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Cinematographer with a motion picture camera in Aviation Park.

Quarterly Newsletter of the Johnson County Museum

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: Album, the Quarterly Newsletter of the Johnson County Museum

The ALBUM newsletter, a quarterly publication from Johnson County Museum, introduces Johnson County's history through articles and photographs.


No Wait Wednesday: The Forgetting by Hannah Beckerman

On Wednesdays we put a spotlight on a book on our Adult Fiction New Release shelf that's absolutely worthy of your attention. We call it #NoWaitWednesday, and we hope you take a closer look at any of our New Release shelves at your local Library branch the next time you come in, as there's always tons of great titles just waiting for you to check them out. 

Last week we looked a title that's a bit moodier and darker to match the approaching fall season. We're continuing the trend this week with an atmospheric psychological thriller, The Forgetting, for patrons who love novels from authors like Alice Feeney or Ruth Ware - novels with intricate plots that often involve hidden secrets in a domestic suburban setting written with compelling prose that keeps pages turning until well after bedtime.

"The Forgetting" by Hannah Beckerman involves two women who are each victims of gaslighting in their own way. Anna, a London housewife,  wakes up in a hospital bed with a severe concussion from a car accident. She doesn't recognize the man at the end of the bed who introduces himself as Stephen and who gently informs her that he's her husband. As Anna recovers and undergoes physical therapy, he fills her in on her entire life, including their twelve-year marriage, a career as a librarian, and a nice home. Anna feels disoriented and confused as she remembers absolutely none of this and begins to wonder if Stephen - her seemingly perfectly supportive husband - is being completely truthful to her.

Meanwhile, in a city not that far away, another woman, Livvy, is going through a different situation. After six months of maternity leave after having a newborn, she's eager to get back to work, however childcare is proving difficult to find, since her husband Dominic frequently goes out of town for work. Dominic's estranged mother suddenly pops back into the picture, wanting to connect with a family she's never known, throwing Livvy's life into chaos. Is there something Dominic isn't telling her?

The novel bounces back and forth between these two storylines until about halfway through, when the novel pulls a shocking and devious twist and links the two together. (No spoilers!)  

The best domestic thrillers work when they scrape away the surface layer of seemingly perfect suburban lives to reveal the rotten foundation underneath. The perfect house, the perfect marriage, the perfect career, the perfect relationship - all of them at risk under the unbearable weight of secrets and lies that, if exposed, brings the whole facade crashing down. Characters must decide if knowing the truth and tearing down the image of what they knew so well is worth that risk, and readers are, of course, along for the ride.

Do you like domestic thrillers? Love the roller-coaster ride of secrets, lies, betrayal, and gaslighting? Strap in, then, and enjoy "The Forgetting" by Hannah Beckerman. Get these and more domestic thrillers at your local Library branch!


Meet the 2023 Writers Conference Presenter: Darlene Jerome

When Darlene Jerome offered to present a lecture at this year’s Writers Conference on how to write your own obituary, we were immediately intrigued! Writing your own obituary is a great writing exercise. At first you may feel uncomfortable writing about yourself, but a few moments of reflection reveal your personal history is rich with stories and inspiration for characterization. 

Darlene Jerome has long been an advocate of writing your own story so future generations have an accurate account of your life. After all, no one knows your life as well as you do. Darlene is the past president of the Johnson County Genealogy Society (JCGS). For eight years, she was the editor of the Johnson County Kansas Genealogist, a 32-page quarterly publication by JCGS. Darlene currently facilitates the society’s Special Interest Writing Group. The group attendees focus on writing their own life stories in small chunks or their ancestors’ stories.

We are thrilled to have Darlene on faculty for the 2023 Writers Conference. You can register for the conference here. Registration isn’t required but is appreciated, and your RSVP includes both days of the conference, Nov. 3 and 4. Sessions are available on a first-come first-serve basis. We will also be hosting a Writers Conference Kickoff on Thursday, Nov. 2.


Meet the 2023 Writers Conference Presenter: Anna Madrigal

We are thrilled to have Johnson County Library’s very own Anna Madrigal at this year’s Writers Conference. Anna is a library branch manager who has dabbled in poetry, prose, and creative nonfiction since her teenage years. The written word has always offered her a way to explore and process the chaotic, bittersweet world we all find ourselves in. 

I’m especially excited to have Anna at the conference because she is my branch manager. Over the past several years Anna has guided and encouraged me and our team through some big challenges and changes. She’s always a friendly face and a supportive listener.

Anna will be providing a drop-in activity at this year’s conference: Metaphor Dice! This writing tool is a fun way to experiment with language and come up with surprising combinations to spice up your writing. If you’ve never tried using these fun dice, make sure to stop by Anna’s table during the conference!

You can register for the conference here. Registration isn’t required but is appreciated, and your RSVP includes both days of the conference, Nov. 3 and 4. Sessions are available on a first-come first-serve basis. We will also be hosting a Writers Conference Kickoff on Thursday, Nov. 2.

Inspired by this year’s conference book, By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life from The New York Times Book Review, we asked Anna a few questions to get to know her better:

1. What's in your TBR pile? 

Tom Lake by Ann Patchett

How to Keep House While Drowning by KC Davis

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas  (I know, I'm so behind on this one!)

2. What are you reading right now? 

Thin Skin by Jenn Shapland

3. Do you have a favorite book you love to recommend? 

I'll never not have Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life in my mind, although I only recommend it to those who like very, very dark subject matter.

4. Do you have a favorite bookstore?

Prospero'sDusty Bookshelf (Lawrence), and BLK + BRWN


nick ward-bopp and laura fox pose in front of a painted brick wall with two bikes

Nick Ward-Bopp and Laura Fox

Library and BikeWalkKC Partner for Wonderful Women’s Bike Summit

Johnson County Library and BikeWalkKC have cultivated a positive partnership for more than five years, educating patrons about how to maintain bikes and enjoy the health and environmental benefits of bicycling.

Now that partnership is blossoming into even more enriching programming, leading up to a day-long Women’s Bike Summit Sept. 30.

The summit, offered free of charge with the Library’s support, will feature activities, workshops and rides to encourage and enhance women’s bicycling experience and to help promote networking and a supportive biking community. Participants will gather in the large Carmack Community Room at Central Resource Library.

Participants are also encouraged to attend the keynote address 6:30-7:30 p.m. August 15 in the Carmack Room. Registration is required and is available here. The keynote event will feature Sarah Farsace, an inspiring advocate who has overcome physical challenges and is a tremendous mentor to her North Kansas City School District PE students.

The Library and BikeWalkKC have also collaborated on warm-up classes and events, which have resulted in short YouTube videos that people can revisit, highlighting bike handling skills, group rides and helpful technology.

BikeWalkKC has sponsored these summits in the past, but this will be the first one since 2018, and the first one that’s free of charge and hosted with Johnson County Library. Nick Ward-Bopp, a Johnson County Library MakerSpace facilitator who commutes by bike and helped forge the relationship with BikeWalkKC years ago, was delighted for this summit to come to fruition.

“It’s the culmination of all these educational programs we’ve been doing,” Ward-Bopp said. “It made so much sense to bring it here.”

Johnson County is an ideal summit location, Ward-Bopp said, because the county leads the region with 98 miles of already-built bicycle infrastructure and 315 additional miles planned. Meanwhile, e-bike sales are exploding, up more than 250 percent from 2021 to 2022, according to market research. Sustainability and healthy living are core Johnson County values, which the bike summit certainly supports.

Johnson County Library’s bicycle maintenance classes, offered in conjunction with BikeWalkKC in recent years, are quite popular. A bike fix-it stand outside Central Library is well used.

The Library is all about access, Ward-Bopp said, so empowering people through education to get bikes into their hands and to provide bike maintenance skills and information about safety and safe routes is all part of that mission.

Laura Fox, BikeWalkKC Director of Education, agreed the partnership has been excellent. “We have very clear communication,” she said. “We have set expectations and the Library is super easy to work with. I think they are setting the standard for resource sharing among all Libraries.”

BikeWalkKC’s Development Director, Amy Scrivner, noted that the organization’s membership actually grew 60 percent from 2019 through 2021, as people turned to biking and walking to cope physically and mentally during the pandemic.

“BikeWalkKC’s goal is to provide activities like the Women’s Bike Summit that encourage more people to ride so they see the benefit of supporting an organization like ours,” she said.

Fox observed that women often safeguard the health of a family, so the Women’s Bike Summit is a catalyst for getting even more women involved in this wholesome and fun activity. Men are very welcome at the summit, but it is geared to women.


This Week at the Library

Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like.

Bilingual Storytime – Monday, Sept. 18, 10:30 – 11 a.m.

Join us at this storytime at Central Resource Library where the whole family will enjoy stories, songs, fingerplays and movement activities in both English and another language. Exposure to other languages can help develop early language learning and boost pre-reading skills. Fun for the whole family.

Toda la familia podrá disfrutar tanto en inglés como en otros idiomas: historias, canciones, juegos de manos y dedos, y actividades para trabajar el movimiento con los niños. El contacto con otros idiomas en los niños ayuda a desarrollar el aprendizaje temprano y a mejorar las habilidades de prelectura. Habrá diversión para toda la familia.

Read Under the Stars – Monday, Sept. 18, 2 – 4 p.m.

Elementary aged kids and their families, please join us at the Corinth Library for a low-sensory personal reading experience. We invite you to bring your own book (or borrow one of ours!), curl up and read in our quiet starlit Library space.

Prevent Scams, Fraud & Identity Theft – Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2 – 3 p.m.

In 2022, people reported to the FTC that they lost $8.8 billion to fraud – an increase of more than 30% over the previous year. Losses racked up from investment scams, romance scams, and other scams also keep rising. Learn to spot these scams by knowing the warning signs. Carol Kando-Pineda, Counsel in the Federal Trade Commission’s Division of Consumer and Business Education, will address ways to protect your information and your devices, what to do if you paid a scammer, and the steps to take immediately if you suspect identity theft. The FTC’s mission is to protect consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices through law enforcement, advocacy, and education.

Homework Help – Wednesdays, Sept. 20 to Dec. 13, 3:30 – 6:30 p.m.

School is challenging for many students, and pandemic learning loss is an additional reality facing today’s youth. Central Resource Library is thrilled to announce the return of Homework Help coaches to support student learning and academic achievement. Homework Help will focus specifically 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, 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 at on our website and include BrainFuse, Lightbox, and Khan Academy among others.

And much more happening this week 

For inquiries about accessibility and accommodations, please contact us at or 913-826-4600 at least two weeks before the event.

Clare Bradley competes at the NSDA tournament.

Clare Bradley competes at the NSDA tournament. Photo courtesy of the National Speech & Debate Association (NSDA).

Debate Champion Prizes Time at the Library

Age brings wisdom — even for a stellar teen debater. 

Clare Bradley took occasional childhood trips to the Johnson County Library with family or a babysitter. But the 2023 Shawnee Mission South High School graduate didn’t gain a full appreciation of the Library until she gravitated to the Lenexa branch and Central Resource Library when she began driving. 

She recognized the importance of Library services, such as providing tax forms. But the pretty, peaceful surroundings also provided the perfect atmosphere for school work. The Library was a home away from home. 

“It’s just a good place to reset my brain,” she said. 

That focus paid off in a big way when Bradley and partner Brooklynn Hato came away champions in the policy debate category at the National Speech & Debate Association tournament in June. 

The competition in Phoenix involved more than 6,000 high school students from more than 1,300 schools. The question Bradley and Hato tackled concerned security cooperation within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. 

The two young women were partners for three years, and they entered their final season coming off a win at the National Catholic Forensic League national tournament in Washington, D.C., at the conclusion of their junior year. 

Fittingly enough, the partners met at the Central Resource Library for a confab going into their senior year competition. 

“We had the time and space and that little side room to be like, ‘Here’s what we want to do, and here's how we're going to get it done,’” Bradley said, “which we couldn't exactly anticipate the big finality it led up to.” 

The Library provided Bradley a much-needed separation from a bedroom that had doubled as a classroom and personal space during the pandemic. 

“I felt like I developed a healthier balance between — here's the time and space where I need to be working and be productive — and then when I'm at home, I know I can be like, ‘This is my me time. This is my chill time.’” 

Bradley has a friend group that shares her love of the Library. Even during the summer, she had a chance encounter with some friends. They were all heading into the Library to check out books before heading to work. 

Bradley is attending the University of Southern California on a debate scholarship. (Hato is attending the University of Kansas on a debate scholarship.) 

Bradley is happy with the campus libraries. One has floors differentiated by the noise level of the users, and another has multiple below-ground levels to house its collection. Bradley said it would be cool to get a library job. 

Bradley can see planting roots in Southern California because of the job opportunities and natural surroundings. She entered her freshman year planning on majoring in chemical engineering with an eye toward a career in environmental advocacy. 

“But I’m very indecisive,” she said. “So we'll just see where the world takes me.” 

First commercial building: grocery, cigar store and confectionary

First commercial building: grocery, cigar store and confectionary.

Overland Park's Past in Pictures

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: Overland Park Historical Society

About this collection: Over 1,300 photographs documenting Overland Park life with special emphasis on local businesses, the Strang Line interurban railroad and school personnel.


Meet the 2023 Writers Conference Presenter: Claudia Recinos

Do you give yourself permission to be a writer?

Claudia Recinos has been filling up notebooks with her writing since she was a kid, but it wasn’t until she was an adult pursuing a PhD in Biochemistry that she finally gave herself permission to choose writing as her career.

Claudia Recinos is the author of three novels for young adults; her most recent book Catch Me If I Fall came out in April of this year. She mostly writes “hi-lo” stories (high interest subject, low reading difficulty) for young readers who want shorter chapters and straightforward language. Claudia is a first generation Guatemalan American and grew up in Miami. It’s important to her to have Latinx characters because, as she said in her Voyage KC interview, “making young adults feel seen and validated is one of the things I’m most proud of.” She now calls Kansas City home and when she’s not writing she loves to explore the city with her husband and two sons.

You won’t want to miss out on her lecture “Plotting Stories in Verse” at this year’s conference where she gives an overview of the differences between a verse novel and a conventional novel, and how these differences affect plot structure and storytelling. And if you get a chance, ask Claudia about her love of trapeze. No, seriously! When she’s not writing, Claudia enjoys flying through the air on a trapeze, as well as spending time with her family.

You can find Claudia and her books on her website.

You can register for the 2023 Writers Conference here. Registration isn’t required but is appreciated, and your RSVP includes both days of the conference, Nov. 3 and 4. Sessions are available on a first-come first-serve basis. We will also be hosting a Writers Conference Kickoff on Thursday, Nov. 2.

Inspired by this year’s conference book, By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life from The New York Times Book Review, we asked Claudia a few questions to get to know her better:

1. What's in your TBR pile?

Silver Nitrate by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

 2. What are you reading right now? 

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

3. Do you have a favorite book you love to recommend? 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen owns my heart

4. Do you have a favorite bookstore? 

I just moved to KC last year, so I'm still getting my bearings. When in doubt, I go to

5. Answer the question you wish we had asked. 

Q: What do you love most about being a writer A: Getting to write my daydreams down on paper and share them with the world.