New library director’s intends to ‘hit the ground running’
Royce Kitts prefers to read American classics. He likes the works of Kurt Vonnegut, William Faulkner and Earnest Hemingway. He even makes time to read the latest issue of Marvel Comics' The Green Arrow.
But his favorite book of all time is "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn."
"I grew up in the country and the whole idea of jumping into a raft and going out to do something is not alien to me," Kitts said. "I spent time fishing in a river. It reminds me of what it's like growing up in rural Missouri."
As a youth growing up in Springfield, Mo., Kitts liked the whole idea of having adventures and exploring wildlife on your own terms.
On Sept. 2, Kitts will be starting another adventure as the new director of the Tonganoxie Public Library. He will be replacing Sharon Moreland, who left the position in July after four-and-a-half years of service. Coming with Kitts from his home in Manhattan, will be his wife Miriam and his five-year-old son Harrison.
Kitts is a 2008 graduate of Emporia State University, where he received a master's degree in library science.
The 37-year-old Kitts began his career with books when he took a job working for a rotating book van. He then moved on to indoor libraries, where he has been for seven years. Under a suggestion from a former supervisor, Kitts looked into learning more about the science of librarianship and he decided to pursue his master's degree.
Kitts said he is ready to take the challenge of being the new director, even though he has never been in a managerial position before. He currently works as a reference librarian at the Manhattan Public Library.
"It's something that I've been striving for," he said. "Graduate school prepares you for academic life, not public library life."
Kitts said he planned on continuing much of what Moreland had begun.
"I think the reason that the board hired me was that I would be able to kind of hit the ground running and continue the good things happening at the library and continue the growth at the library," he said.
He hopes he can continue offering the library's patrons the best experience possible.