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Making A Big Purchase? Check Out Consumer Reports for Free Through The Library

When Consumer Reports began publishing in 1936, the average price of a new car was roughly $630 — less than it costs to purchase a set of high-end tires today. Prices may have changed a bit in the last 90 years, but what hasn’t changed is the buying public’s need for unbiased product information. Thankfully, free access to this invaluable resource is available online and in hard copy at each of Johnson County Library’s 14 branches. 

Busy moms like Kate Downey of Gardner and Monica van der Zee of Lenexa particularly appreciate the online access. Downey is the mother of three kids ages 7 and younger while van der Zee has five children ranging in age from 14 to 22. 

Downey remembers learning about access to Consumer Reports through an e-newsletter from the Library, and van der Zee recalls finding out about it from friends who work at the Library — most likely after asking for advice on Facebook when looking to make a big purchase. Consumer Reports has helped Downey choose dependable brands when purchasing appliances at outlet stores. 

“I've found that a lot of other ‘best product’ sites seem to be either mass-produced or AI-produced content,” she said in an email. “It's very difficult to sort through them and find reliable information from a source that has actually tested the products. Consumer Reports has specific protocols for testing their appliances so you know how they actually work.” 

Downey has told friends about getting free access to Consumer Reports with a Library card, all of whom appreciated the information 

“I've found that other people are pleasantly surprised when they find out that the Library has resources like Consumer Reports available,” she wrote. “I don't think very many people are aware of the wide variety of services the Library offers.” 

For van der Zee, Consumer Reports has been helpful in assisting her son in replacing a car damaged in a recent wreck. This real-time resource provided by the Library also helped when the family recently needed a new washing machine. 

“I went to Nebraska Furniture Mart, and I was looking at all their scratched and dented ones and I had Consumer Reports pulled up on my cell phone to see if the ones with minor cosmetic damage were still good models, and I ended up buying one,” van der Zee said. 

Despite its convenience and vast array of information, her family does not use Consumer Reports enough to pay for an annual subscription, she said.  

Van der Zee adds that it never seems to fail that when she does look at Consumer Reports, she finds herself clicking through to other online resources she forgot the Library provided, and is reminded that the research area of the Library website is also useful in helping her kids with school. 

“If any of them have homework assignments or anything where they have to do research, I always point them towards the Library website to look stuff up,” she said. 
It’s easy to access Consumer Reports from home if you have an internet connection. Simply go to the Library’s website, click “Research” in the top navigation bar, then click “Consumer Information” from the drop-down menu. The first entry in the right-hand column is Consumer Reports, and you’ll see a blue box to the right that says “Access Now.” Once you’ve entered your Library card number and password as prompted, you’ll have full access.  
Help is always a phone call or an email away if you run into any issues; or you can always stop by your favorite branch and a Librarian will be glad to help.

Railroad car at the station

In 1907, the Strang Line connected downtown Olathe and downtown Kansas City.

Lose Track of Time

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.

If you want to ride the research rails on a topic like “the history of the railroad in Johnson County,” there’s simply no better place than JoCoHistory.


Submissions Are Open for the 2024 Art and Poetry Walk!

Christina Rossetti said it best: There is no time like Spring/When life’s alive in everything

Winter hasn’t arrived yet but we’re already thinking about Spring. The chill breeze, the flower buds, the promise of sunshine—there are so many things to love. That’s why we’re creating an Art and Poetry Walk in April 2024!

Johnson County Library is accepting written and visual art submissions. Selected submissions will be printed on 17 x 23 inch signs and placed along the walking trail in Strang Park behind the Central Resource Library in April 2024.

In a short poem, haiku, or micro-story tell us what makes you feel alive. Or, share a visual representation of the same. 

The deadline for all submissions is March 1. You can submit your work here

Curious what a poetry walk looks like? Check out the current poetry walk on display in Strang Park now through November 30th. You can also check out the Walk and Read information page to see what the signs will look like: Walk and Read | Johnson County Library (



This Week at the Library

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

Poetry Walk at Strang Park – Daily, Nov. 1 - Nov. 30, All Day 
Talk a walk either before or after the Thanksgiving feastings and meander through Strang Park while you enjoy poetry by Traci Brimhall, Poet Laureate of Kansas, on the theme of Memory Palace. Poetry boards with accompanying artwork by Kelly Yarbrough will be placed throughout the park. 

Tabletop Games – Monday, Nov. 20, 6 – 7:45 p.m.
Join us at the Gardner Library for a fun-filled event 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.

READ to a Dog with Pets For Life – Tuesday, Nov. 21, 3:30 – 5 p.m.
Here’s a super cool opportunity at the Central Resource 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: space is limited for this program; kids will get a ticket at arrival and wait their turn to read to one of several animals.

Johnson County Genealogical Society Monthly Meeting – Saturday, Nov. 25, 10 a.m. – noon
Enjoy a genealogy program and visit with JCGS members at the Central Resource Library about your research and family history. Free and open to the public. Meets in the Carmack Room. The November topic is Digging into Land Records with Pam Miller, JCGS member and genealogy class instructor. 

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



Teen Bookish Battle

Teens, join us tomorrow for a Teen Bookish Battle!

Do you have a ton of bookish trivia rattling around in your brain? Test your knowledge in our Teen Bookish Battle and win great prizes! Grab your friends and join us for an afternoon of books, trivia, and light refreshments, all planned by our Young Adult Literary Council.

Teen Bookish Battle
Sunday, November 19, 1-2:30 p.m.
Lenexa City Center Library


Save Money with Your Library Card

Rising prices make finding ways to stretch our money a priority—especially as the holidays approach! Whether you’re planning for an important purchase, wanting to try something new or just looking for ways to cut costs, pull out a Johnson County Library card instead of a credit card and make the Library your first stop. 

  • The average new book is over $16. So, if you read just one book per month, checking them out at the library instead will save you nearly $200 a year. In 2022, the Library saved JoCo readers over $51 million in checkouts alone! You can also find great deals on gently used books at the Friends of Johnson County Library’s weekend book sales.   
  • Download the Libby app and cut out your $15 monthly audiobook subscription cost. That’s $180 per year saved on top of access to unlimited titles anywhere, anytime.  
  • Like to read the New York Times or Wall Street Journal, or maybe just the local news? Skip the $100+ annual subscription fees and access all without a paywall through our eLibrary. Print editions of popular newspapers and magazines are available to read at our 14 Library locations.   
  • We offer thousands of DVDs to browse and check out, from new releases to classic film and television favorites. If streaming is more your style, cut out those monthly subscription fees with our free streaming platforms like Kanopy.  
  • Just in time for holiday gift-shopping or Black Friday deals, get the best bang for your buck with Consumer Reports. Normally a $59 annual subscription, visit a branch or log-in online for free access to more than 9,000 unbiased product reviews plus recommendations on services like banking, insurance and travel.  
  • The Library is also one of the last places you can spend time with no expectation to buy anything. Spend an afternoon out of the house at a curated art exhibit, entertain grandkids when it’s too cold to play outside, or attend free programs and workshops on topics like financial planning, genealogy, community engagement, and arts and culture.

Visit any of our 14 branches, call us at 913-826-4600 or check out our website to explore how the Library can help you save money and improve your quality of life. 

Black and white photo of a two story Bonita train depot

Bonita train depot in the early 1900s.

No Longer on the Map

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.

If you want to unearth “the lost communities of Johnson County,” there’s simply no better place than JoCoHistory.