Steven Potter of Mid-Continent Public Library closes chapter as director and CEO

Steve Potter

Steve Potter of MCPL. // Photo Courtesy of Mid-Continent Public Library

Steven V. Potter—CEO and director of the Mid-Continent Public Library—has announced he will be retiring this summer. After 34 years at the library, Potter will be closing this chapter.

Potter has served Mid-Continent in many ways since his joining in 1988—from shelving books to managing day branch operations, cataloging items, or performing administrative functions.

The MCPL operates 35 service locations and serves more than 850,000 residents across Jackson, Clay, and Platte Counties. Founded in 1965, Mid-Continent is the largest library system in the Kansas City metropolitan area. MCPL strives to enrich citizens and communities with expanded access to information, ideas, and inspiration.

“It has been my great honor to serve this library, and I know staff will continue to provide great service in my absence,” says Potter.

Potter’s effective leadership over the past 12 years as director can be observed in his book, co-authored with John Huber, The Purpose-Based Library. In this work, Huber and Potter demonstrate how libraries can best serve their communities by adapting their offerings to people’s needs.

“Mr. Potter has been an exceptionally effective leader and strong advocate for libraries, and Mid-Continent Public Library is well-respected and nationally renowned as a direct result,” says MCPL Board Member Joycelyn Tucker Burgo.

Potter’s people-focused approach to library improvement has ushered in many significant achievements for the MCPL, including the launching the much-improved MyMCPL website, establishing The Story Center at MCPL, winning the IMLS National Medal for Museum and Library Service, increasing the library’s funding for the first time in over three decades, and the inception of the Capital Improvement Plan—currently in progress.

The Capital Improvement Plan kicked off in 2018 with objectives for enhancing all MCPL branches as well as the addition of two locations. The plan is now nearly complete with construction projects at Green Hills Library Center, Lee’s Summit Branch on Oldham Parkway, the North Oak Branch building, and expansion of the Woodneath Library Center underway.

Potter also serves on the Board of Directors for the Amigos Library and EveryLibrary Institute. He is an officer of the Mid-America Library Alliance (MALA) and Missouri Public Library Directors, and he is a member of the Missouri Library Association, Public Library Association, and American Library Association.

“I really look forward to benefiting from Mid-Continent Public Library’s service as a customer for the first time since 1988,” says Potter.

 

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