The mission of the Missouri Public Library Hall of Fame is to recognize historically-significant contributions to the improvement of Missouri public libraries. Additionally, the Hall of Fame serves to educate librarians and the public about the tremendous foundation created by previous generations of Missouri public librarians.

Class of 2021 Honorees

1. Susanna Alexander (1917-2003) – served as director of the Columbia Public Library/Daniel Boone Regional Library from 1955 to 1965, and then as Associate State Librarian from 1966 to 1982. Read full biography.

2. Arthur E. Bostwick (1860-1942) – served as director of the St. Louis Public Library from 1909 to 1938. Read full biography.

3. Charles H. Compton (1880-1966) – served as assistant director of the St. Louis Public Library from 1921 to 1938, and director from 1938 to 1950. Read full biography.

4. Frederick M. Crunden (1847-1911) – served as the first director of the St. Louis Public Library from 1893 to 1911. He was also the first president of the American Library Association in 1889. Read full biography.

5. James A. Leathers (1931-1981) – served as director of the Jackson County Public Library, and later Mid-Continent Public Library, from 1961-1981. Read full biography.

6. Elizabeth B. Wales (1869-1937) – served as Missouri’s first State Librarian from 1907-1920. Read full biography.

7. Carrie W. Whitney (1854 – 1934) – served as the first director of the Kansas City Public Library from 1881 to 1910. Read full biography.

8. Purd B. Wright (1860-1947) – founded and served as the first director of the St. Joseph Public Library from 1890 to 1910, and served as director of the Kansas City Public Library from 1911-1937. Read full biography.

9. Virginia G. Young (1919-2005) – served as a trustee for the Columbia Public Library/Daniel Boone Regional Library for fifty years and author of “The Library Trustee: A Practical Guide,” which was one of the leading works in the field. Read full biography.

Nomination Criteria

Consideration of a nominee is based on their contributions to the Missouri public library community.

Some examples of contributions to the Missouri public library community include:

  • Displayed significant leadership to the Missouri public library community
  • Successfully lobbied for the passage of state laws to create new units of public library service or new sources of library funding
  • Successfully worked to create larger units of public library service
  • Successfully worked to create public libraries in areas previously without library service
  • Served in leadership capacities in professional organizations, committees, divisions, consortia, and related organizations in Missouri and/or representing Missouri libraries on the national level
  • Successfully worked to create new regional or statewide networks, consortia, or services
  • Consistently offered innovative new services and served as a model for the Missouri public library community

Consideration of a nominee is not based on their length of service.

A nominee does not have to be a library director.

A nominee does not have to hold a master’s degree in library science.

A nominee must be retired or deceased.

A nominee must have worked at a Missouri public library.

The inaugural class (2021) will consist of nine (9) inductees, followed by up to three (3) new inductees each year.

Nomination and Selection Process

The Hall of Fame Committee will nominate individuals for consideration each year.

A library or individual can also nominate a Missouri public librarian for the Hall of Fame by emailing the nominee’s name, along with a brief synopsis (200-300 words in length) of the nominee’s qualifications, to Steve Campbell, Chair, at swcampbell@scenicregional.org. The nomination deadline is January 15.

The Committee will research the qualifications of each nominee; consider each nominee’s qualifications; and vote to decide whether or not to induct the nominee.

The Hall of Fame Selection Committee will consist of a minimum of three (3) members appointed by the president of the Missouri Public Library Directors. Committee members must be members of the Missouri Public Library Directors.

The Hall of Fame Committee members will serve two-year terms. Committee members may be re-appointed. There are no term limits for Committee members.

2021-2022 Hall of Fame Selection Committee

      Rachel Grime, Little Dixie Regional Library

      Stacey Embry, Morgan County Library

      Tony Benningfield, Jefferson County Library

      Jami Livingston, Adair County Library

      Steve Campbell (Chair), Scenic Regional Library

HOF-Application

  • Application period will close on January 15, 2021

  • NOMINEE INFORMATION

    Please include information about the person you are nominating below.
  • NOMINATION STATEMENT

  • Please include the following:

    • an individual's record of leadership in the Missouri Public Library and/or other statewide library group(s) or institution(s)
    • the historical importance and impact of the person's lifetime achievement in improving Missouri library services
    • the person's contribution to improving library services at the national level
    • the nomination statement should be between 200 and 300 words in length

Induction

Once an individual has been inducted, the Committee will conduct additional research and write an official biographical sketch of the inductee.

If the inductee is living, the Committee will contact the inductee and invite them to be present and speak briefly at the induction event.

The Committee will attempt to contact family members or colleagues of deceased inductees to notify them of the induction. A family member or colleague will be invited to be present and speak briefly at the induction.

Nominees will be inducted into the Missouri Public Library Hall of Fame at the June Missouri Public Library Directors’ meeting each year.

Each inductee’s biographical sketch and photograph(s) will be placed on the Hall of Fame website.