Onkst’s first job as a teenager was shelving books at the Laurel County Public
Library. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree
in Library Science from the University of Kentucky. He held various
positions at the Kenton County Public Library, becoming the library’s director
in 1999. His work as Director included construction of two Library
branches and launching of the Library’s Read Racer, which provides books and
services to preschoolers.
He was appointed Kentucky’s State Librarian and
Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives in 2006 and
served until his retirement in 2015. He served as President of the
Kentucky Public Library Association, President of the Greater Cincinnati
Library Consortium, Chair of the Kentucky Virtual Library Advisory Committee,
Chair of the State Archives and Records Commission, Secretary of the Chiefs of
State Library Agencies and President of the Southern Council of State Librarians.
In 2005, Wayne was honored with the American Library Association’s Sullivan
Award for outstanding service to children and, in 2012, was awarded the
Kentucky Library Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
to being a lifetime member of the Friends of Kentucky Libraries, he serves on
the board of the Kentucky Historical Society, the Jesse Stuart Foundation and
Welcome House of Northern Kentucky. Wayne joined Global and was a founder
of Global’s Kentucky Library Initiative in 2017.