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This Week at the Library

This week at the Library, you can virtually explore the MakerSpace, explore your family's history, and get fresh reading recommendations!

Ask-a-Maker Session Monday, Jan. 11 | 10-11 am

One-on-one Genealogy Help  Tuesday, Jan. 12 | 9 am-1 pm

Book Party Wednesday, Jan. 13 | 2-2:30 pm

and more! See all of our events »




Biographies of the world’s most influential people

Gale in Context: Biography is a great resource for those who want to learn more about the world’s most influential people.

There are some fascinating people to learn about, both past and present. Let’s take the Cherokee scholar Sequoyah, for example. He is the only known Native American to have formulated an alphabet for his tribe, enabling thousands of Cherokee to become literate. Another example is Alice Coachman. As a high jump athlete, she became the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal for the US in 1948.

These are just two examples of the more than 5,000 amazing people you can find biographies of using Gale in Context: Biography, available online with your Johnson County Library card!

Gale in Context: Biography can help you find biographies of individuals in a wide range of subjects including business, politics, government, history, science, sports, the arts, and entertainment. Whether you’re doing a report, curious, or just plain obsessed, you’ll find international figures from all time periods and the most searched and studied people. It’s easy to browse by occupation, role, or historical period. You can also search based on name, occupation, nationality, ethnicity, birth/death dates and places, or gender, as well as by keyword and full text.

Once you’ve found who you’re looking for, you’ll find available content gathered in one place. Content includes magazine articles, video footage, radio broadcasts, photographs, and more to provide contextual information on the world's most influential people. Content is continuously updated so you have access to the latest information. 

Visit Gale in Context: Biography to get started today.


Staff Spotlight: Dynamic Design Duo

Johnson County Library has a dynamic duo. They work behind-the-scenes but leave an indelible mark of artistic creativity and passion on the system’s educational and promotional materials.

Jennifer Taylor and Cindy Frazer are the Library’s two graphics coordinators, playing an essential role in communication and outreach.

“We are part of the customer experience department,” Taylor explained. “We do all of the printed materials, the bookmarks, the flyers, the newsletters, the guide magazines, all the summer reading promotions, the Writers’ Conference [materials].”

The work includes posters, lobby boards, banners, signage, and name badges, Frazer adds. “Anything that’s printed, business cards -- everything comes through this department.” They also ensure materials look good online.

It’s an enormous task, but they’ve been working collaboratively together for decades and love what they do.

“I like the variety. I always have something different,” said Frazer, who recently designed both printed and online materials for the Writers’ Conference. “There’s always something new. So there are new things we get to figure out.  How to make something work. A new way to get it out there.”

Taylor particularly enjoys working on summer reading promotions.

“Since I started here in 1992, I’ve designed all of the [materials] for summer reading, for every year,” she said. “Sometimes I’ve gotten to work directly with the artists doing the artwork for it, which is fantastic, just the creation of the overall look for summer reading. I get to take it off from there to design the posters and the bookmarks and the reading logs and the images that are going online now.”

Frazer was hired to do layout and manual paste-up in the pre-digital days of 1985 and started the graphic arts department in 1988.  Taylor joined her in 1992 and the two have been a great team ever since, sharing life’s milestones.

“We’ve been through weddings, marriages, babies….kids graduating the same time,” said Taylor, who has two sons, ages 25 and 21. Frazer also has two sons, ages 33 and 25.

The Library’s writers and other content providers take great pride in their work. Taylor and Frazer see their role as enhancing communication and giving Library materials the right “look” through an attractive palette of colors, fonts, and other design decisions.

 “We want to make sure we’re making it look the best we possibly can,” Taylor said, “to honor the work that’s been put into it.”



Lenexa City Center Library Closed

Johnson County Library’s Lenexa City Center location will be temporarily closed Thursday Jan. 7 until Tuesday, Jan. 12 due to a potential COVID-19 exposure. In an abundance of caution, the closure includes the drive-thru window, materials return and the holds pick-up lobby. Holds on materials that were available at the branch will be extended.

A professional deep cleaning will take place while the branch is closed. All staff who were potentially exposed have been notified through contact tracing, and affected staff will be quarantining and monitoring for symptoms before returning to work. Library staff is working with the health department to determine any additional necessary steps and will continue all health and safety protocols, such as masks and social distancing, to minimize risk of exposure.

Johnson County Library’s other 13 branches remain open, and the Lenexa City Center branch is anticipated to reopen as scheduled at noon on Tuesday, Jan. 12. Visit or follow @jocolibrary on social media for updates.


JoCoMuseum: A Collecting Institution

The Johnson County Museum is a collecting institution - that means the Museum needs your help to tell the community’s history! But what does the Museum collect? Check out this new JoCoHistory Blog post to find out more, and how you can share your stories, photos, documents, and objects!


The Past is Prologue

For January's installment of The Past is Prologue, Nicodemus Historical Society executive director Angela Bates will present on Nicodemus, KS, a small, unincorporated town in Graham County. Nicodemus is the only remaining western town established by African Americans during the Reconstruction Period following the Civil War. Today the town is a National Historic Site. 

Thursday, Jan. 7, 7:00 - 8:00 pm. Register now »


New Year, New You!

It's New Year's Day! Hello 2021. Hello to an all new you! The Library is here to help you make all of your dreams come true. Let's make those positive changes happen. 

First, start with a brainstorming list. If you had a magic pill you could take to make your life better, what would your life look like tomorrow? Write down your answers. Prioritize your top five. Here's an example:

  1. Get my finances in order
  2. Learn something new 
  3. Reduce stress
  4. Explore my family tree
  5. Make time to read more (a lot more) 

Whatever is on your top five list, contact a Librarian. Call, email, text. We'll help you find the Library resources you need to make 2021 a success!

Or, create your own adventure as you peruse the self-help collection in our catalog!


TBT: The Way We Were

In 1985 preliminary planning began for a larger centralized Library building. In 1992, a location was selected. The former Best Products retail building at 9875 W. 87th St. was chosen. August 29, 1995, the Central Resource Library opened its doors to the public. Check out some of the photos from that time period in this special Throwback Thursday slide show.

Fast forward to today. We again are working to upgrade this building to make the Central Resource Library even better! 

We know you probably have many questions about what to expect over the next year as upgrades occur. So, we’ve put together a Construction FAQ that addresses the status of popular services like the Black & Veatch MakerSpace and Genealogy resources, more details about Little Central and where to find alternate services.

Stay tuned to our blog and @jocolibrary on social media for construction updates!

If you haven't viewed the Fly Through of Central Resource Library animated video, what are you waiting for?

And finally, remember that is the place to time travel through local history. Search the Johnson County Library's historic photo collection for a fun adventure. You'll find over 100 images from the early years of Johnson County Library, mostly the mid-1950s. Be sure to follow our hashtag on Twitter! Have a Happy Throwback Thursday!