150th Anniversary of the Kansas City Public Library

The English-Speaking Union Salutes The Kansas City Public Library’s 150th Anniversary!

December 5, 2023, marks the 150th anniversary of the Kansas City Public Library. Founded in 1873, the library will celebrate its sesquicentennial all year long in 2024.

CEO John Herron says, “Many people in today’s digital age have a very traditional understanding — and by traditional I mean limited understanding — of what a library can do for them.”

When the library opened in 1873 it was nothing like it is now. The selection of books was simply an incomplete set of encyclopedias on a single shelf.

Herron says it’s even so much different from what it was just a few years ago. “There is a range of services that anybody who wants to start a business, you want to get a passport, you want to learn about a new activity, you want to increase your financial literacy or your health literacy,” Herron continued. “All that can happen at a public library.”

Resources and services have evolved over 150 years, but the library’s commitment remains the same. To inform and inspire. To enrich and empower. Throughout 2024 the library will be reflecting on its past, observing its present, and looking to the next century and a half of continued service to the people of Kansas City.

The English-Speaking Union Kansas City Branch has been a long-time partner and advocate for the Kansas City Public Library. The ESU congratulates the KCPL on its 150th anniversary and wishes continued growth and success for many years to come.