Kansas City Public Library Wins 2014 Excellence in Library Programming Award

Thursday, April 3, 2014

The honor specifically recognizes the Library's original exhibit Greetings from Kansas City: Postcard Views of a Midwestern Metropolis, 1900-1950 and attendant programming that took place from January 28 through April 29, 2013, at the Central Library and four neighborhood branches.  Greetings from Kansas City was developed and created by the Library's Department of Public Affairs and Missouri Valley Special Collections.

The award, supported by ALA's Cultural Communities Fund, recognizes a library that demonstrates excellence by providing programs that have community impact and respond to community needs.  

The exhibit includes images of 200 vintage postcards from the first half of the 20th century held by the Library's Missouri Valley Special Collections. The exhibit is organized into three categories: business and industry; history and heritage; and entertainment, arts, and culture. Running for five months at the Central Library, the show attracted 7,842 visitors; the guest book was signed by people from 19 states, plus Scotland, and Brazil.

Four Library branch locations hosted related programs presented by local postcard collector  and Northeast News publisher Michael Bushnell, featuring postcard images of sites and scenes from their respective neighborhoods.These efforts "highlighted the cultural diversity of Kansas City," the ALA noted. "The branch programs built upon the programs at the Central Library and reflected eclectic neighborhoods with sizable immigrant populations."

In recognition of the ALA honor, an encore presentation of Greetings from Kansas City opens April 22, 2014, at the Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., for a two-month run.

"We have the most creative and hardworking staff I can imagine," said Library Director R. Crosby Kemper after learning of the award.  "Our vision, shared with the community and supported by many foundations, corporations, and individuals -- particularly the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation -- has been to engage the community around local history, great books and ideas, the best minds of our time, and the important issues of the day. We can't wait to do more!"  

The award, consisting of $5,000 and a citation of achievement, will be presented at the ALA Annual Conference in Las Vegas in June.