Kansas City Public Library
14 West 10th Street
Kansas City MO 64105
Our world famous, literary parking garage!
Web and Phone Contact
Telephone (816) 701-3400
Fax 816- 701-3401
Mission Statement

The Kansas City Public Library is a doorway to knowledge for all people in our community.

CEO/Executive Director Mr. Crosby Kemper III
Board Chair Mr. Jonathan Kemper
Board Chair Company Affiliation Commerce Bank, Kansas City
History and Background
Year of Incorporation 1989
Volunteer Opportunities
Ways to donate, support, or volunteer
It's true that a very small portion of your Jackson County tax payer dollars go to the Kansas City Public Library as property tax revenue. That's because voters decided to direct property taxes to institutions helping our community grow, such as libraries, schools, and funds dedicated to helping those with mental illnesses and disabilities. This funding makes up 85% of the Library's operating budget, keeping the doors open and the lights on at 10 library locations across Kansas City. However, this critical funding has remained stagnant year to year---partially due to tax abatement policies that suspend property tax payment by development companies and corporations creating new projects in our city---even as the Library grows and adapts as an institution for the people, creating new educational resources, career pipelines, and outreach services that help people of all ages in Kansas City improve their lives. It is these free programs--often benefiting at-risk youth, patrons struggling with poverty, homelessness, illiteracy, and inequity--that individual donors, foundations, and corporations make possible when they contribute financially to the Library.
Visit www.kclibrary.org/donate to make an unrestricted gift to the Library's annual fund, which will help us keep our services, resources and programs free and open to all, always.
Visit www.kclibraryfriends.org to become a member of the Friends of the Library, our advocates and champions who believe in the Library as the greatest community gathering place and the fiercest protector of your right to access knowledge. The Friends also accept book donations, as a fundraising tool for the Library.
Visit www.kclibrary.org/volunteer to donate your time to the Library, becoming a Tech Coach, RISE or Teen mentor.
Financial Summary
Revenue Expense Area Graph

Comparing revenue to expenses shows how the organizations finances fluctuate over time.

Source: IRS Form 990

Net Gain/Loss:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.
Mission Statement

The Kansas City Public Library is a doorway to knowledge for all people in our community.

Background Statement

The Kansas City Public Library has served the metropolitan community for over 140 years. Dr. James Greenwood, Superintendent of Kansas City schools for 40 years, established the library as the Public School Library of Kansas City in 1873 with one bookcase and a set of American Encyclopedia. In 1898, it was made free and open to all citizens. In 1901, William Rockhill Nelson presented the Library with a collection of pictures from the Western Gallery of Art to the Library. The trustees decided to house that gift in its facility at Ninth and Locust streets, which they renamed the Nelson Gallery of Art. The gallery later separated from the Library, eventually becoming The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In 1986, with enthusiastic voter support, the Library separated from the School District to become an independent taxing authority. The last move in 2005 established the Central Library in the renovated First National Bank building at 10th & Baltimore.

Today, Central, Plaza, eight neighborhood branches and digital online services report a total annual circulation of 2,161,016 and over 2.3 million customer visits. In support of its mission to be "a doorway to knowledge for all people in our community," the Library is proud of the educational and cultural resources provided free of charge to Kansas City residents and visitors. The Library has become one of greater Kansas City's primary venues for public discourse, civic engagement, and lifelong learning. As a free, accessible and trusted destination, the Kansas City Public Library (KCPL) attracts diverse audiences, while the Library Outreach team meets its citizens where they are, providing access to resources and advocating their needs. For centuries communities have gathered in their local Library to participate in humanities, celebrate reading, and become more engaged citizens. Today's Library is proud to be increasingly digital, engaging, and serving low-income populations more than ever.
Impact Statement
With a grant from the 2017 National Endowment of the Arts (NEA) Big Read, KCPL brought together all six of the area's public libraries for a collaborative, community-wide roster of programs, reading, and discussion of Tim O'Brien's seminal book about The Vietnam War, The Things They Carried.
KCPL won two prestigious awards from the American Library Association (ALA), both stemming from a Library event when Director of Programming advocated for the First Amendment rights of a patron: the 2017 Paul Howard Award for Courage, given biannually for "unusual courage for the benefit of library programs or services"; and the Lemony Snicket Prize for Noble Librarians Faced with Adversity.
Funding from the Friends of the Library made it possible for the Library to host two naturalization ceremonies and receptions, welcoming new citizens to Kansas City and connecting them to free library and community resources that will help them succeed in their new lives. During a time of political backlash against immigrants, KCPL's Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment (RISE) Division also hosted the beautiful #toimmigrantswithlove, a public event collecting more than 1,000 handwritten messages of support and encouragement in multiple languages that were delivered to new local families being resettled by partner organization Jewish Vocational Services (JVS.)
Top Two Current Goals:
  1. Tell the Library's story more effectively through targeted and expanded marketing efforts, strategic web development, and strengthened partnerships, including with the Friends of the Library.
  2. Leverage the Library's community impact story to recruit new volunteers, increase unrestricted funding, and generally stabilize annual support for public programming, youth & family engagement, outreach services, and educational and career development.
Needs Statement
You can help the Library most by making annual, unrestricted gifts in any amount that will be directed to our current most pressing needs:
  • Creating a permanent home at the North-East branch for the Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment (RISE) Center. The creation of this new space will grant patrons the consistency of service that comes with regular program hours, accommodate overwhelming demand for programs, and be a welcoming, safe space for refugees & immigrants in their own neighborhood.
  • Sustaining our annual roster of more than 200 free public events and exhibitions
  • Granting scholarships to adults so they can participate in the Library's newest education program, Career Online High School (COHS). There are more than 100 adults on the waiting list, ready to earn their high school diploma and career certificate online and unable to start without the scholarship that will make their enrollment possible.
  • Providing staffing resources for our severely under-funded Youth & Family Engagement and Outreach teams
Service Categories
Areas of Service
MO - Jackson County
MO - Clay County
MO - Platte County
KS - Wyandotte County
KS - Johnson County
MO - Eastern Jackson Co
MO - Jackson County Urban Core
KS - Wyandotte County Urban Core
Description The third Wednesday of each month, the Central Library Grand Reading Room hosts Coffee & Conversation, a program developed for homeless patrons and others interested in the issues of homelessness. Patrons gather over coffee and pastries, while learning about community resources, job counseling, transportation and housing assistance, and other social services that can help people get back on their feet. They can also use the library’s computers and WiFi and take advantage of resume assistance from the H&R Block Business & Career Center. The program began in October 2016 thanks to the Library’s AmeriCorps VISTA members, tasked with helping make the Library more accessible to under-served and vulnerable patrons.
Program Budget $5,000.00
Category Human Services, General/Other Services for the Homeless
Population Served At-Risk Populations, Families, Minorities
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Long-Term Success Through partnerships with local social services organizations and generous individuals sharing their time and resources, connect homeless patrons to the knowledge they need in order to get back on their feet. Long term success includes an overall decrease in citizens experiencing poverty and homelessness in Kansas City. 
Examples of Program Success
“It’s the only place that I go here where they don’t judge me,” -- Ray Kessinger, newly homeless patron
Career Online High School (COHS), a collaboration between the Library, Literacy KC, and Mid-Continent Public Library, helps those standing farthest back from the Library's doorway to knowledge by offering a flexible, free, online degree and career certification program. COHS is designed for adults whose educational trauma of the past, combined with their current life situation, has made it impossible to re-engage in a traditional educational setting. Overwhelmingly, the students enrolled in and seeking out this program at the Library are working parents, primarily women, trying to set a positive example for their children and requiring the flexibility of COHS to juggle their education, multiple jobs, and family needs.
Nationally, communities have adopted COHS as their model for reaching adult would-be learners who have fallen through the cracks of the formal educational system. Nationwide, 72% of COHS students matriculate into post-secondary education.
Program Budget $50,000.00
Category Education, General/Other Dropout Programs
Population Served At-Risk Populations, Minorities, At-Risk Populations
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Short-Term Success
In this first year, COHS received more than 260 requests for enrollment and more than 100 adults pre-registered for the prerequisite course. None of them can begin that journey without scholarship assistance, and we can't provide scholarship assistance without funding. Our goal is to stabilize funding for this program so that upon a patron's pre-registration, the Library can grant them a scholarship immediately to enroll and begin the program.
Additional short-term successes include increasing the number of scholarships we're able to grant, from 25 to at least 50; increasing requests for enrollment, reflecting our marketing efforts and engagement; and hosting of our first graduation ceremony for participants that complete the program.
Program Success Monitored By We are tracking enrollment and graduation rates, as well as progress achieved by each COHS participant throughout the year. We ask that upon completion of the program and entrance into the workforce, graduates report on their progress and successes stemming from the experience. 
Examples of Program Success


In April 2018, the Library opened a permanent home at the Southeast Branch for its KCDML serving local youth ages 13-18. Southeast was strategically selected because of its proximity to major bus routes and its location at the very core of a local educational ecosystem. This location, combined with the Library’s more than 300 community partnerships, makes the KCDML a perfect hub for Connected Learning (helping teens connect to a larger network of learning opportunities in their community.)
At KCDML, teens build skills that make connections between their pastime interests and future opportunities, while learning how to express themselves creatively and emotionally in ways they previously could not. KCDML activities offer team-based projects with loosely defined guidelines that span multiple [digital] disciplines. According to Cerner Corporation’s website, this is exactly what talent development for the 21st Century workforce should look like.
Program Budget $25,000.00
Category Youth Development, General/Other Youth Leadership
Population Served At-Risk Populations, Adults, Families
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Short-Term Success

Empowering teens to become active and engaged citizens of the world. Connecting teens to academic and career opportunities they didn't know existed.

Long-Term Success
“The same access to high quality technology that’s available in suburban areas should also be present in urban areas. If we as professionals keep young people as our focus and intentionally create learning opportunities, we can transform the economic base of communities which are often forgotten about.” ----- Marvin Lyman (KCDML Mentor, Audio Production Expert, and President of the Black Economic Union)
Program Success Monitored By

Participation numbers and anecdotes from teens learning to believe in themselves and trust their peers and mentors to help them succeed. 

Examples of Program Success “The biggest thing we’ve seen in our son James is the growth in his confidence and maturity and ability to adapt to different things. He wants video cameras instead of Playstations. He’s looking at what college he wants to go to for video editing. This education has given him another avenue that he didn’t even know was possible. You’re changing lives, you really are.” ----- KCDML Parents, Christina and Ali Nassir

Our founder, Dr. James Greenwood, superintendent of Kansas City schools, advocated a liberal arts education for all. Today's remarkable public programming at the Library reflects that vision. Thanks to our partners and community support, each week we bring local and national novelists, historians, economists, journalists, poets, scholars and artists to share their insights and spark dialogue among diverse audiences in our great city. The number of people who attend events and exhibitions during the year tops 100,000. These free, cultural experiences widen our horizons, support the Library's role as a public link to knowledge, and contribute to building a community of readers.

Program Budget $150,000.00
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Population Served General/Unspecified, Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens, People/Families with of People with Physical Disabilities
Program is linked to organization's mssion Yes
Short-Term Success

Achievements include increased & diversified audiences for programs which now routinely attract 100 or more attendees and frequently 500 or more for author events and cultural performances. Goals also include drawing new audiences into the Library and encouraging all event participants to make use of the Library's collections and services.

Long-Term Success

The long term goal of our public programming is to support an ever more literate community actively engaged in civic discourse and civic action.  Our programs introduce audiences to some of the best that is being thought and written today and encourages additional reading on a variety of topics including current affairs, poetry, history, economics and fiction.

Program Success Monitored By Partnerships with universities, arts organizations, and many others throughout the community and nation create a rich network from which to draw to present world-class programming to the greater Kansas City community. The Library's partnerships and effective marketing communications support growth in audiences.
Examples of Program Success
In summer 2016, the Library was selected as the venue in Missouri to receive a copy of one of the world's rarest and most valuable books - the first collection of William Shakespeare's plays. A copy of Shakespeare's First Folio was on display in the Missouri Valley Room at the Central Library as part of a traveling exhibit, First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare,on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death. One site in each state, as well as Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rice, was awarded an opportunity to host the exhibit. 
Executive Director/CEO
Executive Director Mr. Crosby Kemper III
Term Start Jan 2005
Experience Crosby Kemper III is the Director of the Kansas City Public Library and former CEO of UMB Financial Corporation. Educated at Pem-Day, Andover, Eton and Yale, he has taught English at Sichuan University in Chengdu, China and been a bookseller in Grand Central Station in New York City. He is the editor of, and contributor to, Winston Churchill: Resolution, Defiance, Magnanimity, Good Will published by the University of Missouri Press. In 2003-04, he chaired the Commission on the Future of Higher Education in Missouri for Governor Holden. He served on the board of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation which operates Monticello; and the boards of the Kansas City Symphony, Union Station and Lapham’s Quarterly. He helped Marilyn Strauss found the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival and was its first Board Chair. He also founded and chaired the St. Louis Shakespeare Festival. He co-founded and is chairman of The Show-Me Institute, a libertarian public policy think tank for the state of Missouri. In 2008, Crosby received the Difference Maker Award from The Urban League of Kansas City; and he and the Library received the Gold Medal for Libraries from the Institute for Museum and Library Services presented at the White House by former librarian, Laura Bush. In 2009 he was inducted into the Mid-America Education Hall of Fame by the Kansas City Kansas Community College Endowment Association. Most recently, he became the Chairman of the Board for Schools, Health & Libraries Broadband Coalition (SHLB).
Former CEOs
Mr. Joseph H GreenMar 2003 - May 2004
Mr. Roger PearsonMay 2004 - Jan 2005
Senior Staff
Title Deputy Director for Public Affairs & Community of Readers
Carrie Coogan comes to the Library from nonprofit Literacy Kansas City, where she served as the Executive Director since 2012. Previously, Carrie was perhaps best known in the community from her broadcast work, including a 13-year tenure as an on-air reporter for Fox4 News, WDAF-TV, and a six-year run as co- host of the Johnny Dare Morning Show on KQRC. A desire to make a lasting difference in the world inspired Carrie to leave broadcast and enter the non-profit world.
Title Director of Development
Kristin Nelson comes to the Library in January 2015 after seven years of fundraising in New York City. She led the Development departments of Independent Curators International (ICI), a nonprofit producing exhibitions, events, publications, research and training opportunities for curators around the world, and the Bogliasco Foundation, an established residential Fellowship program in Italy bringing international artists and scholars together to create new work in the Humanities.
Title Deputy Director of Administration/Chief Financial Officer
Title Director of Youth and Family Engagement

In her position as Director, Crystal Faris supervises youth library staff for all branches of the Kansas City Public Library. She currently serves on the Early Childhood Commission. She was a graduate of the Executive Leadership Institute of the Urban Library Council and has served an active role in library leadership through numerous American Library Association and state library associations for 25 years. Previously, Crystal was with the Nassau (County, New York) Library System as the Youth Services Manager and adjunct professor at Queens College.

Title Deputy Director of Library Services
Title Director of Human Resources

Karen Weitzel has many years of public sector human resources management experience, serving as Human Resources Manager for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in Clearwater, Florida, and has also previously worked in human resources in nonprofit settings. In addition to a bachelor’s degree in psychology, she has master’s degrees in human resources management and in counseling and guidance.

Title Assistant Director of Programming & Marketing
Title Director of Readers' Services

Kaite Stover is co-editor of The Readers’ Advisory Handbook (2010) and has contributed chapters to Research-Based Readers’ Advisory (ALA Editions 2008) and Integrated Advisory Service (Libraries Unlimited 2010). Currently, Kaite writes the “He Reads, She Reads” column for Booklist with David Wright and “Under the Radar” for Public Libraries with Jessica E. Moyer. She is a regular blogger for Booklist’s “Book Group Buzz” blog. She is the recipient of the 2012 Allie Beth Martin Award and was named a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2003.

Title Director of Library Outreach & Community Engagement
Experience/Biography Mary Olive Thompson received her MLS degree from Emporia State University, is an active member of the Association of Bookmobile & Outreach Services, and was selected by competitive application to participate in Centurions, a program of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. She has fifteen years' experience working in libraries and ten years' experience in community work.
Title Manager of Executive Services
Paid Full-Time Staff 138
Paid Part-Time Staff 172
Paid Contractors 0
Volunteers 85
Retention Rate 90%
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Bi-Annually
Plans & Policies
Organization Has a Fundraising Plan Yes
Organization Has a Strategic Plan Yes
Management Succession Plan Yes
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistleblower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
The Library plays a critical role in the community both as a center of knowledge and as a leader and facilitator of public discourse. The Library sponsors the Kansas City Library Service Program, which provides information technology support for area libraries and schools, and the Library's growing roster of collaborative partnerships with cultural institutions, universities, arts groups, museums, foreign consulates, nonprofits, and private sector organizations include Jewish Vocational Services, Mozilla, Google, Jackson County Courts Juvenile Detention Center, Upper Room, Literacy KC, the Chamber of Commerce, and KC Public Schools District. In total, the Library is proud to have forged more than 300 partnerships with community organizations in order to connect our patrons to the network of resources and services that will help them improve their lives.
Through our government and education partnerships, we work together to have open discussions about local policy and help one another maker better-informed decisions on moving KC forward as a robust and strong city.
National Preservation Honor AwardNational Trust for Historic Preservation2004
National Medal for Museum and Library ServiceInstitute for Museum and Library Services2008
Preservation AwardJackson County Historical Society2004
Industrial Design Excellence AwardIDSA/Business Week2005
Excellence in Development AwardUrban Land Institute-Kansas City2006
5-Star Library StatusLibrary Journal2013
ALA Excellence in Library Programming AwardAmerican Library Association2014
5-Star Library StatusLibrary Journal2016
Exemplary Community Achievement AwardMissouri Humanities Council2017
LibraryAware Community AwardLibrary Journal2017
Paul Howard Award for CourageAmerican Library Association2017
Government Licenses
Is your organization licensed by the government? No
Board Chair
Board Chair Mr. Jonathan Kemper
Company Affiliation Commerce Bank, Kansas City
Term Jan 2013 to Dec 2020
Board Members
Ms. Rose Marie BellCommunity Volunteer
Mr. Leon DixonCommunity Volunteer
Ms. Laura DominikCommunity Volunteer
Ms. Olivia DorseyKMBC TV, Hearst Corporation
Ms. Billie Howard BarnesPembroke Hill School
Ms. Marilou JoynerCameron Group Care, Inc.
Mr. Jonathan KemperCommerce Bank Kansas City
Ms. Susan KenneyOur Lady of the Presentation Catholic School
Ms. Claudia Oñate GreimThe Ashcroft Law Firm, LLC
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 4
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 3
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 4
Board Term Limits 0
Board Meeting Attendance % 83%
Written Board Selection Criteria? Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy? Yes
Percentage Making Monetary Contributions 55%
Percentage Making In-Kind Contributions 45%
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 12
Standing Committees
Fiscal Year Start July 01, 2018
Fiscal Year End June 30, 2019
Projected Revenue $19,491,779
Projected Expenses $20,121,689
Endowment Value $3,143,888
Spending Policy Income Only
Foundation Comments
  • FYE 6/30/2016 2015, 2014:  Financial data reported using the organization's audited financial statements. 
Detailed Financials
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$17,121,480$17,212,386$16,350,698
Individual Contributions----$180,941
Investment Income, Net of Losses$89,888$99,889$97,440
Membership Dues----$0
Special Events$0$0$0
Revenue In-Kind----$0
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$21,888,202$20,665,925$16,541,383
Administration Expense$0$0$3,721,811
Fundraising Expense$0$0$413,535
Payments to Affiliates----$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.910.980.94
Program Expense/Total Expenses100%100%80%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue------
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$73,624,545$75,414,901$75,072,043
Current Assets$19,338,266$20,465,029$18,680,105
Long-Term Liabilities$25,954,369$24,224,752$16,884,724
Current Liabilities$3,276,873$2,542,349$2,840,413
Total Net Assets$44,393,303$48,647,800$55,346,906
Short-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities5.908.056.58
Long-Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets35%32%22%
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Jackson County $15,845,002
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation $800,000
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- --Kauffman Book Fund $216,409
Capital Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? No
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years Yes
Other Documents
Organization Name Kansas City Public Library
Address 14 West 10th Street
Kansas City, MO 64105
Primary Phone (816) 701-3400
Contact Email ask@kclibrary.org
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Crosby Kemper III
Board Chair Mr. Jonathan Kemper
Board Chair Company Affiliation Commerce Bank, Kansas City
Year of Incorporation 1989