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Bookmark Contest Winners

Congratulations to our Friends of the Library Bookmark Contest winners! The winning bookmarks are available now at your favorite Library location. 


TBT: Elections

Remember, your vote counts no matter the size of the election. These 1935 F.F.A. elected officers sure know that. The six boys stand outside the Shawnee Mission Rural High School.

If you have a minute, try the search term "election" at You'll find a few photos and lots of articles about all kinds of Johnson County elections. We found one about the difficulty of getting your horse and buggy to the polling location!

Remember, is the place to time travel through local history. Be sure to follow our hashtag on Twitter!

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


Author Research in Action Podcast with Dr. Randall Horton

Dr. Randall Horton is on the faculty of the 2020 Johnson County Library Writers Conference, where he will teach sessions in Memoir Construction, Creative Nonfiction with Fictional Elements, and City as Protagonist. He will also be in conversation with poets Megan Kaminski and Rudy Francisco for the kickoff event.

“When did you realize poetry could be your companion? Your release?”

In this episode of Did You Hear, Dr. Horton and Anishinaabekwe poet Louise K. Waakaa’igan discuss poetry both as a lifeline and as a discipline.  It’s a discussion between two people who share a gift for and love of poetry; but it’s also a discussion between two people who share a common language that only those who have been “inside” can fully understand.

An unrelenting advocate for personal voice and perfect line breaks, Dr. Horton is equally passionate about eradicating the language of incarceration that tends to recriminalize those entangled in the legal system. If you listen closely, you’ll hear this passion in Dr. Horton’s language: he says, “before I went to the inside” (8:57 mark) and that he “received” the time (9:17 mark) to which he was sentenced. Both of these statements show how Dr. Horton refuses to let language used by others (“sent to prison” or “imposed a sentence,” for example) control and define his narrative.

And it’s that narrative that he brings us in his newest book, a collection of poems titled {#289-128}. Yes, this was his number when he was “inside,” but if there’s one thing this collection makes clear, it’s that no person can be defined by just one word—Dr. Horton can no more be defined simply as “felon” as we can be defined by the most public, most documented transgressions of our own lives. It’s clear to me after sitting with his poems that we all must ask each other: why do we, as a society, insist on branding people who’ve been incarcerated with markers that never let them fully live a life of their choosing, but we allow others, some of whose actions cause harm, to write their own narratives?

In this 45-minute podcast, Dr. Horton and Waakaa’igan share thoughts and insights about life inside and out; about their writing practices and recent works; and about the roadblocks each faced as they reentered society as a returning citizen. To the question of what roadblocks Waakaa’igan encountered as she re-entered society after being inside, she says:

“My own fears as to how I’m going to fit into this new world now that i have a felony. Right? So that’s my own hesitation and I think that is probably my biggest roadblock because now in 2020, Randall, there are so many conversations happening about change, about injustice, about equality. And so I may have a felony, but somebody else may be an amputee and so they might have kind of the same insecurities about ‘how do I fit in in?’ Two totally different situations, I agree; but yet still our own personal fear and hesitation of ‘do I really fit in?’ and ‘can I really do this?’ And ‘yes I can,’ and ‘this is my community so of course if fit in.’ Right?”

In this exchange, Waakaa’igan gets to the heart of Dr. Horton’s collection: we may not all understand what it’s like to be “inside” and we may never know what it’s like to fight our way back into a society from which we’ve been separated; but we all, in some way, understand constraint and imposed boundaries. It’s that common language that invites us to step inside of Dr. Horton’s reality on the “inside” so we can better understand each other in our daily lives.

Their conversation touches on the dual nature of writing: both as a means to understanding and as a craft that requires study and discipline. Waakaa’igan says: “I think I wrote before incarceration as a means to cope. Being a young minority woman in the world we’re in, it was a really great and safe way to express myself and to process what I was going through. On the inside it was more about crafting this thing called writing and the discipline of it, because it takes discipline and it takes a lot of erasing and editing. I nurtured the discipline of it.”

More about Dr. Horton and his body of work can be found at





Making the Move to Medicare

Are you making the move to Medicare? Need help navigating through the maze of coverage options? 

Join us Thursday, October 22, for an  online presentation by Denise DiasM.S.Family and Consumer Sciences Agent from the K-State Research and Extension Office, covers Parts A, B, C (Medicare Advantage), D and Medicare supplements (Medigap.) Benefits and costs of each part will be discussed.

The enrollment process, enrollment periods and various options to choose from when you become entitled to Medicare coverage will be explained. Registration is required.

Need more help with your personal finances? You're in the right place.

See our upcoming virtual Career and Finance programs »

Sign up for our new monthly newsletter »



2020 Election Virtual Display

Do you miss coming to the Library and seeing all the Librarian handpicked titles in our wonderful book displays? Well, we bring the book display to you! We call it a virtual book display. The topic? Voting of course.

Don't miss our 2020 Election Virtual Display Booklist!


Have you signed up for our Kids and Family Newsletter?

With the success of our Summer Reading newsletter, we wanted to continue providing you with the latest kids & family news. Our goal is to connect you with fun and engaging programs and resources for you and your children. We look forward to delivering up-to-date and valuable kids and family recommendations right to your inbox each month. Sign up today!


Antioch Library Replacement Update

Antioch Library has had an over-60-year history in its current location at the corner of Shawnee Mission Parkway and Antioch Road, beginning in 1956 as a 7,200 square foot leased space with parking for 30 cars. Now, plans are in the works to re-locate Antioch Library to the new Merriam Community Center campus in the next few years.

In 1961, following legislation that permitted the Johnson County Library Board of Directors to own property, the Antioch building and site were purchased. Until Central opened in 1995, Antioch was called Headquarters. The Antioch building has been expanded twice, in 1970 and 1983. 

In 1995 the Central Resource Library was opened and the Antioch Library was converted to a branch, reopening in 1996. In the over twenty years since then, Antioch has provided space for the Friends of the Library, JCCC’s Adult Education program, and functioned as the home office for Youth Services staff.

In 2017, the City of Merriam approached the Library to consider relocating Antioch Library to the new Merriam Community Center campus, at the 6000 block of Slater. After a study with the city, the Library Board approved this path. The new Antioch Replacement building is anticipated to be approximately 16,000 square ft. and include a drive-thru for holds pickup and material return. Similar to the Lenexa City Center Library, the Antioch Replacement Library will share parking space with the City of Merriam’s Community Center.

Earlier in 2020, the Library Board and City of Merriam approved agreements for conveying property and outlining shared parking and maintenance responsibilities. In September, members of the Board of County Commissioners seated as the Public Building Commission approved the sale of bonds to partially fund the Antioch Library Replacement project – the remainder of project costs will be funded from Library Reserves to be transferred into the project account.

We anticipate publishing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Architectural Services before the end of 2020, then seek citizen input/comments later in 2021. Design for the Antioch Replacement Library is projected to begin in 2021; completion of the new library is anticipated in 2023. 


Have you listened to our podcast?

Have you ever listened to our podcast? Did you know we even had a podcast? If you haven't listened and didn't know, that's OK! There may be a lot of things you didn't know about your favorite place on earth (The Johnson County Library) and the Did you hear? podcast gives you a glimpse behind-the-scenes. It's your Library insider.

Listen to the latest episode. Another episode will be featured here next week!


Ballot Boxes @ Your Library

In Johnson County, the number of mail-in ballot applications has surpassed 100,000. Election officials are working hard to increase Johnson County's capacity to handle this record-breaking number of mail-in ballots.

One way to meet that need is the installation of ballot drop boxes across the County. Johnson County Election Commissioner Connie Schmidt wants residents to feel comfortable voting by mail, telling KSHB "...They can bypass the post office (and) go right to the election office drop box, and then you're bringing it right back to us."

Beginning Oct. 17, six of these secured ballot boxes will be available at Johnson County Library locations, with a seventh box at the Johnson County Government Northeast office building in Mission. Similar ballot boxes, which are being provided by the Kansas Secretary of State, will be installed across the state ahead of the election.

Johnson County Library is proud to be part of this initiative. The Library's ballot box locations are:

  • Blue Valley Library, 9000 W. 151st St., Overland Park
  • Central Resource Library, 9875 W. 87th St., Overland Park
  • De Soto Library, 33145 W. 83rd St., De Soto
  • Gardner Library, 137 E. Shawnee St., Gardner
  • Shawnee Library, 13811 Johnson Drive, Shawnee
  • Spring Hill Library, 109 S. Webster St., Spring Hill

Read more from KSHB's news story ».

Whether you are a seasoned voter, or registering for the first time, Johnson County Library has you covered with election information. Check out our guide to Kansas Elections and Voting, which contains information on how to check your registration and polling place, important dates and deadlines, and how to find more information about candidates.


Election and Voting Resources

Whether you are a seasoned voter or registering for the first time, recent changes and social distancing guidelines may have you looking for more information. Johnson County Library is helping serve the needs of our community by connecting people to resources that provide nonpartisan education. This is done through online programs and voter resources. If you’re looking to register, view a sample ballot, review campaign themes, fact-check and more, the Library has you covered.

Here are some important things to know before you vote. 

Who can register? 
You must be a resident of the state in which you are registering and be a U. S. Citizen. If you are 17, but will turn 18 before the election date, you can register.

How do I know if I am already registered to vote?  
Check your status and polling location from VoterView provided by the Kansas Secretary of State. If you have changed your name, moved, or want to change party affiliation, you will need to re-register before the next deadline. 

Where do I register?
You can register online from the Vote 411 website. For a paper form, visit the Kansas Secretary of State website to print one. You can also pick one up at your nearest Johnson County Library.

How do I vote in advance or by mail in ballot? 
You can apply to vote by mail from your County Election Office, or through KSVotes. Voters with permanent disabilities are eligible to apply for Permanent Advance Voting Status, and return to your County Election Office.

Where do I find more information about candidates? 
You can view a sample ballot from the Johnson County Election OfficeBallotpedia, and Vote 411.   

Ballotpedia provides biographical, current and past work of elected officials, campaign themes and more. is a nonpartisan, non-profit site covering many topics of current interest related to campaign topics as well as 2020 Presidential candidates. 

Politifact, a non-profit news organization, offers fact checking on current topics, candidate statements and claims, media personalities and campaigns. Users may also submit claims to have them fact checked. 

For information about candidates or issues, Shawnee Mission Post and The Kansas City Star include coverage of local candidates and issues on upcoming ballots. Johnson County Library provides access to these publications, visit the eNewspapers section to get started.

Here are some important dates in the upcoming elections in Johnson County:

Oct 13: Last day to register for the General Election

Oct 14: Advanced Voting by Mail begins for the General Election 

Oct 19: Advanced Voting in Person begins for the General Election 

Oct 27: Last day to apply for an advance ballot (vote by mail) for the General Election 

Nov 2: Last day to advance vote in person for the General Election. 

Nov 3: General Election day: all mailed ballots must be postmarked by today and received no later than 3 days following the election day (Nov 6). Advance ballots may be hand-delivered to the county election office or to any polling place within the county by close of polls. 

For more detailed information, visit the Johnson County Library Elections and Voting page.