March Book Report

Boosting Her Business at the Library

As a graphic designer, speaker and business consultant, Cami Travis-Groves, owner of Cami iMac, uses Johnson County Library to watch people. Though her home-based Olathe office provides her a posh place for productivity, she says she can’t operate in a vacuum and that other people help her “see” and have creative breakthroughs.

During a past library visit, Groves saw an elderly man struggling to use computer, a teenager sneaking in social media when he was supposed to be studying and couple people who appeared be down on their luck -- one searching for a job and the other for warmth perhaps for being homeless.

When people watching at the library, Groves says she likes to pretend she’s walking in their shoes. She also sharpens her strategic thinking while watching in silence by asking questions like why are they here, what are they using, why and how are they using it. For Groves, the intel is the equivalent to the data earned from a series of focus groups.

“The library is a great place for me to stir up some of my 10,000 feet ideas,” she says.

Groves is also the president of The Freelance Exchange, a savvy group of solopreneurs who meet regularly at the Central Branch of Johnson County Library. “I love that I can book a room online and have a bright, yellow awakening space to meet at each month,” says Groves.

Colors, atmosphere and surrounding herself with good people and good clients matters a lot to Groves. She’s climbed to the top of her trade as a designer and consultant and gets paid accordingly. In return for the financial blessings she’s reaped over her 25-year career, she’s a big believer in sharing good juju.

She describes good juju as being that feeling you have when your surrounded by friends or relaxing in the sand during vacation. She wants to evoke that feeling with her clients and conference audiences. Groves will speak at the May 16-17 Digital Summit at the Overland Park Convention Center on how to manage in the workplace.

When not speaking and spreading good juju, Cami is reading four books a month, spending time with her 80-year-old mother and promoting her book Get Out of Your Rut!

She lives in Olathe with her husband. They have an 18-year-old son, Q, and 20-year-old daughter, Cassie. Collectively the family enjoys time with their newly adopted kittens, Calvin and Syd.

You can connect with Groves at cami@camiimac.com or on Instagram at goodjujucami.

Branching Out

Cedar Roe Branch Connects Patrons to Turtles and Tech

When the Cedar Roe branch opened in 1969, the Internet didn’t exist. Area residents walked to the neighborhood branch to fact check and research answers to their most pressing questions. The staff at Cedar Roe’s resource desk happily provided those answers to approximately 6,700 Roeland Park residents and those dropping in from surrounding boroughs.

Today the Cedar Roe remains one of the few branches in the Johnson County Library system that families still walk to without the need to cross a street that exceeds a 25 miles per hour speed limit. Thanks to continuous updates, it hasn’t become any less relevant in our wired world.

“It’s a hot spot for young parents to bring their kids to story hour and a hot spot for students to study and businesspeople to present ideas to each other on their laptops,” says Branch Manager Ken Werne.

Werne says its upgraded WIFI signal is a much-appreciated asset. The county upgraded Cedar Roe’s WIFI strength from four to 14 antennas in 2017. The upgrade means patrons receive a strong, uninterrupted WIFI signal anywhere in the 16,000 square foot library.

Werne has served as a branch manager at JCL for the past 25 years. He left corporate America early in his career after realizing he was happier being purpose focused instead of profit focused. To make the shift into public service, Werne earned his master’s degree in library science in 1985 from Indiana University Bloomington.

Today, Werne couldn’t be happier helping JCL provide the community access to ideas, information and experiences. He says it’s a bonus that he can never get bored given the library system is constantly transforming itself to remain relevant and ahead of the society’s digital needs.

Of course, there’s no way for a manager of 30 employees, host to 11,000 visitors a month and supervisor of 46 ongoing programs to get bored.

Of the dozens of community programs Cedar Roe executes each year, the most popular of all time evolved around a turtle named Yertle. The library adopted Yertle the red-eared slider and made him the circulation desk mascot in 2013. The turtle was found by a librarian named Lynn in the men’s bathroom trashcan that year. When the time came for Yertle to move on to an elementary school classroom, the staff threw a birthday/farewell party for him.

Cake and punch were served in Yertle’s honor and 257 residents and kids showed up to say their goodbyes and best wishes.

Today crowds continue to congregate at Cedar Roe Library to attend book groups, writer groups and support groups. On February 24, approximately 125 residents gathered to hear state representatives and senators update them on pressing issues at the library’s quarterly legislative coffee.

However, to date, no event has exceeded the attendance of Yertle’s farewell party.

Stollsteimer’s Career Comes Full Circle

A person’s career rarely follows a straight line. In Stephanie Stollsteimer’s case, her multi-decade career serving nonprofits resembles a circle. A circle that places her at the helm as Executive Director of the Johnson County Library Foundation – the same library she has enjoyed over the years along with her husband Greg and their daughters Anne, 24, and Megan, 21.

“It feels serendipitous to represent the library down the street from where I first brought our kids nearly 25 years ago,” says Stollsteimer. “At this point in my career I was looking for an organization with a meaningful impact in our community and I couldn’t be happier raising funds and resources for the quality programs and collection at the Johnson County Library.”

Stollsteimer joined the library team in early January. During her first two months, her focus has been to learn the inner workings of the Foundation and the role it plays in supporting the Library’s many faceted services. Beginning in March, Stollsteimer will begin implementing the newly approved 2018 strategic plan that will guide the organizations efforts through 2020.

One of the strategic initiatives is the creation of “The 1952 Society: Writing the Library’s Next Chapter.” The year 1952 refers to the year community volunteers formed the Johnson County Library. With the Library approaching its 60th year of service, many families who have a deep appreciation for the Library might consider leaving a legacy to the Foundation’s endowment fund through pledged gifts over time or planned giving. The Johnson County Library Foundation’s endowment is currently at $1.8 million and is managed by the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation.

Stollsteimer has a Master of Business Administration degree and her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She previously aided United Soccer Coaches as Marketing and Membership Manager. She has also worked with the Kansas City Ballet, the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City, the Women’s Foundation, and as Executive Director of the SkillBuilders Fund. She enjoys reading biographies, historical fiction and just re-read Katharine Graham’s autobiography, “Personal History.”

Today, Stollsteimer’s younger daughter, Megan, is attending New York University and is majoring in music. Megan has fond memories of reading in the big windows of the children’s section at the Central Library location and even today she carries three active library cards.

Stollsteimer’s elder daughter, Anne, attended Kansas State University and graduated with a double major in animal science and Spanish. She now is living in Madrid, Spain where she polishing her second language. Not coincidentally, Anne read every horse book in the library growing up and had a keen interest in the world and animals at an early age.

Those formative years of taking her girls to the Johnson County Library shaped Stollsteimer’s life today and the life of her well-read, worldly daughters.

The Month in Review

[Image] More than 100 residents fired questions about issues ranging from medical marijuana to banning assault rifles all in a friendly open forum at Johnson County Library’s Corinth Branch.

[Image] Artwork by Dick Daniels and Rebecca Stockert are on the walls at the Central Library for patrons to enjoy.

[Image] Genealogy expert Beth Foulk shares how to learn whom your relative served with in the civil war and more.

[Image] Participants in the Cedar Roe Branch book club discuss their thoughts on “Lab Girl” by Hope Jahren.

[Image] Reading to a dog makes reading more fun at the Leawood Pioneer Branch.

[Image] Gordon Dooley loves Preschool Storytime at the Oak Park Branch, which often includes activities such as tent time.

[Image] Author of Pit Bulls: The Battle of an American Icon, Bronwen Dickey, leads a research workshop for writers at the The Writers Place in partnership with the Johnson County Library.

Taking a Closer Look

Over 100 reactions to the adorable #OverheardAtTheLibrary post

Everyone ready to curl up and stay warm with our book recommendations: February’s nonfiction list got 50 hits from social media

150+ new fans/followers

400K impressions over all social media platforms

Top Ten February Holds

The Great Alone | Kristin Hannah

The Woman in the Window | A.J. Finn

Little Fires Everywhere | Celeste Ng

Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House | Michael Wolff

Still Me | Jojo Moyes

An American Marriage | Tayari Jones

Before We Were Yours | Lisa Wingate

The Wife Between Us | Greer Hendricks

Educated: A Memoir | Tara Westover

The Fallen | David Baldacci