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Music Monday! Get your Schwervon!

What is Schwervon!? Nothing less than Shawnee, Kansas's contribution to the world of ultra-catchy indie rock. Formed by Matt Roth and Nan Turner in New York City, Schwervon! are a prolific musical force with a catalog chock full of albums, EPs and singles, not to mention their own side projects and national and international touring schedules. They have worked with such indie luminaries as Belle and Sebastian, Guided by Voices and Speedy Ortiz. We are excited to share an interview with the couple about their recent European tour and other subjects.


This Week at the Library


This week at the Library, you can make a budget, get your Make on, and enlighten your mind with both poetry and science!

Microsoft Excel to Manage Your Finances (register here) Monday, March 19, 10 am - 12 pm @ Central Resource Library

MakerSpace Beginner's Night Monday, March 19, 6 - 8 pm @ Central Resource Library

Poetry and Prose Tuesday, March 20, 6 - 7 pm @ Central Resource Library

Science Cafe - Climate Change Thursday, March 22, 6:30 - 7:30 pm, Lackman Library



What Would Celebrities Check Out?

Our Librarian Edward visited with some of the celebrity guests at Planet Comicon (2018) to see what they might check out from the Johnson County Library Catalog. Check out the celebrities he chatted with and their Library favorites »


Cabin Fever Book Sale

It’s Book Sale Time!
Did you know more than 7 million books, DVDs and CDs circulate through the Johnson County Library system annually. So what does the Library do to make room on the shelves for the 150,000 new titles which will be purchased this year? Hold a big sale, of course!

For more than 30 years, the Friends of Johnson County Library have been supporting the Library’s collections and programming through sales of gently used items that have been “weeded” from circulation. Our Cabin Fever Book Sale is your chance to purchase the best sellers you’ve been meaning to get your hands on!

Come browse our Cabin Fever sale at the Central Resource Library March 21 to 24. You’ll find great deals on a broad selection of books, music and movies. Most items priced $2 to $5 and cash, check and credit cards are accepted. All proceeds from the sale go to the Friends, which support the Library’s early literacy programs, staff professional development and special events.

Public sale hours are:

Wednesday, March 21, 4 to 7:30 pm
Thursday, March 22, 9:30 am to 7:30 pm
Friday, March 23, 9:30 am to 5:30 pm
Saturday, March 24, 9:30  am to 3 pm

Learn more about the Friends and find out about future Friends sales.


Meet the Author: Hannah Jane Weber

At Johnson County Library, we love local authors. And when that local author is one of our own, we can't help but celebrate! Before transferring to our Leawood Library to work in the Youth Services Department, Hannah Jane Weber was active in our writing programs. We are proud to share that Hannah Jane had been awarded the 2017 Dylan Thomas American Award for the poem "Scenic Rail Tour" which is published in issue 63 of Rosebud. Of Hannah Jane's work, Grand Prize Winner, Judge Molly Peacock says "it is a twenty-first century nature poem" and she chose it "because of the double helix of its form and its content."

While we can't share the actual poem -- you can seek it out from Rosebud -- Hannah Jane took some time to tell us about her relationship with writing and poetry.

Why is poetry important? 

Poetry is one of the many ways we can choose to express ourselves and connect to others.  I’m drawn to poetry because of the importance of line breaks and word economy. With poetry, the white space has the same weight as words, and can even be louder than words. You can make or break a poem with line breaks, a challenge that is both infuriating and exciting. I love how poetry conveys an incredible amount of meaning in the smallest way possible.   

Tell us about your writing process. Where do you write? How do you write?

I’m always writing and jotting down any thought that lights up my mind. About once a month, I put all of these thoughts into a folder. In addition to my folder of thoughts, I have folders of poems in various stages of completion, or abandonment rather, which is from a favorite quote of mine by Paul Valery, "A poem is never finished, only abandoned." My folder system is very simple. A folder is assigned to each day of the week, and for about an hour a day (usually during lunch), I work on a poem from that day’s folder. Once or twice a week I write with absolutely no time limit and regard to folders. Rarely do I write an entire poem in one sitting, and only a couple times a month does a poem move to the next folder. It's a system that works really well for me, and I enjoy each step of the writing process immensely. As for where I write, I am very fortunate that I can write nearly anywhere so long as music is playing. 

You’ve been blogging at since 2009. Why did you start blogging, and have your reasons for continuing changed? Does your blog inform your poetry and vice-versa?

My blog began as a way to share my life with family and friends. In 2009, I found a gratitude journal that changed how I record my memories. It inspired me to put a positive spin on everything. I try to do the same with my blog, and attempt to have a sense of humor and/or find a silver lining with each post. I often sit down to write a blog and it ends up as poem material or vice versus. 

What’s the worst writing advice you’ve received? The best?

I only remember the good advice, which is very Pollyanna, I know. Someone once told me to create an editing checklist for poems I’m ready to "abandon.” This advice has radically improved how I edit my poems. A few of my favorite things on my checklist include looking for identical words, stanza length and count, omitting qualifiers, questioning adverbs, and reading it aloud (my audience is comprised of two golden retrievers).

Do you have a favorite literary magazine?

I love literary magazines. When I was a teenager, I discovered my first literary magazine in a thrift shop. It was an old copy of New Letters, which is UMKC's journal. It featured the poet, Mbembe Milton Smith, in addition to other writers of both prose and poetry. It blew me away. I admired Mbembe Milton Smith and New Letters so much I decided to attend college at UMKC. Though I transferred to KU and finished my Bachelor's degree there, I still have a wealth of gratitude and love for New Letters. I wouldn't be in Kansas City without that worn-out 1983 issue! I am just as enamored with literary journals as I was over 15 years ago when I stumbled upon my first one. Each journal is like a small community of writers living within the pages of a book. As a writer and reader, I feel a sense of belonging that both nourishes and inspires me. If you're new to journals and/or love surprises there's a wonderful journal of the month club that sends a different journal each month for a year.

Who are your favorite authors?

I have so many! 

 What are you reading right now?

  • Light the Dark edited by Joe Fassler - a book of essays by famous writers (Stephen King and Billy Collins for example) who have chosen a favorite quote and written about the profound impact the quote has had on their writing.  It’s inspirational, fascinating, and is definitely providing much-needed creative fuel. 
  • At Home with Dogs and Their Designers by Susanna Salk - a beautiful book for both dog lovers and those who enjoy interior design.
  • Women in Sports by Rachel Ignotofsky - a book about amazing women athletes who have changed the world and the sports they play. P.S. this book is sooo pretty.  Ignotofsky is a brilliant artist.
  • A Family Imprint by Nancy Borowick - a photographic journey of the lives of Nancy’s parents, who both passed away from cancer within a year of each other. It’s an entirely different perspective on grieving and healing and is available through interlibrary loan.
  • Yukon Ho! By Bill Watterson - I’m always in the middle of a comics book (I can’t live without my comics). 

Making Movies

Making Movies are poised for a worldwide audience. With music that combines the anthemic rock elements of U2, psychedelic folk with socially conscious bilingual lyrics and a strong undercurrent of traditional Latin rhythms, the band's second album, I Am Another You, has garnered international acclaim, and not only because it was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos fame.


March Fiction Roundup

Hello and welcome to our new releases roundup for Fiction for the month of March 2018! If this is your first time here, my name is Gregg and I’m a Readers’ Advisory librarian here at the Johnson County Library. I’ll take a brief look at some of the well-reviewed titles that are published this month that I’ve either read or have heard great things about. You’ll not find John Grisham, Michael Connelly, or Janet Evanovich on these lists; it’s not that we don’t like them – we do! – but those are authors who most folks have already heard of. We love spotlighting books and authors that you might not be familiar with, or are brand new and deserve a bit of attention. Feel free to tell us about the under-the-radar titles that you’re excited about.

We’re still living in the year of the psychological thriller. (Well, the novel that arguably kicked off the craze, Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL, was published in 2012, so I guess it’d be more accurate to say that we’re over halfway towards the decade of the psychological thriller.) However, there’s a very real sense of genre fatigue of late, where authors pile on twists and turns on top of even more twists and turns to the point that the plot gets bogged down. SOMETIMES I LIE by Alice Feeney tiptoes right up to this line without ever going over it and creates a wonderfully crafted story where the shocking reveals are just enough to leave the reader feeling satisfied instead of betrayed. Amber Reynolds wakes up in a hospital in a coma – she’s aware and can think, but cannot movie or communicate. As she tries to piece together what happened, the story shifts back in time. There is a rocky marriage, problems at work, a mysterious past…. Well, if we talk too much about the plot, we start giving things away, so trust us and put this one on your hold list if you loved THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW or THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN.

If you love reading about America, this next book is for you. I’m not talking about the history of America, but novels about the American literary experience – the dusty highways, the sprawling prairies, the struggling communities, and the lonely dreams of their inhabitants. It’s the type of literary America that still lives on in Steinbeck and Phillipp Meyer and Louise Erdich. DON’T SKIP OUT ON ME by Willy Vlautin is about a half-Irish half-American Indian orphan who is raised by sheep ranchers, but cannot reconcile himself to that life. He moves to the American Southwest, changes his name, and becomes a boxer, seeking to discover himself by relying on his heart and his fists. This novel is a beautiful, heartbreaking work of art, full of raw emotion and aching humanity. It’s the kind of book that wins awards, frankly, and Valutin has the feel of an author who’s soon going to be getting a lot of national attention.

Moving on to another book that’s set all the way around the world, but also filled with that sense of connection and humanity, but in a completely different way. GIRLS BURN BRIGHTER by Shobha Rao is a dizzying, dazzling novel that cuts right to the heart of friendship that connectes people even in the most trying of circumstances. Two young women in a small Indian village, Poornima and Savitha, bond while creating clothes at their loom. “Bond” is a word that isn’t quite strong enough – it’s the rare, precious kind of friendship that completes a person. It defines lives. The kind of friendship that stretches across thousands of miles and across dozens of years. And it absolutely must, because the two friends are torn apart, and the novel is about the two trying to reunite, with only this unshakable connection that sustains them. Rich in character, strength, and heart, GIRLS BURN BRIGHTER will absolutely stick with you, make you think, and is great for fans of authors like Jesmyn Ward, Charles Frasier, and Yaa Gyasi.

Lisa Genova should be a name that some readers should at least be familiar with – she’s written critically acclaimed books like STILL ALICE and INSIDE THE O’BRIENS that also happen to be crowd-pleasers as well. Genova, a neuroscientist herself, excels at writing about physical afflictions such as Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s Disease deteriorate the brain, which in turn affects a person’s relationships, personal life, and even their own sense of self. Alongside a scientist’s gift of knowledge, Genova has an author’s sense of compassion and insight, and writes beautifully about the internal struggles that all characters have to go though. Here in EVERY NOTE PLAYED, the antagonist is Amyotrophic Later Sclerosis – ALS, previously known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Partial muscle tremors can quickly lead to full body paralysis, but leaving the mind intact. The novel follows Richard, a well-known classical pianist, who can command his hands and fingers to create amazing music for concertgoers worldwide, but is in the early stages of the disease. One arm is already paralyzed and he knows it’s only going to get worse. His marriage was teetering on the edge to begin with, and his wife, Karina, faces a choice on how to respond. With grace, redemption, and a deep sense of the internal lives of her characters, Genova’s novel should be highly sought out.

Wow. This month’s list got sort of heavy, didn’t it? Let’s pump the brakes a bit and turn our attention to something that’s a bit lighter, but just as good.

Most mystery novel fans absolutely love clues – they love to follow along with the detective to match wits and see if they could solve the crime even quicker than the characters in the novel can. Here, in THE LAST EQUATION OF ISAAC SEVERY by Nova Jacobs, a famous mathematician is found dead, apparently (?) by suicide. A few days later, his foster granddaughter Hazel receives a letter addressed by her deceased grandfather - dated before his death - containing clues to a brilliant, groundbreaking mathematical equation that everyone seems to be looking for. The race is on, and Hazel must follow the clues alongside government agents, rival professors, and bitter family members who want in on the action. Jacobs brings wit, warmth, and an exacting sense of sleuthing to the novel, which should appeal to fans of Gabrielle Zevin’s THE STORIED LIFE OF AJ FIKRY and Ellen Raskin’s THE WESTING GAME.


Today at the Library

Today at the Library »

Legislative Coffee 10 am @ Blue Valley Library
Discover what's percolating in the Kansas Legislature.

Pet a Bull 11 am @ Gardner Library
Join us (and pit bulls Liam and Leonidas) for a presentation and Q&A about pit bulls.

Pet Adoptions 12:30 pm @ Gardner Library
Find a new friend from Unleashed Pet Rescue and Lucky 13 Rescue.

Table Top Game Day 1:30 pm @ Blue Valley
Learn new board games or bring your favorites to share with new friends.

Take Better Photos 3 pm @ Gardner Library
Learn tips and tricks whether you're using your phone or a camera.


What I Make

March is Maker Month and we salute every maker, but especially you Elle! Why? Because you just leveled up! 

The MakerSpace is your secret lair where you create awesomeness. 

Your Wonder Woman bested the costumes of all the others. Your tools? Sewing machine, vinyl cutter and your secret weapon: a 3D printer

You know that money can't buy happiness. You know how to make friends and family beam with joy: something you made specifically for each of them.

For your ​Olivia: A wood memory box with a one-of-a-kind original top with a dragon design. The CNC Router was the perfect tool to get that hand-carved look. 

You 3D printed a BB-8 Droid for little brother Ethan.

For mom, aunt Sophia and uncle Michael, you went above and beyond! You made your own vanilla extract. You designed your own logo on the MakerSpace Mac and then etched that logo onto bottles using the laser cutter!

You even recorded own version of "Happy Birthday" in the sound booth. Honestly, it wasn't all that great, but it was a nice personal touch!

When something breaks, you fix it.

While others throw away perfectly good electronics when a wire disconnects, you solder it back into place.

While some of your friends make pies, you dazzle them with your computer skills using your Raspberry Pi!

Why buy a stand for your phone? You know how to make one with a 3D Printer.

You keep up on all the latest listings for Maker-related events

That's what Elle makes! What do you make? 


Maddening March

Say what you will about basketball in March. It's magnificent, majestic, marvelous, mayhem ... and it can be Madness.

But truly, there's nothing new under the sun. It's always been Maddening! Just ask:

See more local basketball history at or follow our hashtag on Twitter