As the leading champion of public libraries in the U.S. Senate, U.S. Senator Jack Reed today hosted the director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Crosby Kemper in Rhode Island.
Director Kemper joined Senator Reed on Monday morning for a meeting with chief officers of state libraries from across the nation, including Rhode Island. Following this meeting, Reed and Kemper toured the Newport Historical Society’s Richard I. Burnham Resource Center to meet with librarians, curators, and researchers and to discuss local efforts to expand community engagement at libraries and museums across Rhode Island.
“I’m pleased to bring Director Kemper to the Ocean State today to hear directly from some of our tremendous local librarians, museum curators, and historical experts about how Rhode Island’s network of public libraries and museums are teaming up to promote civic engagement, boost literacy, and bolster public health,” said Senator Reed, who helps oversee federal funding for libraries and museums as a key member of the Appropriations Committee. “Our libraries offer so much more than books. They are community centers that help Rhode Islanders learn new skills, identify opportunities for growth, and find new passions that help enrich our lives. When we invest in our public libraries and museums, we are helping to support and expand opportunities for Rhode Islanders of all ages.”
Crosby Kemper is the sixth director of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Kemper comes to IMLS from the Kansas City Public Library, where as director, he established the library as one of the city’s leading cultural destinations and a hub of community engagement. Under his direction, the library made special event programming a high-profile focus, with more than half a million people attending its evening programs or visiting exhibits in the art galleries. During his tenure, the Kansas City Public Library received multiple awards, including IMLS’s National Medal for Museum and Library Service in 2008.
The Richard I. Burnham Resource Center serves as the main offices of the Newport Historical Society and is home to the Edward W. Kane Library, Hugh D. Auchincloss III Reading Room, and secure collections storage. The collections of the Resource Center document the history of Newport County and consist of approximately 10,000 objects, 12,000 books, over 1,500 linear feet of manuscript materials, and more than 200,000 photographs.
Senator Reed is the leading champion of public libraries in the U.S. Senate. He recently delivered a 10 percent increase in funding for IMLS, including $180 million for library grants to states and $4 million for the information literacy task force in the fiscal year 2023 Consolidated Appropriations law.
The mission of IMLS is to advance, support, and empower America’s museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. The agency carries out its charge as it adapts to meet the changing needs of our nation’s museums and libraries and their communities. IMLS’s mission is essential to helping these institutions navigate change and continue to improve their services.