Library Life

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Whether absorbed in solitary research or standing at a podium, enlightening a roomful of listeners on some aspect of local African-American history, Joelouis Mattox was a familiar -- and eternally welcome – face at the Kansas City Public Library.
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What is the Ruiz Seed Library?
The Ruiz Seed Library began in 2014 and offers free fruit, vegetable, herb, and flower seeds to all library patrons.  Additionally, the Seed Library houses a special collection of gardening books, which are available for checkout, subscribes to several gardening magazines, has created gardening-related programs for children, and offers free monthly gardening workshops to gardeners of all skill levels. ­
A sequence of 10 relief prints by KCAI associate professor Laura Berman overlooks a nearby bank of computer stations in ONENORTH.
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Step through the double-leaf bronze doors of the Kansas City Public Library’s downtown Central Library, and you'll encounter more than just books. Artwork adorns the walls. Sculptures lend accent.

To Immigrants With Love postcards
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On Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017, Kansas Citians young and old, from all different walks of life and backgrounds, came to Central Library, 14 W. 10th St., with one common goal in mind: to show support for immigrants and refugees in the Kansas City community.
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Diane Swanson gave 44 years of service to the Kansas City Public Library, including a decade and a half as director of its bustling Plaza Branch. Even after her death, the quiet, keenly intellectual librarian has continued to give – a $1 million bequest that is the largest one-time gift from an individual in the Library’s history.

It forms the new Swanson Strategic Endowment Fund, authorized by the Library’s board of trustees this week. Set up through the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, it will be used to “highlight the riches of our collections and spread the word in the community about the great services provided by the Library, the kinds of things that Diane Swanson did all of her career,” Library Director Crosby Kemper III says.

The gift “helps the Library to maintain and enhance those offerings,” Kemper says.

Swanson, the daughter of former Western Auto Supply Co. president and CEO Arthur Swanson, rose through the Library’s ranks over a career that spanned from 1958 to her retirement in 2002. Most of that time was spent in management positions at the Plaza Branch, which she oversaw as director from 1985 to 2000.

Born in the Chicago area, she graduated from Northwestern University and went on to earn a graduate degree in library science from the University of Denver.

F Company, 24th Infantry, at Fort Bayard, New Mexico, 1892 (Original Image Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration)
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The Missouri Valley Special Collections recently completed the processing of the Frank Schubert Buffalo Soldiers Collection, containing the research files, speeches and presentations, manuscripts and articles, and photographs compiled by historian Frank (Mickey) Schubert.
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The Kansas City Public Library has revived a colorful slice of downtown history.

A reproduction of Thomas Hart Benton’s 1947 mural “Achelous and Hercules” – true to the 22-foot-long, more than five-foot high dimensions of the original – now graces the first floor of the Central Library. On permanent display outside the Genevieve Guldner Gallery, it returns an image that famously adorned the old Harzfeld’s Department Store just a few blocks away.
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A collection of everyone’s favorite 2016 YFE moments.
Jessica Kindcaid's "Heaven and Earth," created in 2006, was inspired by a dream the artist had when she was in her early teens.
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Tucked amid the other amenities of the Kansas City Public Library’s downtown Central Library — the shelves of popular new books in stately Kirk Hall, the inviting environs of the children’s library and the array of resources available in the business and career center — are a couple of gleaming art galleries.
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As a digital inclusion leader, the Kansas City Public Library provides many ways to engage in digital learning, including a Digital Media Lab for teens, over 300 public access computers available over a ten branch system, recurring computer classes and one-on-one tutoring through our new volunteer Tech Coach program as well as Career Online High School and a Hotspots program in partnership with the local school district.  When we discovered learning circles through Peer 2 Peer University, the doors opened to yet another exciting avenue for digital learning!
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The Kansas City Public Library has been making a lot of changes recently that are improving the experience for you, our patrons.

First, we updated our website. Next, we began implementing a new tagging system for library materials. And now we are changing our online catalog system. 

The catalog allows you to search our materials, place holds on items, and interact with your account. The system will allow you to interact with our library staff more easily, create themed lists, review books, and share your recommendations within the library community.
Image courtesy KCPT
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Centropolis, a new program from KCPT-TV, is an ongoing conversation about ideas, books, characters, and the absorbing issues of our times. The title comes from William Gilpin, a 19th-century mapmaker and early booster of Kansas City, who believed that civilization’s capital would be an area of greater Kansas City he called “Centropolis.”
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Kansas City Public Library has been selected by Peer to Peer University to participate in the next phase of its global expansion. 
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From the outside, Herman Lang’s scrapbook looks like any other nondescript, old book.  He created it a little over a century ago as a record of one his hobbies.  However, this is no ordinary scrapbook.  Inside, it contains a story of adventure, suspected espionage, and balloons. 
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The Kansas City Public Library will begin temporarily closing its branches in early November 2016 to upgrade its checkout system. The staggered closures will allow staffers to install new Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags on books and other materials available to patrons. The process will last into early 2017.

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