Foundation Stories

Growing up in Port Arthur, TX, I remember my mom had a friend who was a school librarian. She was my first exposure to that career path. Over time, my interest in pursuing that same path blossomed and she became my mentor. Being a librarian always resonated with me through school. I always had a strong curiosity and reflecting now, I am a lifetime learner.

After graduating college, my first job was… a school librarian! I decided to embark on my library career in the city at the origin of the Kansas City Southern Railway line in Kansas City, as Port Arthur was the terminus. My first job was with the Shawnee Mission District. Being a school librarian brought me much joy, as I loved fostering literacy, learning and education with the students.

Flash forward, after taking time off to raise my family, I was appointed to the Johnson County Library Board and was back in the library world. I also subsequently worked with the Johnson County Library Foundation Board for many years, focusing on fundraising to support the Library’s collection and programming.

Now, in retirement, one of my greatest pleasures is reading to my granddaughters. I also volunteer in a school library and my career has come full circle.

Why do I give?
I believe the future of the library is to continue to foster communication. Access to information is vital and facts are the drivers. Some institution has to be in charge of the facts, and I believe that institution is the library.

I feel strongly that our library is important, not just to me, but to all who use it, and even those who don’t. Even if unused, a library stands for something important. I greatly want this institution to endure and prosper.

I continue to volunteer with the Library Foundation, specifically with the “1952 Society: Writing the Library’s Next Chapter”, the planned giving initiative kicking-off this year. Ensuring the future of our Library through planned gifts is vital to me. I would not feel comfortable asking others to make this commitment without first making it myself and have chosen to make a gift to the Library in my will.

To be good stewards of this place we love, we must consider the future. Yes, legacy gifts to the library have always been an option. But today we are making a promise to ourselves, and to our library, that we will work to build the 1952 Society. We will identify and encourage those who care as much as we do to leave a legacy. The name we chose, The 1952 Society, references the past. But, without a doubt, it will be those who look to the future that will insure our library brings value to other lives well beyond our own.

  • Caroline McKnight

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