Dorri Partain 

On December 5, 1873, the Kansas City School Board decreed the development of a public library for officers, teachers, and students in the district. The first collection available was an eight-volume set of the New American Encyclopedia, placed on a bookcase in the superintendent’s office. The collection would grow to 1,000 books in three years and was now available to anyone who purchased a yearly subscription for $2.00. In 1889, the library moved into a new building at 8th and Oak, and again in 1897 a new building was completed at 9th and Locust, which remained the main location until 1960. A new modern facility at 12th and Oak combined the library with the school district offices. From 1914 to 1988, the Northeast branch was located at Northeast High School. Severing its ties to the school district, a series of new branch libraries are built, with a new North-East branch location opening in 1989 at 6000 Wilson Rd. The Central library moved into a renovated First National Bank building at 10th and Baltimore in 2004. To better serve the Northeast community, the North-East branch was completely remodeled in 2021 and now houses the RISE (Refugee & Immigrant Services & Empowerment) program and offers books in multiple languages.

The helpful staff members of the North-East branch library, 6000 Wilson Rd. welcomed members of the community to a private celebration of the public library system’s 150th anniversary on December 6.  Look for a new logo that is being introduced at celebrations held at branch libraries across the city.
– Photo by Dorri Partain