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Cozy Read Staff Pick: The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

Our librarian Michelle recommends The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna.

Michelle says: "I loved The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches sooooo much! Everything about it sparkles with stardust. Found family, sweet romance, slow-smile humor and magical mayhem are all here for your enjoyment. The main characters are wonderfully developed and even with their secrets and flaws you want to serve them tea, give them hugs and wrap them up in soft blankets. If the villain is a bit stereotypical and the foreshadowing is occasionally obvious, these things are easy to overlook because you'll be too wrapped up in warm fuzzies to care. Highly recommend!"


This Week at the Library

This week at the Library, you can join us at:

Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like.

Your doorway into live and archived programs. Arts & Culture, Career & Finance, Community Matters, Writers and more!

Young Adult Literary Council – Tuesday, March 14, 5 – 6 p.m.

Teens are invited to join the Young Adult Literary Council at the Lenexa City Center Library to share favorite books, pick up advanced reader copies of teen books to read and review, and participate in other fun activities such as author visits, game days, event planning and more. Meet new people and receive volunteer credit hours for your time with us.

Tabletop Games – Tuesday, March 14, 6 – 7:45 p.m.

Join us for a fun-filled evening at the Central Resource Library with family members and friends, old and new, and become a part of the Johnson County tabletop gaming community. Kids, teens and adults can enjoy a variety of games together, including collaborating to escape the Forbidden Island, getting creative with a round of Dixit, or strategizing their way to victory as King of Tokyo! Discover and learn new games from our collection or bring your personal favorite to share. Come and go as you please. Refreshments are provided. This month our featured game is Barenpark.

Maintain Your Ride – Thursday, March 16, noon - 1 p.m.

Get your hands dirty and learn to keep your bike in tip-top shape with this free class from Johnson County Library and BikeWalkKC. Live and in-person at the bicycle fix-it stand in front of Central Resource Library, our instructors will teach you how to keep your bike in good working order with a few basic tools and some practical know-how. You will learn how to clean and lubricate your chain, fix a flat, adjust shifting and braking, and other basic bike maintenance skills. We’ll also show you how to use the Library’s bicycle fix-it stand. This is a hands-on class!

Legislative Coffee – Saturday, March 18, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Discover what’s percolating in the Kansas Legislature at the Central Resource Library. Representatives and Senators with constituents in Johnson County will discuss the new legislative session, followed by Q&A. You bring the questions; we provide the coffee and doughnuts. Registration is not required to attend in-person.

Can't join us in-person? This event will be streamed live on YouTube. Register for this event and a Johnson County Library staff member will contact registrants via email the day before the meeting with instructions on how to attend virtually. You do not need to download any software or create an account.

Attendees will include: 

  • Senator Cindy Holscher, District 8
  • Senator Dinah Sykes, District 21
  • Representative Lindsay Vaughn, District 22
  • Representative Jarrod Ousley, District 24
  • Senator Ethan Corson, District 7

And much more happening this week


Outreach Kits Enable Staff to Efficiently Share Library Resources

When Johnson County Library information specialists visit community groups and local gatherings, they now have a convenient tool for sharing Library resources.

New outreach kits hold Library cards and applications in English and Spanish; Library guides and bookmarks; office supplies, tech devices if needed and fun promotional giveaways for patrons. The materials go into a tub that’s carried in a fold-up cart. It all fits in a car for easy transport.

This was an outgrowth of events opening back up after the COVID-19 pandemic, as the Library began to receive invitations again in 2022 to visit service organizations, the Arts & Heritage museum, parks and other venues. The materials hadn’t been refreshed since 2019, so the Communications Department seized the opportunity to create a full-service kit.

“There was a need to create more updated materials,” said External Communications Manager Elissa Andre. “We were thinking about different ways to reach audiences. How do we take this back to the in-person event? Not only is it marketing, but it’s building that relationship with the Library.”

When Central Resource Library reopened in February 2022, staff set up a Library card station separate from the front desk. Then staff recognized the need for a mobile Library card signup kit, with a laptop and mobile hot spot, to visit remote locations.

Andre said Creative Services Coordinator Cindy Frazer was instrumental to this project. Frazer used her graphic design skills and also figured out materials to include. Banners proclaim the Library’s DISCOVER campaign. Frazer also gave kudos to the IT Help Desk for assistance with mobile hot spots that staff may request.

Sarah Askew, a Lenexa City Center information specialist, said the kits are wonderful. Prior to the pandemic, when she visited community groups, she would scramble to assemble her own materials in a box. Now she fills out a form a few weeks ahead of time and picks up the kit at Central Resource Library.

“This just makes it easier to have the kit ready to roll,” Askew said. “It has everything you need. It’s in a nice cart so I don’t have to carry a box. You check it out, and return it, and they restock it for the next person.”

Askew used the kit several times in 2022, including for a senior living center presentation in November. One woman mentioned that her husband was immunocompromised and not able to attend. She said her husband had received a Kindle as a gift but didn’t know how to retrieve the Library’s eBooks on it.

Askew visited the couple’s room and provided a personal demonstration of the Library’s Libby eBook collection.

She later received an email from the woman saying her husband was loving the eBooks. “This brings happiness to my heart to see him enjoying books once again,” the woman wrote.

At another event, Askew provided seniors with magnifier sheets (like magnifying glasses, but plastic sheets that increase print size on a page) printed with the Johnson County Library logo. They were very popular, so Askew recommended providing those sheets in the kit.

Andre said Library staff visited over 25 events in 2022, issuing more than 40 new Library cards. At one event, a lady confessed that she felt so guilty about losing a Library book 30 years earlier that she hadn’t had a Library card since. Librarians reassured her and signed her up with a new card.

“We’re just excited to grow this,” Andre said. “Our goal is to have a suite of products to customize these kits, to really bring the Library to the public and meet the specific need of the audience.”


Jocolibrary Uncovered Podcast

New Name. New Format. New Season!

Did you hear? We’re creating a whopping 16 episodes for our 2023 season! The “Jocolibrary Uncovered” podcast will release two episodes a month alternating between subject deep dives and collection deep dives. Johnson County Library’s podcast uncovers our collection and reveals the behind the scenes stories at the Library. The new season begins April 5 and runs through November.


How? Visit one of these popular podcatchers:

Did you hear? Podcast at Podbean
Did you hear? Podcast on Stitcher
Did you hear? Podcast on Spotify
Did you hear? Podcasts on Apple Podcasts

Or, wherever you regularly listen to podcasts, you can find us by entering "jocolibrary" into the search bar. You'll find "Did you hear?" Then click subscribe.

Too complicated? No worries. You can find all of our 2023 season podcast episodes below. Click and listen. It's that easy!

2023 SEASON Begins April 5!

  • The Arts Extravaganza  
  • Books About Book Lovers 
  • Library Kids on Library Books 
  • Fun, Weird, Wild and Wonderful Science 
  • Incarcerated Services  
  • Hope Punk 
  • Fun Drive  
  • Hobbies   
  • KC True Crime  
  • Thriller, True Crime and Horror 
  • Apples, Oranges and Bananas    
  • Post-apocalyptic   
  • “Libreria” vs “Biblioteca” 
  • Romance 
  • Unsung Heroes  
  • Momoirs 

Episode Archive

With the exception of early episodes that were published to YouTube exclusively, all episode are available at our Podbean podcast hosting site. There you will find some gems like our seven part "Discover your Library" episodes, poetry, music, interviews and more.


Long Ago at the Library

It’s another grand Throwback Thursday where we encourage you to time travel through Johnson County's history. JoCoHistory is a collaborative presentation of the history from the Johnson County Museum, Johnson County Library and many JoCoHistory partners. Explore historical photographs and documents about the people, places and organizations of Johnson County, Kansas, from the 19th century to the present.

Collection spotlight: Johnson County Library

About this collection: Over 100 images from the early years of Johnson County Library, mostly the mid-1950s. Photos depict patrons, staff, buildings and collections.


LearningExpress Library

Take practice tests and tutorials designed for students elementary through graduate levels and adult learners. Academic or licensing tests are available, with immediate scoring complete answer explanations and individualized results analysis. LearningExpress Library includes the following subjects:

  • Business Writing Success Skills
  • Citizenship
  • College Entrance Exams
  • Cosmetology
  • Elementary School Skills Improvement
  • EMS
  • Firefighter
  • GED
  • Graduate School Entrance Exams
  • High School Skills Improvement
  • Law Enforcement
  • and more!

This resource is made available through the State Library of Kansas.


5 Star Staff Pick: The Furrows

Our librarian Alice gives 5 stars to The Furrows by Namwali Serpell.

The line between everyday truth and emotionally generated, alternative truth thins with every page turned in this new literary novel about a twelve-year-old girl, Cassandra, who loses her younger brother to undertow while swimming alone with him on a Delaware beach. But even at the beginning of this book, all is not as it seems. A few chapters in, Cassandra loses her brother again: this time, to a careless driver in their home neighborhood of suburban Baltimore. Rich sensory details make both versions of events feel believable, and as the novel progresses and Cassandra grows older, many more stories emerge. Layered one upon the other, a reader soon begins to wonder which, if any, can be literally true. Is the original beach story, like others that follow, a product of Cassandra's imagination? Or, is it the real-life catalyst that sets her imagination in motion?

Since the body of her brother is never found, many of the scenarios emerging from these pages involve Cassandra meeting him again under a variety of circumstances. The author uses the possibility that he is not in fact dead but, instead, still alive somewhere as a vehicle for exploring social truths: what is likely to befall a boy who finds himself suddenly alone in the world, for example, without the support of his family. Cassandra and her brother Wayne are biracial and, as their parents' marriage ends shortly after his disappearance, navigate different trajectories with race, class, gender and, in Cassandra’s case, complicated family dynamics informing where they encounter opportunities. Paradoxically, they navigate these trajectories on their own, as well as together.

Slower to start but bristling with energy through its second half, this is literary fiction leaning hard into the domain of the psychological thriller. It is not a comforting read, and will most likely satisfy a reader who enjoys intensity in fiction. It will also satisfy a reader who appreciates some ambiguity at the end of a book, since this does not snap shut with a tidy click on its last page. As strange and complicated as everything that precedes it, this ending will require some processing time; it is not easy to digest.

Check out The Furrows by Namwali Serpell now!