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Lacie and Michelle

I Like It Better Over There

When Monticello Library opens later this year, it will house a circulating collection of almost 100,000 items: books, CDs and DVDs. There are also shelves for Holds, Periodicals and Newspapers. That’s a lot of shelves,  at least 1900 linear feet at last count.

Our resident specialists in shelf capacity and location are Michelle Olsen, Circulation Manager, and Lacie Griffin, Collection Development Manager. As part of the building design and construction process, they’ve logged hundreds of hours poring over layouts, blueprints, floorplans and diagrams to maximize our shelf locations to make as much material as possible available to patrons of our newest branch.

As you may well understand, they like to get it right the first time. A “range” of shelves is made of 7 shelving units side-by-side and back-to-back. Each unit contains 5 shelves and is 64” tall x 36” wide x 12” deep. SO: each 21-foot long range contains 70 shelves, and at an estimated 100 pounds per shelf, that’s almost 4 tons of books! It takes a lot to get them moved, so you can see why we do so much planning!

When Monticello Library opens later this year, it will house a circulating collection of almost 100,000 items: books, CDs and DVDs. There are also shelves for Holds, Periodicals and Newspapers. That’s a lot of shelves,  at least 1900 linear feet at last count.

Our resident specialists in shelf capacity and location are Michelle Olsen, Circulation Manager, and Lacie Griffin, Collection Development Manager. As part of the building design and construction process, they’ve logged hundreds of hours poring over layouts, blueprints, floorplans and diagrams to maximize our shelf locations to make as much material as possible available to patrons of our newest branch.

As you may well understand, they like to get it right the first... Continue »

Beth Welsh

Why I Give My TimeWhy I Give My Time

A quick interview with JCL Foundation Volunteer Extraordinaire Beth Welsh

Why did you initially become a volunteer with the Johnson County Library Foundation?

I was in a place where I was feeling stuck in rut and was looking for new experiences. Also, I work from home and I wanted to get out of the house and interact with people. My husband Barry is a longtime volunteer for the Library and it seemed like it would be a good fit. I’m a lifetime learner, I always want to be learning new things, I don’t want to stagnate. I began volunteering at Friends book sales in 2007 and became a fill-in cashier for the Friends bookstores in 2011. Volunteering for the Foundation struck me as a fun opportunity to learn new things. I learned WordPress and social media marketing. Fortunately, I didn’t have to learn anything about grant writing!

What are some of your favorite things about being a volunteer?

I love getting to play with books and be around librarians. Library people are awesome – and that includes Foundation people! They’re smart, inquisitive and well informed.

Have you had any discoveries about the Library or the Foundation working as a volunteer?

The Foundation was a new discovery; I didn’t know anything about it before volunteering. I learned about the Foundation’s mission to build an endowment for the Library’s collection and find support for lifelong learning programs offered at the Library. I also discovered the Foundation events. The Pinnacle Awards, Library Lets Loose, Stay Home and Read a Book Ball and elementia. My favorite Foundation event is the Library Lets Loose – it’s pretty amazing. elementia is also a fun event tied to a great mission to encourage teen writers and artists.

Any advice for people who might be on the fence about volunteering?

Try it! There are so many outlets for volunteering at the Library. Visit a branch, or the Friends sorting center or bookstore – see what interests you. Volunteer coordinators can connect you with a volunteer opportunity that works with your schedule and meets your interests. If it sounds like fun, give it a shot.

A quick interview with JCL Foundation Volunteer Extraordinaire Beth Welsh

Why did you initially become a volunteer with the Johnson County Library Foundation?

I was in a place where I was feeling stuck in rut and was looking for new experiences. Also, I work from home and I wanted to get out of the house and interact with people. My husband Barry is a longtime volunteer for the Library and it seemed like it would be a good fit. I’m a lifetime learner, I always want to be learning new things, I don’t want to stagnate. I began volunteering at Friends book sales in 2007 and became a fill-in cashier for the Friends bookstores in 2011. Volunteering for the Foundation struck me as a fun opportunity to... Continue »

Arts in Prison

Arts in Prison

Arlin Buyert, center, is poetry instructor for the Arts in Prison project. JoAnna Ramsey, l, and Lex Cortes, r, are former classmates in the project.

Johnson County Library partners with Kansas City’s The Writers Place on a series of readings: the Thomas Zvi Wilson series. As part of that series, the Arts in Prison project is occasionally scheduled. A February 20 public reading at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center featured participants who read from works produced in the class.

Arts in Prison has been an institution at the Lansing Correctional Facility for more than two decades, and officials behind its poetry program believe it’s helping keep reformed inmates out of jail. “The general recidivism rate in Kansas is around 50 percent. Half the inmates are back within three years,” says Arlin Buyert, the poetry instructor. “But, for whatever reason, inmates who participate in my poetry program have almost no recidivism.” According to Buyert, out of the 15 inmates who have gone through the program and have since been released, only one has returned to prison and that was because of a parole violation.

Poet participants say that poetry has a way of breaking down political barriers in prison and helping to alleviate the heavy burdens of a dark past. “Prison is very segregated, and in poetry you have a mix of different people,” JoAnna Ramsey says. "Getting past prison life is a process and it’s slow, but being able to write helps that along."

“Poetry gives people an opportunity to know they are still people,” Ramsey says. “The great part about America is that we’re a land of second chances, and poetry and art is something that connects us all.” Buyert echoed Ramsey’s sentiments, adding that it’s easy for people outside of prison to forget that those inside are still people. “They’re human. They have worth. They’re poets,” Buyert said.

This post relies on notes published about the reading by reporter Zac Summers in an online article for local Fox affiliate. See his story here.

Arlin Buyert, center, is poetry instructor for the Arts in Prison project. JoAnna Ramsey, l, and Lex Cortes, r, are former classmates in the project.

Johnson County Library partners with Kansas City’s The Writers Place on a series of readings: the Thomas Zvi Wilson series. As part of that series, the Arts in Prison project is occasionally scheduled. A February 20 public reading at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center featured participants who read from works produced in the class.

Arts in Prison has been an institution at... Continue »

Ayah

Meet Your Maker: Ayah

Hi! I’m Johnson County Library’s newest MakerSpace Facilitator. I specialize in A/V production and storytelling, but in the MakerSpace you can find help for all sorts of projects, from bookmaking to building your own computer. I’m sure lots of you are thinking of starting something new, so I thought I’d share some tips for long term project management. Today I’m going to talk about margin, but this is only the first of a four-part series, so you can always check back for more!

I’m no stranger to long term projects. When you write books or feature-length films, it just comes with the territory. The methods we normally use for projects start to fall apart when you’re doing something long term or trying to work towards a bigger picture. When I initially wrote my four principles behind project management, it was aimed at filmmakers, because that was my background. But I’ve found that the lessons I learned earnestly apply to any ambition, and I hope that you’ll find them as useful as I have.

First things first: be sure to overestimate. If you a want to work on anything over an extended period of time, you need room for error. A lot of room for error. I’ve often been told that my projects are ambitious, and they might seem that way from the outside. But in truth, I try as much as I can to overestimate how much time and resources I’ll need for every step. Thing you can get by with a 10,000 budget? Double it. Will you need, say, two weeks to write a proposal? Triple it. And if you think you’ll be able to export that video in ten hours, make it forty.

Margin isn’t just about scheduling time, though. It’s also about archiving what you’re doing, and project security. Back up your assets. If I expect to record 1 or 2 terabytes of video footage, I get a 4 terabyte drive. I back everything up and I have a backup plan for the backup plan. I store my hard drives, equipment, and props carefully, where they won’t be exposed to serious temperature changes or accidental misuse.

This might sounds irrationally cautious, but think of it this way: If some resource or information for your project disappeared, what would be willing to do to get it back? You can do at least that much to prevent yourself from having the problem to begin with. Of course, you can’t care for every aspect of a project with the same level of importance. Decide your priorities ahead of time so that if things don’t go as planned, you know what you’re willing to compromise on, and what things you’re willing to fight for.

Archiving your project not only eases your workflow, it does a favor for your future self. It’s easy to know what all the pieces in a project mean when you’re in the center of the work, but neglecting to record your process is a major loss. Keep your notes, sketches, and mind maps; you can use them for future projects. And most importantly, keep a record of your mistakes and what you learned from them. You will forget. You’re human. You may be steeped in your work now, but once it fades, you know don’t when you’ll get another chance to record that next album or whatever it is you want to do. By recording your mistakes, you save yourself the trouble of having to reinvent the wheel every time. 

Hi! I’m Johnson County Library’s newest MakerSpace Facilitator. I specialize in A/V production and storytelling, but in the MakerSpace you can find help for all sorts of projects, from bookmaking to building your own computer. I’m sure lots of you are thinking of starting something new, so I thought I’d share some tips for long term project management. Today I’m going to talk about margin, but this is only the first of a four-part series, so you can always check back for more!

I’m no stranger to long term projects. When you write books or feature-length films, it just comes with the territory. The methods we normally use for projects start to fall apart when you’re doing something long term or trying to work towards a bigger... Continue »

Big Books

We Like Big Books!

Lots of favorite picture books are available at Antioch Library in extra-large. Big letters make for great reading practice, and kids will love the fun of having their favorite books in a huge new size!

Lots of favorite picture books are available at Antioch Library in extra-large. Big letters make for great reading practice, and kids will love the fun of having their favorite books in a huge new size!

Music Monday! Sterling Witt: Perfect Girl

Happy Music Monday! The entire month of February is a month of love. Of course, every month is filled with love when you find that person who's just right for you. Sterling Witt found a Perfect Girl and he sings about her. We recorded him doing so as part of our Local Music LIVE recording sessions in our MakerSpace sound studio. Be sure to read about Sterling and visit the profiles of all of our other featured local musical artists.

Happy Music Monday! The entire month of February is a month of love. Of course, every month is filled with love when you find that person who's just right for you. Sterling Witt found a Perfect Girl and he sings about her. We recorded him doing so as part of our Local Music LIVE recording sessions in our MakerSpace sound studio. Be sure to read about Sterling and visit the profiles of all of our other featured local musical artists.

Winsorman

We're Going to Planet Comicon

This weekend marks the opening of Planet Comicon, one of Kansas City’s biggest comic and pop-culture conventions, bringing in a slew of actors, podcasters, writers, artists, and… librarians? Yes, you will find your friendly neighborhood Johnson County Library staff in attendance at the “What Would the X-Men Read?” panel on Saturday, where we will talk about our favorite characters in the X-Men universe alongside writers and artists from the X-Men franchise. Be sure to check out what our staff would think would be on the library checkout list for your favorite characters such as Kitty Pride and Wolverine, Cyclops, and even Magneto. Also be sure to check out some of our staff’s favorite graphic novels – both in the superhero and the non-superhero variety. 

This weekend marks the opening of Planet Comicon, one of Kansas City’s biggest comic and pop-culture conventions, bringing in a slew of actors, podcasters, writers, artists, and… librarians? Yes, you will find your friendly neighborhood Johnson County Library staff in attendance at the “What Would the X-Men Read?” panel on Saturday, where we will talk about our favorite characters in the X-Men universe alongside writers and artists from the X-Men franchise. Be sure to check out what our staff would think would be on the library checkout list for your favorite characters such as... Continue »

Hi and hola!

Learn Spanish and/y aprender el idioma inglés

Learning Spanish? Join us for to converse with other intermediate Spanish language learners and pratice your discussion skills.

Español a la Carta, Thursday, Feb 15 and Feb 22, 3:30pm at Oak Park Library

Aprender el idioma inglés en los Estados Unidos es una de las claves para triunfar, además y la comunicación es fundamental para hacer amigos, mantener los negocios, y encontrar trabajo.

Conversando en inglés, los sabados, 10am a Oak Park Library

Can't make it into the Library? Never fear: Rosetta Stone and Mango Languages are anywhere you are, on your computer or smartphone. Access them for free with your Library card and PIN »

¿No puedes ir a la Biblioteca? no hay problema: Rosetta Stone y Mango Languages te acompañan a donde vayas, puedes aprender idiomas desde tu dispositivo celular o desde tu computador. El acceso es gratuito con tu número de tarjeta y la clave »

Learning Spanish? Join us for to converse with other intermediate Spanish language learners and pratice your discussion skills.

Español a la Carta, Thursday, Feb 15 and Feb 22, 3:30pm at Oak Park Library

Aprender el idioma inglés en los Estados Unidos es una de las claves para triunfar, además y la comunicación es fundamental para hacer amigos,... Continue »

Love notes

We Love You, Too!

Who doesn't love a love letter on Valentine's Day?

"This is one of the easiest web pages to navigate. The library and its staff are superb. I enjoy the experience."

"I love that it is so easy to renew books. Always a pleasure to work with everyone at the JoCo Library!"

"I really like the system to place holds. I see a book that interests me and I just add it to my list. When I get the call that it's available, it's like a gift that was unexpected. Thank you for making it so easy to use."

Who doesn't love a love letter on Valentine's Day?

"This is one of the easiest web pages to navigate. The library and its staff are superb. I enjoy the experience."

"I love that it is so easy to renew books. Always a pleasure to work with everyone at the JoCo Library!"

"I really like the system to place holds. I see a book that interests me and I just add it to my list. When I get the call that it's available, it's like a gift that was unexpected. Thank you for making it so easy to use."

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