From the Kansas City Public Library:
Crosby Kemper III, who helped redefine the role of public libraries in nearly 15 years as executive director of the Kansas City Public Library, is assuming leadership of the Washington, D.C.-based Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The U.S. Senate on Thursday, January 9, 2020 confirmed his nomination as director by President Donald Trump.
IMLS, an independent federal agency established in 1996, is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums through grant-making, research, and policy development.
Kemper becomes the agency’s sixth director, succeeding Kathryn “Kit” Matthew. He will serve a four-year term.
“I am honored,” he said. “This is really a tribute to the wonderful work of the board and staff of the Kansas City Public Library and the place of leadership libraries in Kansas City have taken nationally.”
Kemper’s tenure has brought KCPL an array of awards including the IMLS’ National Medal for Museum and Library Service and 5-Star designations by Library Journal in 2013, 2016, and 2017. Kemper himself was accorded the Difference Maker Award from the Urban League of Kansas City.
President Trump nominated him for the IMLS position on November 13. The directorship of the institute alternates between individuals from the museum and library communities.
U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri lauded Kemper’s appointment. “He has a deep-seated appreciation for the historical, cultural, and educational value museums and libraries have in local communities,” Blunt said at the time of the nomination. “For the many years I’ve known Crosby, he’s been actively engaged in numerous civic organizations, all of which have made our state an even better place to live and work. His background in public service and business will be an asset to the Institute of Museum and Library Services.”
Said American Library Association President Wanda Brown, “Libraries and museums are community anchors across America; to thrive, they require strong leadership that will represent the interests of everyone. One thing is certain: Crosby knows his community and has done a good job bringing in a diversity of programs so there is something for everyone in Kansas City. He will bring that community work, along with his business acumen and extensive museum experience, to bear at the national level.”
From the Kansas City Star 2016
The personal library of R. Crosby Kemper III rivals that of many public libraries. He gives a tour of his book-filled loft home in the Crossroads District.