News & Events - Press Releases

5. Mid-Continent Public Library

Press Contact: Aliza Bran
(202) 414-0798;

Web Site:

Left to right: Alicia Moore, Steven V. Potter, Mrs. Obama.

Left to right: Alicia Moore, Steven V. Potter, Mrs. Obama. Click image for a larger view.

Mid-Continent Public Library serves residents in Jackson, Clay, and Platte counties in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The library system, which turns 50 in 2015, was developed when multiple county and city libraries joined together to provide greater access to the communities they served. Today, the system has 30 branch libraries, 4 automated library locations, the virtual library, and the Midwest Genealogy Center. The system has put a major emphasis on early literacy and on ensuring access to resources that both educate and entertain.

Mid-Continent Public Library Director Steven V. Potter said the organization is honored to receive the National Medal. “I am thrilled that MCPL has been recognized by IMLS,” said Potter. “Our library is dedicated to providing our communities with best possible experience, and this is just a wonderful affirmation of all the hard work that our trustees and staff have put toward that effort.”

Community member Alicia Moore will travel to Washington and share the impact the Mid-Continent Public Library has had on her life during the May 8 celebration. Moore took community libraries into serious consideration as her family considered a move. As a mother of two homeschooled children, she was aware that her children’s school materials would depend heavily on what was available at local institutions. Mid-Continent Public Library’s Homeschoolers @ the Library program in Liberty, Missouri, was the deciding factor. Alicia’s third and fifth graders, Jackson and Katie, use the library for reading resources and to participate in MCPL’s online classes. Each week, she and the kids spend three to four hours at local branches. In addition to using study rooms and checking out books, they attend book clubs, storytimes, magic shows, animal programs, and author events. “As parents, we want to teach our children the value of reading books for both recreation and education. Thankfully, we have found a community oriented library where our children feel comfortable,” Moore said. Watch video of Alicia's story on YouTube. Read transcript (PDF, 51KB)

Praise for the Mid-Continent Public Library:

“The entire Kansas City metropolitan area has benefitted from the Mid-Continent Public Library in so many ways throughout the years. Receiving this prestigious award gives the library and the communities the credit they deserve for providing exceptional, enriching services, and showing unwavering commitment to making their community a better place to live.”  – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (MO)

“From the wide-eyed young to the wise eyes of those a bit older – and all ages in between -- the Mid-Continent Public Library has been serving, educating, and bettering the lives of people throughout Missouri’s Fifth District for many years,”  said U.S. Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II. “This is the highest honor of its kind in the nation, and the Mid-Continent Public Library, as well as all of those so committed to fulfilling its mission, are indeed deserving of this award for excellence.” U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II


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