vitality of the entire region. Because Central Library is located within the heart of downtown, it serves as an important anchor for further commercial and residential development between Washington Avenue and Market Street. Along with our new City Garden, Central Library will provide a new downtown destination and venue. We’ve talked about this for years. Now Emerson has helped to make it possible."

Opened in 1912, Central Library was designed by pre-eminent American architect, Cass Gilbert, and much of its original infrastructure is still in use today. The restoration will display the best of Gilbert’s architecture, while also accommodating increased public use, safe storage and display of the Library’s valuable collection, and modern technology used by the Library today. There will be a full retrofit of the building’s mechanical and HVAC systems, seismic upgrades, and restoration and cleaning of much of the building’s interior features.

“Our new Locust Street Entrance and Atrium, leading to the new Center for the Reader, are focal points in opening up Central Library and its collection to the public,” commented McGuire. “Great cities need great libraries, and we are creating a 21st century library facility that will not only serve as the central hub for our entire system, but also will provide an enhanced downtown venue for events, discussion and socialization. Central Library belongs to the people of St. Louis and we want all of St. Louis to be able to experience this incredible landmark. We are very grateful to Emerson for its leadership in our campaign.”

The project is expected to get underway later this year. The St. Louis Public Library’s administrative offices will be relocated nearby in mid-2010. Central Library will then close so that its contents can be removed and placed in temporary storage. Book lending and all other services will continue to be fully available through the St. Louis Public Library’s other 15 locations during construction.

The construction team includes CLR LLC, development consultant; Cannon Design, architect; and BSI Constructors, construction manager. Central Library is among the largest construction projects in downtown St. Louis and is being funded through library resources, tax credits and the St. Louis Public Library Foundation’s capital campaign.

About Emerson

Emerson (NYSE: EMR), based in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global leader in bringing technology and engineering together to provide innovative solutions to customers through its network power, process management, industrial automation, climate technologies, and appliance and tools businesses. Emerson’s sales in fiscal 2009 were $20.9 billion. The company is ranked 94th on the Fortune 500 list of America’s largest companies. For more information, visit

About the St. Louis Public Library

Recently ranked #2 in the nation, the St. Louis Public Library has 16 locations across the city and sees more than 2.3 million visitors each year. The Library has more than 4.7 million books and items in its collection and 71,000 active cardholders. Usage at Central Library has been consistently increasing during the past decade, with circulation rising nearly 18 percent between December 2006 and December 2009. For more information about the St. Louis Public Library and its services, visit or call 314-241-2288.

About the St. Louis Public Library Foundation

Created in 1989, the Library Foundation supports the St. Louis Public Library's programs and services through fundraising and building relationships with others who share a passion for the library's work. For information or to learn how you can support the St. Louis Public Library Foundation and The Campaign for the St. Louis Public Library, visit or call Rick Simoncelli at 314.539-0359.

#  #  #

Editor’s Note:    The St. Louis Public Library is headquartered at 1301 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO 63103.