History of the Blue Valley Library
The first library in the Stanley area opened in mid-1953 the year the Johnson County Library began. It was a self-service library of 200 books was established at Boehm’s Grocery in Stanley. This library was probably in operation until the bookmobile service began in June 1956. The Stanley area would be served by a bookmobile until shortly before the Blue Valley Library opened its doors.
By the mid-1970s it was evident that a library eventually would be needed for the growing population in the Stanley area. A Johnson County Library planning report in early 1979 called for a library at Stanley. Later that year four million dollars in bonds were sold by the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners to fund the construction of four “community libraries” in Stanley, DeSoto, Spring Hill, and Gardner, to expand the Antioch and Oak Park Libraries, and begin work toward an automated library catalog.
The new Blue Valley Library opened with approximately 13,000 books on July 1, 1982. And from the beginning the library was heavily used. Its first full year of operation (1983) saw a circulation of 23,360. The number of residents and businesses in the library’s service area continued to grow with increasing rapidity as the 1980s turned into the 1990s. A structure designed for small community of several thousand was now serving close to 50,000. From its first year to the end of 1999, the branch’s holdings had increased three-fold to 39,368, and its circulation had grown ten-fold to 240,633.
As early as 1989, expansion of the Blue Valley Library was being looked at. The old site was found to be too small to accommodate a larger structure. In 1997, a new site was found near 151st and England, about a mile west and a little north of the old library. The land was part of a larger parcel owned by the city of Overland Park, which donated the property to the library in November 1997. Design of the new structure began immediately, and ground was broken on April 19, 1999. The new library opened on July 18, 2000.
Today, more than eight years after Blue Valley re-opened, the Johnson County Library serves more than 400,000 residents from thirteen public facilities, with Blue Valley serving a service area of about 75,000 persons.
By the numbers (2012)
Visitors: 308,291 annually
Items circulated: 770,640
Collection total items: 113,983
Number of programs: 180
Staff full-time equivalents: 22.01
Square footage: 24,081