Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Kansas City Star Editorial Board: Local Public Libraries Thriving

Who needs public libraries?   Hundreds of thousands of people in the Kansas City metro area. (2010 population: 2,035,044.)

The Star’s editorial | Opening the world of books to the young. (Kansas City Star, 10/3/2011)

Excerpt: Read a good book lately — a bound, hardcover copy? Actually, plenty of Kansas Citians have, and that’s part of the reason local libraries in many ways are thriving.

Even with the rising popularity of e-books, circulation numbers are stable at the Kansas City Public Library. By embracing online, the system’s website at kclibrary.org is growing rapidly. And the system’s distinction is its large number of free, fascinating programs it co-sponsors with the help of private donors at its superbly restored downtown facility and its branches.

“We are a virtual library as well as a physical library,” director R. Crosby Kemper III said.

But this region’s good fortunes don’t end there. The Johnson County Library system has won numerous regional and national awards, as has the Mid-Continent Public Library system that serves many Missouri-side suburbs.

All the libraries wisely have collaborated to offer services to residents on both sides of the state line. In a smart step forward, the libraries may allow people to use one metrowide card at all their facilities in a few years, Kemper said

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