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Staff Pick: The Genius Under the Table

The Genius Under the Table is bleak but also strangely cozy at times.  It’s hopeful, heartbreaking, occasionally laugh-out-loud funny and may stir up tender feelings for your own strange family.

Read more of our Librarian Hannah Jane's review »

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Penguin Encounter with the Kansas City Zoo

Visit the penguins of the Kansas City Zoo from the comfort of your home! Animal experts will walk us through a day in the life of the three different species of penguins that call the zoo home. Watch the animals eating, swimming, and living life. Come ready to ask your questions about these incredible swimming birds as we explore Oceans of Possibility this summer.

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Program Archive: Common Sense (Cents) Budgeting

Denise Dias from the K-State Extension Family and Consumer Services Office presents on Common Sense (Cents) Budgeting in this Career and Finance video from our archives. She covers all aspects of creating a spending plan including how to stretch a dollar, why setting goals for your income is important, how to spend money wisely and ways to focus on saving. 

Also, be sure to attend our upcoming events on budgeting at the Library!

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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!

Online Bilingual Storytime / Hora de cuentos bilingües en línea Monday, June 13, 10 – 10:30 a.m.

The whole family will enjoy this flexible Storytime. Hearing stories is a great way to spend time with your kids and help them foster a love of reading. Stories, songs, fingerplays and movement activities foster pre-reading skills. Fun for the whole family

Toda la familia disfrutará de esta especial hora de cuentos bilingües. Escucha historias con tus hijos y ayúdales a cultivar el amor por la lectura. Al contar cuentos, interpretar canciones, hacer juegos con los dedos y realizar actividades de movimiento fomentamos las habilidades previas a la lectura. ¡Diversión para toda la familia!

One-on-One Genealogy Help Via Zoom Tuesday, June 14, 9 a.m. – noon

Visit the Johnson County Genealogical Society at jcgsks.org to schedule an appointment. A volunteer will contact you by email to set up an in-person or a Zoom session link for you prior to the scheduled date.

Silencing Your Inner Critic Tuesday, June 14, 11 a.m. – noon

This workshop focuses on using positive self-talk and affirmations to help create a positive self-image. We also dig into how self-care is not selfish.

Special Feature Storytime: Celebrate Juneteenth Wednesday, June 15, 11 – 11:45 a.m.  

Celebrate Juneteenth with Newbery and Caldecott Honor author Carole Boston Weatherford and poet and illustrator Jeffery Boston Weatherford. The whole family will enjoy Juneteenth stories and spoken word poetry on African American heritage.

Juneteenth Walk and Read June 19 – June 30, All Day

Johnson County Library will be posting a Walk and Read in honor of Juneteenth at the Johnson County Square. The stories posted for this special event will be Opal Lee and What It Means to Be Free by Alice Faye Duncan and Change Sings by Amanda Gorman.

And much more happening this week »

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Dividing Lines Tour Shares Vital KC History with the World

For several years, Johnson County Library has offered an audio driving app called the “Dividing Lines Tour.” It highlights the history of segregation in Kansas City and sheds light on the governmental policies and individual actions which decimated Black neighborhoods all over the United States.

The downloadable audio tour takes participants from Shawnee Mission East High in Johnson County to Kansas City’s urban core. Thousands of local students and residents have traveled that journey for a revealing visual history lesson.

Now, the Library is offering a virtual version that can be experienced by anyone online. It not only explains the past but illuminates the present.

It is the story of how residential segregation and the racial wealth gap didn’t just happen but resulted from real estate practices and discriminatory government policies, pioneered in Kansas City and Johnson County, and replicated throughout the United States.

“The story of our city is a mirror to the stories of every other major city,” said Johnson County Library Youth Services Manager Angel Tucker, who helped spearhead the Dividing Lines tour. “It helps us understand stark inequities and why our neighborhoods look the way they do.”

The narrative reveals the national influence of Kansas City real estate magnate J.C. Nichols, who championed racially restrictive housing covenants that excluded Blacks. The video explores block busting abuses, redlining loan maps, and heroic struggles for equality, through the eloquent voices of lawyer/activist Sidney Willens and neighborhood advocates Mamie Hughes and Margaret May. It shares student perspectives from both Shawnee Mission East and Central High in Kansas City.

This information often isn’t in history books and is a revelation for most people, Tucker said. “It reveals a history that connects to our present,” she said. “If we can all unpack this history, maybe other cities can as well.”

Johnson County Library first offered student bus tours for its Race Project KC program, explaining landmarks along the way. Church and community groups sought out the experience, leading the Library to create the audio driving app. Local History Librarian Amanda Wahlmeier and Civic Engagement Librarian Ashley Fick provided crucial research.

The Library partnered with Christopher Cook and Nathaniel Bozarth, longtime partners on social justice multimedia projects at Brainroot Light & Sound. Cook served as writer/producer and videographer. Bozarth was a writer/producer and also narrated.

The driving app was highly praised locally, but when the COVID shutdowns began in March 2020, it galvanized the Library to create an online video version.

“When the pandemic hit, we knew we were not going to be able to put students on buses,” Tucker recalled. “We went to Chris and Nathaniel and asked, can we create a virtual experience that captures this online?” That’s just what happened.

The virtual program consists of three 30-minute segments, and has already had several thousand views. It includes archival documents and news updates not in the original driving tour.

Cook and Bozarth said this ongoing collaboration with the Library has been hugely rewarding.

“With Nathaniel and I having such an interest in social justice story-telling, it felt like an artistic commission more than just a standard client,” Cook said. “We feel a lot of personal pride and creative ownership in it.”

Bozarth agreed. “For me as a creative and as someone engaged in anti-racism activities, the story of Kansas City is representative of stories like it all over the county,” he said. “Taking this local tour, presenting it in a way that can be consumed by people all over the country held enormous hope for me. It’s for a much larger audience, applicable anywhere.”

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Acclaimed Archives

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 Archives

About this collection: Largely images from annual reports produced by Johnson County staff over the first half of the twentieth century, most notably the County Agricultural Agent and the Home Demonstration Agent. Numerous activities of those two offices are depicted, including programs with area farmers, homemakers and 4-H clubs.

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June Podcast Episode – Oceans of Possibilities!

June – Oceans of Possibilities!
This kid-friendly family episode explores Summer Reading 2022 in the most fun way possible. We interviewed snow cone-loving Narwhals, a starfish who knows he’s a star, a euphoric crab who’s not crabby at all, a jellyfish who loves peanut butter and many more aquatic creatures to get book recommendations and hear about their favorite parts of summer reading. If you’re not careful, you might just learn something about these citizens of the sea. We hope you enjoy these aquatic antics!

Check out all of the book recommendations mentioned in this episode.

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Summer Reading 2022: Oceans of Possibilities

Summer Reading 2022: Oceans of Possibilities, runs Saturday, June 4-Friday, July 29. Grab your reading log and all the details here!

Summer Reading is an initiative that aims to promote reading and literacy to children, teens and adults. Each summer, Johnson County Library offers events and contests connected to the Summer Reading theme! Check out the FAQ below for more details.

NEW! Summer Reading Contests are open!

Oceans of Possibilities Youth Sticker Contest:
Submit your entries for our Youth Sticker Design Contest, open to youth 12 and under. This summer we are looking for sticker illustrations with an “Oceans of Possibilities” theme. Winners will be selected by Library staff in multiple age categories, and the top designs will receive a 500-sticker print run for distribution at local branches. Winners will receive 20 copies of their own stickers to share with friends. Submissions will be accepted June 6 through July 6. Enter your sticker design »

Oceans of Possibilities Youth Poetry Contest: 
Calling all youth writers: submit your original short story in verse based on the theme “Oceans of Possibilities.” Winning writers will receive a prize and their work will appear on the Library’s website for all to enjoy. Open to writers entering 3rd through 12th grade this fall. One submission per writer, please. Submissions will be accepted June 6 through July 6. Enter your short story in verse »

Grab your reading log >

See all the other Summer Reading events »

Get started with some Summer Reading book recommendations »

FAQ Category Header

Summer Reading 2022: Oceans of Possibilities

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Juneteenth

"Juneteenth at JCAHC" graphic above was designed by Kansas City artist Emily Alvarez.

Celebrate Juneteenth

Join the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center for their Juneteenth celebration!

Juneteenth »
Saturday, June 11, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center
8788 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, KS 66212
Cost: free

The Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center is launching its first-ever Juneteenth commemoration and celebration on Saturday, June 11. This family-friendly event, built with community partners, provides an opportunity to honor the history and celebrate Juneteenth with art, music, food, and more!