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The West African Talking Drum

Join us for The West African Talking Drum, June 18 at 1 and 2 pm.

Teens, it’s time to play some drums! Participants will learn about Ghana in West Africa and explore a drumming tradition that dates back 800 years. Experience how music is an integral part of all societies of this region. Through a hands-on workshop we will see how music speaks to a community, and how it can make a village dance. Ages 12-18.

Register online for this program or call 913.826.4600


New Podcast Episode!

West African Talking Drum and Improv, ELL, and Books to Go!

In this episode of Did you hear? Jennifer Reeves and Chris Koppenhaver talk Let's Improv! and the West African Talking Drum,

Then, we give you a behind-the-scenes listen! Our English Language Learning (ELL) Conversation Group volunteers share why they spend every weekend helping non-native speakers become proficient at English.

Dave also tells you about our 6by6 books to go!



Now @ Cedar Roe: Joe Bussell

Wednesday, May 1 to Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Joe Bussell is an award-winning painter of startling, vibrant abstracts that defy description. Figures and shapes float and scrape across the canvas in ways that are both playful and mysterious. His work embraces primary colors that can simultaneously blend together and maintain their identity.

He states: “When I was a kid my summer days were spent playing baseball, hunting for fossils, attending music and art camp. My favorite activity during these carefree summers was going to the public library on Saturday and thumbing through the open stacks pulling out everything from art books to zoology. It was a thrill to get them to a table and scan through the contents. This series of new paintings is titled Leafing Through and are based on these childhood memories.”

Enjoy this exhibition through August 21.


Introduce yourself and describe your work and the media/genre you work in.

My name is Joe Bussell, website address: I'm an abstract painter and sculptor. In 1979 I earned a BFA in painting from Kansas University. From that time to the present I lived in London, on both US coasts and a variety of cities in between. I received 2 MFA’s—one in painting and the other in ceramics from Washington University in St Louis. I taught art at Wash U and Johnson County Community College. My work has been represented and exhibited in the US and Europe over the last 40 years. 

Talk about the work on view. What would you like people to know about it?

When I was a kid, my summer days were spent playing baseball, hunting for fossils and attending music and art camp. My favorite activity during these summers was going to the Lawrence Public Library on Saturday and thumbing through the open stacks, pulling out everything from art books to zoological drawings. It was a thrill to get the material to a table and scan through the contents.This series of new paintings is based on these childhood memories.

Describe your creative process. How often are you painting and where is your studio?

Process is my favorite part of making art. These paintings are primarily made by pouring and scraping the medium on and off the canvas. I have kept my studio practice in Rosedale for the last 19 years. I work in the studio every day.

Who are other artists you look to for inspiration? And what about their works do you like?

The artists' works I always look at are Joan Mitchell, Mark Rothko, Howard Hodgkins and Cy Twombly, but not sure I can say they inspire me. I'm inspired by many things though, from contemporary African sculpture, to opera, to a snowy night reflecting stars and a full moon.

Please list 5-10 books, movies and/or music that currently inspire you.

I've been a reader and a movie goer my entire life.Books and films that are a part of my consciousness include, The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz, Paradise by Toni Morrison, Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin and Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Films include, Boys in the Band, To Kill a Mockingbird, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Insect Woman by Shohei Imamura.

I'm currently reading Zora and Langston, The Letters of Sylvia Plath and Foursome, Alfred Steiglitz, Georgia O'Keefe, Paul Strand and Rebecca Salsbury. Very different people but interesting how their creativity match up in many ways.


Calling All Movie Buffs!

Two recent JoCoHistory posts explore the history of a local movie theater.

Watch for the next post, "Reel Three," coming soon!

Movie buffs, you might also enjoy our podcast episode coming June 17. We'll feature some of our cinemaniac Librarians chatting about local theaters and their favorite summer camp movies! Watch this space on Monday to listen along!

For more local history, follow our hashtag on Twitter.




Music and Movies in the Park, Modern Day Fitzgerald, and Books in español

In this episode of Did you hear? – the Johnson County Library podcast – Bryan Voell pops by to discuss music and movies in the park. Then, Mica Elgin-Vi of Modern Day Fitzgerald joins the conversation. Also, Dave then shares a DYI about books in español! It's funny, informative and compelling. Give it a listen and then consider subscribing!


Making Friends

You’ll be pleased to learn that the Friends Bookstore at Central Resource Library carries a wide array of materials for use in the Library's MakerSpace!

When the Central branch was renovated in 2015, the MakerSpace was moved and enlarged six-fold. Visitors to the Space have found more equipment and helpful advisors to help them learn software and hardware. Sessions such as MakerSpace Beginners Nights have been a super introduction to all the Space has to offer. 

The machines in the MakerSpace, such as the CNC Router and the Epilog Helix and Zing laser engravers, tend to perform best with specified types of materials. Maker technicians and Friends saw opportunity to provide service to Makers needing supplies and to help the Friends generate some revenue.

Welcome to the Maker Materials Market!

You’ll find 12 x 24 x 1/8" acrylic sheet in six colors and birch plywood sheet, same size. Friends Bookstores Manager Becky Epperson reports that sales are brisk. Coming soon: soldering supplies and Maker kits!

Of course the Bookstores also sell gently used books and AV materials. Net profits of Friends sales benefit Library programs such as 6 by 6, Ready to Read.


Featured Artist Friday: Radkey

Radkey is Kansas City's contribution to the world of visceral, bare-bones rock music. Comprised of brothers Dee, Isaiah and Solomon Radke, the band draws influence from a wide range of hard rock and power pop forebears like Nirvana, Iron Maiden, Misfits, to name a few. Radkey recently released the No Strange Cats...Spiders EP, a strong collection of songs that serves as a great introduction to the trio. We're happy to share an interview with the band about the new music, their writing process and what's to come.




Cedar Roe Library Turns 50!


Join the celebration!


Happy 50th Birthday!

Read about the history of this well-aged Library!

Plan out your next visit to Cedar Roe Library!

Be sure to listen to a few memories of this branch in our podcast!