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This Week at the Library

This week at the Library, you can join us for

Young Adult Literary Council Sunday, Jan. 17 | 2 - 3 pm

Monday, Jan. 18 - Library closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Anne Kniggendorf on Find the Odd for Secret Kansas City Wednesday, Jan. 20 | 6:30 - 7:30 pm

Maintain Your Ride Thursday, Jan. 21 | 12 - 1:30 pm

21st Century Budgeting with Thursday, Jan. 21 | 2 - 3 pm

Johnson County Genealogical Society Monthly Meetings Saturday, Jan. 23 | 10 am - 12 pm

& much more »


Fresh New Reads for 2021

Every new year, there are resolutions, promises and excitement for a fresh start. It can be anything from managing your money to trying new delicious recipes, or dreaming about your next family vacation to exploring to the possibility of alien life in our solar system. Happily, Johnson County Library has some fresh 2021 non-fiction titles that can help you start the year strong. Enjoy some great new reads and be one of the first to explore the pages of these new releases.

For those who have a serious case of wanderlust, check out “We Came, We Saw, We Left” to find out what happens when a family quits their life for a year to travel the world on a modest budget.

If this is the year that you’ve promised yourself to get a better handle on your finances, then you’ll like, “Know Yourself, Know Your Money” with insights into why you make the same money mistakes and how to make lasting progress.

Maybe you’ve got too much on your plate to make any big resolutions and just want some simple and easy ways to improve your life. “Martha Stewart's Very Good Things” might be just the ticket with hundreds of clever tips, solutions, and easy ways to elevate every day.

You’ve told yourself that you’ll start cooking—or at least cooking more often—but it still feels like a hassle and you keep putting it off. “Hungry Girl Fast & Easy” might be all the motivation you need with quick and simple meal and snack recipes made with everyday ingredients, each ready in 30 minutes or less.

These are just a few examples of the hundreds of new non-fiction titles available and coming soon to Johnson County Library. For a current list of all the new titles, both available and on order, visit the Library Catalog. This list is a great way to see what’s coming and is updated frequently.

Don’t delay, secure your place in line today by putting your picks on hold. Get started by viewing the What's New in Non-Fiction: January 2021 staff recommendations list. This is just one of the many perks of your Johnson County Library card.


Our Librarian Tami's Favorite Table Top Games

During this pandemic, board games have been a valuable pastime for many people, whether it's breaking some out with the family and friends or learning how to play games on new online platforms. At Johnson County Library, our Table Top Games Committee has been trying to think of ways that we can share our passion with our patrons even if we can’t meet in person. Join us each month for a virtual Table Top Games event!

Tami's Board Game Journey

I have always been a huge board game fan, starting with the classics like Monopoly, The Game of Life, and Clue. But, it wasn’t until a road trip in 2014 that tabletop gaming became a family obsession.

We were heading to Hutchinson, KS for our first visit to the Cosmosphere and Strataca Salt Mines, and ended up staying in nearby McPherson, KS. An internet search for things to do in McPherson led us to discover The Village Geek, a store that sells comics, video games, and board games. That sounded right up our geeky alley! So, we checked it out, and decided a board game might be a fun way to pass the evening at the hotel.

Board games had changed a lot from my childhood, so we began chatting with an employee for advice. He suggested a few favorites, including Forbidden Island. If you’re not familiar, Forbidden Island is a cooperative game, where everyone plays together against the game to reach a common goal. We’d never played a co-op game before, but it sounded like a great way to keep the peace in a small hotel room.

I don’t even remember if we won or lost that first game. But, we had a great time working together to gather the artifacts and escape before the island sank away. We were hooked! So of course, when the Table Top Games Committee was looking to expand, I jumped on the chance to bring Table Top Games to the Blue Valley branch. I work at a different branch now, serving as a backup host and helping out behind the scenes.

My Favorites (right now, anyway):

Hogwarts Battle, Raiders of the North Sea, 7 Wonders, Bunny Kingdom, Epic Monster Tea Party, Dixit

Read our other Table Top Games Committee members' stories and favorite games »


TBT: Great Mall Final Chapter

We hope you've been keeping up with our series documenting the rise and fall of the Great Mall of the Great Plains. We present the final chapter in the series: Part Seven: The End (2009 to 2016… and Beyond) This series is compelling local history. If you need the read or re-read the first six chapters, here they are: parts onetwothreefourfive, and six.

Remember, that is the place to time travel through local history. Search the Johnson County Museum Aerial Photographs for a unique perspective on our area. You'll get a bird's-eye view . Be sure to follow our hashtag on Twitter! Have a Happy Throwback Thursday!


Civics 101: Understanding the Assault at the Capitol

Join us to better understand the events that unfolded at the United States Capitol on January 6th. We will discuss the broader context of the events, and possible outcomes discussed in the news media, including the 25th Amendment and impeachment. Presented by Dr. Greg Vonnahme.

January 14 @ 7pm | Register now »


This Week at the Library

This week at the Library, you can virtually explore the MakerSpace, explore your family's history, and get fresh reading recommendations!

Ask-a-Maker Session Monday, Jan. 11 | 10-11 am

One-on-one Genealogy Help  Tuesday, Jan. 12 | 9 am-1 pm

Book Party Wednesday, Jan. 13 | 2-2:30 pm

and more! See all of our events »




Biographies of the world’s most influential people

Gale in Context: Biography is a great resource for those who want to learn more about the world’s most influential people.

There are some fascinating people to learn about, both past and present. Let’s take the Cherokee scholar Sequoyah, for example. He is the only known Native American to have formulated an alphabet for his tribe, enabling thousands of Cherokee to become literate. Another example is Alice Coachman. As a high jump athlete, she became the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal for the US in 1948.

These are just two examples of the more than 5,000 amazing people you can find biographies of using Gale in Context: Biography, available online with your Johnson County Library card!

Gale in Context: Biography can help you find biographies of individuals in a wide range of subjects including business, politics, government, history, science, sports, the arts, and entertainment. Whether you’re doing a report, curious, or just plain obsessed, you’ll find international figures from all time periods and the most searched and studied people. It’s easy to browse by occupation, role, or historical period. You can also search based on name, occupation, nationality, ethnicity, birth/death dates and places, or gender, as well as by keyword and full text.

Once you’ve found who you’re looking for, you’ll find available content gathered in one place. Content includes magazine articles, video footage, radio broadcasts, photographs, and more to provide contextual information on the world's most influential people. Content is continuously updated so you have access to the latest information. 

Visit Gale in Context: Biography to get started today.


Staff Spotlight: Dynamic Design Duo

Johnson County Library has a dynamic duo. They work behind-the-scenes but leave an indelible mark of artistic creativity and passion on the system’s educational and promotional materials.

Jennifer Taylor and Cindy Frazer are the Library’s two graphics coordinators, playing an essential role in communication and outreach.

“We are part of the customer experience department,” Taylor explained. “We do all of the printed materials, the bookmarks, the flyers, the newsletters, the guide magazines, all the summer reading promotions, the Writers’ Conference [materials].”

The work includes posters, lobby boards, banners, signage, and name badges, Frazer adds. “Anything that’s printed, business cards -- everything comes through this department.” They also ensure materials look good online.

It’s an enormous task, but they’ve been working collaboratively together for decades and love what they do.

“I like the variety. I always have something different,” said Frazer, who recently designed both printed and online materials for the Writers’ Conference. “There’s always something new. So there are new things we get to figure out.  How to make something work. A new way to get it out there.”

Taylor particularly enjoys working on summer reading promotions.

“Since I started here in 1992, I’ve designed all of the [materials] for summer reading, for every year,” she said. “Sometimes I’ve gotten to work directly with the artists doing the artwork for it, which is fantastic, just the creation of the overall look for summer reading. I get to take it off from there to design the posters and the bookmarks and the reading logs and the images that are going online now.”

Frazer was hired to do layout and manual paste-up in the pre-digital days of 1985 and started the graphic arts department in 1988.  Taylor joined her in 1992 and the two have been a great team ever since, sharing life’s milestones.

“We’ve been through weddings, marriages, babies….kids graduating the same time,” said Taylor, who has two sons, ages 25 and 21. Frazer also has two sons, ages 33 and 25.

The Library’s writers and other content providers take great pride in their work. Taylor and Frazer see their role as enhancing communication and giving Library materials the right “look” through an attractive palette of colors, fonts, and other design decisions.

 “We want to make sure we’re making it look the best we possibly can,” Taylor said, “to honor the work that’s been put into it.”



Lenexa City Center Library Closed

Johnson County Library’s Lenexa City Center location will be temporarily closed Thursday Jan. 7 until Tuesday, Jan. 12 due to a potential COVID-19 exposure. In an abundance of caution, the closure includes the drive-thru window, materials return and the holds pick-up lobby. Holds on materials that were available at the branch will be extended.

A professional deep cleaning will take place while the branch is closed. All staff who were potentially exposed have been notified through contact tracing, and affected staff will be quarantining and monitoring for symptoms before returning to work. Library staff is working with the health department to determine any additional necessary steps and will continue all health and safety protocols, such as masks and social distancing, to minimize risk of exposure.

Johnson County Library’s other 13 branches remain open, and the Lenexa City Center branch is anticipated to reopen as scheduled at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Visit or follow @jocolibrary on social media for updates.