The Library and the Community: Energizing Each Other Throughout 2023

Tuesday, December 19, 2023
couple reading with a child next to the words "inspire, connect, create, discover give"

This year saw some major community wins at the Kansas City Public Library – made even more fabulous by the generosity of Library patrons. 

Just to name a few of those wins… 

Engagement with the Library’s Summer Reading Program reached an all-time high for the second year in a row. Nearly 13,000 people participated, shattering the previous high of 11,639 in 2022. They read 23,133 books. 

About 2,000 people gathered for the inaugural Heartland Book Festival in October, an event orchestrated in partnership with Missouri Humanities and the Library of Congress’ Missouri Center for the Book. Festivities included lectures, conversations, interactive exhibitions, food trucks, and vendors.

In December, the Library launched its year-long 150th birthday celebration with festivities at all 10 locations. A signature event drew 450 attendees who enjoyed music, poetry, food and cocktails, and a lecture by Tommi Laitio about cultivating good vibes in public spaces. 

The 86 other signature events of 2023 drew 13,956 live attendees and 28,458 subsequent online views by patrons who wanted to learn about everything from entrepreneurship to military history, art preservation in war zones, and even bobbleheads.

Strengthening Connections

Between in-person branch visits and clicks into the digital branch, the Library saw 4.6 million patrons who borrowed more than 2 million books and other materials. 

From four reach-expanding bookmobiles to Chromebooks, hotspots, and career and tech services, the Library is an equalizing force. In fact, with the Library in your hip pocket (thanks to our handy mobile app), there’s nothing stopping you.

Or did mobile library services come to you? Well more than 76,019 books and other materials were delivered through Books to Go in 2023.

No access to the internet? You can turn to our Chromebooks or Wi-Fi hotspots. In 2023, cardholders checked out 4,279 of the laptop computers and 1,395 hotspots.

See our progress toward closing the digital divide and meeting broad community needs in the Library’s 2023 Annual Impact Report.

The impact evident in that annual report was accomplished through programs that go beyond our core services – and require funds beyond our base of public support. We are so grateful for the generosity of friends like you who make these responsive, accessible programs and resources possible.

Please consider making a gift today to support Library services that are essential to the lives of so many Kansas Citians.