Building Our Future

Right Under Your Feet

Our newest location, Monticello Library, is designed to be as flexible as possible. We know that our community’s library service needs change over time, so we’re eager to help Library buildings adapt to properly meet those needs. 

For those of you who have visited our newest branch, you’ll notice there are few permanent interior walls. To add to all that open space, we’ve taken the additional step of installing raised floors throughout the building. They make it easy to route power and communication cables wherever they are needed, and allow quick reconfiguration of service areas within the library.

Enjoy this time-lapse video of the raised floor installation earlier this year. And if you feel taller when you go to Monticello Library, just think: you are!

Monticello Library Opens!

A brand new Library has opened in Johnson County, and you’re invited to check it out!

The Monticello Library stands elegantly at 22435 W. 66th Street in Shawnee, KS and is the first new library location in the County since 1994. Design for Monticello Library benefitted from extensive public input and deep analysis of evolving needs for Library services in the 21st century. Scott Sime, project coordinator for the library system, said comments from residents have consistently centered around needs for meeting space, a robust children’s area and availability of diverse technology for public use.

“We haven’t built a brand-new library building since the 1990s, so it’s been a good opportunity for us to really think through what a library of the 21st century can be,” said Sime.

The Clark Enersen Partners of Lincoln, NE are the project architects, and local firm McCownGordon Construction helped bring the building to life. The two-story, 30,000+ square foot building features floor-to-ceiling glass along three sides designed to let in lots of natural light and to be stylishly visible to those driving by on Shawnee Mission Parkway. Total project cost is $18.1 million.

The Library and County identified a site in 2010, and the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System made a generous donation of adjoining land to provide adequate parking.

The building’s interior incorporates flexible spaces and design strategies so it can adapt to future uses and public needs without requiring physical expansion. 

The first floor features a dramatic central stair, self-checkout stations, new books and materials as well as a large area for children’s materials and programming. There is lots of cozy seating available along the windows, study rooms, an area for DVDs, magazines and other media and a large meeting room to seat up to 100 people. View a PDF of the floor plan tour here.

The second floor hosts adult fiction and nonfiction areas, teen materials, public computers including Mac workstations, one conference room and several additional study rooms. An ecologically sensitive green roof adjoins a terrace with ample seating. 

A Wall with a View

The new Lenexa City Center Library is taking shape! In recent weeks structural steel, the elevator shaft, stairwells and pre-cast concrete wall panels have emerged on the site. And now, you can get a better glimpse as construction progresses on our next Johnson County Library.

“Portholes” have been installed in the construction barrier wall around the Library site. These windows allow for safe viewing of the progress going on behind those walls -- the new home for Lackman Library patrons.

When it opens in late 2019, the two-story Lenexa City Center Library will house a collection slightly larger than the current Lackman Library, and will feature:

  • Kids’ area and Holds on the upper level, with convenient access from the adjacent parking garage and Lenexa Commons area
  • An “extended hours” Holds pick-up lobby for picking up your items after hours
  • Adults and Teens sections on lower level, featuring a cultural commons area, tech bar, and public art
  • A drive-through kiosk in the adjacent parking garage for convenient holds pick-up and material drop off
  • 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 the 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.

The Lenexa City Center Library features two entrances- the upper level providing easy paths to the Civic Plaza, Lenexa Rec Center, and City Hall; and the lower level entrance is right across from the Public Market.

And while you eagerly “watch” our progress at Lenexa City Center, continue to check back here for more updates!


Library Histories: Cedar Roe

Since its inception in 1952, the Johnson County Library has grown to 13 (soon to be 14) locations! In this blog post we feature the history of the Cedar Roe Library.

By 1965 the Johnson County Library District had reached a population of 165,000. The Library consisted of Headquarters (Antioch), Corinth, Mission, Lenexa, and Gardner. The last three were small storefront branches. The Mission branch had space for about 3,500 books. News stories at the time referred to the crowded conditions as students packed the libraries after school and in the evenings to study and do homework. By 1966 a plan for expansion of the Johnson County Library system had been formulated, and a bond issue went before voters on February 11, 1967.

The $1.5 million plan called for expanding Antioch and Corinth, and constructing new “Northeast” and “Southwest” branches to replace the Mission and Lenexa branches. The package sailed through with a “Yes” vote of 69% of the total vote.

Planning for the “Northeast” library began immediately. A site was chosen about a mile north of the Mission Branch at 6500 Martway. The new library was to be a block west of Roe Avenue on Cedar Street in Roeland Park. A contest was held to name the branch was held and “Cedar Roe” emerged as the winner.

The Cedar Roe Library opened on June 2, 1969. The total cost of the land, materials, construction and equipment was $470,950. The new library had 17,157 square feet, including a balcony originally used for library programs. Today changes in building codes that mandate improved emergency egress have relegated the balcony for use as storage. Dedication of the facility took place on November 16, 1969. The following year, the Cedar Roe Library received the Excellence in Design Medal from the Kansas City Chapter of the American Institute of Architecture.

Since the mid-1990s the Cedar Roe Library has received updating and refurbishing. With the interplay of wood and brick on the interior, Cedar Roe remains one of the most attractive and interesting of the Johnson County Library public facilities.

Help Us Imagine the Future

The Library needs your help to better serve you and create the best Library experience possible for you and your family. What kind of library services do you want to see for yourself, your family, and your neighborhood? Help us imagine the future »

Multicolor Monticello

Monticello Library is the newest facility in the Johnson County Library family. Its striking silhouette and bold site placement have already made it a western Shawnee landmark. When visitors enter the building on opening day – Sunday, August 5, 2018 if you hadn’t heard – they’ll find a colorful interior as dynamic and engaging as the exterior.

The Monticello exterior features black brick, white-painted metal and dark grey concrete surfaces. These could almost be called austere excepting the vigorous angles of the library’s two stories and the elegant floor-to-ceiling windows of the north and east facades. The handsome external textures and shadowy tones offer a tease and surprising contrast to the bright interior visual adventure.

The building's interior surfaces and textures are inspired by natural forms and colors composed to subtly define different Library spaces. Brilliant ‘high test’ carpeting is installed on both levels, in complementary and contrasting color compositions. Some walls in the roomy Kids areas feature woven acoustical wallcoverings. This makes them especially durable for the many Kids programs we’ll be offering, and useful for the easy display of drawings and posters often seen in our branches.

The richly hued floors lend their palette to feature walls in public areas and meeting rooms throughout the building. These occasionally are framed by subtle wood and brushed laminate textures. Restrooms upstairs and down feature entries and interior walls of shiny, generously proportioned primary-colored tiles set in white or grey mortar. Their vivid grids boldly contrast the planes of walls, ceilings and windows across the Library.

We are eager to welcome you to the new Monticello Library when we open, so you can experience this rewarding aesthetic tour de force yourself!

Natural Lighting is Key to Design

The last time Johnson County built a new library was in 1994, 24 years ago. And a lot has changed since then. Don’t expect to find your father’s library at our newest location.

This summer, visitors to the new Monticello Library will see a 30,467 square foot building with lots of glass walls and timeless finishes. The two-story library features floor-to-ceiling glass along three of its four sides, a modern look designed to not only let in lots of natural light, but also to attract attention from those driving by on Shawnee Mission Parkway.

Matt Glawatz, an architect with The Clark Enersen Partners – the firm who designed the new library, said the glass-heavy design makes the building look vibrant and will show all the activities going on inside, encouraging more people to use it.

“Libraries are very much about information and making sure information is relevant and current and thinking about what’s next, looking to the future,” Glawatz said. “I think the way the building expresses itself aligns with that notion of looking to the future.”

The interior design takes advantage of the flood of natural light, creating an inviting and comfortable space for visitors. Together with advanced technology, the open floor plan incorporates flexible spaces, raised floors and other design strategies so it can adapt to future uses and public needs in the coming decades.

And while the glass walls enable patrons to connect visually to the exterior landscape, a patio area on the second-floor offers an invitation to step out and enjoy the outdoors– with a book, or while enjoying the Library’s free wireless access.

Monticello Opening

Monticello Library to Open Sunday, August 5, 2018!

Long-awaited branch inaugurates services in Western Shawnee!

The new Monticello Library will open its doors to the public on Sunday, August 5, 2018, 1:00 – 5:00 pm, the Johnson County Library Board of Directors announced at their April board meeting. The August 5 event will be low-key, according to Library Board chair Nancy Hupp. “We know how eager our residents are to get into this beautiful facility,” she says, “so we are inaugurating services quickly, and people can start using their new Library right away.” The doors will open promptly at 1 pm. Activities will include tours of the new building conducted by Library staff and opportunity to meet artists who’ve created new works of public art to be installed at the site. The afternoon event takes place during what will be regular Sunday service hours, making Monticello the fifth library in the County open on Sundays.

Designed with Flexibility in Mind

Monticello Library is designed to be as flexible as possible. We know that our community’s library service needs change over time. We’re eager to help Library buildings adapt to properly meet those needs.

As renderings show, there are few permanent interior walls in the Monticello Library. To add to all that open space, we’ve taken the additional step of installing raised floors throughout the building. These are a staple in many factories and laboratories.

A raised floor, also raised flooring, access flooring or raised access computer floor, provides an elevated structural floor above a solid substrate like a concrete slab to create a hidden space about 8” tall for the passage of mechanical and electrical services. They make it easy to route power and communication cables wherever they are needed, and permit quick reconfiguration of service areas and departments.

Here are some images of the floors being installed in public and staff areas at Monticello. If you feel taller when you go to Monticello Library, just think: you are!

Signs of Progress

While we’re building the Lenexa City Center Library, Construction Manager Turner Construction Company has arranged for a barrier wall facing the popular Public Market and City Hall. The Library designed the images to reflect our patrons, services and programs, along with a rendering of the completed library building. In total, it’s more than 250 feet of Library imagery! The signs were fabricated and installed by Lawrence, KS-based Star Signs. You can also see their handiwork at the Central and Oak Park Libraries. Read more news about our new building projects »