Friends and Foundation

Library Lets Loose: You're Invited!

Join us and honorary hosts, Valerie and Charley Vogt, for the Johnson County Library Foundation's annual celebration, Library Lets Loose!

Saturday, Sept. 29
6 - 10 pm
Central Resource Library

Cocktail attire
$75 ticket price*

*$50 for Teachers, Educators and Librarians

This festive fundraiser features a fun evening of unique and creative experiences, tasty local libations, scrumptious food and drink pairings - and local music, artists and creators!

Tickets and sponsorships are available now. Contact 913-826-4740 for more information. See you there!

Join us and honorary hosts, Valerie and Charley Vogt, for the Johnson County Library Foundation's annual celebration, Library Lets Loose!

Saturday, Sept. 29
6 - 10 pm
Central Resource Library

Cocktail attire
$75 ticket price*

*$50 for Teachers, Educators and Librarians

This festive fundraiser features a fun evening of unique and creative experiences, tasty local libations, scrumptious food and drink pairings - and local music, artists and creators!

Tickets and sponsorships... Continue »

Mike Zakoura JCL Foundation supporter

Why I Give: Mike Zakoura

Growing up in the small town of Osawatomie, KS, Mike Zakoura was destined for a life filled with words, paper, books – and giving, above and beyond. His journey has included majoring in Journalism and Radio at the University of Kansas; being an editor at the Kansas City Star until 2000, and working in the Interlibrary Loan Department at Johnson County Library for 16 years, until he retired this summer.

I sat down with Mike shortly before he left JCL to learn more about his dedication to literacy and his loyal giving to the JCL Foundation through Johnson County’s Employee Payroll Deduction Program. I found out that for him, giving back to the community is a life-long priority. When asked why it was meaningful to give to the Library in addition to working here, he replied, “It is important for County employees to know about the Employee Payroll Deduction Program that benefits the Johnson County Library Foundation. We tend to focus on necessities versus charities. Sometimes charities take a back seat. Giving is a commitment.”

Children’s literacy holds a special place in Zakoura’s heart.  He has been married for 43 years, raised daughters, and has grandchildren. “I think it is important to give to kids’ literacy and help provide opportunity. I see a life wider than my own. People need to consider children.”  Another example of Zakoura’s giving: his volunteering for literacy. He gives time to his granddaughter’s school reading to the students. “It is important to help influence young people to read. For kids, you can’t dictate a road, but you can help influence their path.”

Reflecting on his decade and a half working in a library Mike says, “Libraries are on the short list of places people can be comfortable asking questions. Libraries are safe places. The Library is a place where you can be free and read a book, be it sci-fi, history, children’s literature—there is something for everyone.”  A big reason he enjoyed the Interlibrary Loan Department is the ability to connect materials to libraries in smaller communities, similar to where he grew up. Mike says he’ll miss the people the most- the relationships he’s built here.

What does Mike see as the future of libraries?  “More tech!” he declared. “The Library will continue to metamorphose to stay relevant in the community. Libraries will always have an important role and just take different forms as they evolve.”

“Why do I give to the JCL Foundation?  I believe people should choose an organization to give to because it’s the right thing to do. You don’t have to save the world, but you do have to save a small part of it. It doesn’t have to be much, but it does have to be something. Find your passion – be it children’s literacy or whatever is meaningful to you – and give to it.”

- Steph Neu, Johnson County Library Foundation

Growing up in the small town of Osawatomie, KS, Mike Zakoura was destined for a life filled with words, paper, books – and giving, above and beyond. His journey has included majoring in Journalism and Radio at the University of Kansas; being an editor at the Kansas City Star until 2000, and working in the Interlibrary Loan Department at Johnson County Library for 16 years, until he retired this summer.

I sat down with Mike shortly before he left JCL to learn more about his dedication to literacy and his loyal giving to the JCL Foundation through Johnson County’s Employee Payroll Deduction Program. I found out that for him, giving back to the community is a life-long priority. When asked why it was meaningful to give to the... Continue »

Black & Veach MakerSpace at Central Resource Library

Black & Veatch Extends MakerSpace Partnership

Global engineering and construction company Black & Veatch is continuing a successful partnership with Johnson County Library as part of the company’s growing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach with a renewed 3-year, $90,000 commitment to the Black & Veatch MakerSpace at Central Resource Library

Johnson County Library named the facility the “Black & Veatch MakerSpace” after an extensivel 2016 renovation and enlargement of the space. The partnership is the first of its kind in the Library’s history, with the Library’s Foundation joining Black & Veatch’s Building a World of Difference Foundation to expand the MakerSpace’s size and scope.

The renewed gift permits the MakerSpace to pursue some interesting new projects.

  • The Makers of JCL will debut brand-new virtual reality hardware. Library patrons will be able to develop their own VR projects and explore the cutting-edge intersection of 3D modeling, virtual reality and digital fabrication.
  • Youth Services librarians will work with teachers to book field trips to the Black & Veatch MakerSpace. Library Makers are also working with teachers and administrators about how they can integrate these technologies in their schools.
  • Makers will expand development and circulation of the popular Maker Kits, which will contain equipment that can be checked out.

The Makers at JCL have certainly made productive use of BV support since 2016.

  • 174,280+ people visited the MakerSpace from March 2016 – June 2018
  • 13,193 users booked an appointment to work with Makers and technology at the Library
  • Adults are the most frequent users of the Central Resource Library space, and Kids/Teens comprise 80% of the outreach/programming audience for Maker events

​"The MakerSpace has become a valuable resource that makes science, technology, engineering and math accessible and fun for problem-solvers of all ages,” said Steve Edwards, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Black & Veatch. “Having our name attached to the MakerSpace helps the library expand its offerings and keeps STEM-focused activities within reach of the young people in our community.”

“Black & Veatch’s commitment has definitely made a difference in the worlds of our patrons,” said County Librarian Sean Casserley. “The MakerSpace is Johnson County’s home for builders and innovators of all kinds, and we’re pleased to continue this important work with Black & Veatch’s generosity.”

To learn more about Black & Veatch's growing STEM outreach with the Black & Veatch MakerSpace at Central Resource Library, click here.

Global engineering and construction company Black & Veatch is continuing a successful partnership with Johnson County Library as part of the company’s growing science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) outreach with a renewed 3-year, $90,000 commitment to the Black & Veatch MakerSpace at Central Resource Library

Johnson County Library named the facility the “Black & Veatch MakerSpace” after an extensivel 2016 renovation and enlargement of the space. The partnership is the first of its kind in the Library’s history, with the Library’s Foundation... Continue »

JCL Foundation launches new website

Foundation Launches new Website

Checkout the new Johnson County Library Foundation website, www.jocolibraryfoundation.org!  You’ll see a new dynamic design with features, photos, and functions that help to tell the stories of the Library and compel donations to support its programs and collections. 

Learn how the dollars donated to the Foundation help the Library offer programs for patrons of all ages and serve the needs of our community-- above what public funding provides, including:

  • Collection and resource enrichment
  • Youth homework assistance
  • Art programs
  • Civic engagement programs
  • Early literacy initiatives
  • Youth-at-risk programs
  • Technology and STEAM education

Special thanks to all of you who have made a donation, participated in a fundraising event, or volunteered.  The Johnson County Library Foundation counts on the financial and in-kind support of individuals, businesses, and charitable foundations to grow to meet the ever changing needs in Johnson County. 

Enjoy the website, follow the JCL Foundation on Facebook and Twitter, and make a donation today! 

Checkout the new Johnson County Library Foundation website, www.jocolibraryfoundation.org!  You’ll see a new dynamic design with features, photos, and functions that help to tell the stories of the Library and compel donations to support its programs and collections. 

Learn how the dollars donated to the Foundation help the Library offer programs for patrons of all ages and serve the needs of our community-- above what public funding provides, including:

  • Collection and resource enrichment
  • Youth homework assistance
  • Art programs
  • Civic engagement programs
  • Early literacy initiatives
  • Youth-at-risk programs
  • Technology
  • ... Continue »
Libraries Rock Gavin Snider

This Summer, Libraries Rock!

Summer Reading for kids and teens!
May 21 - July 31

Year-round readers have more fun! We're encouraging school-aged families - and everyone else - to read for fun this summer. Our special summer programs and events help Johnson County youth of every age to have meaningful (and sometimes meaningless) experiences.

Youth participating in the Summer Reading program will receive a prize book just for registering with our program. Stop by any Johnson County Library location starting May 21 to pick up your free book (while supplies last) and a summer reading log to track your summer reading, or print a log at home!

This program is generously supported by the Friends of the Johnson County Library and the Johnson County Library Foundation.

Summer Reading for kids and teens!
May 21 - July 31

Year-round readers have more fun! We're encouraging school-aged families - and everyone else - to read for fun this summer. Our special summer programs and events help Johnson County youth of every age to have meaningful (and sometimes meaningless) experiences.

Youth participating in the Summer Reading program will receive a prize book just for registering with our program. Stop by any Johnson County Library location starting May 21 to pick up your free book (while supplies last) and a summer reading log to track your summer reading, or... Continue »

Julie Steiner, Anne Blessing, and Stephanie Stollsteimer

Friends and Foundation Confab

There’s a lot of new leadership in our organization, and they’re all getting to know each other. Julie Steiner, new president of the Friends board, recently coffee’ed with Anne Blessing, the new president of the Johnson County Library Foundation. They discussed strategic priorities for the Library and how their two groups can best coordinate to support Library programs and initiatives. Steiner also began productive conversations with Stephanie Stollsteimer, new director of the Foundation. They’re shown here at the February 2018 Friends Board meeting.

In the picture: Front: Julie Steiner, Friends President. Back: Anne Blessing, Foundation President, and Stephanie Stollsteimer, Foundation Director

There’s a lot of new leadership in our organization, and they’re all getting to know each other. Julie Steiner, new president of the Friends board, recently coffee’ed with Anne Blessing, the new president of the Johnson County Library Foundation. They discussed strategic priorities for the Library and how their two groups can best coordinate to support Library programs and initiatives. Steiner also began productive conversations with Stephanie Stollsteimer, new director of the Foundation. They’re shown here at the February 2018 Friends Board meeting.

In the picture: Front: Julie Steiner, Friends President. Back: Anne Blessing, Foundation President, and Stephanie Stollsteimer, Foundation Director

Jeanie and Zachary Botkin

A Visit with Jeanie and Zachary Botkin New Board member and Teen Representative

How long have you been Friends members?

We’ve been Friends members since going to our first summer book sale after moving to Kansas City. We had so much fun digging through the piles at the Metcalf Mall finding treasures to take home.

What do you want to learn by serving on the Friends Board?

I [Jeanie] thought it would be a great way for Zachary and me to share our passion for the Library and a valuable opportunity for Zachary to learn about the inner workings of a board. We are both focused on increasing the community’s awareness of the great services and look forward to helping the Library connect with youth.

Why should someone join the Friends of Johnson County Library?

Our elevator speech: Since Benjamin Franklin opened the first library in America, we all know how important libraries have become to our education and way of life. We go there to explore our most-challenging questions with unlimited freedom. But our Library is so much more than that . . . bringing the community together to a place where people can cut CDs, use a 3D printer, practice being a newscaster, design and cut out chess pieces, get help with homework, and learn a new language. And, the best part . . . our Library is open to anyone!

What are you reading right now?

Zachary is reading Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, written by Douglas Hofstadter who won a Pulitzer Prize for the book in 1979. The book explores common themes in the lives and works of logician Kurt Gödel, artist M. C. Escher and composer Johann Sebastian Bach. Jeanie is focusing on books that show how companies are using design thinking to innovate their products and services such as Design to Grow: How Coca-Cola Learned to Combine Scale and Agility (and How You Can Too) by David Butler and Linda Tischler.

About Jeanie Botkin: After spending 20+ years as an attorney at Polsinelli, Jeanie now heads up the firm’s Professional Development Department. She especially loves working with new attorneys who are transitioning from backpacks to briefcases. She spends every spare second with her family and loves to play Munchkin Legends with her son Zachary.

About Zachary Botkin: Zachary is a freshman at Mill Valley High School. After finishing a rigorous semester of debate, he is now figuring out his signature events in forensics. When not studying, he relaxes with video games, loves to program computers and reads up on the latest scientific discoveries.

How long have you been Friends members?

We’ve been Friends members since going to our first summer book sale after moving to Kansas City. We had so much fun digging through the piles at the Metcalf Mall finding treasures to take home.

What do you want to learn by serving on the Friends Board?

I [Jeanie] thought it would be a great way for Zachary and me to share our passion for the Library and a valuable opportunity for Zachary to learn about the inner workings of a board. We are both focused on increasing the community’s awareness of the great services and look forward to helping the Library connect with youth.

Why should someone join the Friends of Johnson County... Continue »

Barb Nichols is a Johnson County Library Foundation supporter.

Why I Give: A Story by Barbara Nichols

I am a self-proclaimed word nerd and book geek. Nothing makes me happier than being in the middle of a good book and knowing there is another one waiting for me. The credit for this must go to my mother, a voracious reader and library patron. She had a love of reading and a limited budget; the library provided the perfect solution.

Every Tuesday night was library night for my mom, my sister and me. It was such a thrill to go to the Children’s Section by myself and pick out the books I wanted. As time passed, I fell in love with mysteries, classic fiction, plays and cookbooks. And where could I find all of these for free? At the library!

To pass on the love of reading, I started taking our sons to the Corinth Library from a very young age. Miss Uppie and  Miss Leslie were the librarians and always had a smile and if needed, recommendations. We attended many programs such as “Reading with your Pet,” “Origami” and “Pokeman Parties.”  Our boys, now 27 and 24, still use and love the library. Our oldest uses the Johnson County Library online resources frequently and our youngest, who now lives in New York, had to call a week after he moved to tell me that he had been to the New York Public Library to get his card.

To quote Lady Bird Johnson, “Perhaps no place in any community is so totally democratic as the town library. The only entrance requirement is interest.”

Libraries represent a great equalizer in our society. All are welcome and encouraged to become patrons. They provide books, magazines, genealogy information, meeting rooms, Maker Spaces, Internet access, author talks and a variety of programs. My book club reserves a meeting room once a year to plan out what we want to read.  We can stroll through the stacks and chose titles and topics of interest to share with the group. 

People say that no one reads “actual” books anymore, yet the Johnson County Library system checks out more than 7,000,000 items a year. Many of those items are eBooks, and I do appreciate the convenience of reading on my iPad, but nothing beats having a real book in your hands. As our world changes, so does the library. It continues to evolve, grow and provide wonderful resources for our community.

Why do I give to the Johnson County Library Foundation? I believe that in any great society we need access to free materials across all economic barriers, and the Library provides that service in our community. It is important to me to be involved and support the important work and programs throughout this system.

- Barbara  Nichols is a Johnson County Library Foundation supporter.

I am a self-proclaimed word nerd and book geek. Nothing makes me happier than being in the middle of a good book and knowing there is another one waiting for me. The credit for this must go to my mother, a voracious reader and library patron. She had a love of reading and a limited budget; the library provided the perfect solution.

Every Tuesday night was library night for my mom, my sister and me. It was such a thrill to go to the Children’s Section by myself and pick out the books I wanted. As time passed, I fell in love with mysteries, classic fiction, plays and cookbooks. And where could I find all of these for free? At the library!

To pass on the love of reading, I started taking our sons to the Corinth Library from a... Continue »

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