January Book Report

January Spotlights Civil Unrest Then and Now

What can we learn from what happened in Ferguson, Mo., the night Michael Brown was shot by a white police officer in 2014?

To look deeper the incident and the fallout, a documentary, Whose Streets (2017), was shown Jan. 13 at the Central Resource Library and was followed by a robust discussion.

The program was produced in conjunction with the Race Project-KC and the Johnson Country Library series on “Time,” which takes place throughout the first quarter of 2018.

Discord between races and religions continue to teach us the same lesson. We are one no matter if it is 1960 or 2018.

To revisit the wisdom of one of the greatest civil rights leaders of all time, Martin Luther King Jr., Gather at the Table, was held at the Central Library on Jan. 18. The name of the event was inspired by King’s dream of the day when the sons of former slaves and sons of former slave-owners would sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

Library facilitators got the conversations going while patrons shared their opinions, experiences and suggestions to help make King’s dream a reality at last.

To step outside of history for answers to civil equality, Director Kevin Willmott showed a screening of his film, Destination: Planet Negro (2013). Set in 1939, the film traces a group of African-American leaders who devise an ingenious and unlikely response to Jim Crow segregation – build a rocket and colonize Mars. The crew blasts off but time travels instead, arriving in present-day America.

The screening and post discussion also was presented in conjunction with Race Project-KC and the Johnson County Library series on “Time.”

Patron’s Point of View

A Family, Senior and Single Woman Tell Why They Love Johnson County Library

How did the library touch the lives of patrons from 12 to 92 years old in 2017? Deeply.

Kevin Kuzma, 42, is a communications executive and single father of three. He and his kids, Annie (15), Charlie (13) and Caroline (12), visit the Gardner library once or twice a week.

Being huge sports fans, the Kuzma’s favorite 2017 library visit was a book signing by Scott Novosel, former University of Kansas Jayhawks player. Kuzma said Novosel’s talk about his sports training, career and book “Fieldhouse,” entertained and inspired them.

Bette Geiger, 92, has been a patron of the Corinth Branch of Johnson County Library since it opened 1963. She visits the branch every three weeks to check out three books and likes that she can call for an renewal if she hasn’t finished one.

Geiger loves mysteries and nonfiction and just finished reading the last three crime mysteries by British author J.K. Rolling that were published under the pseudonym Robert Galbaith – “Cuckoo’s Calling,” “The Silkworm,” and “Career of Evil.”

Geiger, a mother of five, loves to take her grandchildren to the library and views neighborhood libraries as a community necessity. She says she’d love to take a computer class at the library in 2018.

Kim Jacobs, 49, is a Lenexa resident and teacher. She loves to read and got hooked on the Central Library when she was in first grade.

“The library always had contests, awarding kids prizes when they read at least 10 books,” says Jacobs. “I loved getting prizes as simple as bookmarks. It made reading even more fun.”

Today Jacobs loves downloading audio books to her Kindle Fire. She’s currently listening to “Gold Dust Women: The Biography about Stevie Nicks.”

Jacobs’ fondest memories of the library were going with her mother when she was growing up. Her mother would read Ladies Home Journal while Jacobs read Highlights magazine.

Jacobs looks forward to listening to many more audio biographies from Johnson County Library in her car in 2018.

Steiner Steps into President Role of Friends Board for Johnson County Library

Johnson County Library had Julie Steiner when she was four. That’s when Steiner moved to Kansas City and was issued her first library card at the Oak Park branch. Decades later she still has that life-changing library card.

“It may be vintage looking but it represents my love of the library, reading and going there with my mother when I was a child every week,” says Julie Steiner, president of Friends of the Johnson County Library.

Steiner has been on the Friends board for five years and said it felt right moving into a leadership position for an organization she has long admired and one her father is also a volunteer.

Steiner’s four goals as president are:

Helping get a new sorting system for collecting and selling used books

Increasing sales through diversification beyond books

Diversifying the Friends membership base

Getting more familiar with the Foundation Board’s endeavors for collaboration purposes

Steiner welcomes six new board members to the Friend’s Board of 12. New board members are:

Jeanie Botkin, Polsinelli Shughart, PC

Diane Carlisle, ARMA International

Jennifer Curtiss, U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services

Vicki Denk, Library Volunteer & Friends Treasurer

Peter Duffey, Private Investigator

Stephanie Landis, Kansas Small Business Development, Johnson County Community College
Nicole Sanders, Compass Mineral

Steiner enjoys historical fiction and is always listening to an audio book from the library in her car. She’s currently reading “How Not to Die” by Michael Greger and a Maise Dobbs murder mystery.

Steiner has worked for the Lenexa Chamber for the past 15 years and lives in Overland Park where she enjoys participating in a book club she fondly calls the snack club.

“Sometimes the snacks are just as important as the books being discussed,” said Steiner.

Monticello Branch Will Set the Bar for Future Libraries

If the new Monticello branch could introduce itself, it would say. “The name is Monticello, Monticello Branch” just like James Bond. That’s how cool and equipped with extras the Shawnee branch will be.

Out with the Utilitarian buildings, card catalogs and keep-quiet signs. In with the rooftop seating, permanent outdoor art sculptures and ample conference rooms that encourage talking, sharing and interaction.

Why all the hoopla? Because it’s been 17 years since the Johnson County Library has built a new library and this milestone library has been meticulously planned for since the ‘90s. A lot has changed since then and an $18.1 million investment aims to deliver big on what the community has asked for – robust kid’s areas, ample meeting rooms, technology bars and timeless architecture.

“Opening the Monticello branch is exciting on three levels. It provides an energetic place where patrons can come to explore, engage and be entertained,” says Monticello Branch Manager Christian Madrigal. “The fall opening is a catalyst for a great 2018 and beyond for area residents to tap into the programming and resources the branch will offer.”

During the first and second quarter of 2018, Johnson County Library is beginning the search for the additional 53 employees the branch will employ at the Monticello location. It is also collecting and storing the 120,000 books and other assets that currently are being housed at the Central Library and will take up to eight weeks to put on the shelves of 33,548 square foot new library.

Matt Glawatz, an architect with The Clark Enersen Partners, said the glass-heavy look of the library will make the building look vibrant and show all the activities going on inside, encouraging more people to use it.

Entering the new library at 22435 W. 66th Street, Shawnee, KS 66226, will be a sensory experience and a place for the meeting of the minds to create, collaborate, solve, educate, learn, laugh and ponder for decades to come.

[Image] Photo caption: Carla Hoffman, Central Library senior page, strikes a pose in front of the growing inventory being collected and stored for the Monticello Library opening later this fall.

Being Behind with Homework Puts Stress on Kids and their Families

No one wants to fall behind. Especially kids in grade and middle school with parents who speak English as their second language. That’s where Johnson County Library’s Homework Help program truly meets a need.

Since its inception in 2004, the program has turned into a way of helping kids move from needing homework assistance to being able to work independently on their studies.

Not surprisingly this positive influence on kids and independent thinking attracted sponsorship from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The Kauffman Foundation aims to build a college-educated workforce starting by providing a community response to children in need. Obviously the Homework Works program does just that.

Approximately 1,069 students from 51 schools tapped into coaches at Homework Help last school year, according to Dennis Ross, Youth Services Supervisor for Johnson County Central Library.

Ross says that many students who attend Homework Help are from families for whom English is a second language. Students from other countries often need extra help with vocabulary, spelling, literature, composition, and understanding cultural references.

Students who use Homework Help tend to also use other library resources, including Tutor.com. Homework Help and Tutor.com are programs and resources funded by the Johnson County Library Foundation.

In November 2017, there were 136 live Tutor.com come sessions held online. The rewards of both programs are students who don’t fall behind, receive better grades, learn to study independently and excel in, instead of stressing about, their schoolwork.

[Image] Photo caption 1: Eleven-year-old Libby Guzman and Homework Help Coaches Jane Schomer and Ayah take a break from studies for a holiday photo.

[Image] Photo caption 2: Shelby Krum and her six-year-old son, Brady, have a standing weekly date reading at the Central Library.

Month in Review Captions

[Image] Musician Jessica Paige entertains the crowd at the Dec. 15 InterUrban ArtHouse Holiday Marketplace. Johnson County Library is a supporting partner of the InterUrban ArtHouse.

[Image] Happy, hungry readers at the Corinth branch devour yet another book.

[Image] This young Stormtrooper removed his helmet to appease the photographer at the Star Wars Takeover event.

[Image] Charlie (and his dad) dropped by the Corinth library spontaneously, but jumped at the chance to practice his Jedi lightsaber skills with other promising Jedis.

[Image] These young library patrons were laser focused on making a hole in one in Darth Vader’s mouth at the Star Wars Takeover event.

[Image] Learning how to print in 3D has never been easier for these inquisitive students who dropped by the Black & Veatch MakerSpace at the Central Resource Library in December.

[Image] Corinth Branch library employees Beth Mercer, Megan Bannen, Maggie Stanton take a break the Star Wars Takeover event held Dec. 7 just before the release of the Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

Top Holds

These are the titles that were hot in November. Note: the numbers after the title show number of holds compared to number of copies owned by JCL.

1. The rooster bar / John Grisham (507/112)

2. Origin : a novel / Dan Brown (350/106)

3. The midnight line : a Jack Reacher Novel / Lee Child (316/72)

4. Little fires everywhere / Celeste Ng (307/94)

5. Two kinds of truth [#22] / Michael Connelly (307/71)

6. End game / David Baldacci (277/61)

7. Before we were yours : a novel / Lisa Wingate (270/100)

8. Hardcore twenty-four / Janet Evanovich (269/58)

9. Wonder / R.J. Palacio (children’s- also a new family movie and part of the anti-bullying movement) (262/68)

10. Turtles all the way down / John Green (Teen) (230/61)

Social Engagement

  • 50 comments to most-popular post, “What are you reading this weekend?”
  • 58 new net Facebook fans
  • 200 clicks to job postings
  • 1,500 people saw something they liked and clicked through to webpage
  • 30,000 website users
  • 45,000 web sessions
  • 52,000 web catalog sessions by 28,000 users