This Week at the Library

Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like. 

Outdoor Family Storytime at Lenexa Farmers Market – Tuesdays, June 6, 13, 20 & 27, 9:30 – 10 a.m.

Help your child discover the joys of reading and develop early literacy skills at Storytime. Join us for a fun outdoor Storytime at Lenexa Farmers Market! 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!

Circus Variety Workshop – Tuesday, June 6, 1 – 2 p.m.

Inspired by a traditional big top circus, Martika Daniels has downsized the big top into a one-woman circus show! In this workshop, Martika will show kids how to do some of her amazing circus tricks with hoops, scarves, and more. Elementary aged kids will learn how to use their whole bodies to do stunts sure to impress friends and family.

Let’s Stick Together – A Celebration of Music & Family with Mr. Stinky Feet – Wednesday, June 7, 2 – 3 p.m.

Join award-winning kid rocker and author, Jim “Mr. Stinky Feet” Cosgrove at Monticello Library, as he celebrates 25 years of uniting communities through music. It’s a rockin’ dance party for the whole family. Check out Jim’s music and books at

Juneteenth Walk and Read – Saturday, June 10 – Monday, June 19, All Day and Anytime

Johnson County Library and Johnson County Park and Recreation Dept. invite you to visit the Juneteenth Walk and Read at Stoll Park. Two stories, Opal Lee and What it Means to Be Free: The True Story of the Grandmother of Juneteenth by Alice Faye Duncan and illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo and Change Sings: A Children's Anthem by Amanda Gorman and illustrated by Loren Long. 

And much more happening this week … 

Social Media Coordinator Passionate about Sharing Library’s Story

Lisa Allen’s writing career has been a journey of discovery with a rich range of experiences: reporting human interest profiles for Johnson County magazines; creating blog posts and marketing copy for business professionals; getting published in three anthologies and various literary journals; even ghostwriting countless dating profiles.  

More recently, on the Johnson County Library staff since 2019, she has helped provide the online content to champion the Library Writers Conference presenters.

She also earned not one but two degrees, in creative nonfiction and poetry, from the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Boston.

All those literary skills will be put to good use as Allen takes on a newly-created Library position: Social Media Coordinator. 

As community-building becomes ever more important, Allen will help tell the story of all that Johnson County Library has to offer, on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media platforms.

“I see social media as part of the tapestry of the communications work that we do,” Allen said. “It’s an entry point for a lot of people to be introduced to the Library for the first time, or to be reintroduced to the Library. That’s what excites me, being part of creating and sustaining a voice that makes people want to stay in the Library.” 

She will help coordinate messaging that is informational but also “welcoming and fun” and “maybe a little sassy sometimes.” 

It’s a group effort. “We have a fantastic team of social media contributors who work at various branches,” she said. “They send in great pictures and creative and timely ideas for posts.” 

Library patrons are already curious and enthusiastic, and social media enhances those interactions. For example, the Library’s weekly Facebook post, “What are you reading this weekend, friends?” elicits thoughtful reader responses and exchanges. 

With so many social media tools, Allen says, the opportunities to expand those conversations and healthy dialogue are compelling.

Allen grew up in Hays, Kansas and has fond memories of curling up with books in a makeshift castle in the town’s library. She attended college, married and had two sons in Chicago. But she wanted to be closer to family, so she and her husband moved to Olathe in 2001. They had a third child and later divorced. 

As a single mother, Allen held several jobs, but a local businesswoman recognized her writing talent and encouraged her to start her own writing/editing business. One highlight was creating dating profiles for eight years for 

“It was fascinating and so much fun,” Allen recalls. “In any given day I could write for a truck driver and a neurosurgeon and a stay-home mom, and all of them had to sound like that person.” 

She also developed her own distinctive voice. An essay she wrote about her dad was included in Putnam’s 2015 anthology, Listen to Your Mother: What She Said Then, What We’re Saying Now.

That’s when she reached out to Johnson County Library Reference Librarian Helen Hokanson, asking about a book signing. The Library doesn’t do book signings, but Allen and Hokanson hit it off. Allen was thrilled to be in conversation with Abigail Thomas to kick off the 2016 Writers Conference and presented a workshop on profile writing.  

She joined the Library staff as an information specialist and loved assisting patrons. She stayed active with the Library’s local writers committee, organizing the social media plan for the 2021 and 2022 Writers Conferences. 

So when the social media coordinator position was posted, she was excited about the opportunity to magnify public awareness and engagement with the Library.   

“One of our core visions is connection,” Allen says. “I think of this as another way to reach folks who need or want what we do.” 

This Week at the Library

Library OnDemand – Available anytime you like. 

Healthy Living Class – Tuesday, May 30, 10:30 – 11:30 a.m. 

Community health workers from the Johnson County Department of Health & Environment will be onsite at Central Resource Library in Conference Room 20, to provide information about healthy living with a focus on quitting smoking.

Catholic Charities Kids Summer Food Program: 

  • Central Resource – Monday - Friday, weekly, May 30 – August 4, 11 a.m. – noon
  • Antioch – Monday, Wednesday and Friday, weekly, June 5 – August 4, 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
  • The Library will be closed June 19 and July 4 and the food program will not be available on those days. Children up to 18 years of age receive a free nutritious meal at the Library. Catholic Charities operates the Kids Summer Food Program in partnership with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Kansas Department of Education.

Meet the Author: All Together with Jacqueline Woodson– Thursday, June 1, 6 – 7:45 p.m.

Acclaimed author Jacqueline Woodson will join us at the Central Resource Library to launch the All Together Now 2023 Summer Reading program! She will share her insights on the meaning of inclusion, representation, and unity. Join fellow readers to discover why we read, why she writes, and the importance of stories to connect us all. In person attendees will receive a free Jaqueline Woodson book to add to their home library (while supplies last)! Q&A and book signing to follow. Registration is required as space is limited, but don’t hesitate to join the waitlist. The program will also be recorded for registrants to view online.

READ to a Dog or Cat with Pets for Life – Monday, June 5, 3:30 – 5 p.m.

Join us at the Leawood Pioneer Library. The Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D.) program improves children’s reading and communication skills by employing a powerful method: reading to a registered therapy dog or cat! These animals volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team. Please note: space is limited for this program; kids will get a ticket at arrival and wait their turn to read to one of several animals.

And much more happening this week … 

Old Yearbooks Tell So Many Stories

Shawnee Mission Yearbooks

It’s another grand Throwback Thursday where we encourage you to time travel through Johnson County's history. JoCoHistory is a collaborative presentation of 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.   

About this collection: Shawnee Mission Rural High School published its first yearbook, The Indian, in 1923. As Johnson County's population increased, the district opened more high schools, each with its own yearbook. This collection contains many of those annuals.

Titles and schools, by order of first publication:

  • Indian - Shawnee Mission Rural High School, later Shawnee Mission High School, later Shawnee Mission North
  • Hauberk - Shawnee Mission East
  • Saga - Shawnee Mission West
  • Heritage - Shawnee Mission South
  • Lair - Shawnee Mission Northwest
  • Horizon(s) - Alternative Education Program, later Horizons