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The Kansas City Public Library is a public system headquartered in the Central Library in Kansas City, Missouri.
The system, directed by Crosby Kemper III, operates its Central Library and neighborhood branches located in Kansas City, Independence, and Sugar Creek. Founded on December 5, 1873, it is the oldest and third largest public library system in the metropolitan Kansas City area.
Its special collections, housed in the Central Library’s Missouri Valley Room, has a collection of Kansas City local history, including original and published materials, news articles, post cards, photographs, maps, and city directories dating from the community’s earliest history. The Library’s Ramos Collection includes books, pamphlets, journal articles and other materials relating to African-American history and culture.
Built in 2004, The Community Bookshelf (also known as the Library District Parking Garage) is a striking feature of Kansas City’s downtown. It runs along the south wall of the Central Library’s parking garage on 10th Street between Wyandotte Street and Baltimore Avenue. The concept of turning the parking garage into a bookshelf was part of an effort on behalf of the community to bring character to the needed structure.
“The book spines, which measure approximately 25 feet by 9 feet, are made of signboard mylar that is laid over concrete panels and an aluminum substructure. The shelf showcases 22 titles reflecting a wide variety of reading interests as suggested by Kansas City readers and then selected by The Kansas City Public Library Board of Trustees.”
The following books are depicted in the work:
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown;
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson;
Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne;
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss;
What a Wonderful World by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele;
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder;
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum;
M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton
The Kansas City Public Library has an open door policy when it comes to their patrons. Beginning in 2016, the Library’s Americorps VISTAs and the Outreach team began a program called Coffee & Conversations for patrons in order to tackle the issue of homelessness within the community. During the meeting, the library provides information to patrons on the topic of homelessness and other social issues. They also invite open dialogue during this time. This program was modeled after a similar program from the Dallas Public Library.
Additionally, the Kansas City Public Library has a program to help immigrants. The Refugee and Immigrant Services & Empowerment (RISE) program helps immigrants by providing information on resources, which help them pursue citizenship.
From time to time, the Library hosts edit-a-thons on topics relevant to the Kansas City Area. Recent edit-a-thons have covered Kansas City Black History, Kansas City Jazz, and Kansas City Philanthropists.
The Kansas City Public Library has been the recipient of numerous awards and acknowledgements, including:
Coordinates: 39°06′10″N 94°35′02″W / 39.1027°N 94.5839°W / 39.1027; -94.5839