Johnson County Library is thrilled to present:
500 bands for just $499!
Why that's less than $1 per band!
Where? Strang Park
The Death Tarts
|Rejection Method||Rude Strudel Rue|
|Pile of Water||Violent Thumbs|
|Open Minded Duckling||Jaunty in the Backend|
|Manageable Chunks||Steeling Sheep|
|Random Banana||Wind Between My Elbows|
|Extirpated Printers||The Dogs Did Carry On|
|Death Corn||Pickle by Proxy|
|Marsupial Maniacs||Technicolor Pez|
|Bison Aren't Easy||Cater My Face|
|Tourist Muffin||Tinge of Patriarchy|
|Super Sad Fish||Commercial Underpants|
|The Royal "I"||Martini Fling|
|Nostalgia Hairball||Chomping at the Bit|
|Clusterfuffle||Snowflakes of Mercy|
|Washing the Sloths||Oppressive Sandwich|
|Cannibalism Quota||Dave's Coworker Leaderboard|
|Pre-whittled Owls||Dave by Proxy|
|My sentient Kitchen||Have you banned my new herd?|
|Surprise Cilantro||Unanticipated Water Feature|
|Prehensile Chin||Squeeze the Squirrel|
|Better Innards||Vengeance Chicken|
|Vowel Dump||April Fools|
All proceeds to pursuing our dream: a branch-to-branch Monorail!
If you love April Fool's Day as much as we do, then you'll love this Fools for Spring! recommended reading list (we promise it doesn't send you to a Rick Astley video!)
Website Refresh: We Want Your Feedback!
Johnson County Library’s website is a key portal into the Library system’s vast array of programs, information and services.
The website was last overhauled in 2014 and is due for a refresh. To that end, a Library team of professionals is conducting a usability study this year, reaching out to patrons for their ideas and suggestions on how to make the website as user-friendly as possible.
“We’re taking a look at how patrons use those tools. Often, how we expect they may use them is not how they are actually using them,” explained Jo Field, a web content developer leading a study team of eight Library staffers. “Usability studies are always surprising. You find out what your users are actually doing and how they are navigating your website, how they are finding what they want.”
The team consists of communication and website experts but also clerks, information specialists and information technology staffers. They will survey and interview patrons, watching how they move from website page to page to find what they are looking for. Many interviews are one-on-one, but the study will also include focus groups, phone interviews and visits with people in the branches.
Elissa Andre, the Library’s external communication manager, says creating an entirely new website at this time isn’t feasible. That’s an expensive, complicated and lengthy process. But the usability study, seeking users’ insights and experiences, will be vital to improving the website over time.
“We had received some comments that it was out of date or difficult to navigate,” she said. “So we needed to make some changes now, and this was the way we were able to refresh the look and feel without blowing up the whole thing.”
Andre praises Field and the team for this outreach and exploration.
“I’m just thrilled that we have been able to kick off this project,” Andre said. “I am so impressed by all the work that Jo has done to pull this all together.”
Andre said Field is adept at teaching, leading the charge and getting everyone trained. “It’s become a really exciting opportunity for our staff to get involved in something different and see the back end of the communications and the website process,” Andre said.
The team hopes to reach about 200 patrons through a variety of interactions. The first group of respondents were people who attended last November’s Writers Conference. Patrons are explaining and demonstrating how they navigate the “For Writers” page. Field said the team has already received useful suggestions for information writers really want. If others echo those ideas, the team will see what’s possible.
Field also interviewed a few people in branches last fall and found they were incredibly generous with their time and ideas. More in-branch interviews are planned later this year.
Volunteer Services Coordinator Amber Bourek Slater is helping the team identify a diverse group of usability study respondents, including parents, kids and caregivers.
The team will seek feedback from multiple teens to improve the “Teens” page and will also solicit input to update the “Community Matters” page, as Johnson County ramps up for the 2024 election.
The usability study should take about a year, but Field hopes a portion of it will be continuous, allowing the Library to keep making the website better all the time.
More study respondents are needed, to participate in future interviews and focus groups. Patrons interested in assisting are welcome and encouraged to express interest through this web form. The team will reach out and appreciates willing patrons sharing their insights.
New JoCoHistory Blog: The Long History of the Shawnee Indian Mission Site
It's another beautiful Throwback Thursday and we encourage you to time travel through the history of Johnson County.
There is a new JoCoHistory Blog story: The Long History of the Shawnee Indian Mission Site
The Johnson County Museum is hosting Away from Home: American Indian Boarding School Stories through March 18, 2023. The nationally touring exhibit from Kansas City’s Mid-America Arts Alliance explores the history of the federal, off-reservation Indian boarding schools in operation between the 1870s and the 1980s. What is today known as Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas was the closest federal, off-reservation boarding school to Johnson County. The exhibit does not tell the story of the Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site in Fairway, Kansas, however. The Shawnee Indian Mission history has been featured in several blogs on JoCoHistory.org, but the site's role in state history is lesser known. A new JoCoHistory Blog post, guest written by staff at the Shawnee Indian Mission State Historic Site, compiled four things readers might not know about the Shawnee Indian Mission.
Please visit the JoCoHistory blog for the full article.
How to Build a Library: Merriam Plaza - Find the Perfect Spot
This is the first video in a series we’re rolling out during the construction process as we build Johnson County Library’s newest branch, Merriam Plaza Library. These videos will be released at the end of each month, so check back for the new episodes. Future topics include design, structure, art, interior finishes, and of course, the collection! We will also have time lapse videos each month as well.
This video, How to Build a Library: Merriam Plaza, reveals all the details that go in to building this location.
Merriam Plaza Library is currently under construction and anticipated to open in 2024. Co-located on the same campus as the Merriam Community Center, the new branch will replace the existing Antioch Library and will feature the same great collection and staff.
Get more information on the construction process and see a fly-through video of the architectural renderings on our FAQ page.
Gather at the Table
Save the date! Friendships and communities grow from conversations. Drop in and converse!
Thursday , April 13
5 - 6:30 p.m.
Central Resource Library
For more civic engagement-related content, visit our Community Matters page where you'll find:
- Our Evaluating Media & Digital Information guide to help you with Fact-Checking Resources, Build Your Critical Thinking and Librarian Curated Lists
- A Local Government Guide providing links to Kansas State Government
- My Resource Connection which connects individuals needing assistance with local resources
- Free Library access to to local newspapers like The Blue Valley Post, The Shawnee Mission Post and The Kansas City Star
- And more!
This Week at the Library
This week at the Library, you can join us at:
Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like.
Resumes – It’s All About You – Wednesday, March 29, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Learn how to enhance your resume to be impactful, dynamic, eye-catching, and unique to better position you for job-hunting success. Presented by professional development consultant Efren Mojica, of All About You Consulting. This program will be hosted using the meeting software Zoom. A Johnson County Library staff member will contact registrants via email the day before the meeting with instructions on how to access the Zoom meeting. You do not need to download any software or create an account.
One-on-One DNA & Genetic Genealogy Help – Friday, March 31, 9 a.m. – noon
Visit the Johnson County Genealogical Society at www.jcgsks.org to schedule an appointment. A volunteer will contact you by email to set up an in-person or a Zoom session link for you prior to the scheduled date.
TumbleBook Library – Available anytime you like. Animated storybooks for kids.
TumbleBook Library offers a variety of eBooks and activities for kids pre-K to grade 6.
- kid-approved fiction and nonfiction
- animated storybooks and read-alongs
- chapter books and graphic novels
- videos, puzzles and games
- French and Spanish books for language learning
- Common Core title lists and lessons plans
Access online with a computer or mobile device, no downloads required.
Meet the Cartoonist: Josh Neufeld
Meet cartoonist Josh Neufeld and learn the craft of cartooning! Best-selling comics journalist Neufeld will share the trajectory of his career, teach how to write for comics, and lead a workshop on how to draw a successful comic. Check out the events below to register. These events will all be held virtually on Zoom.
Meet the Cartoonist: Josh Neufeld Tuesday, April 4, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
Writing for Comics with Cartoonist Josh Neufeld Wednesday, April 5, 6:30-7:30 p.m.
How to Draw a Successful Comic with Cartoonist Josh Neufeld Saturday, April 8, 9-11 a.m.
Tabletop Game Nights Beckon With Fun For All
For many years, Johnson County Library provided tabletop game nights for enthusiastic patrons, capitalizing on the growth and popularity of modern board games.
The pandemic forced those events to go virtual. But now, these fun intergenerational events are resuming at four branches. Patrons are encouraged to explore the incredible variety and creativity of 21st century board games, dice and card games. This is not just Monopoly and Clue. Today’s games allow participants to experience imaginative worlds, artfully drawn. Tabletop games test participants’ intellectual and reasoning abilities. They require strategic thinking and can inspire both competitive and collaborative approaches. “Gaming is having a really big heyday,” notes Tami Thomas, youth information specialist at Blue Valley Library. “It’s a very popular activity.”
Josh Neff, an adult information specialist at Blue Valley, said the Library branches provide a comfortable, welcoming atmosphere for people to try out an amazing selection of games, all for free. “It’s being able to get out and do something. There are a lot of modern games now and so many different styles of games,” Neff said. “There are some that are really competitive. There are some that are really cool.”
Game nights are being offered each month from 6 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. at Blue Valley, Gardner, Monticello and Central Resource Library. The schedule through April is available on the events calendar. Patrons can try out the Library’s games with coaching from staff, or bring their own. They can come and go as they please. Light refreshments are provided. Patrons can also enter drawings for some game giveaways at the end of the spring season.
On a recent Wednesday night at Blue Valley, Neff demonstrated the collaborative game Forbidden Island. He worked with a mom and her teenaged daughter to collect treasure and then escape the island. It’s a tough game to win, but they did. Meanwhile, Thomas showed a father and young son how to create dinosaur theme parks with the game Draftosaurus. Three teen volunteers played the card games Pirate Fluxx and The Mind with a patron. Many more games were available to try, including Settlers of Catan, Wits and Wagers, and King of Tokyo.
Neff said the game nights began at Lackman in 2013. Attendance was sparse at first but he and others were confident it would take off. “We were sure there was a desire for this in the community,” he recalled. They were right. Within a year, they outgrew Lackman’s meeting room space and moved to a larger venue at Antioch. By 2019, five branches were hosting game nights year-round. “It built because of word of mouth,” Neff said. “We definitely had people talking about it, bringing friends along. We had a lot of regulars. It’s a good way to be social.”
During the pandemic, the virtual game nights also gradually grew in popularity. But Library staffers are eager to resume in-person gatherings this year. They realize it will take some rebuilding again, but believe it’s a great way to promote a sense of community. Thomas recalls watching one couple playing a game with another family and getting along well. “They ended up becoming friends and getting their kids together,” she said. It’s also a great way to learn. “Playing games actually helps you with a lot of great skills,” Thomas said, “Collaboration, problem solving, creative thinking.” She said they are geared up to have patrons back in person and connect with them through games. “Everyone is welcome at the Library,” Thomas said.
Quarterly Newsletter of the Johnson County Museum
It’s another grand Throwback Thursday where we encourage you to time travel through Johnson County's history. JoCoHistory is a collaborative presentation of the history from the Johnson County Museum, Johnson County Library and many JoCoHistory partners. Explore historical photographs and documents about the people, places and organizations of Johnson County, Kansas, from the 19th century to the present.
Collection spotlight: Album, the Quarterly Newsletter of the Johnson County Museum
The ALBUM newsletter, a quarterly publication from Johnson County Museum, introduces Johnson County's history through articles and photographs.