The Kansas City Public Library is a public system headquartered in the Central Library in Kansas City, Missouri.

The system operates its Central Library and neighborhood branches located in Kansas City, Independence, and Sugar Creek. Founded on December 5, 1873, it is the oldest and third largest public library system in the Kansas City metropolitan area.

Its special collections, housed in the Central Library's Missouri Valley Room, has a collection of Kansas City local history, including original and published materials, news articles, post cards, photographs, maps, and city directories dating from the community's earliest history. The Library's Ramos Collection includes books, pamphlets, journal articles, and other materials relating to African-American history and culture.

In November 1873 a public library was conceived by the Kansas City Board of Education by arranging a course of six popular lectures as a fundraiser to buy books.[1] Superintendent of schools, Dr. James Michlejohn Greenwood, selected these first books. A record of the origin of the Kansas City Public Library was solicited by Major L. K. Thacher via a Board resolution, adopted on November 19, 1891, resulting in the pamphlet titled A history of the Kansas City Public Library from 1873 to 1893. Prepared by order of the Board of Education by J. M. Greenwood, December 1, 1892.[2][3]: 5 

...at all times one grand object has been kept steadily in view, that Kansas City was quietly laying the foundation for one of the best libraries in the entire country ... that would reflect great credit on the enterprise, perseverance and intelligence of those farsighted citizens who started this movement during one of the greatest financial depressions ever known in the history of the country.

— James Michlejohn Greenwood[3]: 5–6 
^ Whitney, Carrie Westlake (1908). "The Free Public Library". Kansas City, Missouri: Its History and Its People 1808-1908. Vol. 1. Chicago: S.J. Clarke Publishing Co. p. 349. Retrieved April 23, 2020. ^ Greenwood, James Michlejohn (December 1, 1892). A history of the Kansas City Public Library from 1873 to 1893. Prepared by order of the Board of Education by J. M. Greenwood, December 1, 1892. ^ a b Wright, Purd B. (1937). Historical Sketch of the Kansas City Public Library, 1911-1936. Retrieved April 23, 2020.
Photographies by:
Dean Hochman from Overland Park, Kansas, U.S. - CC BY 2.0
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