Librarian helping a student
Microphone in recording studio
UMKC University Libraries


Annual Report

Print version available (PDF)

Library people doing library things

We’ve had lots of new people join us this year, lots of folks moving up in the world, and some trying new things within the Libraries.

Genevia Chamblee-Smith

Genevia Chamblee-Smith

Digital Projects Fellow

Library people doing library things

We’ve had lots of new people join us this year, lots of folks moving up in the world, and some trying new things within the Libraries.

Harry Brewster
harry brewster

Harry Brewster

Night & Weekend Library Information Specialist

Staff member icon

Sai Jonnalagadda

Part-time Library Information Specialist

Staff member icon

Sarah Wunder

Part-time Library Information Specialist

Courtney Strimel

Teaching & Learning Librarian

Becky Briggs Becker

Becky Briggs Becker

University Archivist

Megan Oliver
Megan Oliver

Mēgan Oliver

Head of Digital Projects

Tony Labat

Dr. Anthony LaBat

Operations & Processing Associate

Cindy Thompson

Dr. Cindy Thompson

Dean of Libraries

Gail Williams

Interlibrary Loan Manager

Liz Johnson

Liz Johnson

Senior Library Information Specialist Electronic Resources & Acquisitions

Lynn Gullickson Spencer
Lynn Gullickson Spencer

Lynn Gullickson Spencer

Head of Cataloging & Metadata

Michael Bednar

Merlin/MOBIUS Reserves Library Information Specialist

Bryanna Beasley

Library Information Specialist Music/Media Library

Staff member icon

Paul Wagner

Senior Library Information Specialist Supervisor

Tracey Hughes

Tracey Hughes

Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Sandy Rodriguez

Sandy Rodriguez

Associate Dean, Special Collections & Archives

Kelley Martin

Kelley Martin

Librarian III

Story of the year

People standing at desk
Miller Nichols Library Learning Center

Making History

Preserving history and making it at the same time, the award-winning student project “Making History: The Rise of Gay Rights in Kansas City” found itself at the center of controversy early this year. While on display by the Missouri State Museum at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, a complaint from a congressional aide cut the exhibition short. The censorship of this vital historical content attracted wide attention, including new interest that led to fabrication of a second traveling version of the exhibit. Since its removal, the exhibit has, instead, traveled throughout Missouri, on display at museums, libraries, and community and business centers.

“Making History” reveals Kansas City’s role in the organization of the early gay rights movement, and tells the story of contributions of “ordinary people who accomplished extraordinary things.” It was collaboratively curated in 2016 by students in UMKC’s History department, under the guidance of their professor and UMKC Libraries archivists. The students received a National Council on Public History award for their work.

The journey that the exhibit undertook after being removed from the state Capitol resulted in a number of new ways for users to engage with it and sparked new partnerships and projects.

Grants & Gifts

We’re grateful for the support we’ve received through the year from our many generous donors and library supporters. Make your contribution today.

H. Vincent Jones, Jr. gift for Digital Special Collections
Gifts in honor of John Tangeman for Marr Sound Archives
Gifts for Gay and Lesbian Archive of Mid-America
Gifts from Isaac Rena Jonathan’s American Century Fund
Gifts for the Starr Women's Hall of Fame
Gift from Dr. Elizabeth Noble for library services


We’ve been thrilled to have The Richard L. Sutton, Jr. Geosciences Museum join us on the third floor of the library, moving in their collection of rocks, minerals, and fossils, and making a surprisingly sparkly addition to the library as well as an educational one.

Geosciences Museum
Sabertooth tiger skull

State Historical Society of Missouri

We welcome our partners at the State Historical Society of Missouri’s Kansas City Research Center to the third floor of Miller Nichols Library in the fall of 2021, bringing their collections and services under the same roof as the University Libraries for the first time. And, we are now enjoying one heck of a view from those windows. 🥰

Finding Your Way

An entirely new system of wayfinding signage was devised for the Libraries, focused on improving accessibility and user experience for everyone who visits our spaces. We redesigned and replaced our building directories, floor plan maps, and signage throughout every floor of the library that assists users looking for library destinations from classrooms to technology workstations. The project started at Miller Nichols Library and is making its way to the Health Sciences Library this year.

Room 310B

Private study

3 new private study spaces, including a large conference room that seats up to 12 people.

Students working in the Studio

Technology Experts

Helpful graduate assistants from Digital & Public Humanities

Digital Collaboration Studio

The new Digital Collaboration Studio, another addition to the library’s third floor, is a collaborative effort of that includes the Center for Digital and Public Humanities (a partner of the Libraries). The space supports the use of digital primary source materials and artifacts for teaching, learning, and scholarship.

Large stud area with seating and tables

Large collaboration space

Open work area for groups or individuals

Reservable Spaces

Students and instructors can reserve the collaboration spaces online

Wall mounted computer monitor

Collaboration monitors

Each study station has a screen that you can connect to for sharing and presenting

Recording studio and equipment

Recording Studio

Brand new facility that supports audio and video recording

Health Sciences Library

Study and work areas at the Health Sciences Library were improved by painting the entire space for the first time in decades and installing brand new furniture. While we hope to renovate the library more extensively soon, we are glad to make incremental upgrades.

Scholarships & Awards

Profile of winner

Hunter Miesner

2022 Friends of the Library Scholarship. May 2022

People looking at items on desk

LaBudde Special Collections

Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Community Engagement. May 2022

Myisha Sims leaning against a tree

Myisha Sims

Winner of Living the Values Award March 2022

Profile image of awardee

Anna Pogorelova

2022 Martha Jane Starr Research Award May 2022


Dr. Anthony LaBat was awarded 3 grants from notable agencies totaling $4,435, to support his attendance at the Georgia Archives Institute 

Tony Labat

Building relationships for engaged learning

Celebrating Luyben Music

When a longtime Kansas City destination for instruments and sheet music donated its archive to LaBudde Special Collections, Luyben Music had recently relocated from its historic location, leaving devoted customers without a final opportunity to visit. The students of the UMKC Conservatory’s Advanced Research and Bibliography class stepped in to offer an opportunity for connection.

Assisted by the professors teaching the class and the LaBudde Special Collections team, we were able to celebrate 70 years of Luyben Music, display the photographs, advertisements, articles, and other items in the newly donated collection, give everyone a chance to gather once more, and show the Conservatory students how archives support the communities they represent every day.

Personal Librarians

Our Personal Librarian program is live and taking off, building relationships and creating more engaged learning. This new program offers students the chance to be matched with a librarian, connecting them with a name and face at the Libraries. The goal is to personalize using the Library and all of its resources, making that process more accessible, effective, and even enjoyable for students.

Big Numbers This Year

People standing at desk
Miller Nichols Library Learning Center
Library visits
Website views
Database searches per day
Full-text article views
Items borrowed through Interlibrary Loan
Archival collections viewed online
Student raising hand
Students in library instruction classes
One-on-one research consultations
Cups of coffee*

*rough estimate

Streaming video request

Streaming video request

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Case dimensions: 5’ long x 30” wide x 9” high sitting atop 3’ legs

Glass exhibit table


The First Floor Gallery is located just inside the main entrance of the Miller Nichols Library.

Wall with exhibit content

Conference Room 325

Located on the Third Floor of Miller Nichols Library. For access, enter the library at the north ground floor entrance or the west first floor entrance. Then take the stairs or the elevator to the third floor..

Map of third floor of Miller Nichols Library
The fourth floor of Miller Nichols Library is closed for renovation until Fall 2025.
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