Who’s Who of Building a Community of Readers

Name:
Alex Krause

What is your role at the Library?
Building a Community of Readers Project Director

How long have you been with the Library?
Since April 28, 2014

What makes the Kansas City Public Library special?
We have the resources to make a positive impact in the lives of every person in our community regardless of background, ability, or interest.

Where are you from?
Omaha, Nebraska

What do you love most about Kansas City?
I love that everyone here has such apparent Kansas City patriotism and passionate loyalties to the things that make it—from BBQ, to athletics, restaurants, and hometown heroes. (Jack Stack, Sporting KC, Grinders, Paul Rudd)

What is your favorite book?
The Great Gatsby, which may be a cliché, but it’s a classic for a reason. When I lived in Omaha my father and I would fight over this old, shabby, wonderful copy of The Great Gatsby, which has been read and reread by the two of us too many times. I now have my own new copy and it’s totally changed the experience, but I have a trip to Omaha coming up.

What was the moment when you discovered that you are a reader?
Sneaking books in text books in elementary school—The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, The Princess Diaries—all featured a strong, clever, female protagonist.

What does Building a Community of Readers mean to you?
It means helping every person in our community connect and engage with the Library while honoring their individual needs and interests, helping everyone understand the joy of reading, and promoting a lifelong love of learning.

 

Name:
Crosby Kemper

What is your role at the Library?
Director

How long have you been with the Library?
9 1/2 years

What makes the Kansas City Public Library special?
Our great librarians

Where are you from?
Kansas City

What do you love most about Kansas City?
It is the center of the known universe.

What is your favorite book?
Homer's The Odyssey—it’s about a man who spends 10 years coming home to the woman and child he loves.

What was the moment when you discovered that you are a reader?
Probably when I realized The Hardy Boys was a series and I couldn't wait for the next one to come out.

What does Building a Community of Readers mean to you?
Making the city a better place for everyone, giving every child, and every citizen, every neighbor, a sense of the inherited wealth of civilization.

 

Name:
Naphtali Faris

What is your role at the Library?
Early Literacy Manager

How long have you been with the Library?
Almost a year and a half

What makes the Kansas City Public Library special?
Having worked for the Missouri State Library and been privy to the world of libraries in Missouri, I have to say that the breadth of programming at Kansas City Public Library is both unique and expansive. Audiences of all ages are recognized as important. The caliber of presenters is comparable to libraries in larger cities such as New York City or Los Angeles.

Where are you from?
Originally? I was born in Indiana and lived there until I was 14. Then I lived in New York for 7 years. But I've also lived in Kansas, Illinois, and England. So, I guess I'm from all over.

What do you love most about Kansas City?
This city takes its culture seriously. There are vibrant arts, music, and humanities cultures in this community. It's pretty amazing. This city strives to keep itself relevant.

What is your favorite book?
My favorite book of all time is Matilda by Roald Dahl. Witnessing Matilda overcome the circumstances of her life and embrace her intelligence made me feel as though I could wield that kind of control in my own life. It made me an agent of my own existence which is a lesson, I think, all children should learn at some point.

What was the moment when you discovered that you are a reader?
In truth, it was the two times I discovered Roald Dahl and Matilda. I'd been read to my whole life by my librarian mother and academic father. They are both tremendous examples when it comes to being lifelong learners. And books factored heavily into my childhood. But it wasn't until I found the Matilda audiobook on the shelf at the branch library my mother managed and listened to it by myself on my Walkman, did I become my own reader. I felt compelled to read. So, I found all the Roald Dahl books I could and I read them. There was something about how he wrote for children, in a way that respected their intelligence and did not condescend, that made me feel at home with reading. I discovered his books for a second time in college. I wrote my senior thesis on Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And again I found that compulsion to learn and to study and to grasp for more. I also again found that sense of belonging. It was my best piece of writing, hands down.

What does Building a Community of Readers mean to you?
It means reaching out into the community, to all ages, and sharing the joy that comes from learning and reading. Building a Community of Readers is evident in every storytime I do or watch, in the faces of the children as they hear a story or sing a song, and in the joy of interaction between adults and children as they learn together.

 

Name:
Kaite Stover

What is your role at the Library?
Director of Readers' Services

How long have you been with the Library?
8 years

What makes the Kansas City Public Library special?
The staff, the vast collections, the varied events and programs

Where are you from?
New York

What do you love most about Kansas City?
The fountains

What is your favorite book?
I will always re-read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and Marjorie Morningstar by Herman Wouk. And the short story collections of Damon Runyon. All write about typical New Yorkers from diverse backgrounds pursuing their versions of the American Dream in realistic, funny, touching ways.

What was the moment when you discovered that you are a reader?
When I brought A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to the dinner table and my parents didn't bat an eye.

What does Building a Community of Readers mean to you?
Exposing Kansas City's citizens to the pleasures of reading in all facets of their lives.