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This Week at the Library

Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like

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

READ to a Dog with Pets for Life

Monday, Feb. 6, 3:30 – 5 p.m. – at the Leawood Pioneer Library.

Tuesday, Feb. 7, 3:30 – 5 p.m. – at the Antioch Library.

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 3:30 – 5 p.m. – at the Central Resource Library.

Thursday, Feb. 9, 3:30 – 5 p.m. – at the Monticello Library.

The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to a registered therapy dog or cat! These animals volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team. Please note that space is limited for this program; kids will get a ticket at arrival and wait their turn to read to one of several dogs.

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

Join us for a fun-filled evening at the Gardner 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 gaming librarians will feature a family-friendly game, “Apples to Apples, Jr.” and teach you how to play it!

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

Discover what’s percolating in the Kansas Legislature. 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 at the Blue Valley Library. Register to attend virtually via YouTube.

Attendees will include:

  • Senator Cindy Holscher, District 8
  • Representative Dan Osman, District 48
  • Representative Heather Meyer, District 29

Tween Book Club – Saturday, Feb. 11, 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

If you’re age 9-13 and enjoy reading, this program is for you! Let’s get together at the Leawood Pioneer Library to read new books, discuss ideas and characters, and meet other book lovers. We read a different book each session and the February title is “The Magical Imperfect” by Chris Baron and staff will lead the group in a discussion about the book. Participants can pick up the following month’s book at each book club discussion or at the Youth Services desk after each book club discussion while supplies last.

And much more happening this week


Triumph Over Your Taxes

Need to print a form, find a resource, or get some assistance with filing? The Library and AARP are here to help.

Federal tax forms and instructions are available to pick up at the Central Resource Library.

The Tax Help Guide contains tons of resources compiled by our librarians. You'll find:

  • Federal and State forms. (We're happy to help you print any form at any location for 15 cents per page.)
  • Ways to file your taxes for free.
  • Resources for tax help.
  • Formularios de impuestos (taxes) y ayuda en español.
  • Book lists full of tax-related titles.

AARP Kansas Tax Aide provides free tax assistance and preparation for low- and middle-income taxpayers with special attention to those ages 50 and older. You do not need to be a member of AARP or a retiree to use this service. To make an appointment, go to or call the AARP at 913.735.5489. AARP provides this service at several Johnson County sites, so be sure to explore other locations for the best availability.


Young Adult Literary Councils Return in Person

Johnson County Library strives to provide materials and activities that will be particularly appealing to teen patrons. Its Young Adult Literary Councils are a major part of that outreach. They are an excellent way for patrons ages 12-19 to share favorite books and help plan fun events such as author visits and game days. Participants meet other Johnson County teens and receive volunteer credit hours for their time. They can even pick up advanced copies of teen books to read and review before publication, for the Young Adult Library Services Association.

During the pandemic, an online system-wide Young Adult Literary Council kept some teens engaged and involved. But in 2023, the councils resume meeting in-person at Lenexa City CenterBlue ValleyMonticello and Gardner. Staffers are eager to welcome them back.

For Gardner Youth Information Specialist Matt Imrie and for Monticello Youth Information Specialist Jordan Young, this is an ideal chance to involve young patrons in the life of the Library, lending their energy, creativity and enthusiasm. It’s mutually beneficial for the teens and the Library system. “It’s to keep young people engaged in the Library and to give them a sense of ownership. It gets them involved in planning events for the Library, for the groups themselves and other people that might be interested,” Imrie said. “I’ve found through past experience that young people, if it’s something that’s theirs, they are more interested.”

Young agreed. “I’m really excited to start this opportunity again,” he said. “We have a great group of teens at Monticello and we have lots of fun ideas for what the program can be. I’m excited to see what they come up with.” Both Imrie and Young bring valuable prior experience working with teens and have a passion for this project. 

Imrie’s Library career extends back more than 25 years, including stints from South Africa to the United Kingdom, and much of that work involved teens. Since 2006, he has run his own blog website focused on Libraries and teens, with all sorts of book lists and reader interaction. He has been a youth information specialist at Gardner for about four years, establishing positive relationships with many families. He has spoken to a number of patrons about YALC, including some home-school parents, and interest is spreading.

Gardner’s YALC will meet the third Saturday of each month, from 2-3 p.m., through April. Reservations aren’t necessary and participants can just show up.

Young has theater experience and was very involved in running teen programming years ago at the Yorba Linda Public Library in California. He was hired as a Johnson County Library clerk in 2018 and helped open the Lenexa branch. He became a youth information specialist at Monticello in November 2020 and discovered that branch has a very strong teen patron base. They attend nearby schools and flock to the Library after school. They fill the study rooms and are avid readers. Young helped Monticello resume its in-person teen volunteer program, which went really well in summer 2022. He also worked with the online YALC, in which teen participants planned a game/book celebration event at Blue Valley Library that attracted over 100 attendees in 2022.

Monticello’s YALC will meet the fourth Wednesday of each month, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., through April. Young will run it with help from Jeni Cosgrove. Lenexa’s YALC will meet the second Tuesday of each month, 5-6 p.m. Blue Valley’s will meet the third Sunday of each month, 1-2 p.m.

Young praises Johnson County Library for providing teens this opportunity, “giving them a place to be, giving them leadership experience, and helping them engage with the community.”


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.


February is Black History Month

"Time for Change: Action Not Words" is the theme for the 2023 Black History Month. Johnson County Library has so many resources it might be hard to choose which to read, listen to, or participate in, so it’s good we get to celebrate all month long. Black History Month begins today, Feb. 1 and ends March 1.   

Photo courtesy of the Worcester Art Museum 

Get Started with Primary Sources 

Local History 

  • The Legacy of Corinthian Nutter – Learn about the major contributions Ms. Nutter made in Webb v. School District 90 (located in Merriam, KS), which ended segregation five years before Brown v. the Board of Education.  

  • JoCo History Collections - Historical photographs and maps documenting the people, places and organizations of Johnson County. 

  • Olathe’s early African-American community –Kansas’ anti-slavery legacy offered a fresh start for many former slaves and their families after the Emancipation Proclamation. 



  • Celebrate 100 Years of the Negro Leagues - 2020 marked the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues – learn about its development, players, and legacy. 

  • Read More Black Authors: Kids and Teens – Celebrate Black voices with this collection of both fiction and non-fiction titles for younger readers.  

  • Upbeat Black History Month – A collection of uplifting African-American stories from throughout our country's history, with an emphasis on the underknown.                                 



Staff Pick: Sushi Go!

Our librarian Charles wrote a review of the card game Sushi Go!

"Sushi Go! is a fast paced card game with adorably cute artwork that is sure to satisfy your gaming appetite. As is typical of the entire range of games by producer Gamewright Games, this is an easy to learn family game. Despite that, the strategic depth lends Sushi Go! a high replay value, and this game strikes a balance that makes it enjoyable for players of all skill levels."

Read more of Charles' review »

Our librarians will be featuring Sushi Go! at the upcoming Tabletop Games event at Blue Valley on Wednesday, Feb. 1!

Come play some games with us, friends and family!


This Week at the Library

Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like

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

One-on-One Genealogy Help – Tuesday, Jan. 31, 9 a.m. – noon

For One-on-One or DNA and Genetic help, visit the Johnson County Genealogical Society at to schedule an appointment. A volunteer will contact you by email to set up an in-person at Central Resource Library or a Zoom session link for you prior to the scheduled date.

Careers Begin Here: Workforce Partnership – Tuesday, Jan. 31, 7 – 8 p.m.  Online Event

Learn about career exploration tools and resources, as well as technical training opportunities in high-demand career fields available through Workforce Partnership. Erich Ulmer, Project Director, will provide an overview of available services.

Tabletop Games – Wednesday, Feb. 1, 6 – 7:45 p.m.

Join us at Blue Valley Library for a fun-filled evening 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. Each month, our gaming librarians will feature a family-friendly game and teach you how to play it. Blue Valley's featured game for February is Sushi Go!

Matt Stewart on Writing Dialogue – Wednesday, Feb. 1, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Learn to write meaningful dialogue that flows throughout your story. Emmy-award winning news reporter Matt Stewart discusses the best ways to get your characters to talk. Stewart graduated from the top-ranked journalism school in the country and has spent 25 years interviewing people from all walks of life. He will share what he's learned in the classroom and in the field to help your dialogue snap so you can take your book to the next level.

Matt Stewart: Writing Dialogue Workshop – Saturday, Feb. 4, 9 – 11 a.m.

Spend a morning elevating the dialogue in your manuscript as Fox 4 News reporter Matt Stewart helps you clean it up to make it even better. If your characters don't speak with purpose, you risk your readers losing interest. Stewart will take his knowledge as both an author and television broadcaster and offer tips and advice to give your characters character and help make your book even better.

And much more happening this week


Staff Pick: King of Tokyo

Our librarian Charles wrote a review of the board game King of Tokyo!

"In this game for 2-6 players, monstrous, robotic, and alien kaiju (think Godzilla) battle to be the last one standing. A fast-paced and easy to learn dice rolling mechanic fuels this family friendly brawl, and with a little help, even early readers can enjoy a taste of glory when they become the King of Tokyo."

Read more of Charles' review »

Our librarians will be featuring King of Tokyo at the following Table Top Games events at Blue Valley on April 5!

Come play some games with us, friends and family!


Kinsley Riggs Named Johnson County's Deputy Librarian

Kinsley Riggs, just promoted as Johnson County’s Deputy Librarian, joins County Librarian Tricia Suellentrop and the leadership team at a pivotal time. They will work to update the strategic plan, continuing to adapt the Library for a bright future.

Riggs brings a wealth of experience to her new position. She joined Johnson County Library in February 2008 as an assistant branch manager at Gardner/Edgerton/Spring Hill. She served as branch manager at Corinth and Antioch before her appointment in 2016 as Adult Services Manager. In that role she has overseen programs, outreach and information services for adult patrons system-wide, and helped the Library navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. 

She’s watched the Library grow as an organization for nearly 15 years, becoming more modern, professional and resourceful through all sorts of challenges. “That to me is exciting, to see how much further we can go. What’s next for the Library?” she said, adding that she’s eager to explore new ways to serve the community. The Deputy Librarian role is especially enticing, she said, because it involves more opportunities to engage in leadership within the Library and the chance to work more closely with other County government departments.

Riggs grew up in Shawnee and fondly remembers going to Antioch for activities as a child, when it was the headquarters branch. She and her mother explored other branches as they opened, including the Shawnee branch on Johnson Drive, which was right down the road from their house. She wasn’t a big reader as a child but savored branch visits. She had a make-believe Library in her closet, complete with a date-due stamp to check out books to her mom and brother — a budding Librarian even then.

Her love of reading began with an AP history class, when she was captivated by the story of (civil rights pioneers) the Delany sisters, and started immersing herself in non-fiction and biographies. She attended Washburn University, where she worked as a student circulation supervisor at Mabee Library. She pursued a Library Science master’s degree at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, then returned to Johnson County to begin her career.

Working in the branches, she learned about everything from materials handling to reference to programming to customer service. She also learned to nurture and encourage her staff. “That is part of what I enjoy most about management,” she said. “Helping individuals develop and achieve their goals, find their next steps.” As Adult Services Manager, she analyzed what worked — and what didn’t work — with book groups and other programming and outreach, and helped develop more collaborative approaches throughout the system. The pandemic broke down even more silos. Riggs bonded with Youth Services Manager Angel Tucker and Events and Programs Coordinator Joseph Keehn as they guided staff through numerous online and in-person innovations.

Riggs is delighted to work with Suellentrop. “She has often been a person I go to with meaty, knotty problems,” Riggs said. “She has a great way of asking questions to help you find the path forward.”

Riggs and her husband Dan live in Olathe and have a 7-year-old daughter, Lydia, who loves their nighttime reading rituals. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, finding time to share experiences with friends around Kansas City, and traveling the states with her mom.

She sees her new professional role as a welcome challenge, as Libraries provide vital resources for information, entertainment and social progress in an increasingly complicated world.

“The Library has become more of a community place and space over the last 10 years,” she said. “That is something we are trying to stay ahead of, to make sure we are meeting the demands and needs of our community.”