All Library locations will be closed Monday, June 19th for the Juneteenth holiday.
We’ve been publishing Volume, a literary and arts notebook, for six years! Each Volume has plenty of room to scribble and doodle, plus beautiful artwork and writing from YOU, our patrons!
Our prompt for Volume 6
Whether it be fishing for compliments, fishers of men, or actual fishing for fish, tell us about the ways you cast your net, what you’re hoping to catch and the surprises along the way. Learn more and submit your writing or art »
Many of Johnson County Library’s writing programs have been supported by the Joan Berkley Writers Fund, which is administered by the Johnson County Library Foundation. The Berkley family started the fund to honor Joan Berkley, who was an avid reader and lover of literature. Bert Berkley has supported the fund since its inception in 2013 and we thought it would be fun to honor Bert along with Joan with a prompt all about his favorite thing: fishing. Need inspiration? Read about Bert’s passion for fly-fishing in “Anglers Journal” »
Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like.
Healthy Living Classes – Tuesdays, May 2 – May 31, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Community health workers from the Johnson County Department of Health & Environment will be onsite at the Central Resource Library every Tuesday until May 31 from 10:30-11:30 to provide information about healthy living.
In Memory of Six Million – Thursday, May 4, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Join us for our 13th annual In Memory of Six Million Holocaust Remembrance program. Hear a survivor speak from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum via Zoom. As survivors grow fewer as the years go on, we are incredibly grateful and excited to offer this opportunity to our patrons. The survivor will speak for 30 minutes allowing 30 minutes for audience questions at the end. The program will be recorded and available for viewing after the event.
Resiliency Conference – Friday, May 5, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Individuals with lived experience with a mental health condition or substance use disorder, along with supportive loved ones and members of the community are invited to our 2023 Resiliency Conference, formerly known as the Recovery Conference.
Walk and Read at I-Lan Park – Saturday, May 6 – May 14, All day, anytime
Family and friends of all ages are invited to join Johnson County Library for a walk in a park! Walk and Read creates a reading opportunity for all, in various parks throughout Johnson County. Those who participate will read two stories posted around a path, one going each direction. When you finish one story, you can turn around to the other side of the sign and begin the next story, which will lead you back around the path. The Walk and Read program encourages physical activity, literacy and family time. The paths are stroller and wheelchair friendly, allowing for all to join in the fun! Dates are subject to adjustment due to inclement weather conditions. Look for updated information at jocolibrary.org. Johnson County Library, and Leawood Parks and Recreation invite you to visit the Walk and Read at I-Lan Park. Two stories, Flower Garden by Eve Bunting and Can I Give You a Squish by Emily Neilson, will be posted.
When Mickey Willard was in seventh grade in 2005 at Trail Ridge Middle School, several of her best friends were featured in a new teen literary magazine, elementia, produced by Johnson County Library.
Willard attended the reception and was inspired to submit her own artwork for future issues, including the portrait chosen for the issue 9 Cover in 2012. Her experience was so positive that she joined the Library staff in 2014.
“Elementia was the direct cause of me being here now today,” says Willard, a youth information specialist at Monticello. “It got me introduced to the Librarians and to their amazing work. Now I’m engaged with the next generation of creative teens and patrons.”
This April marks an elementia milestone, with its 20th issue release. Willard is part of a Library team who cherish working with teens on it every year.
The magazine has evolved from a few hundred copies produced in-house on a shoestring budget into a beautifully curated and professionally printed publication, with several thousand copies distributed in Library locations and elsewhere. But it has remained true to its original mission: to showcase the phenomenal talent and originality of teen writers and artists. All issues are viewable on the Library's website.
Elementia had modest beginnings. It grew out of a middle school creative writing class offered at Central Resource Library. Youth Services Manager Angel Tucker, a part-time youth specialist at the time, realized these young people needed to share their work with peers and families. That first issue, in fall 2005, featured 19 pieces of writing, and 60 people attended the reception honoring the young writers.
“We started elementia because young people were showing up and wanting to be together. They wanted to have a community,” Tucker recalled. “And what we’ve built over the last 20 issues has consistently aligned with that original vision.”
The Library gradually found sustained funding and support for a full-color, 72-page publication. Teachers encourage students to submit their writing, and it’s highly competitive to be selected. Since issue 13 in 2016, all visual art has also been created by teens, thanks to a partnership with the Shooting Stars arts education program.
Graphics Coordinator Jennifer Taylor, involved since the beginning, emphasizes that every issue is written, edited, curated and designed by teens and young adults, with Library staff providing mentoring and support.
Emma Fernhout, youth information specialist at Monticello, says the participants are incredibly intelligent and passionate. They motivate her to think in new ways. “It fills me with a lot of hope and delight for the future of literature,” she said.
Leawood Information Specialist Cassandra Gillig says many elementia graduates keep in touch after they become adults, and it’s clear the magazine is a profound learning experience, beyond the classroom.
“It’s often the first place that is not dictated by anyone other than themselves,” Gillig said, so it becomes a catalyst for teens flexing their creative muscles and finding their voice.
The Library also connects participants with published authors. Youth Information Specialist Cassidy Coles said some of those authors, including A.S. King and Naomi Shihab Nye, have given major shout-outs to elementia in book dedications or public remarks.
King will be the keynote speaker at this year’s virtual reception, Tuesday, May 9, at 7:00 p.m. The reception will also feature readings, artwork, music and more exploring this year's theme: Cycles.
Gillig said every issue is astonishing and uplifting, and this year is no different. As it celebrates 20 issues, elementia has the Library’s wholehearted endorsement to continue for years to come, so its future is bright.
It's another beautiful Throwback Thursday and we encourage you to time travel through the history of Johnson County. There is a new JoCoHistory Blog story: Helping Bring the Past into the Future.
The Johnson County Genealogical Society (JCGS) is celebrating its 50th anniversary. As a special 50th anniversary project the JCGS in cooperation with the Johnson County Library has established a free Memory Lab at the Central Resource Library in the genealogy area. JCGS is providing equipment and assistance to help patrons digitize family photos, negatives, slides, 8 mm movies and documents so they may be kept for future generations and easily shared with other family members. This service was seen as a priority since so many older media formats are fragile, degrading or obsolete and require considerable space to store. Those wishing to use the equipment may reserve a 2 ½ hour appointment through the JCGS website to bring in their materials and transfer to USB or other digital media. Detailed instructions will be provided on how to prepare materials prior to the visit, how to use the equipment and save to a digital file. JCGS volunteers will be present at each session to help the users get started. Read the full article at the JoCoHistory Blog website.»
Calling all bikers and artists! We have an open call for a special biking themed art exhibit called The Art of Biking, offered in conjunction with the 2023 Women's Bike Summit happening at the Library this coming Fall. If you're a visual artist in Johnson County or Kansas City metro area, please apply. Deadline for submission is May 15.
This week at the Library, you can join us at:
Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like.
Pollinator Series – Tuesday, April 25, 2 – 3 p.m.
Bees, butterflies and bats . . . oh my! Spring is here and our regional pollinators are in full flight. Join us at the Gardner Library with Johnson County Master Gardeners for this workshop to learn from the experts exactly what is happening when these animals and insects are flying about. Each participant will receive seeds to help grow more places for pollinators to explore.
Tabletop Games – Tuesday, April 25, 6 – 7:45 p.m.
Join us for a fun-filled evening at the Monticello Library 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. Our gaming librarians are featuring the game Blokus and will teach you how to play it.
Elementia issue xx Celebration – Tuesday, April 25, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Celebrate the release of the 20th issue of elementia in person at the Lenexa City Center Library. This issue explores the theme of cycles through teen writing and art. Enjoy art exhibits, refreshments and music and pick up your free copy of elementia at the celebration!
Walk and Read at Wilder Bluff Park – Saturday, April 29 – May 7, All day, anytime
Family and friends of all ages are invited to join Johnson County Library for a walk in a park! Walk and Read creates a reading opportunity for all, in various parks throughout Johnson County. Those who participate will read two stories posted around a path, one going each direction. When you finish one story, you can turn around to the other side of the sign and begin the next story, which will lead you back around the path. The Walk and Read program encourages physical activity, literacy and family time. The paths are stroller and wheelchair friendly, allowing for all to join in the fun! Dates are subject to adjustment due to inclement weather conditions. Look for updated information at jocolibrary.org. Johnson County Library, Shawnee Parks and Recreation and De Soto Parents as Teachers invite you to visit the Walk and Read at Wilder Bluff Park. Two stories, Everybody! You, Me and Us by Elise Gravel and Just Be Jelly by Maddie Frost, will be posted.
Bees, butterflies and bats . . . oh my! Spring is here and our regional pollinators are in full flight. Join Johnson County Master Gardeners for this workshop to learn from the experts exactly what is happening when these animals and insects are flying about. Each participant will receive seeds to help grow more places for pollinators to explore.
Tuesday, April 25, 2 p.m. at Gardner Library
No registration is necessary