Search Stories


Biographies Tell Story of Early Johnson Countians

It’s another grand Throwback Thursday where we encourage you to time travel through Johnson County's history. JoCoHistory is a collaborative presentation of the history from the Johnson County Museum, Johnson County Library and many JoCoHistory partners. Explore historical photographs and documents about the people, places and organizations of Johnson County, Kansas, from the 19th century to the present.

Collection spotlight: Historical Biographies

About this collection: The following biographies appear in the narrative portion of the Atlas Map of Johnson County, Kansas, published in 1874 or in William G. Cutler's History of the State of Kansas, first published in 1883.


This Week at the Library

This week at the Library, you can join us at:

Tabletop Games – Monday, May 15, 6 – 7:45 p.m.

Join us for a fun-filled event at the Gardner Library with family and friends and become a part of the Johnson County tabletop gaming community. Discover new games from our collection or bring your personal favorite to share – you might get creative with a round of Dixit, collaborate to escape the Forbidden Island or strategize your way to victory as King of Tokyo! Come and go as you please. Refreshments are provided.

Healthy Living Classes – Tuesday, May 16 – May 31, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Community health workers from the Johnson County Department of Health & Environment will be onsite at the Central Resource Library every Tuesday from 10:30-11:30 to provide information about healthy living. 

Online ELL Conversation Class Interviews for summer session/Entrevistas para clases de conversación ELL en linea para sesión de verano – Tuesday, May 16, 6:30 – 7:45 p.m.

Are you an English-language learner? ELL classes are available online. Beginning in June 2023, basic level II, intermediate, and intermediate II classes will be offered online. With a limit of 10 students per class, registration will begin in April. Each student must be enrolled and have an online interview to be accepted. The interviews, to determine proficiency, will take place on May 16, 2023, at 6:30 pm.

¿Eres un estudiante de inglés? Las clases de ELL están disponibles en línea. A partir de junio de 2023, las clases de nivel básico II, intermedio e intermedio II se ofrecerán en línea. Con un límite de 10 estudiantes cada clase, las inscripciones comenzarán en abril. Cada estudiante debe estar inscrito y además debe tener una entrevista en línea para ser aceptado. Las entrevistas para determinar la competencia se llevarán a cabo el 16 de mayo de 2023 a las 6:30 p.m.

Come join us at the Central Resource Library for three writing programs, featuring Corinne Corley, essayist, and Linzi Garcia, poet:

  • Two Writers / Ten Questions with Corinne Corley and Linzi Garcia, Moderated by Will Leathem – Wednesday, May 17, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    Will Leathem, writer/bookseller/publisher, will challenge Corley and Garcia to consider the same questions about words and writing from their disparate viewpoints. Will their words and their worlds collide or dance? Will the contrast be stark or vibrant? Young and old; modern and traditional; fresh and experienced; looking forward and looking backward. Eavesdrop as they learn about each other and share their place in the universe.
  • You Should Be a Writer with Corinne Corley and Linzi Garcia – Thursday, May 18, 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.
    Corley and Garcia will share their personal perspectives about the tools of the trade, and invite attendees to dialogue on structure, grammar, vocabulary and other old-fashioned but necessary nuts-and-bolts of the writing craft. This “lecture” is a precursor to the practical applications which we will explore in the May 20 workshop.
  • You Should Be a Writer Workshop with Corinne Corley and Linzi Garcia – Saturday, May 20, 9 – 11 a.m.
    This workshop will apply the moderators’ techniques for writing with the goal of illustrating that each writer has their own strategies. Yours must work for you. We will finish each other’s sentences, and we will cut and paste until each of our stories unfold. When our time together draws to a close, we will acknowledge that the story never ends; it merely turns the corner and beckons you forward. You will leave this workshop with a sense that the quality of your life depends on the time you spend with the words flowing from your fingertips.

Walk and Read at Meadowbrook Park – Saturday, May 13 – May 21, All day, anytime

Family and friends of all ages are invited to join Johnson County Library for a walk in a park! Walk and Read creates a reading opportunity for all, in various parks throughout Johnson County. Those who participate will read two stories posted around a path, one going each direction. When you finish one story, you can turn around to the other side of the sign and begin the next story, which will lead you back around the path. The Walk and Read program encourages physical activity, literacy and family time. The paths are stroller and wheelchair friendly, allowing for all to join in the fun! Dates are subject to adjustment due to inclement weather conditions. Two stories, “The Mommy Book" by Todd Parr and “Be a Star, Wonder Woman!" by Michael Dahl, will be posted at Meadowbrook Park. 

And much more happening this week … 


Foundation’s New Director Plans to “Build on the Excellence”

The Johnson County Library Foundation’s new executive director brings a wealth of fundraising and advocacy experience to the job. She also brings qualities that may be even more important: a boundless curiosity and a deep appreciation for libraries as part of the soul of a community. 

Shelley O’Brien started her new job March 6, succeeding Stephanie Stollsteimer, who retired. In her previous position as a fundraising consultant for the Northeast Kansas Library System, O’Brien championed libraries in this region and had already worked closely with Stollsteimer and board members as a facilitator to update the Foundation’s strategic plan.  

So O’Brien was familiar with how vibrant the Foundation already is, in its mission to help Johnson County Library build its collection, lifelong learning resources and programming beyond what taxpayer dollars provide. Her goal is to raise the Foundation’s profile even higher and to forge even greater partnerships throughout the community. 

“The Library and Foundation are excellent, and I want to build on that and bring more people into the fold,” she said. “We want to communicate more with the donors who support the Foundation about how we are investing their money. That to me is very important, showing the impact it has on Johnson County.” 

Growing up in Blue Springs, O’Brien loved going to her local library and became a voracious reader.  She enjoyed public speaking on the debate team in high school and at the University of Kansas, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. 

After college she worked for the KU endowment and other organizations in Lawrence and Kansas City before she moved to Washington D.C. In the nation’s capital, she did fundraising for national advocacy non-profits, including the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the National Recreation and Park Association. 

While in Washington, O’Brien was an enthusiastic library volunteer through the Junior League, and that helped launch her on a new career path. In 2018, she became the first fundraiser on the Prince George’s County Memorial Library system staff. At night and on weekends, she pursued a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University, graduating in December 2021.  

After years in Washington, O’Brien craved a return to the Kansas City area, so she was glad to accept the Northeast Kansas Library position in October 2021.  

Now at the Foundation, O’Brien is working on its signature event, Library Lets Loose, scheduled for September 23. O’Brien and the development department have many other ideas for the Foundation, including highlighting volunteer opportunities and expanding philanthropic and corporate connections. 

O’Brien also values how different libraries can work together for mutual benefit. To that end, she has a website, I Love My Kansas Library, that promotes library impacts on local economies throughout the state. 

O’Brien also loves sports. She served on the U.S. Olympics nominating committee for eight years and is always up for attending a sporting event. 

“I am not an athlete but I value sports and teamwork,” she said. “I learned so much about the importance of strong leadership and working together.”  

She’s a big fan of the Royals, Chiefs and the Kansas City Current women’s soccer team. “I am grateful that the Royals Charities support the Library Foundation and our children’s programs,” she said. “I hope we can work with all the KC sports teams in some way.” 

The new job seems full of possibilities. “I want Johnson County to have outstanding Libraries, where we see innovation taking place every day. That is thrilling to me,” O’Brien said. “I can see where parents would be so excited that their children and teenagers are getting to experience this. That fuels my work. That fuels me.” 


Johnson County Obituaries

It’s another grand Throwback Thursday where we encourage you to time travel through Johnson County's history. JoCoHistory is a collaborative presentation of the history from the Johnson County Museum, Johnson County Library and many JoCoHistory partners. Explore historical photographs and documents about the people, places and organizations of Johnson County, Kansas, from the 19th century to the present.

Collection spotlight: Obituary Index

About this collection: Find citations for obituaries from local newspapers dating from the late 19th century to the present. Entries are provided by the Johnson County Genealogical Society. New entries are continually being added.