Search Stories


This Week at the Library

Library OnDemand – Programs available anytime you like on our YouTube channel. 
Your doorway into live and archived programs. Arts & Culture, Career & Finance, Community Matters, Writers and more!

One-on-One Basic Genealogy Help – Tuesdays, Jan. 23 to Apr. 2, 9 a.m. – noon
For one-on-one basic or DNA genealogy help visit the Johnson County Genealogical Society at to schedule an appointment.

Great Jobs KC – Tuesday, Jan. 23, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., Online Event
Learn about KC Scholars programs that provide adult learners with tuition FULLY PAID for approved job training programs in high-paying and high-demand industries. Dee Burns, Great Jobs KC’s Regional Recruitment Manager, will share more about how eligible candidates can complete a program and begin a fulfilling career in one year or less. This program will be hosted using the meeting software Zoom. 

Public Input Session #1: Prairie Village Community Center Campus Study– Thursday, Jan. 25, 4 – 7 p.m.
The City of Prairie Village, in partnership with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City and Johnson County Library, is moving into the next phase of a multi-year study of a new Community Center Campus in Harmon Park. The community is invited to hear more about this study and provide input at a public meeting scheduled for 4-7 p.m. on Thursday, January 25, at the Meadowbrook Park Clubhouse, 9101 Nall Ave. Two additional public meetings will follow.

The Past is Prologue: Lessons in Activism from LGBTQ+ Kansas– Thursday, Jan. 25, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m., Online Event
The Past Is Prologue is a bimonthly program that highlights topics often left out, glossed over or misrepresented in our history books. For our January topic, journalist C.J. Janovy will present on her book No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas. This program will be hosted using the meeting software Zoom. 

Open Mic – Friday, Jan. 26, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Johnson County Library is teaming up with Bear Necessities Coffee Bar (9609 W 87th St, Overland Park, KS 66212) to bring you an Open Mic from 6:30-7:30 p.m. on the fourth Friday of every month. Bring poems, short stories, essays and excerpts to share on the stage, or come just to listen. We’ll feature readings from our contest winners and the rest of the time is for you. Sign up at the event; three-minute limit.

Legislative Coffee Series – Saturday, Jan. 27, 10 – 11 a.m.
Join us at the Corinth Library to 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. Attendees for this event will include:

  • Senator Pat Pettey, District 6
  • Rep. Stephanie Clayton, District 19
  • Rep. Rui Xu, District 25

Can't join us in-person? This event will be streamed live onYouTube.

And much more happening this week … 


Upcoming Career and Finance Events

Our Spring Trimester is filled with events to help you plan your career, college education, and retirement. See events below to register.

Great Jobs KC Tuesday, Jan. 23, 6:30–7:30 p.m., online

It's Never Too Early to Start Planning for College Tuesday, Feb. 6, 7-8 p.m., online

Navigating the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Unlocking Opportunities with KC SourceLink Tuesday, Feb. 20, 7-8:00 p.m., online

Permission to Withdraw: Enjoying Your Retirement Savings without Outliving Them Tuesday, Feb. 27, 10-11 a.m., online


Legislative Coffee Series Returns for Milestone Year

The Library is marking a milestone this year for what seems to have become a rarity these days — the opportunity for civil political discourse.

The Saturday morning Legislative Coffee series, which begins this month at the Corinth Library, is in its 10th year of bringing together Johnson County’s state lawmakers and their constituents for coffee, doughnuts and discussions.

“We felt like this was a missing piece in our community,” explained Ashley Fick, civic engagement librarian, who initiated the program along with the League of Women Voters of Johnson County.

The main focus, she said, is providing a free, nonpartisan forum run by a neutral party.

Started as a pilot at three branches, the coffee series now runs from January to April at six branches throughout the Library’s service area. To see a full schedule and register, you can visit the Library’s events page or call 913-826-4600.

The series went online for three years during the COVID-19 pandemic, but before that, the series drew nearly 600 attendees total to five coffees. Last year was the first year back in person.

As the moderator, Fick said that setting ground rules for decorum at the outset has worked well as the program has grown and drawn more attendees.

“I think a lot of people are waking up to the fact that most laws are passed at the state level or the local level,” she said. “So it behooves us to pay attention to what’s going on there.”

In providing a space for lawmakers and their constituents to interact, the coffees are one of Fick’s favorite programs. She routinely hears positive feedback from the legislators and the attendees.

“I want people to feel like, even if they've never attended something like this, they can come in and it's not scary,” Fick said. “You can sit back and just listen if you don't want to ask a question. Or if you do have a question, you can ask it. It's not an intimidating environment.”

One state lawmaker even told Fick that attending a forum was the inspiration for running for office.

The history of the forums has coincided with the legislative terms of state Reps. Stephanie Sawyer Clayton, an Overland Park Democrat, and Jarrod Ousley, a Merriam Democrat. Both have routinely participated in the coffees.

Clayton and Ousley both said it’s a bonus whenever they can hear from their constituents.

“I can go and give a speech anywhere,” Clayton said. “It's their questions that are most valuable to me because that way I know what they care about, what's on their mind, what they're concerned about, and that helps me be a better legislator.”

Ousley said he appreciated that the coffees bring together panels of lawmakers from the Johnson County delegation. Clayton has seen that from both sides, having started her legislative career as a Republican but switched parties about six years ago.

Clayton vividly recalled the 2016 forum she participated in for its large crowd and the anger among the constituents as the state was facing budget problems precipitated by tax cuts championed by then-Gov. Sam Brownback.

Both lawmakers, though, noted the overall civility of the audiences at the legislative coffees.

Perhaps that has something to do with the ingrained mentality of being on one’s best behavior in a library and hoping to avoid a disapproving look from a librarian, Ousley said.

Clayton agreed that the Library provides the perfect atmosphere to listen to all viewpoints.

“It’s doing what America does,” she said. “It's the exchange of free ideas and thoughts in an open, safe, civilized, and dignified space.” 


The Past is Prologue: Lessons in Activism from LGBTQ+ Kansas

Registration is still open!

The Past Is Prologue is a bimonthly program that highlights topics often left out, glossed over or misrepresented in our history books. 

For our January topic, journalist C.J. Janovy will present on her book No Place Like Home: Lessons in Activism from LGBT Kansas.


Toolkit Tuesday - One Click to Renew Them All!

How often have you heard someone exclaim, “I didn’t know the Library had that!” We get the enthusiasm. We also understand why it can be an epiphany—the Library has so much to offer, but sometimes it’s hard to be in-the-know. With our Tuesday Toolkit, we share Library tools that you might not know about that make your life so much better.

This week’s tool: Bulk Renew.

This one is so simple. Do you have several items checked out coming due? Does the mere thought of renewing each item one at a time mentally exhaust you? Do not fret! We got you. When you login to your account via the blue button in the upper right corner of, or on the app, look for "Checked Out" under "My Borrowing." There you will find a list of all items you have checked out currently. You'll see which items are due now or how soon items are due. Next to each item in the checked out list is a checkbox. Simply check the box and click the "Renew selected" button. Now, you can do that for each and every title you want to renew. Or, look for the checkbox at the top of list with the accompanying text: "Select 13 items" (or how ever many titles you have checked out.) Then, click the "Renew selected" button. Voila! You just renewed everything all at once!


This Week at the Library

Library OnDemand – Programs available anytime you like on our YouTube channel. 

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

Tabletop Games – Tuesday, Jan. 16, 6 – 7:45 p.m.

Join us for a fun-filled event with family and friends at the Oak Park Library and become a part of the Johnson County tabletop gaming community. Discover new games from our collection or bring your personal favorite to share – you might get creative with a round of Dixit, collaborate to escape the Forbidden Island or strategize your way to victory as King of Tokyo! Come and go as you please. Refreshments are provided.

Homework Help – Wednesday, Jan. 17, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Join us at Central Resource Library for help with homework. This program specifically focuses on literacy support for grades 2-5. Students are encouraged to bring specific homework assignments from school, such as book reports, writing projects, vocabulary, spelling, science or social studies reading, math word problems, or any other work related to their specific literacy needs. English Language Learners (ELL) are welcome. Students will be served on a first-come, first-served basis, and busy times may require a wait. Additional online tutoring resources are available and include BrainFuse, Lightbox, and Khan Academy among others.

Friends of the Library Pop-Up Book Sale – Saturday, Jan. 20, 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Shop gently used books and items from the Friends of the Library at the Friends headquarters!
20% Friends members discount all day! Follow the Friends on Facebook for holiday exceptions to the sale and other announcements.

Teen Book-ish Club – Sunday, Jan. 21, 1 – 2 p.m.

Come visit the Teen Book-ish Clubs at Blue Valley Library! Let’s get together to share our love of reading and chat about our current reads. Register online for some or all sessions. Discover new favorites, releases or fandoms from other readers in your community.

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.

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 AideFree tax preparation assistance 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.  The AARP Appointments Calendar will go live in mid- to late-January, 2024.  To make an appointment at that time, go to or call the AARP Call Center at 913-735-5489.

photo collage of a wooden trail sign, a woman (Rashel Hughley) posing with a cnc router, and a man (Samuel Landu) in the makerspace with some of his clothing creations

Top: Rashel Hughley and her trail sign. Bottom: Samuel Landu.

Creatives of All Types Thrive in MakerSpace

What do a Girl Scout mom from Lee’s Summit, Missouri, and a clothes designer from Olathe, Kansas, have in common? They have both found the Black & Veatch MakerSpace at the Library’s Central Resource location to be an invaluable resource. 

Rashel Hughley etched a wood trailhead sign using the computer-controlled engraver (known as a CNC router) to help her daughter’s second-grade troop with a service project. Samuel Landu routinely uses the vinyl cutter and heat press to imprint his high-fashion streetwear with custom designs or variations of his company’s logo. 

Hughley discovered the MakerSpace while working as a consultant for the Library. Her troop co-leader also knew about it as an employee of Black & Veatch. 

Hughley’s Girl Scouts could see from their school’s playground that the sign marking the beginning of the Cedar Creek Trail was falling apart, and the troop members resolved to replace it. The marker had horizontal two-by-fours attached to larger wooden pillars. 

“And so we knew how we wanted to put it together,” Hughley said, “but we were stuck on how to get the wording on there.” 

That’s when Hughley remembered the MakerSpace and its CNC router, which proved to be the perfect tool to carve in the trail name and mark the new sign as the handiwork of the troop. The girls helped with assembly and added their touch to the site with rocks painted with butterflies, flowers and encouraging words. 

The girls were thrilled to be featured in the school newsletter and to get a thank-you from the principal. 

Hughley also amazed her father, who did a similar project many years ago for her brother’s Boy Scout troop. She finished her work in about 90 minutes while he labored manually. 

“He just traced his letters onto the board and then got his hand router and went over the lines,” Hughley said. “No human is going to be as steady as a computer or a robot, so even with his best effort, it still wasn't as crisp as the CNC router, and it definitely took way longer.” 

Landu can measure his progress at the MakerSpace in less than a minute. He can perfect his design on the computer in a matter of seconds, and it takes only a brief moment to affix the logo. 

On a visit to the MakerSpace last month, he demonstrated his process. It took a couple of tries on the computer to get the right alignment — “It’s all about the starting point,” he said — and Landu then used a “weeding” tool to trim excess vinyl from the print. 

Then he took a few steps to the heat press, which was at the perfect temperature of 276 degrees. 

“Here we go — I’ve got it set at 11 seconds,” he explained. The machine beeped and Landu ticked off the last couple of seconds. “Let’s take a look,” he said. “Perfect. And it puffs right out.” 

Landu’s mother is a seamstress who is originally from Congo, so he has been tinkering with fabric and design since his teens. He named his clothing company Contrast AFR to highlight its fusion of African and American culture. 

Landu tried his hand in the music business for a little while after high school, but he moved back to Kansas City from Los Angeles about four years ago. That’s when he started using the MakerSpace to focus on his clothing business. 

Landu said he enjoyed experimenting with the different equipment in the MakerSpace, and he embraced the atmosphere. 

“It's just a hub where you can curate ideas and there's so many different things that you can do,” he said. “You meet so many different people, so it's an amazing experience.” 

The variety of patrons is also what energizes Thomas Maillioux, one of the three MakerSpace facilitators. The space serves people of all ages, they said, and with interests that range from art to inventing and medical technology. 

Working with technology is interesting, but Maillioux said the job “could get repetitive if it was just about the equipment.” 

Helping the patrons is what brings meaning to the job, Maillioux said. 

“Rashel and Sam are both good examples of that,” they said. “We are here to support them, and thanks to what we are offering, they can take their craft to new heights.”