June 30, 2022
Beginning today, Assistant Library Director and Chief Operating Officer of Mid-Continent Public Library, Susan Wray, will step into the role of Acting Director for the Library system, following the departure of MCPL Director and CEO Steven V. Potter earlier this week. Potter resigned after 12 years as MCPL director and over three decades with the Library. Wray will serve as MCPL’s Acting Director until the Library’s Board of Trustees selects a permanent candidate to fill the role in the coming months.
“We’re fortunate to have Susan at the helm as Acting Director,” said Joycelyn Tucker Burgo, Chair of the MCPL Board’s Personnel Committee. “Her experience and knowledge are an incredible asset to MCPL, and the Library’s 30+ locations are in great hands under her leadership!”
Wray has spent her entire 30+ year career working in libraries, the last 13 with MCPL and 12 of those as MCPL’s Assistant Director and COO. Prior to MCPL, Wray spent four years as the Director of Joplin Public Library, and the nine years before that in a variety of positions at Kansas City Public Library. From cataloging books and managing day-to-day branch operations, to writing grants and overseeing finances, Wray’s professional experience spans nearly every facet of public librarianship.
“Working in public libraries is not only my job but my passion,” said Wray. “It’s an honor to have the opportunity to serve the public, and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to lead this organization that means so much to so many people.”
As the Assistant Library Director, Susan oversees the Library’s Youth Services, Community Programming, Collection Development, Technical Services, Information and Reader Services, and Safety and Security Departments. She was instrumental in launching numerous innovative system-wide initiatives, including MCPL’s Student Card program. She also helped spearhead MCPL’s participation in the Job Skills for New Careers initiative, a partnership between the Truman Heartland Community Foundation, MCPL, the Community Services League, and the University of Central Missouri, which brings training and educational opportunities for jobs that provide livable wages and growth in the region.
In addition to her work for MCPL, Susan is an active member of numerous professional and public service organizations, including the Rotary Club of Eastern Independence, which she is a Past President and was selected for the Rotarian of the Year Bob Jones Memorial Award. She is also the current Vice President of the Junior Service League of Independence, and is a member of the American Library Association, Public Library Association, and Missouri Library Association, where she has served on many committees and held various leadership positions. In 2020, Susan was recognized as a Woman of Distinction by The Examiner for her work with the Library and in the community.
Susan is a graduate of the University of Missouri–Columbia where she earned her Master of Library Science. Outside of her professional and civic commitments, she enjoys spending time with her fiancé and daughter and is an avid reader, traveler, and baker.
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