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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!

Interviewing is Like DatingTuesday, July 26, 10 a.m. – noon

When finding a new job, it is important to make sure that you are a good fit for the company AND that the company is a good fit for you. There are strategies to figuring out whether or not a new job or position is right for you. This interactive workshop will help you find a workplace culture that is a good fit.

Read to a Dog with Pets for LifeWednesday, July 27, 1 – 2:30 p.m.

The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to a registered therapy dog. These dogs volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team. Please note, space is limited for this program. Kids will get a ticket at arrival and wait their turn to read to one of several dogs. This program will be at the Antioch Library.

End-of-Summer Reading CelebrationFriday, July 29, 7 – 10 p.m.

Movie in the Park: Finding NemoFriday, July 29, 8 – 10 p.m.

Grab a blanket, pack a picnic, and celebrate our summer of reading with us with a film at dark at Thompson Park, 8045 Santa Fe Dr. in Overland Park. Prior to the showing, join us for live music and activities. Bring the family to enjoy an evening in the park.

And much more happening this week »

Adult Online Learning Available

The Brainfuse Adult Learning Center offers live tutoring and prep for the GED, U.S. Citizenship, Microsoft Office and more.

New eBook Platform Aims for Excellent User Experience

Johnson County Library has migrated its eBooks and eAudiobooks to a new platform, in a move designed to provide optimum service and value to patrons.

The Library has switched from Axis 360 to the Libby platform from OverDrive. Library staff recommended that change following a thorough evaluation with 7,485 survey responses from patrons, schools, other users and staff. Library staff evaluated products from four vendors and determined that Libby was the best choice for its features, user-friendly service and customer support.

“We are thrilled to provide a better customer experience,” said Nancy Birmingham, assistant branch manager of the Leawood branch and project manager for the migration to Libby, which went live right before Memorial Day weekend.

An eBook platform is the digital equivalent of a Library building; electronic books go into it like hard copies go on shelves. Since 2012, Johnson County Library had used Axis 360, which over the years got both good reviews and complaints.

When Hope Harms became eResources Librarian in October 2017 she thought a review of the service was appropriate. That evaluation was approved in 2020 and completed in spring 2021. Survey feedback showed respondents wanted fewer glitches and better reliability.

“One of the things we were looking for, from a user perspective, was a more reliable, seamless experience,” Harms explained.

The Library sought proposals from four key vendors serving Libraries nationally. Staffers tried out the different platforms and got feedback from 16 peer Library systems. OverDrive’s Libby platform got good reviews, including from Kansas City, Mo., and Mid-Continent Public Library, and emerged as the top choice.

“OverDrive is one of the dominant vendors in this market,” Harms said. “They have great publisher relationships, just in terms of the types of titles we can access through them.”

Another advantage is OverDrive’s exclusive agreement with Amazon to offer many eBooks in the Kindle format.

Top administrators approved the migration in summer 2021. In January 2022 Birmingham started leading the migration team, including people from finance, communications, information technology, collection development, front-line staff, technical services, and a liaison to schools.

The migration was a big job, transitioning more than 50,000 titles to the new platform. One big challenge was to transition Holds from Axis 360 to Libby. In mid-April, the Library “paused” the ability to place further Holds, in order to migrate more than 18,000 existing Holds to the new system, with patrons still in line in their same spot.  Moving the entire collection took six weeks.

On May 23, the Library stopped accessing titles through Axis 360, and then on May 25 titles started appearing via Libby, with 12,000 checkouts by the end of that first weekend. The new system was ready for summer.

Users can access the new system via the Libby app and libbyapp.com, and it’s designed to be intuitive. Birmingham said Library staffers are also well trained to help patrons needing a quick tutorial. So far, the migration has gone well and new acquisitions have started.

“Our selectors are eager to explore the inventory OverDrive offers us for purchase,” Harms said.

Both Harms and Birmingham say the behind-the-scenes evaluation phase led to a positive change, with an excellent new vendor and product for the Library.

“We were able to present our community’s priorities in a really coherent and concise way, so we could determine what best met our needs,” Harms said, “so we can provide a really great patron experience.”

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.

Stories Come to Life with Wonderbooks

Wonderbooks are children’s books with a ready-to-play audiobook already inside. Simply take one off the shelf, press play and listen as the story comes to life. It’s never been more fun to read along! 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 read to children, ask questions, and make learning fun. Discover the ready-to-play audiobook inside every Wonderbook. Then, switch to Learning Mode for literacy learning fun that fosters continual exploration of stories and comprehension. They feature a long 16-hour battery life so you can say yes when your child says, “again, again!” You can also charge them at home if you can’t get enough. Wonderbooks even feature a headphone jack for those times when you’re in the car or during quiet times.

When you’re in a Library location, look for the Wonderbook sticker on your favorite children’s books. To browse the Library collection online, go to the online catalog and click Advanced Search, scroll down to Category 1 and select Talking Books, then hit search. This will populate a list of all the Wonderbooks Johnson County Library has available. Browsing through the selection, you’ll find titles like, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin with narration by Gwyneth Paltrow and Adriana Sananes, Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein with narration by Andrew Watts, Trains by Amy Shields with narration by L.J. Ganser and Corduroy by Don Freeman with narration by Viola Davis. With hundreds of Wonderbooks to choose from, there are many topics and interests for your child to enjoy.

Wonderbooks help children hear and see words at the same time which can greatly benefit early literacy. Stop by any Johnson County Library branch or visit our catalog to find Wonderbooks today.

Join us for Movies in the Park

Grab a blanket, pack a picnic, and join us for live music and activities. Bring the family to one or both of our upcoming Movies in the Park! Festivities begin at 7 p.m. prior to the movies which will start at dusk.

Movie in the Park: Free Willy
Friday, July 22, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Electric Park, 93rd & Loiret Blvd in Lenexa
More information »

Movie in the Park: Finding Nemo
Friday, July 29, 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Thompson Park, Downtown Overland Park
More information »

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!

Personal Branding and Networking Tuesday, July 19, 11 a.m. – noon

How do you present yourself? Join an ICG Professional Certified Coach as she talks about personal development, networking strategies, and ways to best highlight the qualities that make you an excellent employee and coworker.

Behavioral Interviewing  Tuesday, July 19, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m.

Are you prepared to highlight your best qualities when answering questions about how you've handled situations in the past? Every interview includes at least a few behavioral interview questions – in this virtual workshop you will find out which are the most common and get tips on how to answer them.

Goal Setting and Time Management  Wednesday, July 20, 10 – noon

This workshop will give you the skills and knowledge to identify how you currently use your time, identity your personal time management strengths and weaknesses, learn the dimensions of self-management of time and identify new habits you can implement to improve your personal time management.

Maintain Your Ride Thursday, July 21, noon – 1:30 p.m.

Get your hands dirty and learn to keep your bike in tip-top shape with this free class from Johnson County Library and BikeWalkKC. Live and in-person at the bicycle fix-it stand in front of Central Resource Library, our instructors will teach you how to keep your bike in good working order with a few basic tools and some practical know-how. You will learn how to clean and lubricate your chain, fix a flat, adjust shifting and braking, and other basic bike maintenance skills. We’ll also show you how to use the Library’s bicycle fix-it stand. This is a hands-on class!

Music in the Movies Performance Workshop with Kansas City Civic Orchestra Friday, July 22, 7 – 8 p.m.

Join us for this all ages performance workshop at Electric Park, featuring Jennifer Mitchell, Violinist for the KC Civic Orchestra. Tonight, we will listen and talk about music in movies! Come ready to smile, sing and groove to the sounds from some of your favorite films. A screening of the movie Free Willy will follow.

Movie in the Park: Free Willy Friday, July 22, 8 – 10 p.m.

Grab a blanket, pack a picnic, and cool down with us at Electric Park for this 1990s classic. The Kansas City Civic Orchestra will kick-off at 7 pm prior to the showing which will start at dusk.

And much more happening this week »

Art Contest!

Art Contest: "I Love My County Because ..." 

In an effort to bolster civic education and educate communities on the role of county government, the National Association of Counties (NACo) is hosting the 2022 “I Love My County Because” art contest in conjunction with National County Government Month. In addition to a $100 dollar prize, the top 13 submissions will be featured in a NACo calendar, which will be distributed to NACo members nationwide. Winners will also be announced in NACo’s publication, County News, and their artwork will be displayed at NACo’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.

In addition to the NACo Art contest, Johnson County Government wants to see your art as well. Share your art using our hashtag: #ILoveJoCo and we will showcase our favorites on our social media pages. Thank you for showing your county pride!

Start your masterpiece! And, get all of the details like eligibility, guidelines, criteria, deadline and submission requirements.

Library Analyst Guards Against Cybersecurity Threats

John Siceloff joined Johnson County Library in March, in a new position created for a vital purpose.

His job is to help the Library system guard against hackers, malware attacks and other cybersecurity threats that are becoming more prevalent every day. He’s part of a larger team protecting data and beefing up cybersecurity in the parks department, law enforcement agencies, the courts and other Johnson County departments.

“The idea was to create a bigger cybersecurity footprint for the County as a whole,” Siceloff said. “The threat landscape continues to get worse and worse.”

He is dedicated to preventing and detecting unwanted intrusions and, if necessary, remediation and recovery. That means protecting confidentiality and integrity while maintaining availability of Library data for employees and patrons.

“Let the people safely access the information they need and keep the bad guys away,” he explained.

Siceloff brings a wealth of information technology experience to the job. Most recently, he had been working as a Johnson County government network supervisor for more than a year when he saw the Library posting.

“I thought that the job and the cultural environment of the Library looked fascinating,” he said. “It was an opportunity for me to get into the security field more deeply. In all of my other previous roles I dealt with IT security but it was not my primary focus.”

Plus, Siceloff has always loved Libraries. “My family goes to the Library all the time. I’m an avid reader and I’m a big believer in the Library mission.”

Siceloff’s career path includes other fascinating jobs in far-flung places. He grew up near Wichita, graduated from KU and did GIS work in Florida. Then he took a break from computers for a few years to run a scuba diving shop, providing master scuba diving training in Panama City Beach, Florida. He met people from all over the globe and shared with them the wonders of the underwater world.

He and his wife and growing family then traded the Gulf Coast for the wilds of Alaska, where he worked on the 911 system in Soldotna. Later, he worked at the University of Wyoming, first helping to modernize the technology for massive athletic facility upgrades, then becoming a system administrator for the whole university.

Wanting a more urban environment for their three children, Siceloff and his wife relocated to Johnson County, where they live in Lenexa. His oldest daughter recently got her pharmacy tech license and works in the area.

His son will be a junior at Shawnee Mission Northwest and is active in cross country, track and choir, including recently singing with a school choral group at Carnegie Hall. 

Siceloff’s youngest daughter will be a freshman at Shawnee Mission Northwest and is a competitive figure skater.

“They’ve actually loved the move,” Siceloff said of his family, noting that they are taking full advantage of the area’s cultural, sports and educational opportunities. They are also big Library users and frequent the Central branch, which is close to their home.

So far, Siceloff is thriving in his new job.

“In my opinion it’s going outstanding so far,” he said. “I think the biggest reason is the attitude of the staff and the management.” He said the Library’s top administrators are big believers in what he does and the importance of the work. “That makes my job very easy.”