By John Sharp
Susan Wray, the assistant director and chief operating officer of the Mid-Continent Public Library (MCPL) system for the last 12 years, began her new role as acting director of the system on July 1 following the retirement of Steven Potter as director and CEO.
Wray will serve as acting director until MCPL’s Board of Trustees hires a new director in the coming months.
As assistant director, Wray has overseen collection development, community programming, information & reader services, safety & security, technical services and youth services. Before coming to MCPL she served four years as director of the Joplin Public Library.
“Working in public libraries is not only my job but my passion,” said Wray.
Wray is a graduate of the University of Missouri – Columbia where she earned her master of library science degree.
“Her experience and knowledge are an incredible asset to MCPL, and the library’s 30 plus locations are in great hands under her leadership,” said Jocelyn Tucker Burgo, chair of the Board’s personnel committee.
During his 12-year tenure as director and CEO, Potter oversaw the 2016 passage of Proposition L, the first increase in MCPL’s property tax levy in over three decades. Its passage allowed MCPL to launch a capital improvement plan in 2018 to modernize and expand or replace all its branches and add two new branches.
In the southland, both the Blue Ridge and Grandview branches have been totally renovated, and the Grandview branch also has been significantly enlarged. The Red Bridge branch has been replaced with a larger state-of-the-art facility.
Passage of Proposition L also allowed MCPL to expand branch hours, enlarge its collection of books and other learning materials including online resources and to expand early literacy and other special programming.