Meet Your New Maker-in-Residence: Laura Spencer

Laura Spencer is an arts reporter at KCUR 89.3, the NPR affiliate in Kansas City. She learned the art of editing reel-to-reel tape as an intern and graduate assistant with the nationally syndicated literary program, New Letters on the Air. Since 2001, she’s focused her efforts on writing and producing feature stories as KCUR’s Arts Reporter. She’s also covered a wide range of topics from science to sports to business.

In 2011, Laura was one of 21 journalists selected for USC Annenberg’s seventh National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Arts Journalism Institute in Theater and Musical Theater. She’s received awards from the Associated Press, Kansas City Art Institute (Excellence in Visual Art and Education,) Kansas City Association of Black Journalists, Missouri Broadcasters Association, Radio-Television News Directors Association (regional Edward R. Murrow Award) and Society for Professional Journalists.

Her recent national stories include following a traveling musician into the green room at Knuckleheads for NPR’s Morning Edition, and tracking down stolen Andy Warhols for APM’s Marketplace. During her Black & Veatch MakerSpace residency, Laura hopes to support the work of other audio enthusiasts.

Join Laura for some special programming this Spring in the MakerSpace »

Welcome Brandy Butcher!

Johnson County Library warmly welcomes Brandy Butcher as a new member of the Library’s Board of Directors. Members of our Board of Directors are appointed by the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners for a four-year term, and may be reappointed for an additional four-year term. Ms. Butcher has been appointed by Commissioner Jason Osterhaus.

From Ms Butcher’s letter of application to the Board:

I’ve had a lifelong love for my local libraries, and my children and I frequent the Johnson County library system often. I have volunteered in my children’s school library for the past 7 years. I believe a strong library system provides immense value to a community and I would love to be part of keeping our library system great and watching it continue to evolve meeting the needs of our community.

The Library Board meets the second Thursday of every month at 4 p.m. All meetings are open to the public. See the schedule here

Throwback Thursday

Happy National Opposite Day! We searched the JoCoHistory for something worthy of this "holiday" and came up with a Johnson County masquerade party! This was the Olathe Club of the Deaf posing in costume for the "opposite sex" masquerade party of February 24, 1951.

See more local history at or follow our hashtag on Twitter.


New Friends Board on Board

The newly-seated board of directors of the Friends of Johnson County Library lost no time in getting oriented and getting down to work. 

Members spent the morning of January 6 together catching up on Friends history and reviewing accomplishments from the past few years. The first full board meeting of the year, on the following Tuesday, January 9, heard lively discussions about committee assignments and strategic direction for the Friends in 2018 and beyond. 

The Board also toured the MakerSpace at Central Library. The Friends Bookstore at Central now sells a few supplies useful in the MakerSpace. Business is, so far, good!

The Board has plans to travel its monthly meetings around the system to get to know Libraries and programs better. They'll visit the Friends Sorting Center in February and the Antioch bookstore in April. The executive committee, under the able direction of President Julie Steiner, plans to work with the Library and Foundation to flesh out strategic planning during the course of this year.

If you're interested in joining the Friends, we'd love to have you! Become a Friend today »

Welcome Stephanie Stollsteimer!

We warmly welcome Stephanie Stollsteimer as our new Executive Director for the Johnson County Library Foundation. Stephanie joined the team on Monday, January 8, 2018.

Stollsteimer has a Master of Business Administration degree and her Bachelor’s degree in Journalism. She has worked for a range of not-for-profits and has a passion for libraries and public service. She previously aided United Soccer Coaches as Marketing and Membership coordinator. She has also worked with the Kansas City Ballet, the Women’s Foundation of Greater Kansas City, and as Executive Director of the SkillBuilders Fund.

We’re grateful for the professionalism and experience that Ms. Stollsteimer brings to the Foundation mission of helping the Library build its collection and resources, offer programs for patrons of all ages, and better serve the needs of our community.

Shawnee's New Maker-made Chess Set

Shawnee Library has a new chess corner, with pieces and a board made in our Black & Veatch MakerSpace! Come over and play!

Have Fun with Books!

One of our 6 by 6: Ready to Read Early Literacy skills is "Have Fun with Books." Children who enjoy books and are interested in them will naturally want to learn to read! Educators and researchers use the term print motivation to describe this area of early literacy. We've got lots of ideas about how to help little ones see that books, words, reading, rhyming are fun! Watch our Librarian Megan's fun rhyme "Two Little Rhythm Sticks" with your little ones, and then head over to our Have Fun with Books page for lots more fun ideas!

Making TV, Literally!

Make48 is an invention competition and a nationally televised show on PBS. One of our MakerSpace gurus, Nick Ward-Bopp, volunteered at the most recent competition as a tool technician at the beginning of Season 2 filming. The Make48 team came to the MakerSpace to shoot some footage Monday, Jan. 22. Our MakerSpace and Nick are ready for their closeups! 

Keepin' It Real

Whether you're a seasoned nonfiction reader or generally find Historical Romance more your style, you'll find something in our Nonfiction list to intrigue and excite! Put your holds on these hot picks now »