The Kansas City Public Library is looking for a new executive director after current head Crosby Kemper III takes new job.
Kemper has had a major influence in the area as a banker, libertarian leader and executive director of the library. On Thursday, the U.S. Senate confirmed his nomination to serve a four-year term as the head of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in Washington, D.C. IMLS, an independent federal agency established in 1996, is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums trough grant-making, research and policy development.
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“I am honored,” Kemper said. “This is really a tribute to the wonderful work of the board and staff of the Kansas City Public Library and the place of leadership libraries in Kansas City have taken nationally.”
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Jonathan Kemper, president of the library’s board of trustees, said, “When the trustees asked Crosby to lead the library in 2005, we recognized his exceptional talents, experiences and energies. At that time, the library was in the final stages of completing two major building projects and was addressing fundamental issues related to the role of an urban library system in being relevant to the needs of its diverse community.
“Crosby embraced that challenge and led the library to new levels through public programs, innovative process and the development of a top-notch staff.”
The board already has begun the process of identifying and recruiting a new executive director. The Kansas City Public Library strayed from convention when it turned to Crosby Kemper. His background was primarily in business, although he was active civically and widely recognized as bibliophile who had edited and contributed to a Winston Churchill biography.
Those experiences proved valuable over his tenure with the library. Kemper orchestrated a renaissance, establishing KCPL as one of the city’s leading cultural destinations and a hub of community engagement.
Kemper’s tenure has brought KCPL an array of awards, including the IMLS’ National Medal for Museum and Library Service and 5-Star designations by Library Journal in 2013, 2016 and 2017. Kemper himself received the Difference Maker Award from the Urban League of Kansas City.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice