A Message From the Library's Interim Director

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Amid the extraordinary efforts of our city, state, and country to navigate the COVID-19 outbreak, I wanted to reach out to update you on the Library’s response and continued focus on serving our community.

First, thank you for your patience and support as we continue to assess and adjust our operations. The Kansas City Public Library is fully committed to the fight to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, which necessitated the temporary closing of our 10 physical locations. That remains a painful decision; we are fully aware of the role that the Library plays in your lives. The building closures remove access, for the time being, to the in-person learning services and gathering spaces that we – and all libraries – are known for providing.

But know there are many, many services that we can, and still do, provide.

Our Digital Branch never closes. In fact, there’s more to offer than ever. You might be familiar with many of our available eBooks and downloadable audiobooks, with our movie and TV streaming services, with our extensive menu of online research and learning sites. All free and accessible with your Library card.

We’ve added to them. For instance, parents with kids in kindergarten through sixth grade now can access TumbleMath, a broad collection of animated, narrated math picture books complete with lesson plans, quizzes, and other supplementary materials. We've put together a collection of many other helpful tips and resources for families during this time.

You can browse all of our expanded digital offerings here. Anyone who doesn’t already have a Kansas City Public Library card can get instant access with an eCard.

Our Library is blessed with a dedicated, creative staff that, working at home, continues to explore ways to expand services and outreach. Take our popular Friday Night Family Fun series, which normally offers storytelling, arts and crafts, and other family-friendly events at the Plaza Branch. They'll be available to view via video on Facebook each Friday at 6:30 p.m., starting with an April 3 presentation by local storyteller and vocalist “Brother John” Anderson. Kids also can enjoy Facebook Live story time sessions daily at 10:30 a.m. Check the Library's Facebook page for details.

For those of you holding checked-out Library books and other materials, fear not. We’ve extended due dates. And remember that we’re a fine-free Library, thanks to your support of the Library levy measure in November 2018.

Our goal, in short, is to make these uncertain times a little less uncertain. I said earlier that we’re aware of the Library’s role in so many lives in our community. I feel that, now, our role is more vital than ever.

We will continue to communicate with you as we move through this national crisis, and look forward to welcoming you back into our buildings when it ends. Until then, while you stay socially distanced, we want you to know that you don’t have to feel isolated. Your Library is here for you.

— Debbie Siragusa, Interim Chief Executive, Kansas City Public Library