(Kansas City, Missouri) - Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, whose journey from her Kenyan homeland took her to the deputy directorship of the Kansas City Public Library and leadership positions in a number of community organizations, has been selected by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City as the recipient of its 2015 President's Award.
The award for "outstanding and dedicated service to the citizens of Kansas City" was presented at the 46-year-old chapter's annual Community Luncheon on Tuesday, January 13, 2015.
Buckner's career with the Library spans nearly a quarter of a century, and she has spent the past nine years overseeing day-to-day operations as deputy executive director. She supervised the design and renovation of several Library facilities including the L.H. Bluford Branch, the H&R Block Business & Career Center at the downtown Central Library, Central's colorful Children's Library, and the Truman Forum auditorium at the Plaza Branch. She oversaw the development and launch of the award-winning Civil War on the Western Border website. And she is spearheading the Library's ongoing involvement in a community-wide effort to bridge the digital divide in Kansas City by expanding underserved residents' access to computer and Internet access.
The SCLC noted Buckner's "professional leadership, innovative ideas, dedication, passion for her work, and advocacy for equal access for all." She joined the Library in 1990 and, prior to becoming deputy director, was its director of information technology.
Buckner also has been instrumental in the revitalization of the Black Archives of Mid-America, overseeing the first permanent exhibit in the Kansas City area on the history of African Americans in the city. She currently is vice chair of the organization's board of directors.
Additionally, she is president of the Mid-American Library Alliance council and serves on the boards of the Kansas City Public School Retirement System and the KC STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Alliance. She recently was appointed to the Chancellor's African American Leaders Council at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Born and raised in a family of 11 children in the ranch town of Eldoret in western Kenya, Buckner completed high school there and followed two brothers to the United States and Central Missouri State University (now the University of Central Missouri) in 1983. She speaks multiple languages including her native Nandi, Swahili, and English.