The John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester has a new leader. Tuesday was the first day on the job for Alan Price, 55, a Harvard Law School graduate who directed the Global Leadership Institute at Harvard's Business School. Price also served as associate director of management for the Peace Corps under the Obama administration. And today marks the first time in three years that the JFK Library has a permanent director. WGBH's All Things Considered Host Barbara Howard spoke to Price about his new job. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.

Barbara Howard: So, Alan Price, you grew up in New York, Long Island, the son of a dentist, your mother [was] a painter, I understand?

Alan Price: Yes.

Howard: So you were a bit of a prodigy when it comes to chess.

Price: When it comes to chess, yes. My father joked that he would bring all his adult friends over and ask if they wanted to play me, but don't play me unless they were okay with losing.

Howard: How old were you?

Price: I was playing a lot of chess between [ages] five and 11.

Howard: Beating the adults?

Price: Mostly.

Howard: You're a chess master now?

Price: I am now.

Howard: Well, with chess you have to think several moves ahead. Is that going to be a key part of your new job?

Price: Well, yes. You try to calculate and analyze and think a few moves ahead, but you also have to be patient and watch what the other people are doing.

Howard: Okay, well, I know Caroline Kennedy, the president's daughter, of course, released a statement about your appointment. It reads, in part, "We are thrilled that Alan Price has been chosen to be the new director of the Kennedy Library. His experience and leadership will bring new energy and vision to this important role."

Sounds like they could use a little energy and vision because it's been a troubled time the past three years without a director. What are the first things you'd see yourself doing?

Price: I plan to do a lot of listening. I mean the staff is terrific. They've held it together without a permanent director for three years. And I think everybody there has some ideas for how to go forward. I plan to listen to a lot of that and see how we can harness that energy.

Howard: And how would you modernize it?

Price: Well, there are so many people who have good ideas, I hesitate to charge in with my own, but I think we look at the best practices not only of the other presidential libraries, but other libraries in general, and museums. Libraries and museums are at an interesting point in time, where the nature of the experience is under question. And how do you embrace a digital future while still being true to its historic past? It's an interesting moment.

Howard: Well, let's talk a little bit about what the library is. it's not just a library, of course, it's more almost like a museum. Can you talk about that?

Price: Well, JFK had a particular vision around, let's not just store the documents as a library per se, but let's also store the artifacts and create a museum around it, so that people can really experience that moment in time and have a greater sense of context. So, it is his vision that's responsible for how this is played out.

Howard: Anyone who's been to the museum knows I. M. Pei was the architect for that. And it's a stunning building.

Price: A gorgeous building.

Howard: Yeah, especially when you finish looking through the exhibits and you come out into the atrium and there's that huge sweeping view of Dorchester Bay.

Price: Yes.

Howard: And the sun glistening off the water. It's very inspiring.

Price: Some would suggest that in today's divisive political rhetoric, it's nice to go back and reflect on an era where statesmanship and messages that were inclusive of everybody in the civil rights era is actually a perfect place for inspiration, to remind us that we can lift our rhetoric to more noble ideals.

Howard: Tell me about your background.

Price: My personal background of ethnicity is diverse. I am both black and Native American and have navigated those two worlds. My mother's side of the family is indigenous to southern Delaware, with the Nanticoke Indian tribe. My father's side comes via Trinidad and Tobago into the U.S., and I've always felt like America is this amazing mix of different people and perspectives. And to the extent I can embody that, and make it a welcoming place for all people, that's what I'm gonna do.

Howard: Where did you grow up? How did you end up here?

Price: I'm a native New Yorker who moved here in '89 and have loved it here ever since. Long Island for my young years, New York City for my teen years, went out to Indiana for college, and then came to Cambridge for Harvard Law School.

Howard: And then, I understand while you were in law school, you had to stand in for a young man named Barack Obama?

Price: Indeed, I was a last-minute substitute in a calendar called "The Black Men of Harvard Law School Calendar." I was indeed Mr. September, but Barack Obama was originally supposed to be in that calendar. I was the substitute. And it was because of the calendar that I met Gina.

Howard: Your wife.

Price: She walked up to me and said, 'I know you, you're in that calendar.' And that started the conversation.