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Introducing Wonderbooks

Did you know that hearing and seeing words at the same time can greatly improve early literacy?

Introducing Wonderbooks! Whether you and your kid crave favorite classics, a fascinating topic, or a lovely new story, talking books allow kids to engage with books visually and sonically as the book reads aloud!

Wonderbooks even feature a headphone jack, and Learning Mode, to foster continual exploration of stories and comprehension. You can now find talking books at the Library by searching the Catalog for Wonderbooks »

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Sign up for a take-home tabletop game kit this spring!

Explore the unknown with our collection of take-home games and goodies this spring! Conquer the vastness of space, the depths of the oceans, and the hidden secrets of your fellow players with five games chosen by our board-game-loving librarians for you to share with your friends and family. Sign up for your kit and we’ll set one aside for pickup at a Library location of your choice after Tuesday, Feb. 1.

Fill out our registration form to sign up. We'll send you an email when your kit is ready for pickup. The games are best for ages 8 and up and each kit will have enough supplies for a group of four to play.

For more details about the kit and its contents, head over to our Take-Home Kit info page »

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This Week at the Library

This week at the Library, you can join us at:

Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like
Your doorway into live and archived programs. Arts & Culture, Career & Finance, Community Matters, Writers and more!

Citizenship Civics – Tuesday, Jan. 18, 9:30 – 11 a.m.
Pass the U.S. naturalization interview and citizenship exam with help from the Library! Our free online classes provide two levels of coursework focused on the English language, American history and civics knowledge. Assistance with the citizenship application is also available. Participants review citizenship study materials, practice listening and responding to citizenship interview questions, access online practice tests and receive guidance throughout the application process.

Facebook Live Book Party – Thursday, Jan. 20, 7 – 7:30 p.m.
Facebook Live Book Parties are live events where a library staff member will booktalk a short list of titles around a certain genre or theme and staff will interact with patrons in real time.

One-On-One Genealogy Help via Zoom – Friday, Jan. 21, 10 a.m. – noon
Basic Genealogy and DNA one-on-one help are now being held online via Zoom specific to your questions and research. Visit the Johnson County Genealogical Society at www.jcgsks.org to schedule an appointment. A volunteer will email a personal Zoom meeting link to you prior to the scheduled date.

And much more happening this week »

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Tax Help

Tax season is here, and just getting started can be taxing. Need a form or a bit of assistance filling out those forms? The Library and AARP are here to help.

Tax forms

  • Online forms: We're happy to help you print any form at any location for 15 cents per page.

Tax assistance

  • AARP Kansas Tax AideFree tax assistance and preparation for low- and middle-income taxpayers with special attention to those ages 50 and older. You do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this service. The AARP Appointments Calendar will go live after Tuesday, Jan. 18. To make an appointment at that time, go to www.kstaxaide.com or call the AARP at 913.735.5489.
  • Find help: The Tax Help Guide from our librarians links to forms, useful contacts and resources for more information.

Avoid the anxiety. Get your tax season off to a good start at the Library.

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Central Resource Library Progress

Central Resource Library will reopen on Tuesday, Feb. 22! Have questions about construction? We have Answers.

In the meantime, here are a few fresh photos.

Photo 1: The windows in our new kids section create plenty of bright spaces for you to read with your little ones.

Photo 2: The new Kids space features a storytime room with a large window overlooking the park and a retractable door, leaving the space open when not in use for a program.

Photo 3: The Questions desk in the Kids Space is almost ready for our librarians to help you find what you need.

Photo 4: When you return items to Central Resource Library’s drive-up materials return bin, it will be checked in and off your account immediately with the help of one of two sorters in our circulation workroom.

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The Past is Prologue: Immigration in Kansas Today

The Past is Prologue is a bimonthly program that highlights topics often left out, glossed over, or misrepresented in our history books. For our January installment, Professor Matthew Sanderson of Kansas State University will give a presentation on Immigration in Kansas. Since settlement in the 19th century, the story of Kansas has largely been a story of immigration. This presentation explores how immigration today compares to immigration since the 1860s, connecting the trends in the benefits and challenges that communities face when the new people move in. Looking at history, how can today's Kansas towns and neighborhoods develop socially and ecologically resilient communities? The social processes of integrating new cultures into increasingly shared space will be examined, as well as the impact these changing demographics have on their natural environments.

Thursday, Jan. 13
7 – 8 p.m.
Online event
Register
»

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Volunteer at the Library

Volunteering with Johnson County Library offers so many great benefits for our volunteers.

  • Physical – volunteering helps keep the mind and body active;
  • Social – it's a great way to meet new people with similar interests;
  • Fine free status for our most active volunteers;
  • Volunteer activities such as
    • Facebook and Goodreads groups;
    • Special invites to events;
    • and Book clubs featuring books picked by our volunteers.

On Thursday, Jan. 13th, the Volunteer Book Club will be meeting to discuss The Midnight Library by Matt Haig.

Want to join the fun? One-time, short-term, and regular volunteer opportunities are available. Visit our list of opportunities to learn how you can become a Library volunteer.

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Staff Spotlight: Web Content Developer Brings Multimedia Talents to the Role

Dave Carson, web content developer and multimedia producer for Johnson County Library, brings a passion for storytelling, public speaking, movies, researching and writing to all his communication roles, which helps him thrive in the demanding job.

He cultivated those skills throughout his education and early career, first on the Olathe South High School forensics team in the late 1980s. (He fondly remembers seeing actor Paul Rudd shine in tournament improvisations as a Shawnee Mission West student).

Carson’s abilities in humorous and dramatic interpretation helped him earn a scholarship to Kansas State University, where he continued competing in forensics.

“By my senior year we took fourth in the nation,” Carson recalls. “I’m pretty proud of that.”

He got a master’s degree in rhetoric from K-State and taught at a Wichita college and then at Longview Community College. He also worked part-time for several years at Westport’s beloved Tivoli independent movie theater, where he befriended owner Jerry Harrington and saw countless great movies.

In the late 1990s, Carson got a second master’s degree in educational technology from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he helped create multi-media products to assist literacy teachers with their instruction.

From there, he went to work for Iowa Public Television for six years.

“We produced educational multimedia products. They were aired on Iowa Public Television and on National PBS,” Carson says. He also helped produce web content, plus educational products on CD-ROMS and DVDs that went to libraries and schools.

By then his own daughter, Hazel, was in elementary school and Carson wanted to return to Johnson County to be closer to family. He saw a Johnson County Library job posting that was a great fit for his skillset.

Carson has been with JCL since February 2007 and has had a big role in three website redesigns, including configuring Library web pages for smartphones. He and colleague Amy Field write a lot of the web content and he’s also involved in podcast creation and other initiatives.

He believes strongly in the Library’s mission, promoting literacy and lifelong learning and making a positive difference in the community.

“On a personal level,” he added, “I enjoy variety and the challenge of learning new things and adapting.” Keeping web content current and correct has been particularly urgent and important during the COVID pandemic.

“We are responsible for adding alerts to the website. We had to stay on top of that important messaging, for sure,” Carson explained.

Carson produces the Did You Hear?” monthly podcast, which he co-hosts with Charles Hower. The podcasts share compelling behind-the-scenes interviews and stories about Library staffers, patrons and services.

He’s also creating short YouTube video tutorials, introducing young learners to what the Library has to offer. The first videos will soon be released in both English and Spanish, and more will be released over time.

A third initiative involves producing science videos and other educational materials for children living in a Johnson County domestic violence shelter.

Carson lives near downtown Overland Park and enjoys gardening and spending time with his wife, Staci Carson.  His daughter Hazel is now 21 and in her senior year at Bard College in New York.

His father, Charles, lives in Gardner and is a loyal Gardner Library patron.

Carson says the work continues to be really engaging and fulfilling.

“The challenge is to reach more audiences as more and more content is available from so many sources,” he said. “I enjoy that. It’s a puzzle and I think we do a really good job of it.”