The Kansas City Public Library, beginning in 1873 as the Public School Library of Kansas City, maintains the core values of literacy, lifelong learning, imagination, intellectual freedom, and service excellence. In recent years public programming has become a major effort along with establishing a wide-spread community of readers. In 2008 the library received the Gold Medal of the Institute of Museum and Library Sciences.
The Missouri Valley Special Collections department was created in 1960 and soon became a center of Kansas City history, plus regional resources on Western exploration, the fur trade, overland trails, and African American history. Through our large book collection and archives, MVSC staff preserves and presents the collections for the public in various ways, including web pages, exhibits, lectures, and classes.
A leader in digitization, the Kansas City Public Library was one of the first public libraries to digitize a major portion of its photograph collection for access online. That goal continues as we select and make available collections as part of the MVSC Digital Gallery.