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This Week at the Library

Library OnDemand Available anytime you like.

Your doorway into live and archived programs. Arts & Culture, Career & Finance, Community Matters, Writers and more!

Silencing Your Inner Critic Tuesday, May 17, 11 a.m. – noon

This workshop focuses on using positive self-talk and affirmations to help create a positive self-image. We also dig into how self-care is not selfish.

Goal Setting and Time Management Wednesday, May 18, 10 a.m. – noon

This workshop will give you the skills and knowledge to identify how you currently use your time, identity your personal time management strengths and weaknesses, learn the dimensions of self-management of time and identify new habits you can implement to improve your personal time management.

Exploring Entrepreneurship Thursday, May 19, 11 a.m. – noon

Join us for an overview of what entrepreneurship is all about. We will discuss entrepreneurship characteristics, and how to plan for opening your business.

Walk and Read at Wilder Bluffs ParkMay 21 – May 30, All day  

Johnson County Library, Shawnee Parks and Rec, and De Soto Parents as Teachers, invite you to visit the Walk and Read program at Wilder Bluffs Park, located in Shawnee KS. Two stories, Boats Float! and After Squidnight, will be posted for kids of all ages to enjoy while exploring the great outdoors.

And much more happening this week »

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Exploring I Bonds as Protection Against Inflation

Are you watching prices at the grocery store and the gas station go up making the balance of the savings account you worked hard to build worth less every month? 

Consider using I bonds to help your savings keep up.  The interest rate provided by I bonds is a combination of a fixed rate plus a rate based on inflation that is updated every 6 months. The interest rate for I bonds issued from May 2022 through October 2022 is 9.62%. I bonds must be held for at least 12 months, so you may want to buy a little at a time instead of putting all your savings into I bonds at once.  TreasuryDirect.gov allows each individual to setup recurring purchases of I bonds through regular withdrawals from a bank account or through payroll deductions.  Purchases can be as small as $25, with a $10,000 limit per individual each year.   

More information about I bonds is on TreasuryDirect.gov’s Series I Savings Bonds page and information about how to automate bond purchases is on their How Do I Purchase Savings Bonds page. 

To learn about more resources for career & financial empowerment, subscribe to Johnson County Library’s Career & Finance Newsletter.

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elementia Magazine Showcases Youth Artistry, Optimism

This year’s issue of Johnson County Library’s teen literary magazine, elementia, will be released today, featuring amazing writing and art work on the evocative theme of “the unknown.”

The editors had assumed that theme might elicit entries about outer space, aliens, and other mysteries. But, as Monticello youth information specialist Emma Fernhout says, they were surprised.

“The teens who submitted weren’t as much interested in the unknown of the faraway world as much as dealing with the unknown in their own lives,” said Fernhout, one of three youth services specialists who facilitated the project with the teen editors.

The Library received poetry and prose about relationships, changing friendships, family dynamics, even explorations about math.

This year’s issue, XIX, once again highlights teen creativity and originality. Gaby Kill, a 19-year-old KU freshman who was in her third and final year as an elementia editor, said they received poems that were  uniquely introspective and intimate.

“That’s the beauty of elementia,” she said. “Not even the editors who curate it know what it’s going to turn out like.”

Submissions were more hopeful than expected, even though they were written during a time of pandemic and fear.

“It’s people finding all the good in the bad,” Kill said. “We were all really surprised at how uplifting it was.”

The elementia publication process was a labor of love. This year, the magazine had 16 teen editors from Johnson County and the metro area. That included 14 poetry/prose editors and five designers, with some teens doing both. Meetings were held virtually over Zoom.

Riley Strait, 15, an Olathe North High sophomore, worked on both editorial and design tasks.

“I ended up loving the experience,” he said, adding that it was a very deliberative curating project. “It’s a lot more considering what’s best for the magazine rather than what I like. It’s a good experience working in a professional environment like that.”

He learned a lot about different writing styles, was captivated by fantastic artwork, and appreciated the collaborative, respectful editing process.

Kill is majoring in computer science but writing is a passion for her. elementia helped her forge enduring connections with incredible young writers and editors.

The editorial facilitators were Fernhout and Tiffany Rinne, a youth information specialist at the Blue Valley branch. Cassandra Gillig, Leawood Pioneer branch information specialist, facilitated the visual arts side.

The group met once a month starting in September 2021, drumming up submissions and planning for next year. Beginning in January and through February, the editors culled through 922 submissions from teens aged 13-19. It’s a big commitment, with editors spending 50 hours reading submissions and reviewing art. They had 16 hours of meetings, including most Saturdays in February.

They ultimately accepted 54 pieces of poetry or prose and 61 art pieces, 12 percent of entries, so it was very selective. Fernhout appreciated the articulate debates over submissions, as editors advocated for different works.

“Teens want to change each other’s minds,” she said. “We love that. It ensures every submitter gets a fair and fighting chance to be in the magazine.”

The accepted pieces, she said, were outstanding. “I always feel very hopeful about the future of literature from these kids,” she said. “They are so experimental and they are so committed to their own voice.”

The design editors do the layout using Adobe InDesign. The magazine’s virtual release party will be May 13 and the magazine will then be available online and with copies in Library branches.

Working on elementia brought out the best in those involved.

“It’s been very motivating and fulfilling to see young people pushing through so much of the burnout and stress of the last year to really be enthusiastic about creating something so beautiful,” Fernhout said. “They are so smart. They know what they like.” 

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Cities and Towns of Johnson County

Happy Throwback Thursday! Celebrate by time traveling through local history at jocohistory.org and be sure to follow our hashtag on Twitter! 

A really neat feature of JoCoHistory is the Cities and Towns of Johnson County section. The team has organized content like pictures of houses, schools, people and more by city and town names. While there, be sure to explore the Lost Communities of Johnson County, Kansas. 

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Public Service Loan Forgiveness

A good friend of the Library—who chooses to remain anonymous—shared a Library success story. He had worked in public service all his life. Paying his student loans off proved challenging due to a few "real world" and "real life" financial challenges. Not to mention, public service jobs while rewarding in many ways aren't always rewarding financially.

He had heard about Public Service Loan Forgiveness. He tried. He went through what was quite a time-consuming process only to be told he had the "wrong kind of loan" and wasn't eligible for loan forgiveness. So, he gave up and carried on.

But, that's not the end of his story! No. Big changes have taken place and many corrections have been made to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness process. He found this Johnson County Library video and it changed his life!

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Teen Summer Volunteering Opportunities

Several Library locations are looking for teen volunteers this summer! We’ll need help with a variety of tasks like distributing summer reading books, assisting with in-person programs, refilling book displays and other Library duties. Submit a volunteer application for one of these Library locations:

You must be 13 years old by June 1 to participate. If you don’t see a location in our list of opportunities, that means the volunteer spots at that Library are full. You can still help out by submitting book reviews or participating in our Young Adult Literary Council. We look forward to seeing you this summer!

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Art Returns!

Did you know, art exhibitions have returned to our locations!

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.

~ Pablo Picasso

You can see new works displayed Monday, May 2 to Sunday, August 21 at Leawood Pioneer and Lenexa City Center. More locations will be hosting art as well, so keep watching our exhibitions page for locations, dates and details!

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This Week at the Library

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

Library OnDemand Available anytime you like.

Your doorway into live and archived programs. Arts & Culture, Career & Finance, Community Matters, Writers and more!

Resume Tips to Get You Noticed Monday, May 9, 10 – 11 a.m.

If you are struggling with creating a resume for your first job, re-entering the workplace, or making a career change this session is for you!

Personal Budgeting Tips Wednesday, May 11, 10 – 11 a.m.

Learn personal budgeting tips to help you create a budget. In budgeting what's most important is finding a way that works for you! This workshop will review several budgeting tools so you can be the boss of your money.

In Memory of Six Million Thursday, May 12, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Join us for our 12th annual In Memory of Six Million Holocaust Remembrance program. Hear a survivor speak from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum via Zoom. As survivors grow fewer as the years go on, we are incredibly grateful to offer this opportunity to our patrons. The survivor will speak for 30 minutes allowing 30 minutes for audience questions at the end. The program will be recorded and available for viewing after the event.

elementia issue xix Reception Friday, May 13, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

Celebrate the 19th issue of elementia, the teen literary magazine published by Johnson County Library. Explore concepts of our theme "The Unknown" with readings from published teens, artwork, music and more.

Register by midnight on Sunday, May 8 to get a gift box (while supplies last) »

Walk and Read at Celebration Park May 14 – May 22, All day 

Johnson County Library and Gardner Parks and Recreation invite you to visit the Walk and Read at Celebration Park, 32501 W 159th Street. Two stories, Surf’s Up by Kwame Alexander and Shy Ones by Simona Ciraolo, will be posted.

And much more happening this week »