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Media Discussion Group

In December's Media Discussion Group, we'll dive deeply into how race-based policies, programs, and practices created the suburbs and restricted access to "the American Dream": home ownership.

The Media Discussion Group is Wednesday, December 9, 6:30 pm. Register now »

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Brainfuse HelpNow

Brainfuse HelpNow: Do you have finals before the winter break? Prepare by using your library card to create flashcards, take practice tests, or connect with a FREE online tutor »

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This Week at the Library

This week at the Library, explore the intersection of race, suburbs and "the American Dream" in our Media Discussion Group, learn how to sew your own mask, and teens can share favorite reads and write reviews for the Library website!

Media Discussion Group
Wednesday, December 9  | 6:30 – 8 pm

Intro to Sewing - Mask Making
Friday, December 11 |  2 – 3 pm

Young Adult Literary Council
Sunday, December 13  |  12 – 1 pm

Did you know we have Facebook Live storytimes for the little ones and Book Parties for adults? See all of our Facebook Live programming »

See all of our events »

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Staff Spotlight: Charles Hower

As you might imagine, our talented Library staff are involved in many community projects and interesting hobbies. Charles Hower, a JCL information specialist, recently took on an unusual project.

Over the course of several months, Charles performed the state songs of all 50 states. The performances, which each include one or two verses and a brief history of how the song came about, are available to watch on YouTube in a series entitled, State Song Sundays. The project was inspired by a book that’s currently available in the JCL collection: State Songs of America.

Charles boasts an impressive musical resume: a bachelor’s degree in music education from KSU and a master's degree in music performance from Mizzou. While he was primarily trained on instrumental music—in particular, the euphonium—Charles has always had an interest in choirs, singing in his University Choir, Concert Choir, Men's Glee Choir, and Little Apple Barbershop chorus.

While Charles’ background was in music, he had a lifelong love for the Library. He was a teen volunteer and worked as a Homework Help coach in 2006. When the Monticello Library opened in 2018, Charles threw his hat in the ring and entered the system as a clerk.

While Charles performs each of the 50 songs with equal gusto, he isn't without personal opinions about which songs stand above the rest. "As a proud Kansas boy, I would love to say that Kansas was the best, and Missouri was the worst (sorry Missouri colleagues). My favorite, just for the amount of fun it was to sing, is a toss-up between Vermont and Tennessee."

When it came to the worst songs, Charles also did not reserve judgment. "Worst is harder since there are so many dated songs that are offensive or just real clunkers. In terms of just music I didn't enjoy singing, Mississippi is really high up there. Easy to sing, but dull beyond belief."

In addition to his performance chops, he has a keen interest in the historical and cultural aspects of music, which shine through in the state song project. In taking on the project, Charles said that, in large part, his intention was to explore the origin of state symbols and their continuing significance to people.

Charles suggests that the history of the state songs may be more interesting than the songs themselves. As he puts it, “the specific songs themselves don't matter as much as the effort to put into words what makes each state special. That we look at the songs that were chosen and reflect on the values they represent— that is the important stuff.”

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TBT: Donate that Dodge, Datsun or DeLorean

As you very well know, December is National Car Donation Month. What do you do? Donate a car to your favorite cause at MyRideMyCause.org or participate in the social media events to support your favorite charity. #NationalCarDonationMonth and #MyRideMyCause 

If you'd like to look at some old cars, 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!

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

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Our Librarian Katy and Table Top Games

During this pandemic, board games have been a valuable pastime for many people, whether it's breaking some out with the family and friends or learning how to play games on new online platforms. At Johnson County Library, our Table Top Games Committee has been trying to think of ways that we can share our passion with our patrons even if we can’t meet in person. We are looking forward to online gaming events starting next year, so if you are interested in playing games, please stay tuned for our first program starting January 6th!

Katy talks about the beginning of Table Top Games at the Library

Since I was young, I remember playing games with my family, and that it was a special time that I always enjoyed. I remember taking great pride in beating my parents at Memory, and when I was older I enjoyed playing Sorry, Sequence, and a host of other games. Around high school I started noticing that big box stores didn’t really change their games out that much. They would just tweak Clue or Monopoly and put a different theme or cover on it, and I was getting tired of playing the same thing over and over again. Then when I reached college, I was introduced to Settlers of Catan, and I remember loving getting to play something new and unique, and I started looking for more games like it. After college, I realized there was a whole world of games that I had never heard of or seen before that were just waiting for me if I knew where to look. 

With my growing passion for playing games and my blossoming collection, I started seeking them out at local game stores like 31st Century Games and Table Top Game & Hobby. Around this time, Wil Wheaton started his YouTube show, Table Top, and I realized that this new hobby that I was falling in love with was starting to have a major following. I started to dream about how I could bring Table Top games into my job at the Library. I approached one of my co-workers, Josh, about starting a Table Top program, and we got the approval to start a program at the Lackman Library in 2013. It turns out other people in our community enjoyed playing games as well, because we have run the program continuously until this March, when Covid-19 made meeting in person impossible. However, we look forward to the day when we can host more gaming programs again at the library and share our love of gaming with you!

Katy’s Favorite Games:

Sagrada, Ticket to Ride, Splendor, Ganz Schon Clever! (That’s Pretty Clever!), Wingspan, Camel Up!, Horrified, Dragon’s Breath (to play with my children), Kingdomino

Read our other Table Top Games Committee members' stories and favorite games »

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Give the Gift of Friendship

This holiday season, give the gift that keeps on giving by purchasing a Friends of Johnson County Library membership for a loved one.

Present them with 20% off all purchases in our bookstores during December, the three yearly editions of the Library Guide mailed to their home, as well as Friends-only previews at Book Sales in 2021.

Gift a Membership

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How to Use Social Media to Connect with Other Writers

One of the toughest parts of being a writer is the isolation. It can be hard to find other writers, beta readers, critique partners, or just a support group to help you when writing gets tough. In this workshop, you'll learn how to use different social media platforms to connect with other writers and make lasting relationships!

Our How to Use Social Media to Connect with Other Writers ​program will be hosted using the meeting software Zoom. Registrants will receive an email (via the email you registered with) on the day of the program with instructions on how to access the Zoom meeting. You do not need to download any software or create an account.

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This Week at the Library

This Week at the Library, you can learn more about budgeting and saving, get help connecting with others using social media, and get introduced to the exploratorium of technologic contraptions at the Library’s MakerSpace!

Money Mondays: Budgeting and Saving
Monday, November 30  |  6:00 – 7:00 pm

How to Use Social Media to Connect with Others
Wednesday, December 2  |  6:30 – 7:30 pm

Online Bilingual Storytime
Wednesday, December 2  |  7:00 – 7:30 pm

MakerSpace for Beginners
Friday, December 4  |  2:00 – 3:00 pm

Young Adult Literary Council
Sunday, December 6  |  2:00 – 3:00 pm

See all of our events »

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