Westport Branch

Westport Branch

Located in the heart of Westport and only blocks from the Plaza, the historic Westport Branch was the first branch of the Kansas City Public Library, opening its doors to the public in 1898. Today it stands as a prominent landmark in the Midtown community and provides a cozy environment and friendly atmosphere for its many patrons.

The Westport Branch features free Wi-Fi, an easy-access parking lot adjacent to the library, and a spacious meeting room for events and gatherings. It also offers a unique collection of children’s books, music CDs, many fun displays, and a variety of feature films, TV shows, and documentaries on DVD.

When visiting the Westport Branch, be sure to check out our Paperback Exchange: a collection unique to the Westport Branch that showcases both new and classic paperback book titles, all available for checkout without a library card.

Featured Activity at This Branch

Are you interested in learning more about virtual reality? Would you like to know how you could make a virtual reality experience that will create new learning opportunities for your students?

Join the Kansas City Public Library’s Digital Media Lab, KCVR, and Mozilla for an educator focused VR workshop. In this ‘Intro to VR Workshop’, you will learn the basic building blocks of virtual reality and have an opportunity to create your own virtual environment. No coding experience necessary!

Date of Event: 
Wednesday, April 26, 2017 5:30 pm

At this branch

  • Computers: 12 for adults, 3 "express" (15-minute limit)
  • Wireless: Free wireless Internet access.
  • Meeting Rooms: 1 room
  • Passport Services
Between the Lines Book Group

Join the Between the Lines book group for a great discussion each month. This group meets on the first Friday of each month at 12:00pm in the Westport Branch Library Meeting Room. Contact the Westport Branch Library at 816.701.3488 for the group's current reading selection or to reserve your copy of the book!

Library Yoga

Come and join us for our third round of Library Yoga! Sally King, Registered Yoga Teacher 200 Hours, will guide us in six sessions of gentle, calming yoga suitable for all skill levels.

RSVP by April 15th by calling Westport Library at (816) 701-3488. Bring water and a mat, and arrive early to stretch and center yourself.

Participants who attend four of the six sessions will be entered to win prizes!

Needleworks Unlimited

A gathering of needleworks enthusiasts! This group meets every Thursday and works on all kinds of needlework projects (knitting, rug hooking, crochet, applique, needlepoint, embroidery, etc.) No instruction is provided. Just bring a project and have fun!

Preschool Story Time

Come join us for lots of great stories, songs, fun learning activities and even a short movie - all geared for three and four-year-olds.

Story Time for Twos

Come join us for thirty minutes of fun stories, songs, and learning activities!

Please note that the Library does not open until 10 a.m., but story time attendees will be allowed in early for the 9:30 a.m. program.

Tech coach drop-in sessions
Computer Questions?

Get help on Thursdays from 6-7:30 p.m. at Westport Branch. 
Drop-in, no appointment necessary.

Computers will be available or bring your own.
Tech Coaches now available to answer your questions about:
  • Microsoft Word or Excel
  • the internet
  • email
  • formatting a resume
  • online applications
  • syncing your smartphone
  • and so much more!

Passport Services

U.S. Passport application services are available at the Westport Branch. No appointment necessary—services are offered during regular business hours.

There are required documents to bring and other steps to review before your visit. A checklist of materials and details can be found on the Passport Services page.

Branch History

The Story Behind the Westport Library

Welcome to the Historic Westport Library, first branch of the Kansas City Public Library.

Originally named the Allen Library, this beautiful stone and slate building first opened its doors to the Westport community on February 22, 1898, with Margurite Smith as its first librarian.

Now known as the Westport Library, the building still bears Arthur M. Allen’s name above the outside front doors because he played such a large role in the creation of the library. It was Allen who helped discover a surplus of $7,500 in taxes collected for the construction of a horse railroad line between Westport and Kansas City. Allen petitioned the neighborhood and determinedly fought the city in court in order to receive the excess money to build the library.

After finally winning the court battle, the land was purchased for $1,800, and the library built for $5,012. The Westport School Board, of which Allen was a member, allocated a $2,000 budget to stock the library with books. Shortly after, Westport was annexed by Kansas City. The Allen Library became part of the Kansas City Public Library and its first branch.

Over the years, the Westport Library has undergone many changes. In 1912, gas lamps were replaced with electric lights. During 1957-58, the home to the east of the library was demolished and a parking lot added. And most recently, in 1998, the library underwent an extensive renovation. When the work was completed in the spring of 1999, the Westport Library proudly reopened its doors and began another century of service to the community.