Throwback Thursday: Lackman Library

To begin the history of the Lackman Library, one must delve back into the very early history of the Johnson County Library. Shortly after its 1953 founding, the Library opened the Lenexa Branch on November 2, 1954 in the Lenexa Grade School at 13400 W. 94th Street. It offered about 3,000 books for checkout and was open for only two hours a week--2:00 to 4:00 on Saturdays. Like all the others it was staffed by volunteers and offered donated materials. The most recent US Census in 1950 had indicated a Lenexa population of 803. That population soon began to burgeon. When the Library’s budget allowed, the branch’s hours were increased and it was moved into a rented storefront in downtown Lenexa.

In 1967, a bond issue was approved by voters to build the Oak Park Library, among other improvements. This branch at 9500 Bluejacket was intended to serve the library needs of the “southwest” portion Johnson County’s developing suburban region, including Lenexa. In preparation for the new branch, the Lenexa Library was closed in 1967. The city of Lenexa was promised that someday there would again be a library within its city limits. The Oak Park Library opened in 1970, after being housed in temporary space near 95th and Antioch. The population continued to grow and soon the need for a new library west of I-35 was apparent and was included in the 1979 facilities plan.

Ground was broken for the Lackman Library on March 5, 1986. The building was dedicated on November 14, 1986 and opened to the public on November 17. It opened with a collection of 22,000 items and was the first Johnson County Library location without a card catalog, as the Library made a leap into the computer age. During its first full year open—1987—the Lackman Library circulated 99,220 items.

An expansion of Lackman was never far from the minds of staff during the planning and opening of the Shawnee Library in 1992, the Leawood Pioneer Library in 1994, the Central Resource Library in 1995, and the renovated Antioch Library in 1996. By August 10, 1996 when the Lackman Library closed for expansion, it barely fit its building. The new facility, three times as large as its previous incarnation with almost 18,000 square feet, re-opened on August 12, 1997.