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TBT: Kansas City History

The Past is Prologue: "Sumner High School: The Best Kept Secret" A Documentary Film

Thursday, August 5, 2021
7:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Online event

Register for this program online or call 913.826.4600.

The Past is Prologue is a bimonthly program that highlights topics often left out, glossed over, or misrepresented in our history books. In August, we will host a Q&A with filmmaker Kamiasha Moses-Tyner about her documentary film "Sumner High School: The Best Kept Secret." The documentary film focuses on a crime in 1904 that instantly created a racial barrier in the Kansas City, Kansas High Schools. Forced to study in a different facility as the whites, the African Americans created a “league of their own”. These compelling recollections of True Stories and events, demonstrates the power of how a single act of negligence can have over a community and a State.

Join us for a screening of this documentary film shortly before the program on Thursday, August 5 at 4:00 pm on Zoom. Or, watch it on your own time using Amazon Prime Video.

This program will be hosted in Library OnDemand. Upon registering, you will receive an automatic message with instructions on how to access the program. You do not need to download any software or create an account.

Dividing Lines: A History of Segregation in Kansas City

Journey through the history of segregation in the Kansas City metro, primarily through its real estate. Dividing Lines is a tour of the history of residential segregation and its far-reaching impacts.

Dividing Lines Driving Audio Tour
This Dividing Lines tour is designed so that you can safely drive through the city at your own pace while hearing stories about each area you travel through. Download the Voice Map app on Android or iOS.

Nathaniel Bozarth, ethnographer and host of the “Wide Ruled” podcast, narrates this 90-minute drive, bringing in interviews from several area students and notable city figures Sid Willens, Bill Tammeus, Mamie Hughes, and Margaret May.

“Dividing Lines” was created as a part of the Johnson County Library’s “Race Project KC.” The Library’s Civic Engagement Committee, Local History Committee,  and Tanner Colby’s book “Some of My Best Friends are Black: The Strange Story of Integration in America” inspired much of the ongoing work of Race Project KC. This tour was made possible by support from Johnson County Library and the Kansas Humanities Council. It was produced by Brainroot Light & Sound. Written by Nathaniel Bozarth and Christopher Cook. The tour features music from Hermon Mehari and KC Jazz LP.

The content of this tour may contain controversial material; such statements are not an expression of library policy.

Get more information and download the app now.


Artists In Sight: Joe Bussell

Join JoCoLibrary for a talk with artist Joe Bussell, Tuesday, July 27 at 6:30 pm.

Register for Artists In Sight: Joe Bussell »


Download the Updated Johnson County Library Mobile app

Download the updated Johnson County Library Mobile app. Search for "Johnson County Library Mobile" in your app store on Android or iOS, or update your current version of our app today to see new features such as our events calendar, announcements, browsable staff recommendations and more!


This Week at the Library

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

Walk and Read – Daily, All Week

“Take a walk and read a book.” Not normally sound advice, but that is exactly what Johnson County Library is suggesting families do this week at Riverfest Park, (33440 W 79th St, De Soto, KS). Walk and Read creates a family reading experience in the great outdoors! Families who participate will read two stories posted around the path, one going each direction. When you finish one story, you can flip around to the other side of the sign and begin the next story, which will lead you back around the path. 

Online Storytime – Tuesday, July 20, 10 – 10:30 AM

Your whole family will enjoy this flexible Storytime. Hearing stories is a great way to spend time with your kids and help them foster a love of reading. Stories, songs, fingerplays and movement activities foster pre-reading skills.

Saved by the Barn – Wednesday, July 21, 1:30 – 2:30 PM

Go behind the scenes at The Barn Sanctuary, the farm animal rescue and rehab center featured in the Animal Planet TV series SAVED BY THE BARN! Learn the stories behind rescued animals such as Dexter the cow, Winona the goat, Harry the turkey and Lyra the pig and get your questions about their rescue and care answered by a resident animal expert.

Johnson County Genealogical Society Monthly Meetings – Saturday, July 24, 10 AM – Noon

July Program  - "Unraveling the Mysteries of Your Female Ancestors"

And much more …


Staff Spotlight: Shannon

Our Staff Spotlight shines on Shannon, Johnson County Library's Early Literacy Coordinating Librarian.

As an information specialist, Shannon loved hosting in-person Storytimes and found her greatest joy working with the youngest learners at Lackman and then at Lenexa City Center. When Early Literacy Coordinating Librarian Bradley Debrick (fans know him as Mr. Bradley) retired in late 2019, she considered applying for the job as her next career step.

But then the pandemic hit and the position was frozen. During most of 2020, Shannon served on an early literacy team and also on the online programming and events planning team.

Those initiatives gave her additional experience and confidence to apply when the early literacy librarian position opened again in late 2020. She got the job and started in February of this year.

“I coordinate the programming, outreach and system-wide initiatives for the early literacy aged group, birth to age 6,” she explained. “The foundation is the 6 by 6 Ready to Read program. The whole system works to put the 6 by 6 program into action.”

She brings key skills and strengths to the role. Before obtaining a master’s degree in library and information studies, she majored in business administration in college. She really enjoys creating, administering and coordinating systems. She’s methodical, organized and calm under pressure.

She says she benefits from an excellent team of more than 20 youth information specialists who are passionate, innovative and work well together. Everyone’s goal is to give children the skills they need to learn to read by their 6th birthday.

“The early literacy side of things already has a very strong foundation,” she said, “but I get to work with staff and help coordinate so we can continue to grow and adapt along with that foundation.”

Her priorities include equity, diversity and sustainability.

Many children engage with the Library alongside a parent or caregiver. But Shannon is mindful that lots of kids don’t have those opportunities. So, the outreach to preschools, daycare centers and Head Start is important.

“We’ve been finding unique ways to connect with patrons,” she said, citing early literacy kits provided for partner agencies.

“A lot of the outreach is we try really hard to meet the underserved population,” she said. “Those are the kids who don’t get to come to the Library, so we bring the Library to them.”

One of her priorities is to continue engagement with those outside agencies, to adapt the early literacy program as the community changes.

Providing diverse books, materials and programming is also a priority.

Before the pandemic, in-person Storytimes were huge draws. In 2020, virtual Storytimes became a new way to connect, and the Library provided Storytime bags for over 300 families to pick up at the branches.

In-person Storytimes will definitely resume when it is safe, but online Storytimes will likely continue as an alternative for those without easy access to the branches. So Shannon is focused on creating a sustainable schedule of both online and in-person offerings that works for staff and the public.

“We’ll be evaluating the best balance for the whole system,” she said.

When she contemplates the future, of course she sees challenges ahead. But Shannon is optimistic.

“As we look to returning to more in-person services, I’m really looking forward to how we’re going to grow and change and adapt to serve those youngest patrons of Johnson County,” she said, “and working with amazing staff to achieve that.”



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  • Resume templates, tips and feedback within one business day
  • Interview sample questions and tips
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  • eParachute to identify potential majors and career paths

Plus access to create an account with Optimal Resume online suite to create and manage all of your job-search documents. Sign up for your own Learning Account to review past sessions, receive expert feedback, save practice tests and more.


TBT: Sew its Seams

So it seems July is National Contract Sewing Month. (Or is it "sew its seams?)

Join us in saluting those armed with needle and thread to manufacture any number of things! 

Remember, is the place to time travel through local history. Be sure to follow our hashtag on Twitter!

Happy Throwback Thursday! Some call it the best day of the week.


Meet the Animals at The Barn Sanctuary

Go behind the scenes at The Barn Sanctuary, the farm animal rescue and rehab center featured in the Animal Planet TV series SAVED BY THE BARN! Learn the stories behind rescued animals such as Dexter the cow, Winona the goat, Harry the turkey and Lyra the pig and get your questions about their rescue and care answered by a resident animal expert.

Wednesday, July 21 @ 1:30 pm | Register »