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TV Journalist/Author to Share Insights with Local Writers

Matt Stewart is a well-known Kansas City reporter and anchor with Fox 4. What viewers may not realize is that he has also published four books and is passionate about narrative storytelling. His latest book is Unique Eats and Eateries of Kansas City, profiling Kansas City’s dynamic chefs and restaurants. 

Stewart will share his knowledge and insights at Central Resource Library in January and February. It’s a chance to discuss his work and motivate other writers to overcome their fears, sharpen their prose and share their gifts. 

“After I published my first book, I had a ton of people writing asking me, ‘How did you do this?’ I shared with them that this was a lifelong dream,” Stewart said. “I hope I can inspire people to take their work and share it with others. People are scared of rejection. But their writing can inspire others and entertain them.” 

On Jan. 24, Stewart will join Andrea Broomfield, author of “Iconic Restaurants of Kansas City,” and restaurateur Jasper Mirabile for a conversation. On Jan. 25 he will discuss his writing process and how he turned his hobby into a successful second career. On Feb. 1 and Feb. 4 he will host workshops on crafting convincing dialogue and helping aspiring writers to polish their own work.

“I’m excited to share my story with people,” he said. 

Stewart grew up in Omaha, where his mother instilled in him a love of reading and libraries. He attended Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and began a career in television news. He and his wife Chrissy moved in 2004 to the Kansas City area. They have three teenaged children. 

Stewart worked eight years at KCTV Channel 5 and has been with Fox 4 for a decade. Despite a very busy career and family life he has always made time to write, often late at night. For his first book, he took to heart the mantra “write what you know” and realized he had a great story to tell. 

He had been a walk-on strong safety for Northwestern’s football team in 1993 and played all four years. During that time, the team went from worst to first in the Big 10. He turned that experience into the memoir “The Walk-On,” offering an insider’s fascinating account of an amazing college football transformation. He couldn’t find a New York publisher but self-published it in 2012. It won sports-writing awards and rave reviews from readers. 

He followed that up with a fictional murder mystery (set in a small town TV newsroom) and with a science fiction time-travel novel. Both also won popular acclaim. More information is available at MattStewartBooks.com

Kansas City author Anne Kniggendorf recommended Stewart to St. Louis-based Reedy Press, which approached him in 2021 to write a Kansas City-focused book. He realized that while people know about Kansas City’s great restaurants, they don’t know the chefs’ incredible untold stories.  

“I wanted to put the spotlight on these local chefs, who are so talented and create such amazing meals,” he said.  

In promoting the book, Stewart reached out to Johnson County Library. He and his family are avid patrons at the Lenexa City Center branch. He is delighted that the Library programs will highlight both his book and the writer’s craft. 

“They wanted to do something unique to really honor this book and the restaurants I profiled,” Stewart said, adding that he’s also eager to encourage other writers. “If I can help people shore up their knowledge and share their work, then that will have been worth my time.” 

Museum Memories

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: Johnson County Museum

About this collection: The Johnson County Museum has a wide range of images dating from the late 19th century to the current day. A major focus of the collection centers on individuals and groups of people in domestic, recreational, scholarly and business settings.

Tabletop Games Resumes!

Join us for Tabletop Games in-person beginning in January!  Tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 4, is our first event at Blue Valley Library, where our librarian Josh will be teaching Forbidden Island.

Offered at Blue Valley Library, Gardner Library, Central Resource Library, and Monticello Library, these monthly events will be fun-filled evenings with family members and friends, old and new. 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.

See the schedule »

eAudiobooks allow you to multitask!

Are you a multitasker? We have found it's difficult to read a book while also:

  • Jogging
  • Cooking
  • Painting
  • Driving
  • ...and, well, it's a long list!

Our solution? Checkout our eAudiobooks:

eAudiobooks on Libby
Our largest eAudiobook collection! Listen to popular fiction and nonfiction books for kids, teens and adults.

Naxos Spoken Word Library
Classic fiction and nonfiction streaming audiobooks.

eAudiobooks on cloudLibrary
Great listens! Popular fiction and nonfiction collection provided by the State Library of Kansas.

Listen and multitask! You're welcome. 

This Week at the Library

Look what’s coming in the new year! 

  • Ten branches will be offering weekly in-person storytimes with expanded capacity beginning mid-January. A variety of programs for kids ages 7-12 are returning as well, including book clubs and an all-new writing club, The Scribblers Society. Additional program favorites returning to the branches include Read to a Dog and Tabletop Games.  

  • We’ll offer three Caregiver Workshops this spring with engaging topics like exploring essential life skills for your youngster and learning about activities that will challenge and enrich your child.  

  • Local Art Exhibitions will be continuing as Johnson County Library partners with local arts organizations to curate a diverse selection of artwork to display in the Library’s physical and digital spaces. Each exhibition also includes a QR code you can scan to listen to the artist’s audio commentaries and read their bios.   

And our tradition of providing resources for writers of all levels of experience will continue, including lectures, workshops, contests and opportunities to share work with our community. Explore these resources and more on our For Writers page.

23 Resolutions for 2023!

You’ve made 23 New Year’s resolutions for 2023. Good for you! That's ambitious. We resolve to help you learn whatever you want to learn, do whatever you want to do and be whatever you want to be. We make it easy for you with these shortcuts:

  1. Catch up on the News with eNewspapers
  2. Get your finances in order. We can help with that! Start with our Personal Finance section of our website. We have resources for everyone from people just getting started to veteran investors.
  3. Read more. Start here: We Recommend, Staff Picks, Recent Activity, New Titles, Awards, Bestsellers, Book Groups, eBooks
  4. Learn something new. When you say, "I want to learn something new to me!" What you really need is Udemy, presented by Gale! Learn about leadership, tech, design and personal hobbies.
  5. Get a new job. Start with out with the research section of our website: Career and Development. We bring in the experts for online programs to serve your career needs. We have a guide prepared by Librarians to help you explore career options. We even make life easier for you to find local jobs. You can get help with your resume and cover letters. And, there's so much more!
  6. Learn a new language. We have Mango Languages and Rosetta Stone to help you soyez compétent en un rien de tempsyiba nekhono ngokushesha and sea competente en poco tiempo. 
  7. Abbreviate lists.

Why I Give: Lynne Brown

Books and libraries have always been a big part of my life. I remember being 5 or 6 years old and reading Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss all the way through by myself. I have a vivid memory of the joy and empowerment I felt in that moment… I’m a reader! It was a first step in my lifelong love affair with books and reading.  

My grandmother was a church librarian in Hesston, KS. My sister and I loved to hang out with her and browse the library shelves, on Sundays during our summer vacations. My grandparents and my parents were big readers. Their love of reading and books was instilled in me, a legacy my husband Gary and I passed to our children and now to our grandchildren.

The Library has played an important role in my professional life. I do research for clients, and Library study rooms are a perfect landing place between meetings or for a virtual call.

As a past Foundation Board member and continuing member of the Fund Development Committee, my passionate belief is that libraries are invaluable in our community. Books and access to information are essential. I take a great deal of pride and satisfaction in having helped, over the years, to establish the Foundation’s planned giving initiative, The 1952 Society: Writing the Library’s Next Chapter, and the Readers Circle (donors who have given $10,000 or more.) I’ve had a lot of fun helping with Foundation events including Rare Conversations, the Pinnacle Awards, and now Library Lets Loose. It is more important than ever to ensure our Library’s success in benefitting future generations. That’s why the Library is, and will continue to be, one of my personal philanthropic priorities.

— Lynne Brown

Look Into Lenexa's Past

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: Lenexa Historical Society

About this collection: This collection is comprised of over 3,500 images relating to the history, development and people of Lenexa, Kansas. Particular strengths include area construction projects, photos of the Legler Barn Museum, the Lenexa Centennial celebration of 1969 and early landowners. The photographs were collected and maintained by the Lenexa Historical Society, who are headquartered at the Legler Barn Museum in Sar Ko Par Park.

Merriam Plaza Library Groundbreaking

Johnson County Library began construction on its newest branch, the Merriam Plaza Library, after a groundbreaking ceremony on Nov. 29.

Construction Manager Titan Built has mobilized to the site. Their first few activities have included securing the construction site for safety and beginning sitework.

The new building, co-located on a campus with the Merriam Community Center, is expected to open in 2024. The 15,000-square-foot branch will replace the much-loved but outdated Antioch Library, which has served Johnson County since 1956 at the corner of Antioch Road and Shawnee Mission Parkway. Staff and the collection will move from the existing location to the new building.

Read about the project on the FAQ, and check back on the Library’s website and social media sites for construction progress photos and updates.