Kerry Onstott Storey’s long love of libraries has driven her involvement on the Library’s Board of Trustees – and beyond. She and her husband Bob came to Topeka in the 1970s and getting a library card was one of the first things she did. She remembers her first Friends Book Sale experience and said the wait in the rain was worth it. She now volunteers at the Book Sale.
“I loved reading from such an early age this involvement just felt natural,” she said. “When Mayor Bunten asked me, I was very honored and excited to be part of this institution that I have loved so long. When I leave this position next April, I will take a boatload of experience and education with me. I will truly miss it.”
There are major responsibilities for a trustee that include setting the budget and policy for the library. It also required Onstott Storey to provide leadership during a challenge to four health reference books on sex, when she chaired the board of trustees in 2009. To help resolve the challenge, she facilitated two public hearings where many spoke out on both sides of the issue.
“It amazed me that I could do this. I’m not a confrontational person, but I was able to keep my cool. I’m proud of what we accomplished.”
Her time on the board has given her an understanding how the community uses the library, citing the 38,000 hours the meeting rooms were used in 2011. She’s also enthusiastic about the Overson-Campbell Homework Center, free computer training, the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery and movie nights at the library.
She is past board member of the Kansas Library Trustees Association. She also chairs the Women’s Auxiliary Group at Stormont-Vail HealthCare and volunteers for her church.
The retired state government worker is also frequent customer of the library, relying heavily on the mystery section and the new books offerings.
“I’m always on the wait list for 6 to 16 new bestsellers,” she said. “In all my encounters with staff, they have never ceased to help and impress me with their friendliness and expertise.”