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Installation of "The Library"

When the Lenexa City Center Library opened its doors to the public on Sunday, June 2, 2019, among the remarks from public officials, there was a recitation of a work commissioned for the occasion from the Poet Laureate of Kansas Emerita, Wyatt Townley.

Townley’s poem "The Library" was then etched onto a steel plate; the installation was recently unveiled at the Lenexa City Center Library. Visitors can now view the poem on the market level of the library.

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TBT: The Way We Were

In 1985 preliminary planning began for a larger centralized Library building. In 1992, a location was selected. The former Best Products retail building at 9875 W. 87th St. was chosen. August 29, 1995, the Central Resource Library opened its doors to the public. Check out some of the photos from that time period in this special Throwback Thursday slide show.

Fast forward to today. We again are working to upgrade this building to make the Central Resource Library even better! 

We know you probably have many questions about what to expect over the next year as upgrades occur. So, we’ve put together a Construction FAQ that addresses the status of popular services like the Black & Veatch MakerSpace and Genealogy resources, more details about Little Central and where to find alternate services.

Stay tuned to our blog and @jocolibrary on social media for construction updates!

If you haven't viewed the Fly Through of Central Resource Library animated video, what are you waiting for?

And finally, remember that jocohistory.org is the place to time travel through local history. Search the Johnson County Library's historic photo collection for a fun adventure. You'll find over 100 images from the early years of Johnson County Library, mostly the mid-1950s. Be sure to follow our hashtag on Twitter! Have a Happy Throwback Thursday!

 

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Central Resource Library Upgrade

In 2021 we’ll be making areas of Central Resource Library even better, with an expanded and improved Kids area, additional meeting rooms, exterior enhancements like the addition of a drive-thru and renovations to our staff spaces among the upgrades. 

While we hope you are as excited as we are for these improvements, that means we’ll be temporarily modifying or suspending some services during construction. Key dates and details are as follows: 

  • Sunday, January 31 is the last day to return materials to Central’s exterior book drop.  

  • From Monday, February 8 to Sunday, February 14 Central is expected to close to the public. During this week staff and construction crews will begin prepping for what we’re calling “Little Central.” 

  • On Monday, February 15 Little Central will open in a portion of our front lobby. It will offer limited services, including holds pick-up, materials return and public PCs through the duration of construction. 

  • Construction is anticipated to complete in late 2021

In addition to its public service staff, Central is home to many departments that support all 14 branches and is considered the hub of the Johnson County Library system. Once the work at Central is complete, you will feel the positive impact on Library service with noticeable efficiency, more services and better use of resources.  

We know you probably have many questions about what to expect over the next year. We’ve put together a Central Resource Library Construction FAQ that addresses the status of popular services like the Black & Veatch MakerSpace and Genealogy resources, more details about Little Central and where to find alternate services.  

Watch an animated fly-through of the exciting changes you will see once the library reopens in late 2021, and stay tuned to jocolibrary.org and @jocolibrary on social media for construction updates. 

You are receiving this email because you have listed Central Resource Library as your preferred branch, or our records indicated you’ve checked out material(s) from the Central Resource Library in the last 18 months. 

Our materials handling spaces, through which new materials, holds and other Library items flow, are being reorganized for operational efficiency 

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Staff Spotlight: Helen Hokanson

JCL Reference Librarian Helen Hokanson specializes in local writers, and she gets high praise from those in the literary community.

She was hired by the Library more than 20 years ago and was an information specialist and a branch manager before she became a Reference Librarian at Central. Library users at the time were clamoring for a writing group. She didn’t know what she was doing, but realized, “Our patrons really want this.” So she organized the first meeting about a decade ago. 

Some short stories and essays shared in the meetings were fantastic. Some participants got published or went to graduate school to pursue writing careers. The group also fostered wonderful friendships. “It was just a fascinating experience,” Hokanson recalls.

The group disbanded a few years ago, but that freed Hokanson up to begin hosting author visits, which are enormously popular with patrons. They have continued virtually this year amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

Hokanson has also kept busy organizing this year’s 6th Annual Writers Conference, held virtually Nov. 12-15. Unlike many conferences nationally that focus on publishing, the Johnson County Library conference focuses on the writer’s craft. It features seasoned writers, editors, and teachers, both national and local.

“The thing people are most interested in,” Hokanson said, “is community building and meeting other writers because writing can be very isolating and lonely.”

Organizers knew no one wants to sit at a computer non-stop for three days, so the Library organized some events leading up to the conference, with well-attended lectures and workshops held since September to spread out the teachings.

Hokanson emphasizes that her work to nurture great writing involves a team effort. She praises the other JCL writers’ committee members: Cassandra Gillig, Beth Mercer, Diane Haner, Lisa Allen, Katt Cooper, Jack Vandeleuv and German Perilla. She also could not put on the writers conference without the core conference team: Gillig and Mercer, plus Joseph Keehn, Kate McNair and Chris Koppenhaver for Kids Day.

“I could not do this work,” she says, “without my brilliant colleagues.

Learn more about our Events for Writers »

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TBT: On Your Marks, Get Set, Bake!

Time to bake those holiday goodies!

Check out this 1900 photo of students from a baking class at the Kansas School for the Deaf in Olathe.

Remember, jocohistory.org 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.

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Throwback Thursday! Johnson County Barbershops: 1908 - 1967

Happy Throwback Thursday! Here's another dose of Johnson County's past. Enjoy this slideshow of old time barbershops.

Remember, jocohistory.org is the place to time travel through local history. Search "automobile" for a fun adventure. Be sure to follow our hashtag on Twitter!

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Throwback Thursday! Johnson County Barbershops: 1908 - 1967

Happy Throwback Thursday! Here's another dose of Johnson County's past. Enjoy this slideshow of old time barbershops.

Remember, jocohistory.org is the place to time travel through local history. Search "automobile" for a fun adventure. Be sure to follow our hashtag on Twitter!

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