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Scheduled:

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!

Online Storytime – Wednesday, April 20, 10 – 10:30 a.m.

The whole family will enjoy these flexible Storytimes. 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!

Meet the Author: Celebrating Earth Day with Kate Messner – Thursday, April 21, 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Register for this program online or call 913.826.4600. Celebrating Earth Day with Over and Under Nature Writing - New York Times bestselling author Kate Messner will share the research and writing process behind her award-winning picture books OVER AND UNDER THE SNOW, UP IN THE GARDEN AND DOWN IN THE DIRT, OVER AND UNDER THE RAINFOREST, and more. The virtual visit will wrap up with plenty of time for Q&A with readers.

Wills & Power of Attorney – Thursday, April 21, 6:30-8 p.m.

Learn about the important legal documents you need to ensure your wishes are honored in the event of incapacity or death, and to avoid probate. Alexandra English, Managing Attorney and Director of the Elder Rights Project for Kansas Legal Services, will discuss powers of attorney, wills, living wills and transfer-on-death deeds.

Johnson County Genealogical Society Monthly Meeting – Saturday, April 23, 10 a.m.-noon

Johnson County Genealogical Society general meetings are free and open to all. Please note: meetings will be held via Zoom until Carmack Room at Johnson County Library reopens. Updates about in-person meetings will be posted on www.jcgsks.org. Free and open to the public. To receive Zoom link if you are not a JCGS member, please email info@jcgsks.org . The April topic is Introduction to the Kansas State Archives presented by Megan Burton.

And much more happening this week »

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Online One-on-One Genealogy Help

One-on-one help will be held online via Zoom specific to your questions and research. Visit the Johnson County Genealogical Society at www.jcgsks.org to schedule an appointment. A volunteer will email a personal Zoom meeting link to you prior to the scheduled date.

One-on-one Geneaology Help via Zoom
Tuesdays and Fridays 9 a.m.-1 p.m. the entire month of April

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Library Colleagues Forge Great Friendship over K-Pop

Rachel Novotny, Octavia Vonderheyde and Liz Wilson are all information specialists for Johnson County Library. As colleagues, they share a love of serving patrons, reading and being lifelong learners. But they have forged an even deeper friendship and bond because of another passion: K-pop, or Korean popular music, which combines musical influences from hip hop to exuberant dance, jazz and rock.

“It hits a nerve, in a good way,” Vonderheyde explains. “It’s very positive music overall. It makes you happy. It’s just encouraging.”

Almost every Friday, they get together after work, usually via Zoom, to watch new releases and learn more about their favorite bands. They also enjoy and discuss K-dramas, Korean television programs that have gained global popularity through streaming services with subtitles.

It all started with their Library connections. Wilson and Vonderheyde are both information specialists at the Leawood Pioneer branch. Vonderheyde has been there for 22 years, most recently as a youth services specialist. Wilson started as a page at Leawood five years ago and became an adult information specialist in 2018.

Novotny has been with Johnson County Library for 10 years, including the past eight years as an adult services specialist at the Blue Valley branch. She and Vonderheyde worked together on the Library’s Local Arts committee several years ago and enjoyed that collaboration.

Novotny stumbled across K-dramas through Netflix about nine years ago and became a fan of those one-season serial melodramas, which explore romances and interesting family dynamics. That led her to K-pop. In 2019, she did two Johnson County Library podcasts, one on K-dramas and one on K-pop.  

Wilson had separately gotten interested years ago in Asian movies, through her stepdad. That spurred her interest in K-dramas, and then she got hooked on K-pop in 2017.

“I happened onto this drama called Heart Strings,” Wilson said. That drama featured two members of the Korean band CNBLUE. “I checked out their music and really liked their band.”

Wilson shared her enthusiasm with Vonderheyde, who knew about the hugely popular K-pop band BTS through her daughter Arielle. Then Wilson heard Novotny’s podcast and emailed her to arrange a meeting.

The trio vividly recall getting together on Oct. 27, 2019, to watch a movie at AMC in Leawood featuring a Korean concert by BTS. The movie theater was packed, and they had a great time. 

After that outing, the trio started meeting on Friday evenings, first at Novotny’s house and then via Zoom. They’ve dubbed themselves the “K-pop Librarians.”

Wilson and Vonderheyde traveled to Chicago in January 2020 to see Seventeen, another K-pop boy group. And Novotny and Vonderheyde went to Lawrence on March 3 of this year to see ONEUS perform at Liberty Hall. It was a rare K-pop live show in this area and the 1,000-seat concert hall was sold out.

Seeing bands in person has been amazing and wonderful, but watching videos is also fun. They are fans of the whole production, from makeup to outfits to distinctive dance choreography to a wide range of musical moods.

“There’s a lot of good energy,” Wilson said. “Lots of fun songs. Some of the more dramatic songs, they make your heart swell.”

Novotny enjoys following the bands’ evolution, “Oh, they are doing something darker now, or they are doing something cute.”

They are all passionate about working for Johnson County Library and serving the community. That career connection also fuels their K-pop friendship.

“We all have something in common,” Vonderheyde said. “We all have the same Library background. We’re always learning new stuff. It’s the same with K-pop or K-dramas. There’s always something new coming out. There’s always something to share and get excited about.”

Explore the world of K-pop and K-dramas with these recommended titles:

What is K-pop? Books and Music Recommendations 

Korean TV Dramas 

Korean Movies

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National Humor Month

April is National Humor Month. It was conceived as a means to heighten public awareness of the therapeutic value of humor. Laughter and joy - the benchmarks of humor - lead to improved well-being, boosted morale, increased communication skills, and an enriched quality of life.

Since it's another beautiful Throwback Thursday, we thought it would be fun to find some of the funniest pictures JoCoHistory has to offer! It was just a happy accident that all the pictures that tickled our funny bones just happen to have dogs in them. Do you have a favorite?

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Meet the Author: Celebrating Earth Day with Kate Messner

Join us for Meet the Author: Celebrating Earth Day with Kate Messner, a virtual event on April 21 at 4:30 p.m. Register now »

Celebrating Earth Day with Over and Under Nature Writing - New York Times bestselling author Kate Messner will share the research and writing process behind her award-winning picture books Over and Under the Snow, Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Under the Rainforest and more. The virtual visit will wrap up with plenty of time for Q&A with readers.

The Open Book, our monthly newsletter, talks about this event and much more. Have you subscribed yet?

Scheduled:
Scheduled:

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!

Online Bilingual Storytime / Hora de cuentos bilingües en línea – Monday, Apr. 11, 10-10:30 a.m.

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.

Toda la familia disfrutará de esta especial hora de cuentos bilingües. Escucha historias con tus hijos y ayúdales a cultivar el amor por la lectura. Al contar cuentos, interpretar canciones, hacer juegos con los dedos y realizar actividades de movimiento fomentamos las habilidades previas a la lectura. ¡Diversión para toda la familia!

One-on-One Genealogy Help via Zoom – Tuesday, Apr. 12, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

Basic Genealogy and DNA one-on-one help are now being held online via Zoom specific to your questions and research. Visit the Johnson County Genealogical Society at www.jcgsks.org to schedule an appointment. A volunteer will email a personal Zoom meeting link to you prior to the scheduled date.

Community Matters Book Club – Thursday, Apr. 14, 6-7 p.m.

Are you looking for spaces to explore identity and the world around us?  This intergenerational book club will provide kids and families a place to read about the unique experiences of diverse characters and historical events. Each session, we will provide a book for you to keep, along with an invitation to join us as a family for discussion, questioning, and community building. Copies of the book will be provided to participants who live in Johnson County. Best for parents or guardians, and their children ages 8-12.

  And much more happening this week »

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Conferences and Staff Development Ramp Up in 2022

With the National Library Week celebration April 3-9, Johnson County Library’s commitment to staff and patrons has never been more important. The Learning and Development Department is continuing that commitment for 2022, as in-person conference attendance resumes, and professional development programs enable staffers to re-energize. 

After two long pandemic years, the Library is focusing on having staff “get their brains excited again,” said Training Specialist Julie Timmins, an L&D team member. 

The Learning and Development Department’s mission is important. “We are the place where staff learns,” Timmins explained. “We are a support service. Our end goal is still the patrons. Our motivation is still the patrons, but our responsibility is to help the staff to serve the patrons better, to teach staff what they need to know to do their jobs excellently.” 

While conference travel was restricted, the L&D Department still had a big impact, offering 126 programs both live and virtually in 2021. Programs had a combined attendance of 842. Virtual conferences were attended by 101 staffers. Orientation events served 48 new or newly promoted employees. 

Timmins is excited that the Library granted permission to include traveling again in 2022. 

Johnson County Library plans to send 59 people to 26 different in-person conferences this year. That’s up from 40 people who attended 24 conferences in 2019. These conferences are great for expanding staffers’ skills and knowledge, but they also allow Librarians and others to share their expertise. 

For example, Timmins said, Johnson County Library assistant branch managers have developed a highly effective process for large-scale organizational restructuring.  

“They have become one of the most effective sub-teams within the Library because of all this work they put in building their own organizational structure,” Timmins said. 

A group of assistant branch managers put together a proposal to present at this year’s American Library Association conference in Washington D.C. and it was accepted. The proposal is focused on systemwide strategies that increase coordination, collaboration and optimized decision making and communication processes throughout the organization. Three people will present. Nine additional Library employees will also attend that ALA conference in June.   

Librarians will also gain new insights from conferences sponsored by the Association of Writers and Writing Programs, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Association of Bookmobile and Outreach Services. 

Prior to 2020, all conference attendance was in person, but the pandemic showed how online conferences can also provide beneficial training. This year, Timmins said, the Library had 18 requests from staff to attend 14 digital conferences and was able to grant them all. They include the International Public Library Fundraising Conference and the Rocky Mountain Early Childhood conference. 

In May 2021, the L&D Department also got a new manager, Laura Blair, who has decades of corporate training, learning and development expertise. 

“Her insight and foresight and her experience are really very cool,” Timmins said. 

The department is creating online training classes that staffers can take at their convenience, at their own speed. Soft skills training is also expanding, with the CliftonStrengths talent assessments being offered beyond managers to other staffers.  

“It’s another rejuvenation or joyful thing to give people at work,” Timmins said.   

While the pandemic has been stressful, it also compelled the L&D Department to adapt and grow.  

“There’s definitely some stuff that we learned and experienced in the pandemic that we’re going to carry on, like the e-learning,” Timmins said. “There are some classes where you need the interaction between people to build the skills, but there is so much where that interaction is not essential. We’re going to try and take what we learned during the pandemic and some of the new ways of working that we have built.”  

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Changes Coming to eBooks and eAudiobooks

Beginning May 23, we will be moving to a new eBook and eAudiobook platform: Libby! Here's what to expect:

Moving Week: May 23 - 27

  • Download Libby and get ready for our full collection to arrive. All you need is your current Library card!
  • During moving week, our eBook and eAudiobook collection will be unavailable for browsing or borrowing in Axis 360, Libby or the Web Catalog.
  • Existing checkouts will still be available through their due date, only via the Axis 360 app. If you log out of Axis 360, you will no longer be able to able to log back in.

By Friday, May 27

Read Frequently Asked Questions about our move to Libby, and stay up to date at jocolibrary.org and @jocolibrary on social media.