Cinematographer with a motion picture camera in Aviation Park.

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.

No Wait Wednesday: The Forgetting by Hannah Beckerman

On Wednesdays we put a spotlight on a book on our Adult Fiction New Release shelf that's absolutely worthy of your attention. We call it #NoWaitWednesday, and we hope you take a closer look at any of our New Release shelves at your local Library branch the next time you come in, as there's always tons of great titles just waiting for you to check them out. 

Last week we looked a title that's a bit moodier and darker to match the approaching fall season. We're continuing the trend this week with an atmospheric psychological thriller, The Forgetting, for patrons who love novels from authors like Alice Feeney or Ruth Ware - novels with intricate plots that often involve hidden secrets in a domestic suburban setting written with compelling prose that keeps pages turning until well after bedtime.

"The Forgetting" by Hannah Beckerman involves two women who are each victims of gaslighting in their own way. Anna, a London housewife,  wakes up in a hospital bed with a severe concussion from a car accident. She doesn't recognize the man at the end of the bed who introduces himself as Stephen and who gently informs her that he's her husband. As Anna recovers and undergoes physical therapy, he fills her in on her entire life, including their twelve-year marriage, a career as a librarian, and a nice home. Anna feels disoriented and confused as she remembers absolutely none of this and begins to wonder if Stephen - her seemingly perfectly supportive husband - is being completely truthful to her.

Meanwhile, in a city not that far away, another woman, Livvy, is going through a different situation. After six months of maternity leave after having a newborn, she's eager to get back to work, however childcare is proving difficult to find, since her husband Dominic frequently goes out of town for work. Dominic's estranged mother suddenly pops back into the picture, wanting to connect with a family she's never known, throwing Livvy's life into chaos. Is there something Dominic isn't telling her?

The novel bounces back and forth between these two storylines until about halfway through, when the novel pulls a shocking and devious twist and links the two together. (No spoilers!)  

The best domestic thrillers work when they scrape away the surface layer of seemingly perfect suburban lives to reveal the rotten foundation underneath. The perfect house, the perfect marriage, the perfect career, the perfect relationship - all of them at risk under the unbearable weight of secrets and lies that, if exposed, brings the whole facade crashing down. Characters must decide if knowing the truth and tearing down the image of what they knew so well is worth that risk, and readers are, of course, along for the ride.

Do you like domestic thrillers? Love the roller-coaster ride of secrets, lies, betrayal, and gaslighting? Strap in, then, and enjoy "The Forgetting" by Hannah Beckerman. Get these and more domestic thrillers at your local Library branch!

nick ward-bopp and laura fox pose in front of a painted brick wall with two bikes

Nick Ward-Bopp and Laura Fox

Library and BikeWalkKC Partner for Wonderful Women’s Bike Summit

Johnson County Library and BikeWalkKC have cultivated a positive partnership for more than five years, educating patrons about how to maintain bikes and enjoy the health and environmental benefits of bicycling.

Now that partnership is blossoming into even more enriching programming, leading up to a day-long Women’s Bike Summit Sept. 30.

The summit, offered free of charge with the Library’s support, will feature activities, workshops and rides to encourage and enhance women’s bicycling experience and to help promote networking and a supportive biking community. Participants will gather in the large Carmack Community Room at Central Resource Library.

Participants are also encouraged to attend the keynote address 6:30-7:30 p.m. August 15 in the Carmack Room. Registration is required and is available here. The keynote event will feature Sarah Farsace, an inspiring advocate who has overcome physical challenges and is a tremendous mentor to her North Kansas City School District PE students.

The Library and BikeWalkKC have also collaborated on warm-up classes and events, which have resulted in short YouTube videos that people can revisit, highlighting bike handling skills, group rides and helpful technology.

BikeWalkKC has sponsored these summits in the past, but this will be the first one since 2018, and the first one that’s free of charge and hosted with Johnson County Library. Nick Ward-Bopp, a Johnson County Library MakerSpace facilitator who commutes by bike and helped forge the relationship with BikeWalkKC years ago, was delighted for this summit to come to fruition.

“It’s the culmination of all these educational programs we’ve been doing,” Ward-Bopp said. “It made so much sense to bring it here.”

Johnson County is an ideal summit location, Ward-Bopp said, because the county leads the region with 98 miles of already-built bicycle infrastructure and 315 additional miles planned. Meanwhile, e-bike sales are exploding, up more than 250 percent from 2021 to 2022, according to market research. Sustainability and healthy living are core Johnson County values, which the bike summit certainly supports.

Johnson County Library’s bicycle maintenance classes, offered in conjunction with BikeWalkKC in recent years, are quite popular. A bike fix-it stand outside Central Library is well used.

The Library is all about access, Ward-Bopp said, so empowering people through education to get bikes into their hands and to provide bike maintenance skills and information about safety and safe routes is all part of that mission.

Laura Fox, BikeWalkKC Director of Education, agreed the partnership has been excellent. “We have very clear communication,” she said. “We have set expectations and the Library is super easy to work with. I think they are setting the standard for resource sharing among all Libraries.”

BikeWalkKC’s Development Director, Amy Scrivner, noted that the organization’s membership actually grew 60 percent from 2019 through 2021, as people turned to biking and walking to cope physically and mentally during the pandemic.

“BikeWalkKC’s goal is to provide activities like the Women’s Bike Summit that encourage more people to ride so they see the benefit of supporting an organization like ours,” she said.

Fox observed that women often safeguard the health of a family, so the Women’s Bike Summit is a catalyst for getting even more women involved in this wholesome and fun activity. Men are very welcome at the summit, but it is geared to women.

This Week at the Library

Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like.

Bilingual Storytime – Monday, Sept. 18, 10:30 – 11 a.m.

Join us at this storytime at Central Resource Library where the whole family will enjoy stories, songs, fingerplays and movement activities in both English and another language. Exposure to other languages can help develop early language learning and boost pre-reading skills. Fun for the whole family.

Toda la familia podrá disfrutar tanto en inglés como en otros idiomas: historias, canciones, juegos de manos y dedos, y actividades para trabajar el movimiento con los niños. El contacto con otros idiomas en los niños ayuda a desarrollar el aprendizaje temprano y a mejorar las habilidades de prelectura. Habrá diversión para toda la familia.

Read Under the Stars – Monday, Sept. 18, 2 – 4 p.m.

Elementary aged kids and their families, please join us at the Corinth Library for a low-sensory personal reading experience. We invite you to bring your own book (or borrow one of ours!), curl up and read in our quiet starlit Library space.

Prevent Scams, Fraud & Identity Theft – Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2 – 3 p.m.

In 2022, people reported to the FTC that they lost $8.8 billion to fraud – an increase of more than 30% over the previous year. Losses racked up from investment scams, romance scams, and other scams also keep rising. Learn to spot these scams by knowing the warning signs. Carol Kando-Pineda, Counsel in the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Consumer and Business Education, will address ways to protect your information and your devices, what to do if you paid a scammer, and the steps to take immediately if you suspect identity theft. The FTC’s mission is to protect consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education.

Homework Help – Wednesdays, Sept. 20 to Dec. 13, 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

School is challenging for many students, and pandemic learning loss is an additional reality facing today’s youth. Central Resource Library is thrilled to announce the return of Homework Help coaches to support student learning and academic achievement. Homework Help will focus specifically on literacy support for grades 2-5. Students are encouraged to bring specific homework assignments from school, such as book reports, writing projects, vocabulary, spelling, science or social studies reading, or any other work related to their specific literacy needs. English Language Learners (ELL) are welcome. Students will be served on a first-come, first-served basis, and busy times may require a wait. Additional online tutoring resources are available at on our website and include BrainFuse, Lightbox, and Khan Academy among others.

And much more happening this week 

For inquiries about accessibility and accommodations, please contact us at or 913-826-4600 at least two weeks before the event.

Clare Bradley competes at the NSDA tournament.

Clare Bradley competes at the NSDA tournament. Photo courtesy of the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA).

Debate Champion Prizes Time at the Library

Age brings wisdom — even for a stellar teen debater. 

Clare Bradley took occasional childhood trips to the Johnson County Library with family or a babysitter. But the 2023 Shawnee Mission South High School graduate didn’t gain a full appreciation of the Library until she gravitated to the Lenexa branch and Central Resource Library when she began driving. 

She recognized the importance of Library services, such as providing tax forms. But the pretty, peaceful surroundings also provided the perfect atmosphere for school work. The Library was a home away from home. 

“It’s just a good place to reset my brain,” she said. 

That focus paid off in a big way when Bradley and partner Brooklynn Hato came away champions in the policy debate category at the National Speech & Debate Association tournament in June. 

The competition in Phoenix involved more than 6,000 high school students from more than 1,300 schools. The question Bradley and Hato tackled concerned security cooperation within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 

The two young women were partners for three years, and they entered their final season coming off a win at the National Catholic Forensic League national tournament in Washington, D.C., at the conclusion of their junior year. 

Fittingly enough, the partners met at the Central Resource Library for a confab going into their senior year competition. 

“We had the time and space and that little side room to be like, ‘Here’s what we want to do, and here's how we're going to get it done,’” Bradley said, “which we couldn't exactly anticipate the big finality it led up to.” 

The Library provided Bradley a much-needed separation from a bedroom that had doubled as a classroom and personal space during the pandemic. 

“I felt like I developed a healthier balance between — here's the time and space where I need to be working and be productive — and then when I'm at home, I know I can be like, ‘This is my me time. This is my chill time.’” 

Bradley has a friend group that shares her love of the Library. Even during the summer, she had a chance encounter with some friends. They were all heading into the Library to check out books before heading to work. 

Bradley is attending the University of Southern California on a debate scholarship. (Hato is attending the University of Kansas on a debate scholarship.) 

Bradley is happy with the campus libraries. One has floors differentiated by the noise level of the users, and another has multiple below-ground levels to house its collection. Bradley said it would be cool to get a library job. 

Bradley can see planting roots in Southern California because of the job opportunities and natural surroundings. She entered her freshman year planning on majoring in chemical engineering with an eye toward a career in environmental advocacy. 

“But I’m very indecisive,” she said. “So we'll just see where the world takes me.” 

First commercial building: grocery, cigar store and confectionary

First commercial building: grocery, cigar store and confectionary.

Overland Park's Past in Pictures

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: Overland Park Historical Society

About this collection: Over 1,300 photographs documenting Overland Park life with special emphasis on local businesses, the Strang Line interurban railroad and school personnel.

No Wait Wednesday: The Wonder State by Sara Flannery Murphy

Hello and welcome to #NoWaitWednesday, where we take a look at a title that's available on the New Release shelves at one of our branch Libraries, just waiting for some lucky patron to place a hold on it.

With the official start of fall finally on the horizon, some patrons might be looking for a novel that's a bit darker than some of the titles we've previously discussed in this space - something more moody to fit the changing weather, perhaps. Something that's written with an elegant yet gripping prose, with the kind of story where you never really know where it's going but it grabs your attention and forces you to keep turning pages. Something that's not quite horror, not quite fantasy, and not quite thriller - but something that's a combination of all three of those genres.

The Wonder State by Sara Flannery Murphy might just be the title you're looking for. Murphy, author of 2021's buzzworthy Girl One, is back with a moody, gothic fantasy/thriller that's set in the Arkansas Ozarks. This novel revolves around a group of teens who are drawn together by their shared obsession with a collection of houses created by a talented yet reclusive female architect, who, it is whispered, could see into other worlds. Each house comes with its own unique style and history - as well as a hint of the supernatural - and the friends form a fierce bond while investigating them until disaster forces them apart.

Flash forward to years later, and while most of the friends have gone their separate ways, one of the girls, Brandi, stayed behind, continuing her research into the houses while at the same time struggling with addiction. She then reaches out to her old friends with a mysterious note - has she finally discovered something? - and when everyone returns, they discover that she has gone missing, and the reformed group must follow in her footsteps and retrace - and also rediscover - the magic they left behind. Is the note a trap? A cry for help? Or something else?

A intoxicating mixture of Lev Grossman's The Magicians and Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House, this novel is a multilayered, nostalgic love letter to the special kind of magic that forms when friends at a specific age discover a singular obsession. Sara Flannery Murphy's novels are excellent at mixing magic or sci-fi into the emotional lives of her characters, and combined with the rich, deep Arkansas atmosphere of the decaying homes in the Arkansas Ozarks, makes this a singular read that's perfectly suited for the fall season.

Place your holds, and be sure to let us know what you think by posting a review of this novel - or pretty much everything else you get at the Library - in the Web Catalog. See you next time!

Storytimes Are Back!

Did you miss Storytimes during our brief break in August? We did, too! Starting this week, we are excited to once again welcome back Storytimes to 11 branches. Storytime dates and schedules are tailored to each individual branch, so be sure to check our Web Calendar, the Fall Program Guide, or pick up a flyer at your favorite Library location for specific details. Check out our Storytime FAQ for all the details on how to attend and which Storytime variety is right for your child’s age group and developmental abilities. See you soon at Storytime!