Growing up on the west side of Chicago – and in walking distance to a library nearby, Foundation board member Chris Anderson cannot remember a time when he didn’t go to the library.
“The library was always a safe place to go,” he recalled, and by age 11 he could walk there on his own to check out books, which provided a great sense of independence.
Chris’s wife, Lyn smiled broadly as she remembered her mom taking her to the library when she was a little girl to check out books. It quickly became her favorite place, and she has loved books ever since, noting that reading is her favorite pastime. Out of her siblings, she was definitely the bibliophile and still is. She affectionately refers to books now as “the beauty of the universe.”
As parents to two sons, it was part of their daily routine to read bedtime stories every evening. Their sons now read nightly to their kids continuing the tradition. Chris and Lyn share their love of libraries and reading with their grandchildren and noted their oldest granddaughter is in fourth grade has her very own library card. Lyn added that for people of all ages, library programs are key to engagement as they are centered around access and exploration. From early literacy storytimes to author visits and beyond, sharing information that is open to everyone is unique to libraries and a wonderful resource.
A fun shared experience Chris and Lyn have enjoyed for over 25 years is being part of a book group, where they have read many books they would otherwise not have been exposed to or read. Chris added that reading a variety of literature is the spice of life.
As a Foundation board member for many years, Chris believes the Library is a worthwhile organization to support on different levels. He remembered when he first came on board being amazed at the breadth of all the things the library offered, including online resources and programming for all ages. He added he believes that many of the Library’s programs are able to offer additional resources that exist due to extra funding provided by the Foundation.
Lyn shared her vision of the future of libraries to include more e-readers, a source for continued access to materials and programming for everyone, and a place in particular for students to access technology centered around gaining knowledge.
“Librarians are the most wonderful people on earth!” Lyn exclaimed. “They are always happy to help with anything — be it finding a book, research materials. and connecting people with the resources they are looking for!”
The Johnson County Museum’s special exhibition, REDLINED: Cities, Suburbs, and Segregation (on display through Jan. 7, 2023), is a gripping exploration of the history of redlining from its origins to its legacies, which continue to shape our lived realities today. REDLINED tells a national story told with a local focus that reveals how Johnson County both shaped and was shaped by the history of redlining. While the bulk of the exhibit is about the federal policy of redlining from its origins to its lasting legacies, the exhibit also highlights Johnson County’s unique role in each stage of the process, including efforts to combat redlining and its effects. In this post, we are highlighting the work of three Johnson Countians who confronted the system of redlining and, in doing so, changed our community.
It's a new podcast episode!
We are thankful for you our listening audience and for the many good people, ideas and things that fill our lives with coziness and "comfortable conviviality" with feelings of wellness and contentment. We dedicate the episode to warmth and thankfulness. We explore the concept of Hygge, interview two chefs to help you stretch yourself as a home cook and create delicious dishes that will make your Thanksgiving feast more flavorful, and we even interview a turkey.
A big shout out to Chef Brett Dehart who is co-owner/operator of two kitchens at a very popular food hall in downtown Overland Park. Much appreciation to Chef Kolika Simmons who is a chef and food blogger. Many thanks to them for adding their expertise to this episode! And finally, our gobs of gratitude to our gobbling thespian, Brian Berrens who played Larry the Turkey!
Let's talk about Udemy. Sure, you know that the Library's collection is full of books for you to learn so many things. But, we're pretty proud of our eLibrary too! That's where Udemy comes in.
In a nutshell, Udemy presents online video courses—over 14,000! These include top-rated courses offering up-skilling in the areas of business, tech, and personal development across 75+ different categories.
It's no cost to you! With your Johnson County Library card, you can set up your Udemy account and get started.
Udemy personalizes your learning. It customizes your course recommendations based on your interests. You can explore curated skillsets like:
- Technology—Digital Transformation, Web Development, Data Science & Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing
- Business—Communications Essentials, Change Management, New Manager Essentials, Leadership Essentials, Business Skills, Leading High Performance Teams, Conflict Management, Talent Development, Innovation and Growth Strategies, Digital Marketing, Personal Development
Find the right course for you and let's start learning!
In our Storytime On-Demand videos, Johnson County Library staff demonstrate a variety of our favorite songs, rhymes, finger plays, flannel board stories, and more! Hearing stories is a great way to spend time with your kids and help them foster a love of reading. The videos are on the Library's Facebook page but you do not need an account to enjoy them!
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!
One-on-One Genealogy Help – Tuesday, Nov. 8, 9 a.m. – noon
Visit the Johnson County Genealogical Society at www.jcgsks.org to schedule an appointment. A volunteer will contact you by email to set up an in-person or a Zoom session link for you prior to the scheduled date.
Young Adult Literary Council – Tuesday, Nov. 8, 5 – 6 p.m.
Teens are invited to join the Young Adult Literary Council at Lenexa City Center 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.
Blood Pressure Clinic – Wednesday, Nov. 9, 10 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.
Drop in each month at Central Resource Library and a nurse from the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment will test your blood pressure.
Friends of the Library Pop-Up Book Sale – Saturday, Nov. 12, 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Shop gently used books and items from the Friends of the Library at the Friends Headquarters location!
20% Friends members discount all day!
A collection of visually stunning portraits, on display at Central Resource Library until Dec. 21, highlights amazingly accomplished women. It is drawing rave reviews from patrons.
For artist Patti Streeper, these compelling works are her way of honoring heroic and pioneering women who are often unsung or under-appreciated for their achievements, dedication and courage.
“With this work, my goal is to spark curiosity and encourage the viewer to learn more about what comprises women’s work,” she says, “and to inspire conversation about the contributions of all women.”
Johnson County Local Arts Librarian Bryan Voell says the Library is thrilled to host this show.
“Patti Streeper’s portraits are timeless and eye-catching, provoking the kind of storytelling and curiosity that are the hallmarks of any public Library,” he said. “Both patrons and staff have remarked how much they enjoy this exhibition.”
The public can hear more about this show when Streeper speaks at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at Johnson County Community College’s Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art.
Streeper grew up in Illinois and got a fine arts degree, concentrating on printmaking, at Southern Illinois University.
After college she landed a job at Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, where she stayed for nearly 35 years. It was a very fulfilling career, but always in management and business innovation, not as an artist. She married and raised two daughters, who are pursuing their own careers.
Her position in corporate leadership was stressful, and Streeper’s husband, Tully Larkin, encouraged her to find a creative outlet. He persuaded her to reach out to Robert Quackenbush, an artist and mentor who owns Studio Q, an artists’ workspace.
That launched a whole new chapter for Streeper, as she started painting, first with acrylic and then with oils. She painted for a few years while still working for Hallmark, then even more intentionally after she retired in 2016.
She was fascinated by faces and the storytelling potential of portraiture. Faces introduced her to the stories of little-known women leaders throughout history. “It was this whole thread of the accomplishments of these women from all walks of life,” she said.
At first she painted with no thought of showing her work. “There’s something wonderful and beautiful about doing something like that for yourself,” she said. “I was there to explore, to listen to my own heart.”
But she was discovering incredible women of diverse ethnic backgrounds in science, the arts, education and social activism, who deserve public recognition.
Through a personal connection, Streeper mounted her first show of 10 portraits at Westwood City Hall in 2021. That garnered other invitations, including at Lenexa City Hall and at the Woodneath Library in spring 2022. Johnson County Reference Librarian Helen Hokanson attended one of the shows and connected Streeper with Voell.
The Library show includes pioneering Mexican-American botanist Ynez Mexia, who began her career at age 51; Zitkala-Sa, a Yankton Dakota musician who co-composed the first American Indian opera; prison scholar Ruth Wilson Gilmore; and Harlem Renaissance sculptor Augusta Savage, among many others.
Most wonderfully for Johnson County Library, this show features a portrait of Kay Robeson, one of the Library’s original founders, and a grand painting of a Johnson County Library bookmobile from 1956, with Robeson and four other Library founders, including first County Librarian Shirley Brother.
The Library’s annual Writers Conference, Nov. 17-19 at Central Resource Library, was also inspired by Streeper’s work and incorporated the show into their activities. Writing prompts ask participants to respond to her portraits by researching the subject of one of her paintings, or offering up first impressions.
Streeper said Johnson County Library has been a great venue to share her work and her passion.
“In general, I think understanding human ability and human potential as a leader, that was always incredibly important to me,” she says. “Seeing and sharing the potential in these women is particularly important to me.”
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: The Squire
About this collection: A collection of scanned issues of The Squire newspaper from 1961-1972. The Squire was published in Johnson County by Tom Leathers.