Meet the Board: Jacqueline Kelly

Jacqueline Kelly stands in front of library book shelvesJacqueline Kelly, Columbia and Boone County Library District Board Member

Before moving to Boone County in the 1970s, Jacqueline Kelly taught cultural geography to junior high school students, served as the university director of pre-college programs for high school students (Upward Bound) and worked for the State of Missouri as a management consultant. She earned both her MBA and doctorate from MU. During the ‘80s she worked for AT&T, first as an organizational development consultant and later as a manager in HR and sales. For 14 years, Jacqueline directed a program for small businesses at the University of Missouri before retiring in 2013. Since then, she has served on several boards with the City of Columbia and the Trulaske College of Business at MU as well as volunteering on MU’s Black History Month Committee and the Missouri University Retiree Association’s scholarship committee. She also enjoys her hobbies — power walking, reading and international travel. Over her lifetime, her travels have taken her to most countries in the world.

What was your favorite book from childhood?

As a young girl, I always dreamed of traveling internationally and learning about diverse cultures; therefore, I was inclined to read travel-related books and books about various cultures. As an undergraduate at Indiana University, Bloomington, I would dine with international students, converse about their culture from my reading and travel vicariously through the students. As a kid, I was also attracted to books about gingerbread characters. “The Little Gingerbread Man” was captivating. It was about a magical character who comes to life after being tossed into the oven and runs as fast as he can to escape whoever tried to eat him.

What is one of your cherished personal library memories?

On Sundays, I worked in the AV department at the Bloomington Public Library. It was a wonderful experience! I was able to listen to classical music, which was very relaxing after a week of classes, often very stressful. The ambience of the library contributed to my enjoyment. I could hardly wait for Sundays to come so I could go to the library, a serene environment.

What book would you recommend others read and why?

There are so many books I would recommend to others for their own enjoyment and learning about other cultures, many of which I read for my book club and other special interest groups I’m involved with. A few I’d suggest are “Weaving Women’s Lives,” which addresses three generations in a Navajo family; “Secrets We Kept;” “A Gentleman in Moscow;”  and “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek.”

Why are libraries important to our community? 

Libraries are enormous sources of information. DBRL, particularly, is inclusive; it welcomes everyone! It’s a gem!

What makes DBRL different from other libraries you’re acquainted with?

DBRL is extremely welcoming, has a relaxing atmosphere, provides a range of excellent services and is most accommodating. It has phenomenal outreach programs. When my husband’s 99-year-old mother was in the nursing home, I observed books being delivered to residents by DBRL staff I still remember the smile and joy I felt when I saw the vehicle.

Name one library accomplishment that stands out to you?

My tenure on the board of trustees is relatively new; however, I am in my second term on the DBRL Foundation board. The Foundation raises funds to benefit library services. In 2021, it raised funds to support the school readiness program, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten.

Why were you interested in serving on the library board of trustees?

My interest in serving on the board emanates from my love of books. My membership on the board allows me to make a greater impact in the community and make policies and decisions for the common good.

Each library board member serves on his or her own district board as well as on the Daniel Boone Regional Library board, which is the governing body responsible for policy-making and fiscal oversight.