State librarian retires amid record-breaking library-card holders
FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – After serving the Commonwealth of Kentucky as State Librarian and Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) for nine years, Wayne Onkst has retired. Onkst’s career spanned 36 years of serving the public through providing and promoting quality library services and life-long educational opportunities for all ages.
During his tenure as State Librarian, Onkst provided leadership in advancing public library service in every county in the state. With the opening of the McLean County Public Library in 2011, all Kentuckians now enjoy the opportunity to access state-funded public library services in their own community. Last year Kentucky libraries reported a record 2,664,920 library card holders, representing nearly 61 percent of the state’s population.
Recognizing the value of public libraries as an educational partner, Onkst was committed to providing support to public libraries to ensure that all citizens have access to age-appropriate, high-quality educational programs. Last year alone, 1,426,392 children, 113,081 teens and 307,761 adults attended programs at their local public library.
A native of London, Kentucky, Onkst began his career in libraries as a shelver at the Laurel County Public Library. After completing a bachelor’s degree in history from the University of Kentucky (UK) and a master’s degree in library science from the UK School of Library and Information Science, he became a librarian in the Kenton County Public Library system. In 1999, he became director of the Kenton County Library and in 2006 he was appointed to the position of State Librarian by Governor Ernie Fletcher.