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This Week at the Library

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

Ask-a-Maker Session – Monday, March 15, 10 – 10:30 AM
If you're a Maker working on a current project, register for one-on-one help with a MakerSpace Facilitator, hosted live via Zoom. Whether you need help using hand tools, software or specific equipment, our Makers can answer your questions.

March Readings by Writing Contest Winners – Tuesday, March 16, 6:30 – 7:30 PM
Enjoy readings by the three winners of the Library’s Imagine Your Story Writing Contest. Nick Lopez, John Adams, and Virginia Brackett will each read their winning pieces, along with additional pieces from their body of work. There will also be an opportunity for patrons to ask the authors questions during the reading.

Civics 101 – Thursday, March 18, 7 – 8:00 PM
Don’t remember high school civics class? Want to be more civically engaged, but aren't sure where to start? We’ve got you covered with Civics 101, a refresher on the basics of how our democracy works. Join us as we examine our democracy and get answers to the questions you have.

Legislative Coffee – Saturday, March 20, 9:30 – 10:30 PM
Discover what's percolating in the Kansas Legislature. Senator Pat Pettey, District 6, Representative JoElla Hoye, District 17, Representative Brett Parker, District 29 and Representative Brandon Woodard, District 30 will discuss the new legislative session, followed by Q and A. You bring the questions! This series is presented in partnership with the League of Women Voters.

And much more …



From Clerk to Trainer, Staffer Adapts to Changing Roles

Lucas Kirkendoll has been with Johnson County Library for a little over two years, during a profoundly challenging time for the entire Library system, especially since the Coronavirus pandemic struck. But he has adjusted to changing job roles and responsibilities and appreciates how his colleagues have also adapted and risen to the occasion.

Kirkendoll was hired in late 2018 as a learning and development clerk, providing support for the training specialists. He assisted two specialists with in-person presentations, preparing rooms, printing materials and running reports. And then the world changed.

“When the pandemic hit, initially it was really overwhelming,” Kirkendoll said. But the Library managed that change more smoothly than he had expected.

“I think part of it is just the nature of Library staff in general,” he observed. “How intuitive they are and hungry for learning opportunities. Initially we had to get a real grasp of what we could and couldn’t do and what was best for the organization.”

Some training responsibilities got put on hold, he says. But that generated opportunities to provide support in other ways such as running online meetings and taking notes to keep everyone on track.

He was part of a team working on the diversity and inclusion initiative. “We worked with an outside consultant to train all of our managers,” he said. Kirkendoll acted as a moderator or producer, the person behind the scenes running the online meetings.

Then in November 2020 the position got regraded as a training specialist, allowing him to facilitate and host meetings and to be a point of contact for new employee orientation.

Kirkendoll brings varied life experiences to this role. He grew up in Parkville, Mo., where he attended Park Hill South High School and initially was more pre-occupied with sports than academics. He played soccer at Maple Woods Community College but realized sports wasn’t going to be his career, so got a degree in psychology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

He later got a job as a Johnson County Mental Health case manager. He worked with adolescents dealing with substance abuse and then assisted adults coping with persistent mental illness. He personally witnessed how adolescents in residential treatment valued the Library’s incarcerated services program.

“Those kids would go through books like anyone’s business,” he recalled. He sometimes met adults in  Library meeting rooms, and realized how important Library branches were for community outreach.

Kirkendoll took seriously the advocacy he could provide for clients, to show them “their voice is important.”

While studying in college, one field he found interesting was industrial organizational psychology, focusing on ways to improve the work environment, including job performance, communication and professional satisfaction.

At Johnson County Mental Health, he transitioned from working with clients to working with staff on training and support, which was very rewarding. Then he saw the opening at the Library and applied.

Kirkendoll has enjoyed the Library work, and is also pursuing information technology studies at Johnson County Community College in his spare time.

“I could see that being beneficial for the organization, understanding the application of different software systems,” he said.


TBT: March is Women's History Month


The Library of Congress, National Archives and Records Administration, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Gallery of Art, National Park Service, Smithsonian Institution and United States Holocaust Memorial Museum join in commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.

We have an excellent local resource for exploring women's history right here in Johnson County. is the place to time travel through local history. Be sure to follow our hashtag on Twitter! Have a Happy Throwback Thursday!


Maintain Your Ride

DIY bike maintenance made simple! Learn to keep your bike in tip-top shape with this free virtual class from Johnson County Library and BikeWalkKC, focused on basic tools and practical know-how.

Maintain Your Ride | Thursday, March 18, 12pm. Register now »


Storytime on Demand

You can enjoy songs, rhymes, and finger plays any time you and your child want to - on our Facebook Storytime On-Demand playlist »


This Week at the Library

This week at the Library, you can join us for

Online Storytime  Monday, Feb. 8, 10 - 10:30 AM
The 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. Fun for the whole family.

One-on-One Genealogy Help – Tuesday, March 9, 9 AM - 1 PM

Book Party – Wednesday, March 10, 2-2:30 PM

Intro to 3D Modeling-TinkerCAD – Friday, March 12, 12 - 1 PM

and much more!



Local Artist Y the Ghost to be Part of Beyond Music

Exciting news from Jacoby Elliot, a local songwriter, performer and musician who we've featured on our Local Music blog. Jacoby's been offered an opportunity to be part of Beyond Music, an "invitation-based community for professional musicians, composers, singers & songwriters representing all cultures and music styles...founded in 2018 by the non-profit Swiss Beyond Foundation and Co-Founder Tina Turner." It seems Johnson County Library's Y the Ghost blog feature (as seen below) played a role here! We're so very proud of Jacoby!


Family grateful for English Language Services at Johnson County Library

When Maria Tamayo Gonzalez and her two children moved to Johnson County from Mexico in 2012 they spoke almost no English. Her husband Adan already lived here and had a job in construction, and now the family was adjusting to life in the U.S. “Soon after I arrived in Merriam I received help for my family because my two children didn’t speak English,” she recalled. Among the first pieces of advice she received was that Johnson County Library offered assistance, classes and resources for Spanish-speaking patrons needing to learn English. “We received a lot of help,” Gonzalez said, “mostly with language and reading.”

In 2013, they were put in touch with Christine Peterson, who that year had been named Latino Services Outreach Librarian. Gonzalez says Peterson has been a huge help to her since 2013, with English classes on Saturdays at Oak Park Library, 9500 Bluejacket St., Overland Park, and, more recently, with citizenship studies. Her children received help with reading and homework. She discovered that Oak Park Library had a good selection of Spanish-language books, and the family has enjoyed both the Oak Park location and the Antioch branch in Merriam over the years.

Gonzalez then had her third child, a daughter who is now 3; both mother and daughter have benefited from the Library’s early literacy program and storytimes to build their language skills. “My little one is very happy to see Christine,” Gonzalez says. “She says, “I’m going to school for Christine, Mom.’” Gonzalez and her children are among about 30 families with whom Peterson works closely. “When we have patrons like that come to the Library, we try to give them as much information as possible,” Peterson said.

Most recently, Peterson has helped Maria Gonzalez with information and classes to gain U.S. citizenship. Maria and her youngest were also in Peterson’s 6 by 6 early literacy program in Spanish. “I encourage the language of the home,” Peterson said. “She will learn how to speak English very quickly because her parents have been reading to her in Spanish. It doesn’t confuse a child. I have many examples of children who have soared in English because their parents have read to them in their native language.”

Maria’s two older children are now 16 and 12. They primarily became fluent in English through school, but said the Library was also a place to improve their reading skills. At Peterson’s urging, they have also both volunteered in past years at Antioch Library and enjoyed giving back to the community. Her son organized and shelved books and supervised younger kids during meetings of Latino families at Antioch Library. “I liked helping out,” he said. Her daughter said after-school Library programs helped her become a voracious reader. “They had books in Spanish that we read, and they made learning English a lot easier,” she said. Before the pandemic, she also worked with younger children struggling to read and got feedback that it helped those students improve their grades.

Gonzalez’s husband, Adan, said they are all grateful to Christine Peterson and the Library for wonderful services and programs that have helped the family build a good home and life in Johnson County.

You can find Español and English Language Learner (ELL) programs such as Online Bilingual Storytime and Intermediate English-language Conversation Class for English Learners at the Johnson County Library. To learn more about the resources and materials available, visit the en Español page on