Longtime Library Director JC Morgan Retires

JC Morgan has helmed Campbell County Public Library for two decades as director. On Nov. 22, he will officially retire from the position.

Following his retirement from CCPL, Morgan will assume the role of the first state director of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library in Kentucky.

Chantelle Phillips, CCPL’s current assistant director, will take over as interim director during the library’s search.

Looking Back at JC Morgan’s Career

Since the time Morgan stepped into the role on Jan. 2, 2003, he has seen the library through the rapid technology changes of the 2000s, the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of Morgan’s first duties was overseeing the construction of the Newport Branch; he also expanded hours and staff shortly after assuming the role of director.

“One of the first complaints I heard was about the lack of Sunday hours,” says Morgan. “So, that was one of the first changes I made. Later on, we expanded our Friday hours as well. Making the library more available to people is important to me.”

The Cold Spring and Carrico/Fort Thomas branches were both expanded under Morgan’s helm, too. The Alexandria Branch was introduced in 2018.

Buildings weren’t the only thing that saw changes. In December of 2006, CCPL began circulating e-books. Annual e-book circulation has increased from 461 to around 260,000 since that first year.

“I don’t see e-reading as a threat to libraries,” says Morgan. “I’m an e-reader, but I still love reading and I still get my e-books from the library.”

Reflecting on the Library’s Role

As the library grew, so did our Outreach Department, which—among other services—visits every childcare in Campbell County; maintains the Book Bus; and delivers materials to residents who can’t leave their homes due to permanent or temporary illness/disability.

“One of the first times I addressed the staff as a whole, I told them that I wanted to work in a place that made a difference in the community,” says Morgan. “We do that every day. I’m very proud of the staff. Some people have worked here for decades and others are brand new, but one thing they have in common is passion for what they do. It’s that passion that drives us.”

Another way the library gives back is our annual Drop Your Drawers campaign, which Morgan helped launch in 2015. The initiative returns every November and December with a singular goal: collecting clean, new pairs of underwear and socks for public school children in Campbell County. Since launching, library patrons have donated over 65,000 items. The program has spread to other counties and to other states.

JC Morgan’s Background

Morgan’s roots have long been planted in Northern Kentucky, where he currently lives with his wife, Alison, and twin daughters.

“Campbell County has been a wonderful place for my family to grow,” says Morgan. “I’m so happy my new job will not require me to move.”

While Morgan was born in Albany, Georgia, he mostly grew up in Camden, South Carolina, where he worked as a library shelver. Following high school, Morgan served in the United States Air Force during the Persian Gulf War. He later attended the University of Georgia, working in the public library in Athens, Georgia. While studying for his Master’s in Library Science at the University of Kentucky, he continued to work at the library.

“I’ve always been drawn to the library,” says Morgan. “Even in the military, I was constantly in the base library.”

What’s Next?

Morgan’s next role at Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library builds on a foundation he’s already laid.

In 2019, Morgan helped found the Campbell County Imagination Library in 2019 via a partnership with local schools. The Imagination Library mails a free book to enrolled children, ages newborn to 5, every month at no cost or obligation to families.

The program reaches 56 percent of children ages newborn to 5 in Campbell County. Since launching, 2,700 kids have graduated from the program. Morgan looks forward to continuing this work as the next state director of the Imagination Library.

“I love Kentucky and love to travel in it,” says Morgan. “The opportunity to help facilitate the expansion of the Imagination Library while seeing more of the commonwealth is a double win for me.”

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We loved hearing the voices of MUSE Cincinnati Women’s Choir at last Fridays Arts & Culture Series! The series takes a bow this Friday at 7 pm for the third and final installment: The NKU String Project. Bring the whole family! Register: https://loom.ly/0loWtc4.