Storytimes are Back!

Did you miss Storytimes during our brief break in December? We did, too! We are excited to once again welcome back Storytimes to 10 branches and online. Storytime start dates and schedules are tailored to each individual branch, so be sure to check the Events page or the Spring Program Guide for specific details. Check out the 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! 

This Week at the Library

Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like

Your doorway into live and archived programs. Arts & Culture, Career & Finance, Community Matters, Writers and more!

Tabletop Games – Tuesday, Jan. 17, 6 – 7:45 p.m.

Join us at Central Resource Library for a fun-filled evening with family members and friends, old and new, and become a part of the Johnson County tabletop gaming community. Kids, teens and adults can enjoy a variety of games together, including collaborating to escape the Forbidden Island, getting creative with a round of Dixit, or strategizing their way to victory as King of Tokyo! Discover and learn new games from our collection or bring your personal favorite to share. Come and go as you please. Refreshments are provided. Each month, our gaming librarians will feature a family-friendly game and teach you how to play it. Central's featured game for January is Carcassonne.

Two Chapters Book Club – Wednesday, Jan. 18, 4 – 5 p.m.

Come read with us at Central Resource Library! A librarian will read aloud the first two chapters of a favorite book and you can decide to check out a copy to take home if you like it. If the chapters are short, we might sample more. We’ll have snacks and activities related to the book. Ages 7-11.

Legislative Coffee – Saturday, Jan. 21, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Discover what’s percolating in the Kansas Legislature. Representatives and Senators with constituents in Johnson County will discuss the new legislative session, followed by Q&A at the Corinth Library. You bring the questions; we provide the coffee and doughnuts. Registration is not required to attend in-person.

Kansas Day Celebration – Saturday, Jan. 21, 1 – 5 p.m.

Let’s celebrate Kansas! This family-friendly event at Central Resource Library will include live music, old-timey games and a chance to show off your Kansas trivia knowledge. Enjoy a slice of birthday cake and check out the new Kids Area at Central Resource Library. Come and go anytime between 1-5 p.m. and see what Kansas has to offer!

Young Adult Literary Council – Saturday, Jan. 21, 2 – 3 p.m.

Teens are invited to join the Young Adult Literary Council at the Gardner Library to share favorite books, pick up advanced reader copies of teen books to read and review, and participate in other fun activities such as author visits, game days, event planning and more. Meet new people and receive volunteer credit hours for your time with us.

And much more happening this week

Did You Know? Johnson County Library Has “Did You Hear?” Podcast

Podcasting has become an increasingly popular communications tool for education and entertainment.

Since 2018, Johnson County Library has offered its own podcast, titled “Did You Hear?”

These digital recordings have proven to be a fun and creative way to share Library staffs' passion for what they do. Episodes offer a behind-the-scenes exploration of Library services, events and the collection, revealing how the Library is so much more than buildings with books.

Ninety-five episodes have generated nearly 20,000 downloads, averaging 200 per installment. The most popular, about the U.S. Census, garnered nearly 1,000 downloads. Other popular episodes include interesting topics like K-Pop, Return Bin Finds, Notable Books, the MakerSpace, Community Matters and Library Hacks. They are all available on the Library's website.

Interviewees have included an astronaut, award-winning authors, civic leaders and popular chefs. The 20-minute conversations, released monthly, take listeners on an audio journey of discovery.

Co-Hosts Dave Carson and Charles Hower make a great team and are excited for 2023.

“We really found our swing this year, our stride,” said Carson, who launched the podcast project in June 2018. The program has had several co-hosts but has built continuity and momentum since Hower signed on in early 2021.

Carson and Hower each bring unique skills to this endeavor. Carson has a master’s degree in educational technology and has been with Johnson County Library for almost 15 years, concentrating on web content development and multimedia production. In 2018 he realized podcasting could enhance what the Library was already doing with its website, videos and social media.

Hower was hired as a Monticello clerk in 2018 and became an information specialist at Central in March 2020. He has a music recording background and is an avid podcast listener.

Their first episode together in 2021 focused on what patrons could still do through the Library, despite COVID restrictions. The “Did You Hear?” podcast, available through the Podbean hosting service to all sorts of podcast apps, provided great Library outreach during the pandemic.

“It was connecting patrons to those resources, saying ‘Hey, we’re still here,’” Hower explained.

Hower personally learned a lot. “Getting to speak to people about their jobs and find out their backgrounds, I really enjoyed that early on,” he said. “Now, I think my favorite part is that it feels like I’m hanging out with friends and I get to chat with them.”

Carson appreciates how the Library's administration has supported the initiative, providing equipment for high-quality audio.

“I’m a lifelong learner like everybody is here,” Carson said. “All the different people who come in here, we have a general sense of what they do, but when you get into the specifics, that’s where the real meat of it is. It’s so enjoyable.”

They began 2022 by interviewing a Library staffer preparing to retire and another newly hired, comparing their perspectives. Other installments shined a spotlight on summer reading and the Writers Conference.

They are excited for 2023 and are planning their next installments. They would love to hear your feedback through this brief survey.

“If we can help people see everything that the Library is involved with, I think that helps break down stereotypes,” Carson said, “showing who the librarians are and what a modern library is and can be, and your unique and personal relationship with it.”

Time Travel Johnson County's History

JoCoHistory expands the public's sense of community through an understanding of Johnson County's history and its place in American society.

The purpose of JoCoHistory is to collaboratively provide access to historical materials related to Johnson County, Kansas. It utilizes the strengths and expertise of each contributing organization to develop a broadly accessible web presence.

Specifically, the goals of JoCoHistory are to:

  • Access local information through digitization of original and unique materials regarding the history and development of Johnson County
  • Provide access to locally and remotely held information relevant to the history of Johnson County
  • Provide curriculum tools that meet Kansas and national curriculum standards
  • Promote an understanding of the importance of local history and regional development

The initial phase of the project began in Fall 2004 and was made possible by funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and from the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners through the Heritage Trust Fund (HTF). Initial contributors for JoCoHistory were the Johnson County Museum, Johnson County Library, Johnson County Archives and Olathe Public Library. Subsequent years have seen the involvement of Kansas School for the Deaf, Lenexa Historical Society, Olathe Historical Society, Overland Park Historical Society and Shawnee Mission School District.

eLearning Spotlight: Brainfuse HelpNow

“Ask for help. Not because you are weak. But because you want to remain strong.”

— Les Brown

Brainfuse HelpNow has several ways to get homework help:

  • Live tutoring daily 2 - 11 p.m.
  • Writing Lab to get feedback within one business day
  • SkillSurfer for study resources and test prep
  • Send Question to get a response within one business day
  • LEAP to create a customized learning plan

Plus several more tools to collaborate and learn using the website or mobile app.

This resource is generously supported by the Louis and Elizabeth Nave Flarsheim Charitable Foundation.

Learn more about Brainfuse HelpNow

Five-Star Staff Pick: The Ogress and the Orphans

Today's five-star staff pick comes from our Librarian Chris, about The Ogress and the Orphans by Kelly Barnhill.

"Social contagion. That's what lies at the heart of this book; that's what this book is about. How thoughts, feelings, attitudes, beliefs, and actions spread from one person to another to another and so on. Trust is contagious; when one person behaves trustingly, others respond in kind and the dynamic spreads. Suspicion is contagious; when one person acts from suspicion, others respond in kind and the dynamic spreads. Everything is contagious, spreading socially through networks of people."

Read more of Chris' review or check out the book now.

We Found It In a Book

As you may imagine, many items get returned along with out books. We see bookmarks, receipts, photos, and notes of all kind, and we often don't have a way to find out who they belong to. Here are some examples of the little slices of our patrons' lives that we get to see when we check in returned items.