January 27, 2020. Washington, DC. Crosby Kemper III takes the helm of the Institute of Museum and Library Services as its sixth director today, following his commission by the White House on January 24 and confirmation by the United States Senate on January 10. IMLS, an independent government agency, is the primary source of federal support for the nation's museums and libraries.
"On a daily basis, our libraries and museums bridge, unify, and inspire communities throughout the nation," said Kemper. "I'm honored to have the opportunity to lead the Institute of Museum and Library Services and help ensure that everyone in the United States, wherever located, has access to essential museum, library, and information services."
The IMLS director position is a four-year term alternatively held by individuals with special competence in the library field and those with expertise in museum services. Kemper succeeds Dr. Kathryn K. Matthew, who served as director from 2015 to 2020.
Kemper is a dedicated advocate for education and learning for people of all ages and backgrounds. He 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.
Kemper also recently served as chair of the board of directors of the Schools, Health, & Libraries Broadband Coalition, which supports open, affordable broadband connections for local community organizations.
Kemper's career began in banking; he most recently served as CEO of UMB Financial Corporation. Kemper has received the Difference Maker Award from the Urban League of Kansas City, the William F. Yates Medallion for Distinguished Service from William Jewell College, and the 2010 Harmony Humanitarian Hoffman Legacy Award. His board service has included the Kansas City Symphony, the Black Archives of Mid-America, Union Station Kansas City, and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival.
Kemper is the editor of and a contributor to Winston Churchill: Resolution, Defiance, Magnanimity, Good Will, published by the University of Missouri Press. He holds a bachelor's degree in history from Yale University.
About the Institute of Museum and Library Services
The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's libraries and museums. We advance, support, and empower America's museums, libraries, and related organizations through grantmaking, research, and policy development. Our vision is a nation where museums and libraries work together to transform the lives of individuals and communities. To learn more, visit www.imls.gov and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.