Our Story

Johnson County Library got its start in the 1950s in the homes of neighborhood families. Before they had funding, dedicated community members ran volunteer libraries out of their basements, schoolhouses, a barbershop, a plumbing company, a shopping center and a traveling bookmobile. Their hard work and passion soon led to an official Johnson County Library in Merriam, Kansas.

Today, Johnson County Library serves over two million people from 13 library buildings in Northeast Kansas. And one thing hasn't changed — the Library staff are helped by 900 volunteers who donate over 50,000 hours of their time each year!

  • A group of Kindergartners at Shawnee Volunteer Library circa 1954.
    Kindergartners A group of Kindergartners at Shawnee Volunteer Library circa 1954.
  • Bookmobile with Betty Wilson, Kay Robeson, Mrs. Richard Haggeman, first Friends President Sally May, and first County Librarian Miss Shirley Brother in 1956
    Women by Bookmobile Bookmobile with Betty Wilson, Kay Robeson, Mrs. Richard Haggeman, first Friends President Sally May, and first County Librarian Miss Shirley Brother in 1956
  • Mrs. Wilson Redman at the Gardner Self Service Library circa 1954
    Gardner Self Service Library Mrs. Wilson Redman at the Gardner Self Service Library circa 1954
  • A view of the self-service library inside a Spring Hill, Kansas barbershop circa 1954
    Self-Service Library in Spring Hill Barbershop A view of the self-service library inside a Spring Hill, Kansas barbershop circa 1954
  • A child amid books during set-up of the Lenexa Volunteer Library circa 1954
    Lenexa Volunteer Library A child amid books during set-up of the Lenexa Volunteer Library circa 1954
  • Mrs. Wilson Redman and daughter Judy Redman Mayer in Prairie Village Volunteer Library circa 1954
    Prairie Village Volunteer Library Mrs. Wilson Redman and daughter Judy Redman Mayer in Prairie Village Volunteer Library circa 1954
  • A group of women sorting and cataloging books at the Lenexa Volunteer Library, 1954. Front Center is Mrs. Wilson E. Redman.
    Working at the Lenexa Volunteer Library A group of women sorting and cataloging books at the Lenexa Volunteer Library, 1954. Front Center is Mrs. Wilson E. Redman.
  • Exterior of the Shawnee Volunteer Library at 57th and Reeder St. in Shawnee, KS, circa 1953
    Shawnee Volunteer Library Exterior of the Shawnee Volunteer Library at 57th and Reeder St. in Shawnee, KS, circa 1953