New Board Member Has Lifelong Love of Libraries and Books

A person with shoulder length silver hair and bangs smiles at the camera. They are wearing glasses and a colorful button down shirt.

Photo credit: Beth Grimm 

Chrysalyn Huff is a successful businesswoman, a busy mother and grandmother, and is active in local civic affairs. She has also just been appointed to the Johnson County Library Board, bringing passion and energy to the role.

Her mother and an elementary school teacher instilled in her a profound appreciation for books and reading. Throughout her childhood and adult life, Huff has found Libraries to be havens for knowledge and inspiration.

“The Library for me has always been a safe place,” says Huff, who was born in Kansas City but grew up in many places as her family traveled for military and ministry work.

Her mother was a voracious reader and Huff inherited that enthusiasm. She struggled a bit in elementary school but a teacher praised her reading ability.

“That really built up my self-confidence,” Huff recalled. “It really empowered me in school. Books became a love language for me.”

Judy Blume’s books showed her all that girls could be. She also was captivated by history books and biographies about John F. Kennedy, Queen Latifah and other influential difference-makers. She reads about 30 books a year and recently finished Kristin Hannah’s best-selling novel “The Women,” about Army nurses during the Vietnam War.

Huff met her husband Jeffery at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Mo. They married 36 years ago and moved to Johnson County. They now live on a small farm near Lake Olathe, with chickens, a greenhouse and a large garden.

They have three grown children: Ryne, Joshua and Arrianne and three grandchildren. Huff is very involved in their lives and deeply proud of them.

She especially enjoys taking her grandchildren to Libraries and has been impressed with how each Johnson County branch has its own welcoming personality. She is familiar with the Corinth and Central Resource Libraries and looks forward to visiting other branches soon.

For many years, Huff had a national event planning business before she took a break in 2007 while her sons were active in high school and college sports. She started painting and refurbishing vintage second-hand furniture, which led to her creating Restoration Emporium in 2012, in the West Bottoms.

The one-of-a-kind home décor business was an instant sensation and even thrived during the pandemic, with a huge online presence. It’s now rebranded as RE, with a retail store in Zona Rosa. Joshua runs the day-to-day operation but Chrysalyn is still very involved.

As a businesswoman, Huff has been active for years in the Olathe Chamber of Commerce. She also graduated from Olathe and Lenexa civic leadership programs. She became friends with longtime Olathe Mayor Mike Copeland and other community officials, including Shirley Allenbrand, who took office as Johnson County District 6 commissioner in 2021.

Allenbrand urged Huff to consider a Library Board post, which was immediately appealing.

“My eyes lit up,” Huff recalled. “That was the most exciting thing anybody had ever asked me.” She was appointed by Commission Chair Mike Kelly after the two had a good conversation. She told him how books have been so instrumental in her life and in teaching her business fundamentals. 

Huff has attended one Library Board meeting and is already impressed. “I was blown away by how professional it is, how well run. The preparation for the meetings is amazing.”

She’s determined to help Johnson County Library maintain its stature as an outstanding Library system, providing unfettered access to information and free resources, to great programming and to beautifully-preserved spaces.

“I’m super excited to learn more about the digital services,” she said. “The political coffees, I’m excited about. There’s so much that they do. I am fascinated.”