Automated Sorting Coming to Corinth

Ok, well, we don't quite have robot helpers, yet. But we have next best thing at some of our branches: automated sorting! The Library circulates around 7 million items per year. When you place a hold to pick up at a conveniently located branch, we work to get it there as quickly and efficiently as possible. In addition to our friendly staff, we’re using technology to improve our work.

Johnson County Library’s Corinth branch, 8100 Mission Rd, Prairie Village, KS 66208, will be closed Feb. 6 through 11, 2019, for installation of new sorting equipment. The branch will reopen Tue. Feb. 12 at 9:00 a.m.

The image here illustrates the kind of sorter we’ll be installing. Corinth currently has the highest return rate of any branch in the Johnson County Library System that does not have one of these machines. This installation will get materials checked in and routed to you faster.  The new sorter will automatically check-in a book or other item, via RFID tag. The item is then removed from the patron account and is quickly listed as available for hold or checkout in the library catalog.   

A conveyor belt then drops the item into a bin designated for its next location: the shelf at the library, or a courier truck to get it to a patron waiting at another branch.  You can watch automated sorting at work already at Central, Blue Valley, Leawood, and Monticello.

During the brief closure at Corinth, a temporary ‘Returns’ kiosk will be stationed at the parking lot-side doors of the library. Patrons will not be able to pick up holds from Corinth during this time.  A ‘grace period’ will be observed for patrons with checkouts and hold pick-ups at Corinth. We don’t want patrons to incur fines, or lose their place in a holds wait list, because of our closure.

Those seeking a nearby library branch may want to try Antioch at 8700 Shawnee Mission Parkway, Merriam; Cedar Roe at 5120 Cedar St., Roeland Park; or Central Resource at 9875 W. 87th St., Overland Park. Patrons might also like to investigate the eLibrary resources at a time like this. If you think a favorite program might be canceled or moved, check our website for updates.



Lenexa City Center

The new Lenexa City Center Library is taking shape! Interior and exterior work progresses. When it opens in the second quarter of 2019, the two-story Lenexa City Center Library will house a collection slightly larger than the current Lackman Library.

The Lenexa City Center Library features two entrances – the Lenexa Commons (Garage level) providing easy paths to the Civic Plaza, Lenexa Recreation Center and City Hall; and the Lower Commons (Market level) entrance right across from the Public Market.

Features will include:

  • Convenient Holds area right inside the Garage level entrance – patrons can also choose to pick up their holds during “extended holds hours”
  • A drive-thru service point in the adjacent parking garage for convenient holds pick-up and material drop-off
  • Kids’ area on the Garage level, with convenient access from the adjacent parking garage
  • Adults and Teens sections on Market level, featuring a cultural commons area, tech bar, and public art
  • Study and conference rooms in a variety of sizes

In collaboration with Holzman Moss Bottino Architecture, Hollis + Miller Architects designed the roughly 40,000 sq. ft. facility to seamlessly fit into the Lenexa City Center plaza and public market while still providing a distinct image for Johnson County Library.

The exterior of the Library will feature textured walls with deep stone ledges that will engage patrons and the community by allowing for seating within the public plaza. The large roof is designed with an overhang that caps the building – to not only provide shade but also visual prominence. Limestone terrace seating will also be built into the exterior landscaping.

For updates on the progress of Lenexa City Center Library, visit

Ad Astra per Aspera!

Ad astra per aspera is a Latin phrase meaning "through hardships to the stars." It's on our state flag and, perhaps, a feeling deeply ingrained in each of us who call Kansas home. January 29 is when we celebrate Kansas Day each year. Today commemorates our state's admission into the Union in 1861. Originally it was Native American land, then a territory created by the Kansas-Nebraska Act and finally statehood. Kansas has surely seen hardships. Perhaps it is the optimism and aspiration to rise above during tough times that makes us unique as Kansans. On this day, we salute our state and all who chose a home on the range.

Milking Throwback Thursday

Got milk? Like to judge things? Hop in a time machine and join 1938's Shawnee Mission Rural High School Milk Judging Team!

We like to occasionally give a nod to the odd.

For even more local history visit or follow our hashtag on Twitter.

Now at Corinth: Kwanza Humphrey

Monday, January 7 to Sunday, April 21, 2019

Kwanza Humphrey has been painting for over 25 years. A lifelong resident of Kansas City, Humphrey calls his artistic process a “human centered design approach.” Through his portraits, Humphrey scratches below the surface to show the essence and emotion of humanity. As he states about his creative process: “Painting is an emotional experience for me, so much so that it’s hard to put into words the way I work. Sometimes I have a conversation with myself and shape a feeling. Other times I just let go and let my subconscious take over where color and brush are the medium I use to communicate.”


Introduce yourself and describe your work and the genre you work in.

I've been painting and making art for as long as I remember. I started drawing very early, around 2-3, and have been painting since about 1996. I'm always trying to learn something new and hone my craft. I paint figure's and portraits mostly in a painterly style to show how I paint rather than just what I paint. 


Talk about the work on view. What would you like people to know about it? 

You will find a collection of drawings and paintings. Drawing is my first love. Each painting starts as a study for me. I use pencil and paper to figure out tone and composition before I commit it to canvas.


What’s the most challenging thing about your creative process?

Time and energy are the most challenging. I have a day job that pay's the bills and its hard to find time after working all day to commit to the studio. Once I'm painting thought, 9 times out of 10 the art gives me energy.


What is about people and the human form that you find so captivating? 

We're all very different, but we have very familiar experiences in our life. Though look different we all experience human emotions and can recognize those feelings in each other. In that way I think we are more alike than different. 


What do you wish to convey when working on a portrait of someone?

I try to capture the essence of that person. I think in general we guard ourselves and where mask's. When I paint people I try to move past that and show some of the emotions we all feel. 


What are your book/music/movie recommendations for checkout from the library? Why?

I would recommend any of the books by Malcolm Gladwell. He offers insightful perspective on the human condition in various aspects that can help you understand the world we live in or at least look at it differently.


Also, could you provide a paragraph or so for an artist statement? 

I have been painting for over 25 years. I grew up here in Kansas City, graduating high school from Lincoln Academy. It was there I was encouraged to pursue art as a profession from Ms Claire Martin-West. I attended Missouri Western State University where I took several painting classes from Jack Hughes. His approach was very hands off unless you were really needing help. I appreciated his approach as it allowed me to develop my own voice. I graduated from there in ‘98 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Commercial Art with an emphasis in painting and illustration. My first exhibition was at the Albrecht Kemper membership show in ’96 where I won best of show for my painting “Blue Funk.” My painting “Ms Flora” won an award in the 35th Annual River market Regional Exhibition, curated by Mr Curlee Ravon Holton, Executive Director, David C. Driskell Center.

Race Project KC

Race Project KC

Learn about the work Johnson County librarians have been coordinating for high school students on the history of race in our area and consider ways to participate.

Whether we want to or not, we all live inside filter bubbles. Our experience of the world is limited by filters beyond our control. This happens online and in every aspect of our lives. Our physical locations, jobs, interpersonal networks, cultures, and much more not only give us our identities, they also limit, and segregate.

We do, however, have choices about how we respond to those filters. The book Some of My Best Friends Are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America helps us make those choices. The book relates author Tanner Colby’s explorations into racial filters in the U.S., and delves into the Kansas City metro area's history of racial segregation.

Tanner Colby discussed his book at  Blue Valley North High School, Johnson County Community College, and Johnson County Library in the Fall of 2014. Race Project KC emerged after this visit, as local educators and Library staff were inspired to extend his work into experiences for area teens for them to learn how our community has come to its current state of racial segregation and for them to break out of some of their bubbles. The initiative has been expanding since.

The initiative now consists of a series of opportunities for students to learn our area's history of racial segregation and how it continues to impact us today. Students hear from experts on the topics, learn vocabulary for talking about race, build relationships with peers they might not otherwise meet, and share their own stories as they relate to the issues.

Ten high schools from the Kansas City metro area are participating during the 2018-2019 school year. Most schools opt into attending monthly workshops with a partner school from a different part of the city. The Library collaborates with educators, subject experts, authors, and community partners to provide these workshops. 

During the fall of 2018, students:

  • Explored how we can turn data into story, and worked with the creators of the Redlined comic books to interpret the Health Equity Action Transformation report into their own three panel comics.

  • Watched two films by KC native Carrie Hawks, black enuf* and Delilah, and participated with Carrie Hawks in a storytelling workshop lead by Kansas City Public Library staff.

  • Visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum's displays including featured exhibition Napoleon: Power and Splendor to explore dominant narratives of art history. They then made their own re-mixed self-portraits with local artist Heinrich Toh.

The spring of 2019 will see a similar set of experiences, culminating in an event with author Tanner Colby and fellow authors Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jacqueline Woodson. In the meantime, you can take the audio tour, Dividing Lines: The History of Segregation in Kansas City.


Race Project KC is generously supported by Johnson County Library Foundation, and Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area. Visit Race Project KC online. 

Spring Storytimes

Our new storytime schedule is here!

Need a morning storytime, or one after work? Got an infant, a preschooler or a toddler? Whatever your situation, we've got a storytime for you »

Fueling your Throwback Thursday

Do you remember petrol in glass gas pumps? How about "Full Service?" Do you recognize any of these old gas stations? Discover the story behind these images and details at It's your place for Johnson County, Kansas History! Follow our hashtag on Twitter.

Blue Valley's READ poster winner

Each of our locations draws a name from the pool of kids who participated in Summer Reading to win a READ poster photoshoot. Here is Blue Valley's winner!

Blue Valley Library hosts a huge variety of storytimes, as well as lots of other great events, like Table Top Games. Check out all their events here »

eBundle of Joy

Baby New Year is only a few days old. That new gadget you got for the holidays? It's an infant too! 

You've got plenty on your mind: keeping it charged, protecting it from the elements, avoiding accidentally dropping it in the toilet, adorning it with bling-tastic cases. But remember, it's never too early to start thinking about a lifelong partner. (Did we mention we moonlight as matchmakers?) May we introduce your gadget to the eLibrary?

  • eBooks are easy to check out, download and read wherever you go
  • eAudiobooks feature studio recorded narration without the fuss of tapes and CDs
  • eMagazines offer current and back issues that you can download and keep forever
  • eMusic lets you stream an array of tunes to jazz up your day
  • Catalog mobile app keeps track of your regular checkouts, holds and more

These services and more could be part of your new gadget's bright future. No dowry or prenup required, just your Library card and PIN. Check it out!