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Kansas City Public Library

Museums, Galleries and Archives (Local and County Historical Societies, Museums, and Archives)


Located in the historic former headquarters of First National Bank, the Central Library serves as the major resource library for the Kansas City Public Library system. Offering breathtaking galleries and reading rooms, and an ingenious parking garage that looks like a bookshelf, the Central Library is consistently included in lists of the most beautiful public libraries in the United States. The former bank vault is now home to the Stanley H. Durwood film collection, while the old bank's 35-foot ceilings add grandeur to the main reading room. Located on the fifth floor of the Central Library, the Missouri Valley Room is the premiere collection of rare books and one-of-a-kind historical records related to the history of Kansas City. Patrons may use the reading room to view archival and genealogical materials that do not circulate beyond the library.

The reading room offers a quiet place to study local history and genealogy
The main lobby of the library is one of the architectural gems of the city
James Shorridge, Kansas City and How It Grew, 1822-2011-Click the link below for more information about this book
The south wall of the library's free parking garage is known as the Community Bookshelf. The wall was made by creating 25-foot book spines out of mylar signboard for each of the 22 books that were selected by community members in a 2004 contest.


The Kansas City Public Library dates back to 1873 when the public school system allowed citizens to browse its only encyclopedia and borrow books from a single shelf of circulating titles. The city's first dedicated library opened in 1899 at 8th and Oak Street. In 1960, the library operated branches through the city and opened a new central library that included the first special collections department and reading room.

By the 1980s, the library's collections and programming exceeded the capacity of its 1960 facility. In 1999, a commitment of $50 million in public funding and private donations allowed the Central Library to renovate and move into its present location-the former headquarters of First National Bank. The bank was built in 1906 and the move included a multi-year effort to renovate and restore the bank to its original grandeur while converting it into an ideal facility for library programming. The remodel also funded updates and modern conveniences such as custom designed-tables that offer power outlets for portable computers. The library maintains a special collection of videos and a small theater in the former bank vault. It also maintains a small cafĂ© that offers food and drink from local vendors. 


Library History, KCPL Website, accessed 12/20/14

14 West 10th St
Kansas City, MO 64105
Phone Number
Central Library: Monday-Wednesday 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Thursday-Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sunday 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. Missouri Valley Room: Mon-Fri: 9-5; Sat: 10-5
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • Business and Economic Development
  • Local History Societies and Museums
  • Urban History
This location was created on 2014-12-20 by David J. Trowbridge .   It was last updated on 2018-05-17 by Steven Cody Straley .

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