Search Stories


Library Branches Provide Safe Havens for County Mental Health Staff

The hush of a branch is often what makes it an inviting space for patrons, and as it turns out, the setting is also beneficial for Johnson County mental health workers. 

As a Johnson County Mental Health case manager, Brian Young said many of the young adults he sees are nervous in busy social settings. 

But at the Library, he said, “It’s not fast-paced. It's not overwhelming. It's calming. Plus, it gets (the clients) out of the house.” 

Young and his case manager colleague, Amy Pixton, said meeting at the Library also allows their clients to take advantage of the collection. Pixton has one client who checks out video games — she is a fan of the fine-free policy — and another one who reads as a coping mechanism. And while they are at the Library, Pixton can introduce them to Library programming. 

“It’s nice because the schedule and everything is there. So you can just grab it and say, ‘Hey, this is going on. Is there anything here you’d like to participate in?’” 

The branches are also convenient waystations as the case managers shuttle between appointments. Usual stops include Central Resource, Cedar Roe, Gardner, Monticello and Spring Hill. Antioch is convenient for Pixton because she has a client who can come from their job at a nearby restaurant. 

Each case manager said it’s not unusual for them to stop off at branches upwards of four or more times a day. It’s not uncommon for them to bump into one of their colleagues coming or going. Pixton and Young also said the meeting rooms allow them to work on sensitive client material and make calls to physician offices if need be. 

One technological benefit is that they can connect quickly to the county computer network without the time-consuming workarounds needed at other public spots. Young and Pixton also said that at the Library, they avoid the pressure of having to buy something every time they pop in. 

Branches also offer a respite during a busy day. 

“Sometimes I just go and drink my coffee and stare at my phone and take a break — just to disconnect for a little bit,” Young said. 

Young is especially partial to the Monticello branch; at his suggestion, the whole young adult team had a retreat there a couple of summers ago. They reserved a back room and had a potluck breakfast before embarking on a morning of activities. It was easy to book the space, he said. 

Plus, he said, “It was not in the office, which is essentially where you don’t want to be when you’re trying to do a fun outing with your teammates. It doesn’t even feel like you’re at a library, to be honest.” 

Three young boys in winter clothing

Three young boys wearing winter clothing standing on a wooden cart. 1910-1915.

Heartwarming History

Time travel through Johnson County's history on this beautiful throwback Thursday. Did you know is the best place to explore historical photographs and documents about the people, places and organizations of Johnson County, Kansas, from the 19th century to the present? JoCoHistory is a collaborative presentation of the history from the Johnson County Museum, Johnson County Library and many JoCoHistory partners.

It’s cold outside. So, spend some time in JoCoHistory. It may just warm your heart!


An Inheritance of Magic

 An Inheritance of Magic by Benedict Jacka.

No Wait Wednesday: An Inheritance of Magic

Hello and welcome to NoWaitWednesday, where we take a peek at a great book that's on the shelves at one of our local Library branches just waiting for a patron to come along and check it out. Why be number 342 in line for the newest celebrity-endorsed bestseller when there's all sorts of great new books available, on the shelf, right now?

This week's pick is An Inheritance of Magic by Benedict Jacka. This first in a promising new fantasy series is set in modern-day London where magic is real, however it's tightly controlled and available only to a lucky and powerful few, as wielding magic in this world is an expensive proposition, affordable only to elite families and mega corporations. Regular people are all but shut out of the process. However, there are some folks who can practice magic who exist on the margins. Take Stephen Oakwood, for example. He's a poor orphan from East London who lacks formal magic education, however he does have a few advantages up his sleeve: he does have a rudimentary ability to use magic at lower levels, taught to him by his missing father, and he also has a mysterious link to one of the larger magical families in London, a connection left from his mother. That, and his cat, Hobbes, who is definitely more than he seems.

When his fledgling ability attracts the attention of some powerful enemies, Stephen (and Hobbes) must spring into action, using what little resource he has into gaining education and some insight into this very exclusive world that he finds himself in the middle of. Combining a coming-of-age story with magical training featuring a plucky orphan who uses a bit of luck to scrape by, Jacka has laid the foundations for an altogether enjoyable urban fantasy series that readers should love. Jacka's writing style, by the way, straddles the line between mainstream and YA, so this series would be ideal for those who are looking for a fun, inventive, fast-moving crossover book set in a world filled with the wealthy and corrupt that's just itching for a character to come along and start the dominoes falling.

Place a hold and give this title a shot, especially if you like V.E. Schwab's Shades of Magic series or Naomi Novik's Scholomance novels.

Best of JoCoLibrary Uncovered 2023 graphic

Thanks from Dave and Charles to everyone who listened, subscribed and shared their love and support!

Best of JoCoLibrary Uncovered 2024

2023 JoCoLibrary Uncovered Podcast Year in Review

What a year! Compared to last year, our average number of listeners per month tripled and our number of total listens doubled. Our average number of listens per episode rose by 34%, and our podcast was downloaded 20,000 times! To date, we have created more than 100 Library podcast episodes.

Over 40 staff members contributed their talents to the podcast in 2023. Here are just a few of the many people we have to thank:

  • Library Administration, for their support of Librarians sharing their knowledge and passions with a broader audience in this medium
  • MakerSpace facilitator Brian, who voiced our announcer narration segments, our photographer Lydia and our social media guru Lisa
  • Learning and Development Manager Laura, who recorded more than 20 “eResource of the episode” spots
  • Readers Advisory Librarian Gregg and his team for their wonderful collection deep-dive contributions
  • You! Thank you so very much for listening!

Top Subject-focused episodes of 2023:

  1. KC True Crime
  2. Library Kids on Library Books
  3. Incarcerated

Top Collection Deep Dives of 2023:

  1. Hopepunk
  2. Thrillers
  3. Books About Book Lovers

This Week at the Library

This week at the Library, you can join us at:

Tabletop Games – Tuesday, Dec. 12, 6 – 7:45 p.m.

Join us for a fun-filled event at the Central Resource Library with family and friends 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.

Tween Book Club – Wednesday, Dec. 13, 4:30 – 5:30 p.m.

If you’re age 9-13 and enjoy reading, this program is for you! Let’s get together at the Monticello Library to read new books, discuss ideas and characters, and meet other book lovers. Each session we read a different book, and staff will lead the group in a discussion about the book. Participants will get a free book while supplies last. Stop by the Youth Services desk to pick up your book. The December title is Where The Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin.

Writing Your Award-Winning Children’s Book – Friday, Dec. 15, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Join us at the Antioch Library for this Writers Conference redux. Writing a children’s book can be an enlightening experience, and one for which most writers are very qualified. Surely most people have read hundreds, if not thousands, of children’s books to little loved ones. Most could absolutely write one. Participants will be encouraged to think back to their own childhood, to the childhood of their children, to examine the components within their favorite children’s books. The goal is for participants to leave not only with an understanding of the components to layer a great children’s book, but also with several ideas so they can soon begin writing great children’s books of their own.

Goals but Different: Building a Writing Practice with Self-Compassion– Friday, Dec. 15, noon – 2 p.m.

Join us at the Antioch Library for this Writer’s Conference redux. Writers tend to have a loud inner critic, which can get louder when we don’t meet our writing goals. Research shows that self-compassion is way more motivating than self-criticism. In this workshop, we’ll explore different ways to create writing goals and how to work toward them with self-compassion. You’ll have tools and resources to build your writing practice when you leave.

Submitting Your Work for Publication – Friday, Dec. 15, 2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Join us at the Antioch Library for this Writer’s Conference redux. This workshop is designed to provide aspiring writers with practical tips and advice on how to submit their work for publication. Participants should bring a work they are considering publishing: the workshop will cover essential topics such as preparing your work for submission, finding the right publication, considering methods of self-publishing, and much more. By the end of the workshop, participants will have gained the knowledge and confidence to take the first steps towards getting their work published, including in JCL’s writing contests and the JoCoWrites blog.

And there’s much more happening this week … 

Already have a busy week?  Remember, you can watch recordings of many of our programs at your convenience with Library OnDemand


Coming Soon: Spring 2024 Guide!

Our spring Guide will hit Library locations on Monday, Dec. 11! Stop by any one of our 14 locations next week to pick one up.

Can't wait to check out all the updates, news and events for this spring? You can browse the Guide online right away!

Prominent Olathe Home

Thousands of Johnson County’s homes were photographed as part of a preservation survey in the early 2000s. This prominent home is located in Olathe.

JoCoHistory Shares New Blog Entry

Are you interested in Johnson County’s history? Want to read about it from the comfort of your home, car, or wherever you are on your phone? Check out the Museum’s collections on – a collaborative resource with digitized photographs, maps, newspapers, newsletters, and more! Learn more in this month’s #JoCoHistory Blog post. »


No Wait Wednesday: How to Be Remembered by Michael Thompson

Dec 5, 2023

Hello and welcome to this week's edition of No Wait Wednesday, where we take a look at a title on our New Release shelves at one of our Libraries that's sitting there, just ready and waiting for a lucky patron to discover it. Today's book is How To Be Remembered by Michael Thompson, a thoughtful, heartwarming debut novel with magical elements that draws comparisons to last years' breakout hit The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab as well as the book group smash The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. A book that both enlightens and entertains, excellent for book groups looking for deep, discussable themes as well as casual readers just looking for a good book. Either way, be sure to get this one on your holds list.  

Tommy Llewelyn has a problem. A very unusual problem, as a matter of fact. For every year, as long as he can remember, Tommy's life resets. Meaning that every year on his birthday he wakes up and everyone he has met in the previous year has forgotten everything about him. Friends, family, lovers, teachers, employers, casual acquaintances - all of them have forgotten ever meeting him or knowing anything about him while he still remembers everything. Documents, photos, or any sort of paper that he's accumulated trail simply disappear and are gone forever. It's an odd and terrible sort of magic - every year of Tommy's life, he has to start over completely from scratch. Even though Tommy has (almost) gotten used to it, that doesn't stop him from trying to find out why this happens and to try to discover a way to get out of this unusual and heartbreaking situation. Also, he's trying to reconnect to a girl he fell in love with during his stay at an orphanage, Carey, who is his constant north star, and the dream of reconnecting with the love of his life sustains him through all of his difficulties. He's hoping against hope that they'll meet again, and that this time, she'll remember him.

Even though the setup for this novel sounds utterly horrifying, this is a story of human resilience, as Tommy keeps his idealism alive through all the difficulties that this unusual life throws at him. This is a story of a boy - and then a man - who is desperate to be acknowledged and remembered by the universe, but instead, he evolves, comes to terms with his situation, and somehow uses it to find the ending - and the legacy - that he wants. Readers who love time slip novels that rely on deep characterization and fulfilling life lessons will snap this up as well as those book groups that we mentioned earlier that are hungry for readable novels with deeper themes. 


This Week at the Library

This week at the Library, you can join us at:

Meet the stARTists! With Becky Blades – Tuesday, Dec. 5, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Hear the stories behind the bold starts and finishes of Kansas City STARTist Laura Schmidt, creator of notes to self® socks, and Cam Awesome, of Awesome Talks, both featured in the book Start More Than You Can Finish: A Creative Permission Slip to Unleash Your Best Ideas (Chronicle Prism, Nov. 2022) by Becky Blades. Learn about these creative initiatives – those that finished well and those that didn’t. The conversation will inform and empower you to act on your ideas and embrace the power of starting.

Scribbler Society – Wednesday, Dec. 6, 1 – 2 p.m.

Young writers ages 10-14 are invited to this one-hour collaborative writing club at the Antioch Library. Writing prompts, activities, and encouragement will be provided as we confront the blank page and build a community of writers with monthly meetings. Registration is required each month.

The Past is Prologue: Confronting the Legacy of Indian Boarding Schools – Thursday, Dec. 7, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

The Past Is Prologue is a bimonthly program that highlights topics often left out, glossed over or misrepresented in our history books. For our December topic, Dr. Eric Anderson from Haskell Indian Nations University will present on the legacy of Indian Boarding Schools in the United States. 
This program will be hosted using the meeting software Zoom. A Johnson County Library staff member will contact registrants via email the day before the meeting with instructions on how to access the Zoom meeting. You do not need to download any software or create an account.

Become an Author Before Lunch Workshop with Becky Blades– Saturday, Dec. 9, 9:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Are you one of the 80% of Americans who want to write a book? Then don’t miss this program at the Central Resource Library with  Becky Blades, author of Start More Than You Can Finish: A Creative Permission Slip to Unleash Your Best Ideas (Chronicle Prism, Nov. 2022), has a fast, fun way to make that dream come true. In this two-hour workshop, you’ll write and maybe even illustrate your first book in under an hour. Then you’ll make connections with a room full of new authors. It may not be your first bestseller, but it will be your first step to building your starting muscles, a writing habit, and a whole new mindset about acting on your ideas.

And there’s much more happening this week … 

Already have a busy week?  Remember, you can watch recordings of many of our programs at your convenience with Library OnDemand