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Library Lowdown Quiz Showdown Part II

Our tribute to game shows continues with Library Jeopardy and Wheel of Fiction! Whad'ya know about the Library? Join former Jeopardy auditionee, Austin, as he does such a great job hosting that even Alex Trebek would be proud. Charles and Dave battle in a head-to-head Library trivia tournament of titans! Then, we bring in in Collection Development Librarian Beth and Reader's Advisory Librarians Gregg and Helen. They spin the wheel, but will it be fortune or failure as they are given book descriptions from our catalog and they're asked to identify titles? Spoiler alert, we chose really hard ones! 

It's the Library Lowdown Quiz Showdown Part II! 

BTW, if you missed Part I where we play Bluff the Librarian and Library Password, whad'ya waiting for?!

Portia Stewart

Portia Stewart

Meet the Presenter: Portia Stewart

Portia Stewart isn’t coming to the Writers Conference to teach us how to write, at least not in the conventional sense. Her sessions have nothing to do with the craft or the semantics of writing, nor do they focus on making our writing better through revision or research or collaboration. And yet, her sessions are vital to the very essence of writing in that they are all about focus, creativity, and finding the energy and drive to keep writing, even when the writing is difficult.

Portia’s experience includes being a former vice president of content and content strategy, and she has more than 20 years of experience that includes leading creative teams. In addition, Portia is a registered yoga instructor and certified meditation and mindfulness coach. She specializes in helping creative people maximize their performance, and launched a business, Mind Full Creatives, in 2021 with the goal of helping businesses sync their innovation investments to revenue.

Portia will lead two sessions during the conference: Meditation for Creation and Focus and Yoga to Light the Creative Spark. You won’t need any special equipment to attend these sessions; simply show up and Portia will lead you through the rest!

You can learn more about Portia by visiting her website (linked above), utilizing the free meditations on her site, or by watching this video, in which she joined Seed Speaks to discuss overcoming imposter syndrome.

—written by Lisa Allen, adult services specialist

Beth Gulley

Beth Gulley

Meet the Presenter: Beth Gruver Gulley

Beth Gruver Gulley is a Kansas poet and professor who likes to get lost in the woods. She has a curious, adventuresome streak: she’s jumped from moving buses in Paraguay, visited the breeding ground for Giant Chinese Salamanders, and run more than fifty miles at a time.

Beth has published five collections of poetry: “The Sticky Note Alphabet,” “Dragon Eggs,” "The Love of Ornamental Fish,” "Little Fish: Tiny Mediations on Freedom,” and “Since Corona Ruined Our Trip to the Library.” She is a member of the Kansas Authors Club and the Riverfront Reading Committee. She also serves on the Writers Place board. When Beth is not writing, teaching at Johnson County Community College or volunteering, she likes to hang out with her cat.

Of her writing, former Poet Laureate of Kansas Kevin Rabas says, “Beth Gulley is a writer of profound insight, someone who can see both the catastrophe and the miracle in almost anything. These poems are proof. In them, there is a cat that rides thirty miles on the motor of a car being towed. There is an asteroid that almost hits earth on a beloved’s birthday: ‘Your birthday will still be sweet/without the explosion.’ This is the world of Aimee Bender or Judy Budnitz, but it is also our world, as Kansans—or your story, wherever you live.”

We’re thrilled to welcome Beth to the Writers Conference faculty this year! She’ll be leading a session titled, “Writing In the Park” on both Friday and Saturday. Bring your lawn chair (or a blanket) and your notebook and pen(cil); Beth will bring the prompts and the inspiration.

—written by Lisa Allen, adult services specialist


eLearning Spotlight: Brainfuse HelpNow

“Ask for help. Not because you are weak. But because you want to remain strong.”

— Les Brown

Brainfuse HelpNow has several ways to get homework help:

  • Live tutoring daily 2 - 11 p.m.
  • Writing Lab to get feedback within one business day
  • SkillSurfer for study resources and test prep
  • Send Question to get a response within one business day
  • LEAP to create a customized learning plan

Plus several more tools to collaborate and learn using the website or mobile app.

This resource is generously supported by the Louis and Elizabeth Nave Flarsheim Charitable Foundation.

Learn more about Brainfuse HelpNow


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!

Step-by-Step through the FAFSA Tuesday, Oct. 18, 6:30 – 8 p.m. 

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, is the federal application necessary to get free and low-cost money for college. Join Jason Anderson, CPA, CFP®, managing member and senior consultant at Gradmetrics, at Central Resource Library, as he walks line-by-line through the FAFSA form and explains the ins-and-outs of the college admissions and financial aid process. Registration is required

Maintain Your Ride Thursday, Oct. 20, noon – 1:30 p.m. 

Get your hands dirty and learn to keep your bike in tip-top shape with this free class from Johnson County Library and BikeWalkKC. Live and in-person at the bicycle fix-it stand in front of Central Resource Library, our instructors will teach you how to keep your bike in good working order with a few basic tools and some practical know-how. You will learn how to clean and lubricate your chain, fix a flat, adjust shifting and braking, and basic bike maintenance skills. We’ll also show you how to use the fix-it stand. This is a hands-on class! Registration is required.

Small Business Administration Funding for Your Business Thursday, Oct. 20, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. 

Are you looking to start a new business or expand an existing one? Attend this webinar to learn about different types of business funding available in our market. Sheila Forrester, economic development specialist for the U.S. Small Business Administration, will explain how to determine which loan program is the best fit for your business, what a lender looks for when reviewing your loan request, and how to get in touch with an SBA resource partner who can help you along the way.

Friends of the Library Pop-Up Book SaleSaturday, Oct. 22, 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.  

Shop gently used books and items at the Friends of the Library headquarters!
20% Friends members discount all day!

Teen Book Swap CafeSunday, Oct. 23, 2 – 4 p.m.

Refresh your bookshelf and bring a stack of books, audiobooks, and advanced reader copies of books (ARCS/galleys) to swap with other teen readers at the Antioch Library! Get to know your community as you grab a snack, chat, and trade new or lightly-used books. This program is trade only, no selling will be allowed. Limit of 10 books per person to trade. Registrants will get a free tote to carry all your new books.

And much more happening this week »



SPECIAL EDITION - 2022 Writers Conference

Our eighth annual Writers Conference will be Thursday, Nov. 17 - Sunday, Nov. 20.

In this episode, Readers' Advisory Librarian Helen Hokanson and Adult Services Specialist Lisa Allen talk about our 2022 Writers Conference. How do we choose our faculty? Do we take potential presenter suggestions? How does the in-person experience differ from the virtual version of the past couple of years? We have fun taking a deep dive into these questions and feature readings by authors Anne-Marie Oomen and Polly Alice McCann. 


Meet the Presenter: Amy Leigh Harden

Amy Leigh Harden is a self-described “type A” person who thrives on staying busy. In addition to writing and spending time with her family, she runs a traffic engineering firm and serves as President of the Kansas City-Midwest Romance Writers group. A KC native, Amy loves classic pin-up girl art, loves to cook, and her family loves to take train trips together. Want a cool story? Ask her about the time she and her grandmother took part in a police chase following car thieves.

Ever the over-achiever, Amy describes her first drafts as quite detailed: “I'm an over-writer so my first drafts are monstrous with fifteen subplots and enough characters to make Charles Dickens blush.” She has a special interest in historical fiction and romantic suspense and has published four novels. Her favorite quote about writing is from Thomas Edison: “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

Amy will join our Writers Conference for two sessions this year: she will lead a class on crafting a compelling first draft (“Applying Structure Before, During, or After a First Draft”) and serve as a panelist on the topic of rejection and critique.

If you’d like to keep up with Amy, you can visit her on her website or follow her on Twitter or Instagram (where she has a cool mood board for her current work in progress!).

-- written by Jesseca Bear, adult services information specialist


Writers Conference Highlights Craft and Creativity

Johnson County Library’s Writers Conference is back in person this year and staff couldn’t be happier! 

After two challenging years hosting the conference online, the Library is delighted to welcome writers back to the newly refreshed Central Resource Library Nov. 17-19. Participants will share ideas and inspiration, meet with authors and other creatives and have a chance to network and learn from each other. 

“Part of our purpose statement for the conference is that we build community,” said Helen Hokanson, the reference librarian who spearheads local writers programming. “Just coming back in person, we feel we are getting our mojo back.” 

The conference will feature the book Creative Acts for Curious People, with the subtitle “How to Think, Create and Lead in Unconventional Ways.” This collection was curated by Sarah Stein Greenberg of Stanford’s design institute. Attendees will receive a free copy of the book, and Greenberg will attend the Library event. 

“This is a book of exercises designed to get you looking at the world in a different way,” Hokanson said. “As writers, that’s something we are always trying to do.” 

This year's conference kicked off with “Pre-Game” celebration on Sept. 22, where writers could pick up their free book at Central and register if they hadn't already. Those who couldn't make it to that event can retrieve the book at Central before the conference, while supplies last. 

“The Pre-Game is a way for us to get people excited about the conference,” said Joseph Keehn, event producer for Johnson County Library. “It’s kind of a little teaser of getting people together.” 

Conference registrants are invited to respond to a writers’ prompt from the book and post it to the JOCO Writes blog. Some of the best entries will be shared at the Nov. 17 kickoff. 

This year’s theme is “Art For Impact.” Works by artist Patricia Streeper will be on display at Central. Participants in the writing contests will be asked to respond to her art. 

This year’s conference, which is expected to attract about 300 attendees, features 22 presenters including favorite returnees like Jessica Conoley and Polly McCann. Beloved musician and author Jim Cosgrove will present. Other unique voices will include Brendan KielyAnn-Marie OomenJustin Nogy and Steven Kolbe.

The Library encourages in-person attendance for workshops sharing original writing, yoga and meditation sessions, writing in Strang Park behind Central and just stimulating conversations. 

But for those who cannot attend in person, the lectures and panel discussions will be available in Library OnDemand, to view live or later. 

Hokanson and her conference committee — Diane Haner, Katt Cooper, Lisa Allen and Jesseca Bear — work hard all year to make this a success.  

Keehn said it’s a labor of love for this “small but mighty” committee of very dedicated individuals. "The Writers Conference is a signature event for the Library,” Keehn said.  

Creative Services Coordinator Cindy Frazer designs the signage, notebook and other materials for the conference.  "I enjoy it immensely,” she said. "We are supporting the local writers and authors in our community, and artists in some cases.” 

As always, this is not an event about publishing but about the writing craft: skill-building, learning, and having work edited and critiqued.   

"We want to connect writers with readers and writers with other writers,” Hokanson said.  "Our goal is to get people in the best place possible to be ready to publish, to be ready to pitch. So we really focus on the front end, the process and the product.”