After a year of construction, Johnson County Library’s Central Resource Branch (9875 W. 87th St, Overland Park, KS) will fully reopen to the public Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. The location’s front lobby operated as “Little Central” while the majority of the building was closed, offering limited services such as holds pickup, materials return and public computers.
Beginning Feb. 22, visitors to the Library will enjoy several new amenities and refreshed spaces, including a convenient new drive-thru window for holds pickup and an expanded and relocated Kids area. The Kids area features large windows and window-seating overlooking Strang Park, updated kid-friendly shelving and furniture, a dedicated Storytime room and new activity units promoting early literacy (a gift from the Regnier Family Foundation , John W. & Effie E. Speas Memorial Trust, and Johnson County Library Foundation). A gated outdoor patio off the Kids area is coming soon.
Long considered a third space for Johnson County residents to study, work and gather, the location now offers 20 reservable spaces of various sizes and layouts. The Library’s existing conference and study rooms were updated with fresh paint, new furniture, and wireless AV technology, and two new media rooms were added adjacent to the Teen collection. Behind the scenes, staff spaces were reconfigured and consolidated to create a more efficient flow of materials throughout the entire 14-branch Library system.
Central Resource Library’s popular genealogy resources and the Black & Veatch MakerSpace will also reopen to full in-person services, though with temporarily reduced hours. The MakerSpace facility received new paint and flooring and new or upgraded equipment, including laser and vinyl cutters, 3D printers, sewing machines, larger computer monitors and a large-format CNC router. Equipment reservations and tutorials can be accessed at jocolibrary.org/makerspace.
Central Resource Library opened in 1995 in a former Best Products retail location. Initially a reference library, the branch boasted the largest collection in the system and offered six public computers. It also replaced Antioch Library (8700 Shawnee Mission Pkwy, Merriam, KS) as headquarters for Library administration and many systemwide services staff. The recent renovation was the culmination of more than ten years of planning by Library leadership.
The first phase of the project completed in early 2015, reconfiguring public spaces and the collection for the needs of a 21st century library system. The second phase, to include work on staff spaces not updated since 1995, was planned for 2021 when the Library had accrued the needed funding. Despite an unanticipated global pandemic and supply chain issues, the project remained on schedule and under budget, with a total project cost of $11.1 million. County Librarian Sean Casserley and Library Board of Directors Chair Bethany Griffith will host a live-streamed ribbon cutting ceremony on the Library’s Facebook page at 2 p.m. Feb. 22.
Casserley is thrilled to welcome the community back to a fully functional Library building, inviting residents to come see the exciting changes. “Our community’s commitment to reading and life-long learning is inspiring. As an institution, the Library has no agenda but to provide you the information that will support and enrich your life. It is a space for you and your family to explore, discover, and excite your imagination. I think you’ll be surprised at what you find!”
Details about Central Resource Library’s amenities, including hours of operation and how to reserve meeting spaces are available at jocolibrary.org/central.